A leaner alternative to traditional meatballs, these Easy Turkey Meatballs are juicy and tender. Smothered in marinara and put on top of spaghetti, it is delicious comfort food with a lighter twist. These meatballs are packed with flavour, but so simple to make.
Using turkey mince makes these Easy Turkey Meatballs learner than more traditional meatballs that would use beef. You still get all the flavour and if you follow our tips, you will still get juicy meatballs. No dry turkey here! This is simple comfort food that the whole family will love.
If you are looking for some other meatball recipes to try, then why not try our Albondigas (Spanish Meatballs), Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Slow Cooker Meatballs, Air Fryer Meatballs or Meatball Pasta Bake.
Why you will love them
- Easy - This is so simple! After the shallots and garlic have been softened, you just mix everything together, roll into balls and then fry them. Leaving you to get on with whatever you are serving the meatballs with. We have lots of suggestions for that below.
- Filling - These turkey meatballs are protein packed and really filling. We would happily eat a bowl of these by themselves, but put them with some sides and they are a hearty and filling meal.
- Family friendly - Spaghetti and meatballs always goes down well in our house and these turkey meatballs are no exception. You can adjust the flavours to suit what your family likes, and it's an easy recipe for kids to help make, as they will love rolling the meatballs.
- Can be prepared in advance - You can prepare the meatballs in advance and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them.
- Oil - We softened the shallots and garlic in olive oil. However, you could use sunflower or vegetable oil too.
- Shallots - These add some extra texture to the meatballs. We like shallots, as they have a slightly sweet flavour, but you could swap it for a small brown onion.
- Garlic - Freshly crushed is best, however you could save some time by using frozen of crushed in a jar. Make sure the garlic is very finely crushed, almost like a paste. This will ensure even distribution of the garlic in the meatballs.
- Turkey mince - We used 2% fat turkey breast mince to keep it really lean. However, you could use 7% fat turkey mince, which would add more flavour.
- Egg - This is used to help bind the meatballs. You could swap it for milk, which would also bind the meatballs and make them more tender.
- Breadcrumbs - These are important because they absorb the moisture from the meat and trap it inside and prevent the meatballs from getting dry.
- Parmesan - We love adding cheese to meatballs. Parmesan adds a slight nutty texture and flavour.
- Sun-dried tomato paste - This is an easy way to give a huge flavour boost to meatballs, and it adds extra moisture too.
- Herbs - We used dried oregano and thyme for those delicious Italian flavours. You could use your favourite Italian herb blend though.
- Salt and pepper - Season to taste.
A full ingredients list with measurements is in the recipe card below.
Step by step
One: Heat the oil in a pan and add the shallots and garlic. Cook over a low heat until softened, about 4 minutes.
Two: Put in a bowl with the other ingredients (except the oil) and mix well.
Three: Using your hands, form into 12 meatballs.
Four: Heat the remaining oil in a pan and cook the meatballs for 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.
Health benefits of turkey
Turkey isn’t just an alternative to red meat, it is really delicious in its own right. It has lots of flavour, but the added bonus of being high in protein and low in fat. Turkey is also a rich source of niacin, vitamin B6 and the amino acid tryptothan and it also contains zinc and vitamin B1.
Oven baked meatballs
If you want to make these even lighter, then you can bake them in the oven too. You could brown them in the frying pan first, to get some crispy edges, and then finish them off in the oven. They would need around 15 minutes in the oven at 200°C/400°F/Gas 6.
If you are going to cook them in the oven, then we would recommend brushing them with some olive oil first, as this helps them to go brown.
What to serve with turkey meatballs
Spaghetti and meatballs are the perfect match. You could make a lower carb version and use courgette noodles, or a mixture of the two, but we wanted classic comfort food so opted for spaghetti. We mixed the meatballs with our Easy Tomato Pasta Sauce too. Once you have that, you need some garlic bread to go with it. Why not try our Easy Cheesy Garlic Bread recipe. It's so easy to make and great for bulking out the meal if you are serving it to guests.
You could also keep it simple with a big green salad. The key to an epic green salad is to use a variety of greens, like romaine, spinach, kale and rocket. You want leafy greens, but crunch too. Then you need the perfect dressing. Why not try our Lemon Vinaigrette, Honey and Mustard Dressing or Tomato and Basil Vinaigrette? You could also try our Grilled Little Gem Salad.
If you have leftovers of these turkey meatballs (more details on storage advice below), then we recommend reheating them and serving them in a sandwich with extra cheese. Meatball sandwiches are SO good.
Frequently Asked Questions
Cooking time will depend on the size of your meatballs. We cooked ours for 6 minutes and they were perfectly cooked.
The best way to check that turkey is cooked is to use a meat thermometer. The safe internal temperature for cooked turkey is 74°C/165°F. It should be inserted into the thickest part of the meat.
Wait for leftovers to cool completely and then you can transfer them to an air tight container and keep them in the fridge for 2 days.
Yes, this freezes really well. Once cooled, transfer to a freezer container and then they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can also freeze them before cooking them. Put them on a tray and in the freezer - this is called flash freezing. Once they are frozen, you can take them off the tray and put them in a freezer bag. Then, when you want to cook them, just take them out of the bag and defrost and then follow the cooking instructions.
Once fully defrosted in the fridge, you can heat it through in a frying pan, or in the microwave. We like to reheat them within a sauce.
Yes, you can easily do this in the slow cooker. Follow our recipe for Slow Cooker Meatballs, but swap the beef for turkey.
As long as you use gluten free breadcrumbs and make sure there is no cross contamination, then these can be gluten free.
Yes, you can easily double or triple the ingredients and there is no change to the cooking method. Just make sure that you have a frying pan big enough.
• Make sure the shallots are really finely diced, as it will help the meatballs to stay together.
• Save a bit of time by using frozen onion and garlic.
• If you want to hide some vegetables in these turkey meatballs, then finely grate some carrot and courgette and mix them in.
• To ensure that you have equal sized meatballs, use an ice cream scoop, or weigh the balls.
More turkey recipes
Easy Turkey Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil - for the shallots
- 1 tablespoon Olive oil - for the meatballs
- 1 Shallots - finely diced
- 2 Garlic clove - crushed
- 1 Egg
- 40 g (0.66 cups) Panko breadcrumbs
- 500 g (1.1 lb) Turkey mince
- 25 g (0.25 cups) Parmesan - grated
- 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper
- 0.5 teaspoon Dried oregano
- 0.5 teaspoon Dried thyme
- 1 tablespoon Fresh parsley - chopped
- Heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil in a pan and add 1 Shallots and 2 Garlic clove. Cook over a low heat until softened, about 4 minutes.
- Put in a bowl with 1 Egg, 40 g Panko breadcrumbs, 500 g Turkey mince, 25 g Parmesan, 0.5 teaspoon Dried oregano, 0.5 teaspoon Dried thyme1 tablespoon Fresh parsley and 1 pinch Sea salt and black pepper and mix well.
- Using your hands, form into 12 meatballs.
- Heat 1 tablespoon Olive oil in a pan and cook the meatballs for 5-7 minutes, until cooked through.
- Make sure the shallots are really finely diced, as it will help the meatballs to stay together.
- Save a bit of time by using frozen onion and garlic.
- If you want to hide some vegetables in these turkey meatballs, then finely grate some carrot and courgette and mix them in.
- To ensure that you have equal sized meatballs, use an ice cream scoop, or weigh the balls.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and is calculated using online tools. Information can vary depending on various factors, but we have endeavoured to be as accurate as possible.