These healthy Slow Cooker meatballs are veggie-packed and great for an easy, kid-friendly dinner. You can also make them in the Instant Pot! Serve them over noodles, on a sub bun or enjoy them plain!
*Post originally published September 2014. Photos & text updated Jan 2018*
I originally shared this recipe right before Squish was born, after I did a little reader survey and you guys asked for more slow cooker recipes. Fast forward three years, I did another survey and guess what? I still make these every few weeks and you guys are still asking for more slow cooker recipes. So I’m resharing this recipe with a few updates (ie adding more veggies) and I also tested them in the Instant Pot so I could give you guys directions for that as well.
Slow Cooker Meatballs
There is nothing super fancy about this recipe. It’s basically just meatballs, except they’re cooked in the crockpot so it’s hands off once you get them in there. I also added some extra veggies because that’s never a bad idea! Once they’re cooked you can serve them over spaghetti, on a bun for a meatball sub, or eat them with just the sauce!
Here’s how you make them:
These Crockpot meatballs can be made in the slow cooker or Instant Pot for an easy, healthy dinner. Serve them over noodles, on a sub bun or enjoy them plain!
- 1 pound ground beef (or turkey)
- 2/3 cup breadcrumbs (i use panko)
- 1 egg
- 1 cup finely diced mushrooms
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp basil
- 1/2 tsp oregano
- 2 Tbsp hemp seeds or chia seeds, optional
- 2-3 large carrots, peeled and shredded
- 1 red pepper (finely diced or shredded)
- 1 (24 oz) jar tomato sauce
Combine all ingredients except carrots, peppers and tomato sauce in a large bowl.
Mix well and form into balls.
In a hot, well-oiled pan on the stove (or using the saute function on the Instant Pot- make sure you have a thin layer of oil covering the bottom of the IP & be sure to leave the lid off), brown the meatballs on all sides. You may need to do this in batches.
If using the crockpot, add browned meatballs, plus shredded veggies and sauce to the slow cooker, cover and cook on low 4-6 hours.
If using the Instant Pot, remove all the browned meatballs, add a tiny bit of water or broth and scrape up any large brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan. Add sauce and shredded veggies, then add meatballs and stir to combine. Use the manual (or pressure cook) button and cook for 10 minutes. Use the quick release and check to make sure internal temp of meatballs is 165 degrees F.
Always add about 1/4 cup water to the jar of sauce, put the lid on, shake and then add to ensure you get all the sauce out of the jar!
Easy enough, right? The hemp or seeds are optional but add a nice little nutritional boost and you can’t taste them. The carrots and peppers should get nice and sauce and pretty much blend into the sauce. Neither of my kids notice the mushrooms in these.
Enjoy veggie-packed meatballs in the slow cooker or instant pot for a simple, healthy dinner.Click To Tweet
I make 12-16 meatballs but you can make yours whatever size you want. Just keep in mind that smaller will cook faster and you want them all to be similarly sized so they cook evenly.