These Slow Cooker Cranberry Turkey Meatballs are the perfect holiday appetizer for your next holiday party. I love a delicious appetizer recipe that's both easy to make and healthy. And these slow cooker turkey meatballs are the ultimate in easy - just a few ingredients, 2 steps, set it and forget it and the crock pot does all the cooking for you.
This turkey meatball appetizer is popular around the holiday season but great for any time of year. They are easy to make, festive, healthy and Weight Watchers friendly. This healthy meatball appetizer is 2 WW points on my plan.
The holidays are all about appetizers! When else can you justify eating only appetizers for dinner? And when we do get together with family, we like to have a few appetizer nights over the holidays. Our tradition is to have a big spread of finger foods, including food on sticks/skewered foods for our New Year's eve celebration. This turkey meatball appetizer fits perfectly in that spread. I also like to have a variety of hot and cold appetizers, like my Easy Layered Nacho Dip (Gluten-free), Greek-style Veggie Phyllo Pizza as well as several healthy and Weight Watchers friendly options for grazing like this recipe (and see below the recipe card for even more healthy Christmas appetizers!)
Turkey meatballs can often be dry, but I've learned the secret to moist turkey meatballs is in the slow cooking. Oh and the smothering them in this delicious Cranberry BBQ sauce also helps 🙂 A little orange zest added to the mix also lends the turkey meatballs a savory flavor that screams holiday pleasure!
For this recipe, you'll need:
- cranberry sauce * I use canned
- BBQ sauce * I use President's Choice Gourmet
- ground turkey
- green onion
- orange zest
- soy sauce * I used reduced sodium
- crushed red pepper flakes
- minced garlic
- bread crumbs
*See recipe card for amounts
📖Variations & Substitutions
- Cranberry Sauce- you can use canned or homemade cranberry sauce
- BBQ Sauce - you can use any type of BBQ sauce you prefer, but I do NOT recommend using one with hickory flavor
- Ground Turkey - you could substitute ground chicken
- Spray slow cooker with non stick spray. Place egg white in a large bowl, beat lightly and add ground turkey, bread crumbs, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, green onion, orange zest, and soy sauce. Mix the meat mixture well and shape into 30 balls. Add meatballs to bottom of slow cooker.
- Combine canned cranberry sauce in a mixing bowl with BBQ sauce and pour over meatballs. Cook on low in slow cooker for 3- 3.5 hours until meatballs are cooked through.
This particular cranberry sauce for meatballs is about as easy as you're going to get! You simply mix your favorite BBQ sauce with a can of cranberry sauce, pour it on and it does its magic in the slow cooker! I like to use President's Choice Gourmet BBQ sauce, but you could use any type. I just don't recommend using anything that has a strong hickory taste.
⏲️ Baking time
Slow Cooker Turkey Meatballs are a great way to enjoy meatball appetizers because they are a set it and forget it recipe! The turkey meatballs are added to the crock-pot, then you pour the sauce on top of the meatballs and walk away. 3 hours later you have perfectly cooked turkey meatballs with cranberry sauce - easy peasy!
You will need a slow cooker (affiliate link) for these turkey cranberry meatballs.
- These meatballs can be stored with the sauce in the fridge for 2-3 days.
- This recipe freezes well for up to 3 months.
- To reheat: Simply defrost the frozen meatballs and warm in the microwave
These easy Slow Cooker Cranberry Turkey Meatballs are the perfect healthy holiday appetizer. They are quick to make, festive, and Weight Watchers friendly!
However, these flavorful meatballs aren't only for the holidays; meatballs are always popular at game day get togethers, family gatherings or any party for that matter! The great thing about these meatballs is that you cook them up, then place on the warm setting until ready. They are the ultimate low maintenance party recipe!
The original recipe required pre-cooking of the meatballs on a skillet. But if you've been following along with me for a while, you know how I feel about pre-cooking in my slow cooker recipes; it defeats the entire purpose of the slow cooker! Unless it's absolutely necessary, I will not do it. So obviously I eliminated that step, as it really wasn't necessary.
If you are a meatball fanatic, you'll love my Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs! It's another delicious meatball appetizer recipe and also a traditional holiday side dish for my family!
So, if you're looking for healthy Christmas appetizers, this Slow Cooker Cranberry Turkey Meatball Appetizer will check all your holiday boxes!
Did you make these slow cooker turkey meatballs? Please RATE THE RECIPE below!
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📋 Slow Cooker Cranberry Turkey Meatballs Recipe
- 1 ½ cups canned cranberry sauce 348 ml can
- ⅔ cup Your favorite BBQ sauce * I use President's Choice Gourmet BBQ sauce (from Superstore)
- 1 egg white
- 2 lb lean ground turkey (900 g) )
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 teaspoon orange zest
- 1 teaspoon reduced sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- 1 cup fine bread crumbs
- additional crushed red pepper flakes
- additional chopped green onion
- Spray slow cooker with non stick spray.
- Place egg white in bowl, beat lightly and add ground turkey, bread crumbs, minced garlic, red pepper flakes, green onion, orange zest, and soy sauce. Mix well and shape into 30 balls.
- Add meatballs to bottom of slow cooker.
- Combine canned cranberry sauce in a bowl with BBQ sauce and pour over meatballs.
- Cook on low in slow cooker for 3- 3.5 hours until meatballs are cooked through.
- Keep warm until ready to serve. Can be reheated prior to serving.
- Garnish with additional chopped green onions and crushed red pepper flakes, as desired.
🎄More Healthy Christmas Appetizers!
- Buffalo Chicken Stuffed Mini Peppers
- Tortilla Pinwheels- Weight Watchers friendly!
- Boursin Stuffed Pickles (Gluten-free & Low-Carb)
- Easy Pierogi Stuffed Mushrooms- Weight Watchers Friendly
- Award Winning Roasted Turkey & Black Currant Brie Bites
- Banh Mi Devilled Eggs
- Healthy Pizza Dippers
- Cowboy Caviar Dip - Weight Watchers Friendly!
- 4 Ingredient Caprese Salad Skewers (Gluten-free & WW friendly)
It's nice that these are so easy to make, especially for the holidays! A tasty, stress free recipe.
That's what I love about them too, Joss!
love these healthier options then just beef or chicken all the time! thanks for the easy recipe!
You are welcome! Yes, it's a nice change up from beef or chicken!
Great recipe! I love that cranberry sauce addition, and the slow cooker is a fantastic way to make meatballs! Delicious.
Thanks, Colleen! Yes, I'm a HUGE fan of that helpful little appliance 🙂
What a great holiday recipe. I would never think to use a slow cooker for this, fantastic idea. I love the cranberry sauce too!
Jeff the Chef @ Make It Like a Man!
I could really go for these turkey meatballs!
I hope you enjoy them!
Making now mixed With veal weiners.
Very easy to make on a snowy day.
Making rice with peas and carrots on the side,
Sounds good - enjoy!
What a great recipe for this year especially....not sure we need a whole Turkey for just the two adults and the babies, so we might just do this instead.
They could definitely replace a turkey dinner, Kristen!
So good! I love all the healthy swaps but these are still so rich in flavour. Thanks!