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These turkey meatballs are simple to make, juicy, and are perfectly seasoned. You can either fry them or bake them, and they are great for making ahead and freeze well!
Why you’ll love it
This easy turkey meatball recipe makes up a big batch of super tasty meatballs that are never dry. Ground turkey meatballs are leaner than beef and more flavorful than chicken, and it’s the perfect balance of healthy and delicious. They’re straightforward to make, and making them with some pantry ingredients and parmesan makes them next-level good.
When your family is looking for a quick weeknight meal, it’s such a time saver to grab these turkey meatballs out of the freezer, boil up some pasta, and enjoy with your favorite sauce! If it’s cold out and I just want to cozy up with a hearty pasta dish, I turn to these turkey meatballs.
What you’ll need
- Ground turkey – any percentage of leanness will work, but 85% lean has the most flavor and moisture
- Egg – to stop the meatballs from falling apart
- Panko breadcrumbs – helps bind and adds moisture. Panko is lighter/less dense than regular breadcrumbs.
- Parmesan cheese – adds moisture and a delicious cheesy quality. Freshly grated works best for texture and taste.
- Worcestershire sauce – it’s a tried and true savory flavor enhancer that makes these the best turkey meatballs
- Lemon juice – adds a burst of citrusy freshness
- Garlic – I use fresh minced/crushed cloves, but garlic powder is fine too
- Onion – moisture and flavor
- Salt & pepper – don’t skimp on the salt! It’s necessary to bring out all the flavors.
- Parsley – for freshness and a pop of color
- Olive oil – adds moisture to the meatball mixture
How to make turkey meatballs
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Place meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl. Using your hands, gently combine the mixture.
Form into 1″ meatballs and place on a parchment lined baking sheet for easy cleanup. Depending on your preferred cooking method, either pop the baking sheet in the oven or pan fry them on the stovetop in a skillet.
- I recommend the frying method for better and more even browning of the meatballs.
- Try not to overwork the meatball mixture. This can lead to a rubbery texture.
- You can make the meatballs larger or smaller than suggested; just be sure to adjust cooking time as needed. If you’re making them a lot larger, I would sear them in batches until browned, add all the meatballs back into the skillet, and then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking them. Try a 375F oven for 5-10 minutes then test for doneness.
Substitutions and variations
- These are fairly flexible on the seasonings as long as you include the basics like the breadcrumbs, egg, parmesan cheese, and olive oil.
- If you want the meatballs to be more herby, add in some dried Italian seasoning. I suggest 1/2 teaspoon.
- You can swap the panko for regular breadcrumbs. I recommend Italian flavored ones in that case. The meatballs may be a little more dense, but they will still be delicious.
Tools for this recipe
- An instant read meat thermometer is used to test if the meatballs are cooked through without being overcooked since it’s hard to tell just by looking at them!
- A good quality skillet that can be easily transferred from the stove to the oven if needed is a game changer.
- Cooking tongs are very useful to quickly and easily turn the meatballs while browning them.
What to serve with turkey meatballs
Leftovers and storage
- These turkey meatballs will last for 3-4 days in an airtight container in the fridge.
- Reheating: On the stove, add meatballs to a saucepan, cover, and reheat over a low heat, stirring occasionally, until they’re heated through, or add to sauce and reheat until hot. In the oven, add them to a baking dish, cover with foil, and reheat on 350F for about 10-15 minutes.
- Meatballs can be portioned up and frozen after they’ve cooled. I add 4-5 meatballs to small bags like a Ziploc or sandwich bag and then place them in a larger Tupperware container and freeze the whole thing.
Made these turkey meatballs? Have questions about them? Drop me a note below! I’d love to hear from you. You can also find on Instagram.
Easy Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons olive oil + more for frying
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup finely chopped or grated onion
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean-up.
- Add all ingredients to a prep bowl and mix together using your hands (a delicate touch is best… don't over-work the mixture).
- Form 1" meatballs (it'll make about 24) and add them to the baking sheet as you go along.
- Choose from one of the cooking methods below:Frying instructions: You can get better browning on meatballs if you sear them in a skillet (meatballs in photos were fried). Add 2-3 tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet and let it heat up for a few minutes over medium heat. Fry the meatballs in two batches until all sides are browned and they're cooked through (an instant read thermometer will indicate 165F). This will take about 7-10 minutes/batch. It's easiest to turn the meatballs with tongs. You may need to add a splash more oil for the second batch. Baking instructions: Preheat oven to 400F. Position the rack in the middle. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until they're cooked through (an instant read thermometer will indicate 165F). You may want to turn them halfway to get more even browning.
- Meatballs can be portioned up and frozen after they've cooled (I add 4-5 meatballs to small bags like a Ziploc or sandwich bag and then place them in a larger Tupperware container and freeze the whole thing).
- If using the frying method, I recommend keeping the meatballs small (no larger than about 1″) because they’re likely to burn on the outside before the inside is cooked through. If you’re planning on making the meatballs a lot larger, I would sear them in batches in an oven-proof skillet until browned, add all the meatballs back into the skillet, and then transfer the skillet to the oven to finish cooking them (try a 375F oven for 5-10 minutes then test for doneness).
- The frying method yields a much nicer color (and better flavor, in my opinion) than the baking method.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.
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