Crockpot Italian Meatballs are a mixture of ground beef and ground turkey with Italian seasonings, slow cooked in your favorite marinara sauce straight from the freezer. These homemade Italian meatballs are easy and healthy!
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If I asked you one thing that keeps you from a healthy diet, I’m guessing many of you would answer me in one word: CONVENIENCE. I hear you!! That’s why I love these freezer friendly Crockpot Italian Meatballs.
The mixture of turkey, beef, seasonings and just a few other ingredients is quickly combined, rolled into meatballs, then frozen raw so they’re ready to go straight to the slow cooker when you’re in need for that healthy convenient meal.
Do You Need to Defrost the Meatballs Before Cooking?
You do not need to defrost these homemade meatballs! In fact, I don’t recommend it. The trick to this recipe — being able to freeze them raw and go straight to the slow cooker — is using lean meat. I recommend 93%/7% to avoid the extra grease in your resulting sauce.
I make a batch of these Freezer Italian Meatballs monthly. It yields just over 40 hefty meatballs. Twice a month I toss half of the frozen meatballs (20 meatballs) in my slow cooker with a jar of sugar-free marinara sauce. We eat about half of those cooked meatballs that evening then the rest as leftovers another night that week. A week or two later I cook the remaining 20 freezer meatballs and do it all over again. SO, this recipe takes care of at least FOUR meals for us! Score!
I’m not sure about you, but I get pretty excited when meal prepping only one recipe supplies me with four meals!
The most common way we eat these Italian meatballs is over a bed of gluten-free spaghetti noodles. If we’re trying to go Whole30, we eat them on their own. If we’re just wanting a cheat meal, we enjoy them on a sub roll as a meatball sub smothered with broiled mozzarella cheese! YUM!
These homemade meatballs are very flavorful on their own, though, so do not feel like you need to serve it with all the extras. My kids gulf them down, too.
Tips for Making Homemade Meatballs
- Although many will say use fattier meats to keep the meatballs moist, I use leaner meats in the meatball recipe so I can cook them straight from the freezer to slow cooker when raw. This avoids the extra step of cooking the meatballs first in the oven before freezing. Convenience is key for my family.
- Do not over mix when shaping the meatballs.
- Do not over cook the meatballs. These meatballs are done in the slow cooker on low for just 6 hours. No more!
What is the Best Way to Freeze Meatballs?
To freeze the Crockpot meatballs, place them in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet after shaping them. Freeze raw for at least 1 hour. Transfer the meatballs to a freezer bag and label. By freezing them in a single layer first, the meatballs will not stick to each other when placed in the freezer bag. Raw homemade meatballs will keep in the freezer for three to four months.
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Crockpot Italian Meatballs
- 2 lb lean ground beef
- 1 lb lean ground turkey
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 2 1/2 teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 cup coconut flour
- 1 jar (24 ounces) marinara sauce
- In a large mixing bowl, mix all ingredients except the sauce, until evenly combined. Do not over mix.
- Using a medium cookie scoop (or your hands) form meatballs into about 40 balls. Transfer to a parchment lined baking sheet and freeze for at least 1 hour. Transfer frozen meatballs to a freezer bag. Store in the freezer until ready to cook.
- When ready to cook the meatballs, place 20 meatballs into slow cooker. (Reserve remaining meatballs in freezer for another time.) Pour in jar of marinara sauce and stir. Cover and cook on low for 6 hours.
- Serve alone, or over top gluten-free spaghetti noodles or as a meatball sub sandwich. Store leftovers of the cooked meatballs in the fridge.
- Uncooked meatballs can be stored in freezer for three to four months.