Slow cooker cheesy meatball casserole is a decadent but easy dinner idea. Meatballs cooked together with tons of cheese, sauce and, fresh kale. A perfect keto meal!
Looking for an easy weeknight dinner recipe that will satisfy the whole family? If you are out of ideas, this casserole dish is just what you need. It is a simple recipe involving minimal prep that will earn you rave reviews.
This keto meatball casserole is picky-eater friendly and just plain delicious. Even though the prep work is minimal, it is delicious enough to serve any day of the week. It is a wonderful entree but also a great appetizer.
To make this easy recipe you will need:
- Marinara sauce - homemade and jarred sauce both work well
- Meatballs - Beef, turkey,chicken or pork meatballs would all be delicious . Frozen meatballs are easiest. If you are looking to keep it keto friendly, be sure to purchase keto friendly meatballs.
- Fresh mozzarella - you will need small pieces so you can either cut them or buy mozzarella pearls.
- Fresh ricotta cheese
- Garlic - minced
- Italian Seasoning
- Salt & black pepper
- Kale (optional)
- Shredded mozzarella
In a small bowl, mix together ricotta cheese, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, and pepper.
Next, spread a thin layer of sauce around the bottom of your slow cooker. Add a layer of kale on top of the sauce. Place meatballs into the slow cooker next in their own layer and add some mozzarella pearls in between them. Spread a layer of the ricotta cheese mixture on top.
Add one more of each layer: sauce, kale, meatballs, and mozzarella pearls, and ricotta mixture.
Top with a final layer of sauce. Cover slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours. 20 minutes or so prior to serving, sprinkle mozzarella cheese on top. Place the cover back on slow cooker for about 20 minutes to allow topping to melt.
This easy casserole recipe could really be a complete meal on its own and it will quickly become a family favorite! However, some great side dishes include:
steamed fresh vegetables
Grated parmesan cheese and grated romano cheese are great toppings as is fresh chopped basil. If you are not focused on making your meal low carb, pasta would be a great side dish. Alternatively, these cooked meatballs are delicious served in a sub roll.
Using a big bag of smaller meatballs, this dish effortlessly becomes an easy holiday party appetizer or tailgate party dish
Leftovers of this delicious meatball recipe can be stored in the refrigerator in airtight containers or bags. This will give you an easy dinner option for 3-5 more days. This dish also freezes well and will last for up 5 months. It reheats well in the microwave for future easy dinners. I like to melt extra cheese on top when reheating to freshen things up.
❓Hints & hacks
- If you would rather make this cheesy meatball casserole with homemade meatballs, go for it! Just make sure they are fully cooked before adding them in to your slow cooker.
- This simple dinner is picky eater friendly. It is a great one to make on busy weeknights.
- Not a fan of kale? It can be omitted.
- I you would like to confirm that your meatballs are ready, use a meat thermometor. Re-heated meatballs are considered ready-to-serve with they reach an internal temperature of 140ºF
- For easier clean up I use a slow cooker liner.
- In the market for a new crock pot? I love mine! The built in thermometer is especially helpful with this recipe.
❓Most asked question
Technically, yes. You can overcook meatballs. Overcooked meatballs can either become tough or they can become mushy and fall apart. However, you can keep these keto slow cooker meatballs in your crockpot for up to 24 hours on the warm setting.
Lazy Slow Cooker Cheesy Meatball Casserole
- 6 quart slow cooker or larger
- mixing bowl and spoon
- 2 lbs. mini meatballs, frozen and fully cooked I prefer all beef. Look for keto meatballs if you want a keto friendly final dish
- 5 cups marinara sauce look for keto friendly sauce if interested in a keto friendly final dish
- 8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls or fresh mozzarella cut into ½' squares
- 8 oz. ricotta
- 2 cups fresh kale, roughly cut (optional)
- 1 tbsp. minced garlic
- 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning
- ½ tsp. salt
- ¼ tsp. pepper
- 1+ cup shredded mozzarella
- non-stick spray of choice
- fresh chopped basil to sprinkle on top (optional)
- in a separate bowl, mix ricotta cheese with all seasonings and set aside8 oz. ricotta, 1 tbsp. minced garlic, 1 tbsp. Italian seasoning, ½ tsp. salt, ¼ tsp. pepper
- spray slow cooker with non-stick spray or insert slow cooker linernon-stick spray of choice
- cover bottom of slow cooker with a thin layer of sauce5 cups marinara sauce
- cover with a layer of kale, if using2 cups fresh kale, roughly cut (optional)
- place a layer of meatballs on top of kale (or sauce)2 lbs. mini meatballs, frozen and fully cooked
- spread a layer of ricotta mixture over kale5 cups marinara sauce
- cover with another layer of sauce5 cups marinara sauce
- place a layer of meatballs on top of sauce2 lbs. mini meatballs, frozen and fully cooked
- place mozzarella pears in between meatballs8 oz. fresh mozzarella pearls
- cover with a layer of sauce.5 cups marinara sauce
- place lid on slow cooker and cook on low until internal temperature of meatballs is 165°F
- 20 minutes prior to serving. top with 1 cup or more shredded mozzarella. Replace lid and allow mozzarella to melt.1+ cup shredded mozzarella
- This recipe was written to be used with pre-cooked meatballs only.
- Re-heated meatballs are considered ready-to-serve with they reach an internal temperature of 140ºF
Have you tried this recipe? Please let me know your thoughts in the comment section below!