I think I’m spending my life in pursuit of the perfect meatball. I’m not sad about it. I love them so. My current obsession is with these Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in Marinara. Oh heck yes.

I asked y’all in Instagram Stories last week what kind of recipe you’re most looking forward to and the answer was overwhelmingly to GIVE YOU ALL THE SLOW COOKER DINNERS.

So here they come, friends.

If you believe that meatballs require breadcrumbs and parmesan I’m going to prove you wrong. These Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in Marinara are dairy free, gluten free, and Whole30 compliant. You won’t notice it. In fact you can feed these to a whole herd of bread loving, dairy devouring, healthy food hating eaters and none of them will notice either. They’ll just eat them and ask for more. Trust me. I’ve tested that.

Each meatball is packed with fresh herbs, plenty of seasoning, garlic, onion, and ground turkey. They are so flavorful!

First we give the onion and garlic a little time in a skillet. This softens the onion and really brings out that garlic flavor.

Next combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Use your hands to form them into balls. Mine are around 1 1/2 inches in diameter. This gives me 18 to 20 meatballs.

Ground turkey is much more mushy than ground beef so don’t feel the need to pack them tight. They’re not going to get firm until they’re cooked and that’s fine.

Place the meatballs in the bottom of your slow cooker. Add the sauce ingredients. Cover. Cook for 4 hours on high or 6 to 8 hours on low. You’re done!

I know someone is going to ask me about whether they should brown the meatballs in the skillet so let’s address that. No, ma’am. While I love getting a pretty browning on the outside it’s just an unnecessary step when you’re cooking them (a) in sauce and (b) in the slow cooker. Let’s keep it simple! Let that slow cooker do all the work for you!

I most often serve these over noodles, spaghetti squash, zoodles, or a bowl of veggies. Honestly you just can’t go wrong!

Made these Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs and love them like I do? If you share a photo of your finished dish on Instagram tag me so I can check it out!

Prefer a meatball recipe that doesn’t involve a slow cooker? Check out my original meatball recipe, Meatballs in Marinara. It’s also dairy free, gluten free, and Whole30 compliant!

5 from 21 votes

Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in Marinara

These Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs in Marinara are so flavorful and packed with fresh herbs! Plus they're gluten free, dairy free, and Whole30 compliant. Perfect as an entree over noodles or as an appetizer!



  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 yellow onion, diced
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 lb lean ground turkey, can substitute lean ground beef if preferred
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/4 cup fresh basil, chopped
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper

Marinara Sauce

  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 1 tbsp dried parsley
  • 1 tbsp dried basil
  • 1 tbsp dried oregano


  • In a large skillet saute your diced onions in 1 tablespoon olive oil on medium heat. When onion is almost done (close to translucent) add in the garlic. Give it a quick stir and remove from heat. (Garlic can get some browning but you don't want to burn it.)
  • In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients including the sauteed onion and garlic. Use your hands to gently roll into meatballs approximately 1 1/2 inches in diameter. This produces 18 - 20 meatballs. (Ground turkey is mushy so don't expect it to behave like ground beef. Your meatballs won't be very firm until they've been cooked and that's okay.)
  • Place meatballs in the bottom of your slow cooker.
  • Add all marinara ingredients to the slow cooker. Cover. Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours.
  • Garnish with additional fresh chopped parsley or basil if you like. For an entree, serve over noodles, spaghetti squash, zoodles, or veggies. Of course these meatballs also make a delicious appetizer!


Serving: 3meatballs with sauce, Calories: 185kcal, Carbohydrates: 16g, Protein: 22g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 68mg, Sodium: 908mg, Potassium: 817mg, Fiber: 4g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 910IU, Vitamin C: 27.2mg, Calcium: 112mg, Iron: 4.1mg
Did you make this recipe?Tag @thewholecook and hashtag it #thewholecook on Instagram.


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