If you’re looking for the best baked turkey meatballs, this is the recipe! They are juicy and flavorful; you can freeze them for healthy dinners throughout the month! Serve these turkey meatballs over pasta, in a sub, or slice them up to put on a pizza or in baked pasta. These ground turkey meatballs are the best you’ll ever eat!
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I’m not one to brag, but I feel confident this is the best recipe for turkey meatballs. I’ve made these turkey meatballs numerous times for parties over the last year, and every time someone yells out, “these are the best meatballs ever” or “these are the juiciest meatballs.”
Even diehard ground beef meatball lovers rave about these baked turkey meatballs; they can’t believe I use ground turkey in this tasty meatball recipe.
Hey, what can I say? These juicy turkey meatballs are always a hit! Try these mozzarella stuffed turkey meatballs, spinach feta turkey meatballs, and zucchini turkey meatballs. See all of my healthy ground turkey recipes. Or check out this amazing ground chicken meatball parmesan recipe.
Reasons You’ll Love These Ground Turkey Meatballs
- These turkey meatballs are incredibly juicy. One of the biggest complaints I hear from people who try to make meatballs with ground turkey is they turn out dry and grainy. Not this recipe! Trust me; these healthy turkey meatballs are tender and taste delicious.
- The flavor is outstanding. Many people stick to ground beef meatballs because they think they are more flavorful and juicy because of the higher fat content. However, that isn’t true. I’ve had many beef meatballs that were dry and flavorless. This turkey meatball recipe has the perfect seasoning mix and ingredients to create juicy, tasty little flavor bombs.
- These meatballs are healthy. They are low fat, low carb, high protein, and very filling.
- Freezer-friendly. You can make a ton of meatballs to freeze for future meals.
- Lean ground turkey. For best results, I recommend purchasing 93% lean organic ground turkey. My favorite ground turkey brands are Butcher Box, Wegmans, and Whole Foods. I don’t recommend using Jennie-O.
- Poultry Italian sausage. Most ground turkey meatball recipes don’t include Italian poultry sausage. But this ingredient gives a layer of fantastic flavor and sets this meatball recipe apart from the others. You can find Italian poultry sausage in the meat section next to the other Italian sausage or go to the meat counter—fun fact: I add Italian sausage even when I make beef meatballs. Trust me; it’s the only way to make delicious meatballs. If you can’t find poultry sausage then I’ve also used ground pork.
- Unseasoned breadcrumbs. I prefer to add seasoning when making turkey meatballs, so I always purchase unseasoned breadcrumbs.
- Milk, cream, or half and half. Adding milk to turkey meatballs (or any meatballs) is essential if you want juicy meatballs. I would never make a turkey meatball recipe that didn’t include it.
- Spices. A blend of onion powder, garlic powder, oregano, basil, salt, and pepper gives these turkey meatballs great flavor, and I add a pinch of crushed red pepper flakes for a spicy meatball. You can also use a teaspoon of homemade Italian seasoning instead of oregano and basil. Or use a blend of your favorite Italian seasonings. I mostly use dried herbs but fresh herbs like fresh basil and parsley is good too.
- Parmesan cheese. Use freshly grated parmesan cheese for the best flavor. You can purchase large chunks of parmesan cheese for a great price at Bj’s Wholesale, Costco, or Sam’s Club.
- Egg. This helps to bind the rest of the ingredients together.
- Worcestershire sauce. I use this secret ingredient in all ground turkey recipes to give it a meatier rich flavor. If you don’t have Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce or tamari sauce is a great substitute.
- Marinara sauce. Jarred, homemade marinara sauce or any favorite spaghetti sauce will work. I even love to use this Arrabiata sauce when we want an extra spicy kick.
How to Cook Baked Turkey Meatballs
Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
Make the turkey sausage meatball mixture. Add the ground turkey, Italian poultry sausage, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, and seasonings to a large bowl.
Gently mix until all ingredients are combined.
Place foil or parchment paper on a large-rimmed baking sheet. I like to give it a quick spray with cooking spray, so the meatballs don’t stick. You can use an oiled or sprayed baking sheet if you don’t have foil or parchment paper.
Use a medium scoop to portion out the meatball mixture. Roll each portion into a ball and place it on the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining meatball mixture. You’ll end up with about 20 – 24 meatballs. The meatball mixture is on the wet side, so it’s helpful to have a small cup of water available as you roll the meatballs.
Bake meatballs for 20 minutes.
Place the turkey meatballs in a large sauce pot with the marinara and cook over medium heat until hot.
Serve with pasta, zoodles, or in a sub roll.
You can also place the meatballs in a crockpot with sauce. Here are my instructions for slow cooker turkey meatballs.
- Large mixing bowl. I like large glass mixing bowls for mixing meatballs and turkey meatloaf recipes.
- Large rimmed baking sheet. This is a staple for baked turkey meatballs and other sheet pan recipes.
- Medium scoop. This helps to make uniform turkey sausage meatballs. If you make a lot of meatballs, I suggest getting a separate scoop for meatballs. It’s probably in my head, but I don’t like using the same scoop for meatballs and cookies.
- Instant read thermometer. Check to make sure that the meatballs are at a safe temperature.
The recipe options are endless with these baked turkey meatballs, and here are our favorites.
In sauce. I use turkey meatballs all of the time in my Sunday Sauce recipe. After baking them, I toss them into the sauce to simmer with the other meats all day. But, when I don’t have time to make a large pot of sauce, I either turn to homemade marinara recipe or my favorite jarred sauce (Rao’s Marinara or Wegmans). I place the meatballs and sauce in a pot over medium-low heat and let it simmer until hot. From there, I serve the meatballs with pasta.
In a sub. This is our second favorite way to enjoy turkey meatballs. After the meatballs cook in the sauce, I place 2 or 3 in a hotdog or hoagie roll, sprinkle a little mozzarella cheese, broil until the cheese melts, and serve. I even like to make a meatball sub freezer kit for easy dinners during the week. Learn more about dinner freezer kits.
Over zucchini noodles or spaghetti squash. When we want a high protein, low carb dinner, I swap the pasta for our low carb veggie favorites.
In baked pasta. My kids love when I add sliced turkey meatballs to this healthy baked ziti recipe, and it’s also perfect for a crowd.
As an appetizer. Make the meatballs smaller, then serve them on a platter with sauce and grated parmesan cheese. Trust me; this is also a crowd favorite!
- The key to a tender, juicy turkey meatball is to use milk or cream; it makes all the difference. The breadcrumbs soak up the milk and keep the meatballs moist and tender, and I do this for meatloaf recipes too. If you don’t have breadcrumbs, swap in two slices of bread.
- This meatball mix is on the mushy side so having some water nearby to dip your hands in is helpful. You should be able to roll out a meatball, but if the mixture is too wet, add a tablespoon or so of breadcrumbs. However, don’t add too much because this can dry out the meatballs. If you can form a meatball, but it still seems wet or mushy, don’t worry; the meatballs will firm up after they bake,
- The internal temperature of the turkey meatballs must be 165 degrees to be safe to eat. After 20 minutes in the oven, the meatballs should be cooked. But if you’re enjoying them straight out of the oven, check the internal temperature before eating. If you’re cooking the meatballs in sauce, don’t worry; they will finish cooking in the sauce.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs. This keeps all the meatballs uniform and gives you a general idea of the number of meatballs you’ll get. I suggest purchasing a medium cookie scoop to use just for meatballs. If you don’t have bread crumbs, you can use a couple of slices of bread and milk.
- If you need to make these gluten-free, check out my gluten-free meatballs on my sister site Gluten Free Italian eats, for tips.
For the week. After the meatballs cook, place them in an airtight container or storage bag, and refrigerate for four days. On cooking day, put in the sauce and cook over low heat until the meatballs are hot. You can also store the meatballs in the sauce.
For the freezer. Turkey meatballs freeze great so make a few batches to have ready for future dinners. After the meatballs cook, place them into a freezer bag and freeze them for up to 4 months. Lay the meatballs flat in the freezer, and after they are frozen, place the bag wherever. On cooking day, you can place the frozen meatballs directly into a pot with sauce and cook over low heat until the meatballs cook through. You can also put them into a crockpot with sauce and cook for 6 hours on low.
Can you freeze raw turkey meatballs?
Yes, you can, but I think it’s much easier and helpful to freeze them after you bake them. Doing it this way makes them recipe ready and shaves off cooking time during the busy week.
However, if you want to freeze raw turkey meatballs, then after you mix the ingredients, roll the meatballs out and place them onto a large-rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Place the meatballs in the freezer and flash freeze for about an hour or until the meatballs are firm. Then, place all the meatballs into a labeled freezer bag and freeze them for up to 4 months.
You don’t have to thaw frozen meatballs in the refrigerator. On cooking day, place the frozen raw meatballs on the baking sheet and cook in a 375-degree oven for 30 – 35 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Frozen raw meatballs need more time to come up to temperature and cook.
In general, ground turkey has a finer texture than beef, so it’s going to feel mushier as you put the meatballs together. Also, all ground turkey brands are different; some are mushier than others. I recommend purchasing high-quality ground turkey that has a larger grind.
If your meatballs fall apart, the binder is usually to blame. This turkey meatball recipe uses an egg and breadcrumbs as the binder, which is enough to hold these turkey meatballs together. If the ground turkey you’re using is extra mushy, you might need to add some extra breadcrumbs to keep the meatballs together.
Tough meatballs can also result from too many breadcrumbs, insufficient liquid, or over-mixing the meatballs. This turkey meatball recipe provides the perfect balance of breadcrumbs and milk for a juicy, tender meatball.
Baked Turkey Meatballs
- Large mixing bowl
- Large-rimmed Baking Sheet Pan
- Medium cookie scoop
- Instant Read Thermometer
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1/2 lb poultry Italian sausage remove the casing if you buy links.
- 1/4 cup unseasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup 1% milk, cream, or half and half
- 1/4 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese can use Romano cheese
- 1 egg beaten
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper optional
- 1 24-ounce jarred marinara sauce or homemade marinara sauce.
- Start by preheating the oven to 375 degrees.
- Make the turkey meatball mixture. Add the ground turkey, Italian poultry sausage, breadcrumbs, egg, milk, Worcestershire sauce, parmesan cheese, and seasonings to a large bowl.
- Gently mix until all ingredients are combined.
- Place foil or parchment paper on a large-rimmed baking sheet. I like to give it a quick spray with cooking spray, so the meatballs don't stick. You can use an oiled or sprayed baking sheet if you don't have foil or parchment paper.
- Use a medium scoop to portion out the meatball mixture. Roll each portion into a ball and place it on the baking sheet. Continue with the remaining meatball mixture. You'll end up with about 20 – 24 meatballs. The meatball mixture is on the wet side, so it's helpful to have a small cup of water available as you roll the meatballs.
- Bake meatballs for 20 minutes.
- Place the turkey meatballs in a large sauce pot with the marinara and cook over medium heat until hot.
- Serve with pasta, zoodles, or in a sub roll.
Did you make this recipe?
Have you tried this Baked Turkey Meatballs recipe yet? If so, I’d love for you to rate this recipe and leave a comment below. We all learn from each other’s experiences. Also, it would be awesome if you could share a picture on Instagram and tag it #organizeyourselfskinny. I can’t wait to see it.