Apple, Cheddar, and Turkey Meatballs CrockPot Recipe


Day 250.

I can't believe I've sat and typed at a brand "new post" screen for 250 days in a row. I am beginning to not remember what I used to do each morning. I certainly didn't eat cold meatballs for breakfast with my coffee.

I hate it that I'm posting this on a Saturday, because Internet traffic is terribly low on Saturday, and these are so good I feel like bowling them down the street. 1) to show-off these terribly awesome meatballs, and 2) to dissipate the pack of tweens with skateboards hanging out on the corner.

The Ingredients.

--1 1/2 pound extra lean ground turkey
--1 egg
--1 tsp kosher salt
--1 tsp ground black pepper
--1 tsp onion powder
--1 green apple, peeled and shredded
--1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar
--1/2 cup dried unsweetened cranberries

The Directions.

In a large mixing bowl, mix the ground turkey with the ingredients. I used my hands.

Make golf-ball sized meatballs, and drop them into your crockpot. I used a 6 quart crockpot, but you could use any size over 3 quart, probably. These made enough meatballs to feed our family of 4 for dinner, with 8 leftover for breakfast and lunch. If you have a large family, or would like to cook enough to freeze, double or triple the recipe. You can definitely stagger-stack the meatballs on top of each other.

Cover and cook on high for 4-5 hours, or on low for 5-9---the cooking time will depend on how many meatballs are in the crock, and the size of your machine. The more full it is, the longer it will take to cook.

I cooked 1 1/2 pounds of meatballs in a 6 quart for exactly 4 hours on high. I could have left them in a bit longer to brown the ones on the very top, but we were hungry.
While they cook, juice will collect on the bottom of the crock, and the meatballs will start off getting bright white and slimy looking. Don't be alarmed---they will continue to cook and will begin to brown. They (miraculously enough!) don't seem to stick together in a big blob---you'll be able to separate them.

The Verdict.

We all really liked these a lot. They're delicious. Moist, flavorful, and fun to pop in your mouth. I did need to fish the cranberries out of my three-year-old's plate, because evidently eating warm cranberries is "wrong."

Do you love this recipe?

Please share it with your friends!


Posted by: Stephanie O'Dea | A Year of Slow Cooking at September 06, 2008

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What they say about this recipe

  1. Anonymous9/06/2008

    These sound super good and healthy! Did you need to put any sauce with them or were they great just on their own? I'm going to make these next week for sure! Does the color and kind of apple make a difference ya think?

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  2. these look delicious!

    As I was in my kitchen this morning assembling some monkey bread in a bundt pan to bake in the oven, I thought, I bet these could be done in the crockpot! Have you ever tried it?

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  3. Hi Lori,

    I think I've heard of it being done---I think some of the round large crocks can actually fit an entire bundt pan inside of it---they rise and cook then overnight. I haven't tried it, though. you could also omit the bundt and go directly into the crock. But again, haven't done it personally. If you do, let me know!
    xox

    Debbi, the kids and adam used ketchup to dip. I ate them plain.

    I like tart apples, and prefer them for cooking. The apple completely disappears while baking, so if you have other colors on hand, go ahead and use them. I just much prefer the green guys. :-)

    xoxo
    steph

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  4. Next time i go to the store Im gonna try this. Sounds great.

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  5. Oh this sounds wonderful! This will definetly be a meal next week!!

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  6. The flavors definitely remind me of Thanksgiving in New England.

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  7. I'm so glad you posted this - I never would have thought of the combination on my own. Apples are in season soon, so I'll pick up some fresh ones at the farm market. Yum!

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  8. These sound really good. Would they make a good appetizer or are they more a meal item?

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  9. These sound fantastic! Next trip to the store I will be getting the ingredients. :) I currently have your coconut beef cooking away for tonight's supper. Can't wait to try it!

    I hope it's ok if I add a link to your blog from mine (http://dink.gryfalia.com). I think my friends and family will really like it. :) Thanks!!

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  10. Anonymous9/06/2008

    How funny! I made turkey meatballs last night! Yours look awesome too.

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  11. delicious! looks great! I agree with the sat/sun posting thing. That's why I only post M-F. But that doesn't work for you obviously, people just have to play catch up. =) I love anything with cranberries. And peanut butter. Always peanut butter.

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  12. Anonymous9/06/2008

    These sound delicious and I am going to make them tomorrow! So glad my Sister told me about your blog. I have shared A Year of Crockpotting with everyone I know and they are also impressed!

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  13. Those sound amazing! I will definitely make them. Thanks for all the great recipes and dutiful posting:)

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  14. Anonymous9/06/2008

    Those look delicious.

    I also really like the plate in the picture. My youngest hates it when her food touches. Not seen plates like that over here. Might have to go online and do some shopping.

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  15. I'm going to try these with crockpot stuffing on the side! Thanks!

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  16. Oh my gosh! My husband will LOVE these. Me too :) We love those sausages that have cheese and apples in them - bet this tastes even better!

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  17. My boys are fans of meatballs-so these look like they'll be a GREAT HIT! TFS!

    I have browsed your wonderful blog, over the past week and can't wait to try two of them this week! (candy chicken and ginger beef something.....on my monthly menu-forget all the names!)

    I have several friends who have children w/ gluten allergies and was SO happy to see that most of your recipes are GF! Woohoo! I shared this w/ them, this week!

    Thank you for your hard work to "the outside world..." You could have kept this whole experience to yourself...and yet you've chosen to share it w/ a lot of "mamas" who are wondering "what's for dinner?" I LOVE my crock pot and use it 3-4 xs a week, from Oct-Feb. As a preschool teacher w/ two preschoolers myself, my crock pot is such a HUGE help!

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  18. Those look yummy! And, weight watcher friendly. I wonder how many points they would have....

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  19. These sound really interesting. I'm going to have to give these a try!

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  20. Anonymous9/06/2008

    This sounds like it would be a great recipe to make and then take to families with new babies. I bet doubling the recipe would feed both mine and another family.

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  21. Well I haven't tried this recipe but each one I have my family has loved! So come on by my blog and pick up your award!

    Thanks for making my meal planning easier.

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  22. Anonymous9/06/2008

    I've never tried a crockpot, so I'm going to love checking out your site and seeing new ideas. I am a veggie though (who is trying to make it through September as a vegan!) so not sure if crockpotting would work for me?
    Great site!

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  23. These sound wonderful! My hubby thinks meat+fruit=gross. So maybe I can sneak this onto the dinner table!

    I get your posts in my e-mail, so I'm glad you posted this on a Saturday. Gave me something yummy to read about in the quiet of my day!

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  24. I love reading these posts EVERY day
    Great GF ideas!

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  25. I made these meatballs tonight. They used ingredients I had in the fridge: turkey and apples. I didn't get the recipe early enough to do them in the crockpot, so I just stuck them in the oven for 25 minutes at 375. I made enough to freeze for two more meals in the future. I'll definitely try them in the crockpot in the future.

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  26. Anonymous9/07/2008

    steph, these look sooo good. I'm definitely gonna try them soon. I'm thinking about turning them into a meatloaf too, on a night i want to use the oven. My oven has been a little bored lately since I found your blog:)

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  27. Anonymous9/08/2008

    Forgive me, but how does one "shred" an apple?

    BTW, I heart your site!!

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  28. Anonymous9/08/2008

    Hi Steph,
    Thanks for all the wonderful recipes. This one looks like it will be a hit at my house! Forgive me for sounding like a flake, but I am not too clear on the amount of turkey you used. Is is one and a half pounds total or one "half-pound" of ground turkey? Probably one and a half, but I would hate to screw up something that sounds sooo good! Thanks!

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  29. anon, I used a cheese grater!

    Leslie, one-and-a-half pounds of ground turkey (my turkey was all breast meat).

    xox
    steph

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  30. oh these look really good and easy. woohoo I have all the ingredients lol! Thanks for posting this recipe,I am excited to try it!

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  31. I can't wait to try these, they sound so good, and are not the usualy meatballs, so I think the kids will like them! Thanks so much, I've put them on my menu for next week!

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  32. I think we cooked these too long. We couldn't taste the yummy flavors we were expecting. Next time I'll cook them on high for only 2 1/2 to 3 hours. Perhaps my crockpot cooks hotter than normal?
    This was a great recipe to have kids' help with. One grated the apple (after I peeled it), and another measured cranberries and cheese and spices.

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  33. made these for friends on Saturday afternoon. served with roasted greenbeans and plain brown rice. cooked them for just 2 hours on high. my crockpot is pretty big and i only used 1.33lbs of lean turkey.

    anyhow, we loved them. thanks for the recipes and the blog!!!!

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  34. I made them last night and we liked them. Next time I am going to only use 1/2 tsp of pepper. Then I think we will LOVE THEM. They were sooo easy!!!!

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  35. Oh I'm going to have to try this next week! Going on the menu! :)

    ~melody~

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  36. Anonymous9/23/2008

    I completely wimped out on making these in the crock. The consistency was really soft and goopy. I was afraid I wouldn't be able to stack one layer on top of another in the crock-pot. Instead, I've got them baking in the oven/ I might try adding some breadcrumbs next time. I'll let you know how the batch I've got cooking comes out :)

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  37. Anonymous9/24/2008

    Did I mention these are my kids' new favorites? Because they are.

    I've been experimenting; we couldn't taste the cheese at all, the first time, but we all loved 'em, so I decided we didn't need cheese. Instead I added some bread crumbs, and a little more cranberry and apple. I've also been putting in about a teaspoon of rosemary. Mmmmm.... We're having them for dinner tonight, in fact!

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  38. Anonymous9/26/2008

    Just wanted to give an update that the meatballs came out just fine in the oven. I live alone so I ended up freezing them so that I can pull out a few at a time for a meal. Thanks for the recipe!

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  39. Yum! We tried these this week and they were a hit! I made stuffing to go with them so the kids thought it was a little like Thanksgiving with the turkey, cranberries, and stuffing! We'll be having these again in the future.

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  40. These were really good. My 3 year old proclaimed these "spicy" and wouldn't eat them, so I'd probably use much less pepper in the future - 1 tsp is kind of a lot (for a kid).

    Thanks for all these great recipes! (I'm a friend of Melissa, of the chicken nugget recipe).

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  41. Have you ever made traditional meatballs (in or without marinara sauce) in the crockpot? Would you need to use the leanest beef to prevent grease-nast? Thanks!

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  42. Hi ~M!
    I have made meat balls in the past in Marinara sauce, and I'm pretty sure I used turkey. I made the meat balls, and added just about 1/4 cup of marinara until they were fully cooked, then added the rest of the bottle. You need to be careful about stirring or the meatballs will fall apart.

    --steph

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  43. I was so excited about these and they were literally burned to a crisp by the time I got home (put 'em on low)! Next time I make them, I'm going to put them on top of green bean casserole in the crockpot. I did get to taste a little bit from the not completely burned ones and they will be fantastic!

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  44. Boy, were these tasty! They cooked really fast in my crockpot but I only used 1 lb of meat. They smelled so good I had to eat one right away after they were browned. :-) Yummy! My husband enjoyed these too. Thanks for another great recipe.

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  45. These are in my pot right now. My kids don't like whole cranberries, so I bought the crushed relish, and strained out the jelly, added a few more spices to offset the sweetness. Put in some whole red potatoes at the bottom. Yum, looking forward to dinner.

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  46. Anonymous10/31/2008

    Can you use sweetened dried cranberries instead of unsweetned in this dish?

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  47. I did a double batch tonight. Didn't want to clean out the food processor, so I chopped the apples. Didn't peel them either. And I couldn't find unsweetened cranberries so I used sweetened. And I got started pretty late so I baked enough for tonight's dinner in the oven.

    They were very good. The rest are in the freezer for future meals. Both my husband and I think these would be good with wild rice added in. Or breadcrumbs could also be used to stretch this out a bit more.

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  48. Anonymous11/06/2008

    Hello,
    I made these a few days ago and while they tasted absolutely delicious, while they were cooking, it looked like the cheddar just melted out of them, the meatballs were kind of sitting in a big pile of goo:-) Did your meatballs stay solid with no 'melting' out of the ingredients? Anyway, love your blog and like I said, the taste of these were yummy, even if they weren't too pretty!

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  49. Made these last week. Will make them a staple, I think. Very tasty. My cook time on low was closer to the 6-hour range. They weren't really very pretty -- browned well, but a bit smooshed together (this could be because my turkey wasn't ultra lean). I thought they were really tasty, though. Reminded me of a meatball my mother-in-law makes except without the disgusting grape jelly and chili sauce.

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  50. Hello! Just wanted to let you know that I made these for supper tonight and my 14-month-old daughter gobbled them up! They were the perfect dippable food for her little hands!

    (The grown ups loved them too).

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  51. Ok, I just made these tonight and they were awesome! I have to admit, I baked them in my oven because I didn't decide to make them until 4:30 in the afternoon. They were good, but they'd be better in the crock. A lot of the cheese melted out and burned on the baking sheet. Other than that, they were fantastic! My kids gobbled them up and asked me to make them again. That's a winner in my book!

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  52. What could I substitute to omit the cheese? We can't have dairy, but my husband loves cranberries.

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  53. Hi ~M!
    leave it out---it disappears anyhow. I really don't think you'll miss it; there will be plenty of moisture from the apple and cranberry.

    xox
    steph

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  54. These are delicious! I am making them for the second time tonight per my husband's request. I add 1/2 - 3/4 cup panko crumbs to sort of fill the meatballs out a bit. Thanks for another great recipe!

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  55. I've got these cooking in the crock right now. I can't wait to try them.

    So glad to hear you used your grater to shred the apples - I was wondering as I was grating if there was a way to "shred" more than grate and if it would make the apples keep their juice in better...they got gloppy as I grated.

    I have no sense of my crock pot timing as of yet (this is only my second recipe). But yesterday's apple chicken might have been even yummier if it cooked on low longer rather than high shorter time. So I got these in this morning to cook for at least 5 hours.

    I could only find "lean" turkey, not ultra lean. If I find that I'll try it next time. I like the accompaniment suggestions - my son (3) said he'd like string beans tonight! :-)

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  56. I made these tonight, using sweetened cranberries because that was what I had. I defrosted the turkey in a few inches of water so my resulting 'dough' was very watery. I added some breadcrumbs to thicken it up and it worked perfectly (although I understand why they weren't in there to begin with). They were moist and delicious. I stumbled onto your blog accidentally looking for more crock pot recipes since my oven is broken and it isn't going to be replaced anytime soon!!
    I'll be giving you a shout out on my own blog sometime soon.

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  57. 10 hours on low in a 4 qt crockpot is definitely too long! (Due to a power outage that reset the crockpot, the temperature might have been on high the last two hours) They came out blackened on the outside and powdery-orange on the inside.

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  58. Just made these and my crock pot must be super hot! I cooked on low for 4 hours and they were completely burned to a crisp and all the cheese, etc. is burned and stuck to bottom of crock. I only used 1 pound of turkey so maybe that is my problem. Will have to try again maybe in a smaller crock.

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  59. Nicole M9/01/2011

    Does it work without the cranberries and onion powder as my son is allergic to onions. Thanks, Nicole

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  60. Nicole M, I use dried cherries in mine as I have a cranberry allergy myself. Not sure about the onion thing. I imagine you could just leave it out, or replace it with a different spice. I read in another post where someone added rosemary. The joy of cooking is that you can fiddle with it until you find what you like best and what works best for your family.

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  61. Increased this recipe to accommodate 2 lbs of turkey. Made exactly 30 meatballs with an ice cream scoop and my hands, and put in a big crock pot (6qt?). Cooked on high for 3.5 hours and we're burned! I've never cooked on high before. If I try this again I will of course cook on low.

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