Slow Cooker Pesto Turkey Meatballs

Slow Cooker Turkey Pesto Meatballs

These pesto turkey meatballs are made in the slow cooker, and require minimal prep! So delicious and family friendly too! You can substitute ground chicken or ground beef if you'd like, and they freeze really well too!

Course Crockpot, Main, Slow Cooker
Cuisine Italian
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 20 minutes
Servings 4
Author Molly | Spices in My DNA


For the meatballs

  • 1.3 pounds 93% lean ground turkey (make sure you don't use ground turkey breast, the meatballs will be dry)
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 of a medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 1/4 cup packed flat leaf parsley
  • 1/2 cup packed fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

For the sauce

  • 28 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 3 ounces tomato paste
  • 8 ounce can tomato sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. To your food processor, add garlic, onion, parsley, basil, parmesan, walnuts, salt, and pepper. Pulse until mixture is very fine, like a pesto. Add turkey to a medium mixing bowl and add pesto mixture. Add egg and panko breadcrumbs and mix until thoroughly combined.

  2. Heat a nonstick skillet to medium/high heat and add olive oil. Cook meatballs for 2-3 minutes per side, until golden brown. Add meatballs to your crockpot.  Add crushed tomatoes, tomato paste, tomato sauce, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt and pepper to the crockpot. Don't stir, the meatballs are very delicate at this stage.

  3. Shake the crockpot a little bit to be sure the sauce reaches the bottom. Cook on low heat for 6-7 hours. Serve with pasta, zucchini noodles, on rolls or subs, or by themselves!