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Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

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Easy and flavorful Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs are made with lean ground beef or turkey and stuffed with cheese. Served over zoodles, or your favorite noodle, this is a healthy and delicious recipe made right in your crockpot!

melty mozzarella in the center of a meatball on a bed of noodles.

Mozzarella Meatballs

I have quite a few meatball recipes on the site at this point but many start with frozen meatballs. Not this one. This one is made from scratch.

Bob came up with this recipe and as much as I love baking, he loves meat. So, you can rest assured that these meatballs are juicy, perfectly seasoned, and full of flavor.

Not to mention cheese. They’re also full of cheese.

At the center of each meatball is a piece of a mozzarella string cheese, which we always have on hand for the girls.

Why you’ll love these Cheesy Slow Cooker Meatballs

Cheesy Center – The best part of cutting into a large meatball is finding a gooey, cheesy center!

Good for the whole family – Even the pickiest eaters should be impressed with this one. Who doesn’t like cheese?!

Slow Cooker Recipe – Because this meatballs recipe is made in the crock pot, meatball night can be prepping while you’re at work or out & about.

Hearty Dish – These meatballs can be eaten alone, over pasta, over zoodles, in a sub, or simply with a piece of garlic bread!

Shortcuts – Use a jar of your favorite pasta sauce to save time, or make your favorite from scratch.

How to make zoodles

If you’ve never made zoodles (zucchini noodles), don’t be intimidated. They’re a great way to replace carbs and get in a serving of veggies.

I used a Veggetti but I also have a simple slicer that works well (takes up less room but basically the same price), or you can get fancy and get a spiralizer.

closeup of a mozzarella stuffed meatball in a slow cooker.

Cheese Stuffed Meatball Ingredients

Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.

  • Ground Turkey or Beef – shown here is turkey but 1 lb lean ground beef works just as well. I prefer sirloin.
  • Eggs – to bind the meat together.
  • Onion – A white or yellow onion, diced.
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Panko Breadcrumbs – we like panko but you can also use Italian style bread crumbs
  • Seasoned salt
  • Pepper
  • Mozzarella Sticks – cut into small pieces, or you can cut up a small mozzarella ball, or even use mozzarella pearls. We just always have string cheese readily available. Save some to make some air fryer cheese sticks!
  • Marinara Sauce – your favorite jarred tomato sauce or make your own
  • Zucchini – optional, but you’ll need zucchini if you want to make zoodles.
  • Garlic – 2 cloves garlic, minced, or you can use minced garlic that is packed in oil.
  • Olive Oil
overhead shot of labeled ingredients to make cheese stuffed meatballs.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Mixing Bowls – I love the grippy bottoms.
  • Spatulas – I love one-piece silicone spatulas. They’re great for so many things & easy to clean.
  • Veggie Chopper – To easily chop onions & garlic.
  • Slow Cooker – My slow cooker of choice has been the Hamilton Beach Set & Forget for years.

How to make the crockpot meatballs & sauce (AKA the best meatballs!)

  1. STEP ONE: To a large mixing bowl, add the ground meat, beaten eggs, chopped onion, Parmesan, breadcrumbs, seasoned salt & pepper. Use a spatula, or your clean hands, to bring it together, but don’t overmix.
  2. STEP TWO: Spray the bottom of your slow cooker with cooking spray and then pour half the marinara sauce into the bottom. Use your hands to portion out golf ball sized balls, flatten in your hands, add a piece of mozzarella to the center, then form back into a ball. Place it into the slow cooker and repeat until you’re out of meat mixture.
  3. STEP THREE: Pour the rest of the sauce over the top, cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.
collage of 4 photos showing the process of making homemade cheese stuffed meatballs in a slow cooker.

To make Zoodles: Use a slicer to form “noodles” out of your zucchini. Place them in a bowl lined with paper towel to drain excess moisture for approximately 30 minutes. Once ready, heat a skillet over medium high heat and add olive oil. Add the zoodles and season with garlic, salt & pepper and saute until tender.

How to serve them

Serve these meatballs with zoodles, over your favorite pastas, with simple garlic knots, or as a meatball sub.

Do you need to brown the meat before you add it to the crockpot?

No. The beauty of crockpot meatballs is not having to cook them before you put them into the slow cooker. Prep them then let the slow cooker do the work.

No need to brown the meat – you put the raw meatballs directly into the crockpot and a few hours later, get to enjoy a juicy & flavorful dinner.

You can also add frozen meatballs to the slow cooker like I used in my Teriyaki Meatballs, Honey Garlic Meatballs, and Sweet & Spicy Meatballs.

overhead shot of saucy meatballs in a slow cooker.

How to store leftovers

Leftovers should be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

Can I freeze them?

Yes you can! Follow the recipe as written but instead of putting them straight into the slow cooker, place them in a freezer bag with parchment paper between layers, squeeze out any excess air, seal, and put in the freezer.

They’ll keep in the freezer for up to 4 months.

When ready to cook them, you can move them to the fridge the night before to thaw them, or start from frozen increasing the cooking time a bit.

Need more slow cooker recipes? Try these:

Click here to view my entire collection of slow cooker recipes.

fork poking into a mozzarella stuffed meatball.

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melty mozzarella in the center of a meatball on a bed of noodles.

Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Melissa | Persnickety Plates
Easy and flavorful Slow Cooker Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs are made with ground turkey or beef and stuffed with cheese. Served over zoodles, or your favorite noodle, this is a healthy and delicious recipe made right in your crockpot!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 6 hrs
Total Time 6 hrs 10 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 6 servings
Calories 326 kcal

Equipment

Ingredients
  

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey or lean beef
  • 2 large eggs beaten
  • ¼ cup chopped onion
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese shredded
  • 1 ½ cups panko bread crumbs Italian seasoned
  • 1 teaspoon seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 4 mozzarella cheese sticks cut stick cut into 5 pieces – about 1″ each
  • 24-32 oz. marinara sauce

For the Zoodles

Instructions
 

  • To make the meatballs
  • In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, beaten eggs, chopped onion, Parmesan, bread crumbs, seasoned salt, and pepper and mix well using your clean hands or a spatula.
  • Spray the bottom of a 6 quart slow cooker with non-stick spray and then pour approximately half of the sauce into the bottom.
  • Use your hands to scoop the meat mixture into golf ball size balls. Slightly flatten with the palms of your hands, tuck in a piece of cheese, then form the meat into a ball. Place into the sauce. Repeat until all the meat is used up – this batch made 17 meatballs for us.
  • Pour the remaining sauce over the top.
  • Cover and cook on LOW for 6 hours or HIGH for 3 hours.
  • Right before you're ready to serve, sprinkle on some shredded cheese, replace the cover, and let it melt.
  • To make the zoodles
  • Use a Veggetti (or slicer or spiralizer) to make zucchini “noodles”. Place them into a bowl that’s lined with pepper towel. Sprinkle with salt and let sit for about 30 minutes to lose some moisture.
  • Heat a medium skillet over medium high heat and add some olive oil to the pan. Add in the zoodles and garlic and season with salt & pepper. Saute until tender.

Notes

Store leftovers covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Use a lean beef like sirloin or ground turkey for the best results.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 326kcalCarbohydrates: 21gProtein: 34gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 118mgSodium: 1570mgPotassium: 844mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 850IUVitamin C: 20mgCalcium: 274mgIron: 3mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles | Persnickety Plates

Slow Cooker Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs with Zoodles | Persnickety Plates

This recipe first appeared on Love Bakes Good Cakes  and was originally published here January 20, 2016.

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  1. Shelia says

    Would love a new modern blender to go with my new mixer attachment that makes veggie noodles! This is going to be the first recipe I try.

  2. ang paris says

    Just love this! I’ll be hoping around to check out everyone’s recipes!

  3. Mary Frances says

    Oh wow! Just the caption sounds so tempting! Love the pictures and recipe 🙂

  4. Renee says

    5 stars
    Family loves the turkey meatballs and the added cheese surprise. Question – could I prep meatballs night before? Then bring to room temp before putting in crockpot? Thanks in advance!

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yep, they should be fine for up to 24 hours prepped in the fridge and then they should be ok straight from the fridge to the crockpot.

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