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Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Why go to the hassle and trouble of making classic chicken parmesan when you can make this kid friendly version instead! Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are even better than the real thing.

chicken meatballs in bowl of spaghetti topped with marinara and cheese

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs is a flexible family recipe that can easily be adjusted and customized.

Using ground chicken to make my easy meatball recipe and utilizing your favorite high quality jarred sauce, you can assemble this recipe in minutes and have a delicious meal to come home to at the end of the day.

measuring cup with soaked breadcrumbs

The key to making delicious meatballs in your slow cooker lies in this one trick. Using panko breadcrumbs soaked in milk as your filler, your meatballs will be juicy and delicious with no overwhelming bread flavor or texture.

This step only takes 5 minutes and I recommend it in all my meatball recipes in place of oatmeal or other fillers.

glass bowl with chicken meatball mixture

Other important tips for making meatballs:

  • Once you add all of the ingredients, don’t over-mix.
  • Gently combine until everything is evenly distributed and stop there so that your meatballs will be tender.
  • Use an ice cream scooper or other similar sized utensil to ensure your meatballs are evenly sized sot that they will cook evenly.
  • keep in mind that these meatballs will seem very soft and like they might fall apart easily when forming, but this is what will yield deliciously juicy cooked meatballs.

scooping out meatballs from bowl adding to slow cooker

Why I love making meatballs in the slow cooker:

  • they stay juicy all the way through
  • they are very forgiving, it’s really hard to over-cook them
  • you can make them ahead and let them cook all day for a no stress dinner

slow cooker full of chicken meatballs ready to cook

Can I make ahead or freeze this recipe?

Yes! I recommend making the meatballs ahead of time and freezing them on a tray of parchment paper for a couple of hours. Once they are frozen, you can transfer to a freezer bag and they won’t stick together.

To cook, you will need to thaw and continue the recipe from there. No need to freeze with the sauce since you can add it from the jar when cooking.

blue and white mini casserole slow cooker

What slow cooker do I use to make this recipe?

In this case it won’t matter too much. I used a 2.5 quart casserole slow cooker, which worked perfectly, but any regular slow cooker will work.

If you want to double the recipe, you will need a 5 quart or larger slow cooker.

slow cooker with chicken parmesan meatballs topped with melted cheese

More common questions about this recipe:

What if I can find ground chicken?

Ground chicken is available at most markets, but if you can’t find it, feel free to sub ground beef or turkey

Which pasta sauce is best? 

It’s best to use one that does not have added meat or cheese. I suggest a tomato basil sauce for best results. Here is one of my favorites!

Can I double this recipe?

Yes! This recipe can be easily doubled to feed up to 8 people by exactly doubling all ingredients. Be sure to use a 5 quart slow cooker or larger.

Can I make half a recipe?

If cooking for 2 people, simply freeze half of the meatballs and cook the other half. That way you’ll have another meal later with no extra effort!

chicken parmesan meatballs with marinara and pasta in a bowl

chicken meatballs in bowl of spaghetti topped with marinara and cheese

Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Jennifer Draper
Why go to the hassle and trouble of making classic chicken parmesan when you can make this kid friendly version instead! Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are even better than the real thing.
4.67 from 3 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 8 hours
Total Time 6 hours 15 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Servings 4
Calories 367.76 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon jarred minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon Kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon pepper seasoning
  • 24 oz tomato basil pasta sauce
  • 2 oz Fresh mozzarella
  • 1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Instructions
 

  • Mix panko with milk and let set 5 minutes
  • Mix soaked panko and remaining ingredients except pasta sauce, mozzarella cheese and shredded parmesan in bowl just until evenly mixed
  • Form meat into golf ball-sized rounds and place in single layer in slow cooker (about 8 meatballs)
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 8 hours
  • During the last 60 minutes pour in pasta sauce and top each meatball with a little slice of cheese and shredded parmesan and heat on high until melted and heated through

Notes

  • don't over-mix the meat or you will end up with tough meatballs
  • feel free to swap ground beef or turkey if you can't find chicken
  • recipe can be doubled just be sure to use a 5 quart or larger slow cooker
  • meatballs can be made ahead and frozen prior to cooking.  Freeze in single layer on cookie sheet then transfer to bag for storage up to 3 months. Thaw before cooking.

Nutrition

Calories: 367.76kcalCarbohydrates: 14.57gProtein: 34.88gFat: 19.58gSaturated Fat: 8.34gCholesterol: 167.32mgSodium: 1676.25mgPotassium: 1217.19mgFiber: 2.86gSugar: 8.61gVitamin A: 1068.97IUVitamin C: 12.14mgCalcium: 339.16mgIron: 3.27mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @slowcookergourmet or tag #slowcookergourmet!
Important nutritional disclaimer

33 Comments

  1. Hi Jennifer!

    These look amazing! I am planning on making them tomorrow. How many meatballs does this recipe make?

    Thanks!

  2. Jennifer,

    I’m not sure if your comment was rhetorical about the dryness of foods when cooked in an oven vs. Crock-pot but typically, it is because your oven cooks via dry heat (as food steams, a lot of the moisture evaporates) and your Crock-pot typically steams foods as a result of reduced loss of moisture – it’s cooking in a smaller, lower heat environment and as steam condensates on the lid, it drops back onto the food.

  3. It would never have occurred to me to make meatballs in a crock pot! Makes sense really since I sometimes make them and drop them right into a vat o’ sauce to cook. That’s how I grew up doing it, but some in my crew prefer their meatballs crusty on the outside, so I’ve started either baking them or pan-frying them to get that crusty outside, then adding them to the sauce to finish cooking through. I’ve never used oatmeal either, but I can’t wait to try that! As for them drying out when baking, I think it’s just a matter of ingredients. I always add a little tomato paste or something for moisture. For chicken, a little mayo would be a good way to go – that’s great for moist chicken burgers! I’ve got a spaghetti squash sitting on the counter waiting to be used. Since you mentioned that, I might have to make this in the next day or two. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. Jennifer,

    These look great and I’m planning to try them this week. Can you tell me whether you use all white meat ground chicken or a mixture of white and dark?

    I’m excited to try these; thanks so much for taking the time to share! ๐Ÿ™‚

    1. I’m pretty sure what I used was a mixture of white and dark but all white meat would work just as well! Since they are in the crock they just don’t dry out like they would in the oven. I hope you like them!! Let me know how they turn out!

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