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These versatile Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs cook up plump and deliciously tender in a flavorful tomato cream sauce. A unique method and a few tips and tricks ensure a foolproof result.
I had the task of deciding which of the 75 recipes in my new cookbook to share with you first here on the blog and these delicious meatballs won out. This recipe is one of my favorites from The Foolproof Family Slow Cooker and Other One-Pot Solutions and I’m happy to add it to the collection here on Valerie’s Kitchen.
And, I’m giving away two copies of the cookbook at the end of this post!
SO much recipe testing went into all of the recipes in this book and I was especially pleased with the method that resulted for these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs. There are some tricks when using ground chicken to make meatballs and I’m going to share all of those tips with you here today.
Just leave a comment at the end of this post and you will be automatically entered to win a copy of The Foolproof Family Slow Cooker and Other One-Pot Solutions.
How to Make Meatballs with Ground Chicken
Ground chicken has a very soft and sticky texture but if you know a couple of tips, it’s easy to turn it into plump, perfectly formed meatballs in your slow cooker.
Watch the video at the end of this post (just above the recipe card) to see the entire recipe from start to finish, including all of the tips given in this post and more!
Here are my tips for making it easy.
Once the meatball mixture is combined and ready to be rolled, wet your hands to make the rolling process easy. This works like a charm to prevent the sticky ground chicken mixture from sticking to your hands. You don’t have to be too concerned about them being perfectly round at this point. Continue to wet your hands as needed throughout the process.
Once all the meatballs are rolled and placed on a foil-lined baking sheet, I cover and refrigerate them for at least an hour or longer. I like to make them a day in advance and refrigerate them overnight for super quick prep the next day
The meatballs firm up as they chill and you can easily reshape them, if needed, as you add them directly to the warm sauce in your slow cooker.
There is very little fat in ground chicken so there is no need for any browning or baking before adding them to the sauce. You can add them straight into your slow cooker, and they will cook up perfectly tender, leaving very little grease behind.
When the meatballs are cooked through, I add a little heavy cream and fresh basil. This tomato cream sauce is absolutely heavenly and so easy to make.
How to Serve Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
These meatballs make a great addition to a party menu or can easily be transformed into a meal.
- Party Meatballs – I did these on New Year’s Eve to include a hearty, yet wholesome addition to my party food menu.
- Add Pasta – Cook up 1 pound of your favorite pasta and add it to the slow cooker to combine with the fully-cooked meatballs and sauce. Top it with some additional grated Parmesan cheese. SO good!
- Meatball Subs – Pile them on toasted hoagie rolls and top with Provolone cheese. My boys love these substantial Chicken Parmesan Meatball Subs and this is how I featured the meatballs in the cookbook.
Just leave a comment on this post and you will be automatically entered to win a copy of The Foolproof Family Slow Cooker and Other One-Pot Solutions.
And now for the not so small print.
Contest runs through 12:00am PST on February 2, 2020. Two winners will be chosen at random and contacted by email within 48 hours of contest end. Winner must respond within 48 hours of notification or another winner will be chosen. Contest open only to U.S. residents, 18 years and older, and is void where prohibited. Only entries made by commenting on this post are valid for entry.
CONTEST HAS ENDED AND THE WINNERS HAVE BEEN NOTIFIED. CONGRATULATIONS!
Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
- 2 large eggs
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 1 cup Italian-style panko bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup grated onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 2 teaspoons dried parsley
- 2 teaspoons dried basil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Tomato Cream Sauce
- 28 ounce can Italian-style crushed tomatoes
- 24 to 26 ounce jar marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes to taste
- salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- 1/2 cup heavy cream
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
For Meatballs Subs or Pasta
- hoagie rolls, sliced provolone cheese, dry pasta, additional shredded Parmesan (see instructions below)
- To make the meatballs, crack the eggs into a large mixing bowl and whisk them lightly. Add the chicken, bread crumbs, Parmesan, onion, garlic, parsley, basil, salt and pepper, and using your hands, mix and knead the mixture to combine it well.
- Form the mixture into twenty-eight meatballs about 1½- inches in diameter. The mixture will be a bit sticky, so wet your hands as needed to make rolling the meatballs easier. Place the meatballs on a foil-lined baking sheet, and cover them with another sheet of foil. Refrigerate for at least 1 hour or more. The meatballs can be prepared in advance and refrigerated for up to 24 hours.
- To make the sauce, add the tomatoes, marinara, water, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper to the slow cooker. Cover and cook for 1 hour on HIGH.
- When the sauce is done, place the refrigerated meatballs into the sauce, reshaping them into nice balls as you add them. Spoon the sauce over any exposed meatballs so that they are all immersed in sauce. Cover and cook for 4 to 6 hours on LOW, until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked. Avoid stirring the meatballs during cooking to help them keep their shape.
- Once meatballs are cooked through, stir in the cream and basil. Cover and continue to cook for 5 minutes.
For Meatball Subs
- Preheat your oven to broil, and place opened but unsplit hoagie rolls on a large rimmed baking sheet. Broil them briefly, until the bread is toasted. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and top the toasted rolls with 3 or 4 meatballs and sliced cheese. Return the baking sheet to the oven, and broil for 1 to 2 minutes, watching closely, until the cheese has melted.
- Prepare 16 ounces of the pasta of your choice according to the package directions. Drain well and pour the cooked pasta into the slow cooker with the finished meatballs and sauce. Stir to combine and serve with additional grated Parmesan on the side.