Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are a combination recipe made with the convenience of the slow cooker and the flavor of chicken parmesan in the form of bite-size, saucy, cheesy meatballs. They’re made with well-seasoned ground chicken smothered in a rich tomato sauce, cooked low and slow until juicy and tender, and topped with melted mozzarella!
I have almost a dozen meatball recipes on my site, everything from crockpot jelly meatball appetizers to slow cooker meatball stroganoff, so you could say meatballs are a huge hit at my house, no matter what!
Now, my family can’t get enough of these slow cooker chicken Parmesan meatballs. This recipe is a fun twist on classic chicken parmesan, but because there’s no need to dredge any chicken, or stand at the stove pan frying, it makes for a much more convenient way to cook dinner during the week!
I’ve also made chicken parmesan in the Instant Pot as well as crockpot chicken parmesan with tortellini, both are simplified versions of the classic recipe. So, if you love a shortcut like I do, these meatballs are right up your alley!
Serve these saucy cheesy meatballs on top of your favorite pasta noodles or in a toasted bun for a chicken parm meatball sub.
No matter what, I guarantee they’ll become a part of your delicious dinner rotation!
Why you’ll love Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Budget-friendly – Simple ingredients such as ground chicken, marinara sauce, breadcrumbs, eggs, herbs, aromatics, and cheese are all it takes to make them. This recipe makes enough to serve 6 but you could easily double it as needed.
Easy dinner – The crockpot makes it convenient for serving a crowd a filling and satisfying meal with minimal prep time and easy clean up. It also keeps them warm until you’re ready to serve, so there’s no stress!
Flavorful – You get the flavors of chicken parm but without the extra work of dredging, frying, and doing everything to avoid soggy breading!
Equipment you’ll need
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.
- Marinara Sauce – If you have a really good homemade marinara sauce you like, go ahead and use that. Otherwise, any good quality store-bought marinara sauce will do. I like Sonoma Gourmet & Rao’s.
- Large Eggs – These will help bind the meat mixture together so the meatballs won’t fall apart. It also helps keep them moist, which is important as ground chicken is lean and doesn’t have a lot of fat.
- Breadcrumbs – These too help to bind the ground chicken mixture together. They absorb moisture and contain it within the meatball.
- Yellow Onion & Minced Garlic – Aromatics for extra flavor. Ground chicken can sometimes be a bit bland so it’s important we’re generous with whatever decide to add to it.
- Fresh Parsley – Adds herbaceous flavor to the meatballs, and make sure to keep some for the finishing garnish.
- Ground Chicken – Lean meat and high in protein. You can certainly use a different kind of ground meat, however, it will alter the flavor of the entire dish.
- Shredded Mozzarella – Grate the cheese fresh from a mozzarella ball, if you can. It melts much better fresh than pouring it out of a bag of pre-shredded cheese.
- Seasoning – Salt, ground black pepper, Oregano.
How to make Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Step One: Pour half the sauce into the basin of the slow cooker. If you want to add some heat, sprinkle in some red pepper flakes.
- Step Two: In a large bowl, whisk the eggs and then add the breadcrumbs, onion, parsley, garlic, salt, pepper, and oregano. Stir to combine and add the ground chicken.
- Step Three: Use clean hands to mix the ground meat into the egg and breadcrumb mixture until fully combined. Do not overmix. Grab enough of the meat mixture to form 1.5” balls with the palms of your hands and add it to the slow cooker. Repeat with the remaining meatball mixture.
- Step Four: Pour the rest of the sauce over top and cover with the lid. Cook on low for 6 hours or high for 3 hours. About 10 minutes before the cooking time is up, add the shredded cheese and cover until melted. Top with fresh parsley and enjoy!
What to serve with Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Serve over your favorite pasta like penne, spaghetti, or fettuccine with a sprinkling of Parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.
For something a little different you could serve them with rice or mashed potatoes.
Keep it low carb by serving them overtop zucchini noodles or zoodles. Of course, they’re amazing all on their own, with a side of Caesar salad and a slice of garlic bread or garlic cheese bombs.
You could also spoon a few into a sandwich bun to make a chicken parmesan meatball sub as I do with my Italian chicken meatball subs!
Tips & Suggestions
- I like the texture of the Panko breadcrumbs in this recipe. They’re light, slightly crispier, and are coarser than traditional breadcrumbs, however, any kind will work.
- To get the melty cheese golden brown, you can scoop out a portion you plan to serve and place it under the broiler for a minute or so.
- Ground chicken is sticky so when rolling, coat your fingers with a bit of olive oil to help prevent the meat from sticking to your hands. A little extra fat will help to keep them moist as well.
- Do not overwork the meat. This is how you’ll end up with dry meatballs!
- Use a cookie or ice cream scoop for even-sized chicken parmesan meatballs to ensure they all cook evenly.
How to reheat and store Slow Cooker Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
How to store leftovers
Once completely cooled to room temperature, store leftover meatballs, sauce included, in an airtight container.
How long will chicken parmesan meatballs last in the fridge?
These can be kept fresh for up to 3 days in the fridge.
Can I freeze chicken parm meatballs?
Yes! Flash-freeze them first on a baking sheet, keeping the meatballs separate in a single layer. Once solid, transfer them to an airtight freezer-safe container or bag. Keep them frozen for up to 3 months.
If you know you’ll be thawing and cooking them all at once later on, you can skip the flash freeze. That’s only if you think you’ll be needing some of what you’re freezing at a time.
You can reheat them straight from frozen.
How to reheat chicken parmesan meatballs
You can reheat them either in the stove on medium-low until heated through or use the slow cooker once more. The meatballs will simmer in the sauce until fully reheated.
If you only have a couple, you can use the microwave, but they tend to dry out a lot faster that way.
Can I bake chicken parm meatballs?
Sure you can make these in the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees and add the sauce to a baking dish. Place meatballs in the sauce and bake for 30 minutes. Remove from the oven and sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Place it under the broiler until brown and bubbly.
Do I need to brown the meatballs first?
No, not unless you plan on making the entire dish in a large heavy-bottomed skillet.
Slow cooking leaves you with juicy chicken meatballs that are tender and the sauce gives them all the flavor.
Browning the meatballs helps to lock in moisture and add flavor, but it’s not necessary in this case.
What other kind of ground meat can I use?
Any! Ground turkey, ground beef, or ground pork can be used. As with many types of meatball recipes you can even use a combination of meat.
At a certain point, it won’t taste exactly like a classic chicken parmesan, but it will still taste amazing.
Meat with higher fat content will have a different cooking time, so just keep an eye out!
Crockpot Chicken Parm Meatballs
Need more Italian-Inspired Crockpot dinner recipes? Try these:
Click here for my entire collection of slow cooker recipes.