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There are nights when I want to feel adventurous in the kitchen, and then there are nights when I want my dinner to come up, give me a hug, and tell me that, yes, I am doing a good job. Those are the nights I make Baked Turkey Meatballs.

turkey meatballs on a bed of spaghetti

Why You’ll Love These Baked Meatballs

Fork-tender, filling, and layered with Italian spices and herbs, these healthy turkey meatballs want to be your mealtime cheerleader.

  • Easy to Make. Like all of my 30-minute meals, these turkey meatballs come together fast, making them a hero on busy evenings. Baking makes them hands-free!
  • Super Juicy. Burned by bland (or, gasp!, dry) turkey meatballs in the past? Me too! That’s why I made sure these turkey meatballs are juicy and tasty.
  • Healthy. Turkey is a lean source of protein and a nice change of pace from Chicken Meatballs.
  • No Hunting For Ingredients. Once you have your ground turkey and Parmesan in the fridge, you’re likely to already have everything else in your pantry to make this simple turkey meatballs recipe. They won’t make you hunt through the grocery store for ingredients.
  • Pure Comfort. It’s hard to get more intrinsically satisfying than good ol’ spaghetti and meatballs! No matter the day, pasta recipes always seem to hit the spot.

The recipe yields about 20 meatballs, so it covers a few dinners for our leftover-loving household of two, or it feeds a small dinner group.


If you need a large quantity of turkey meatballs for a crowd, you can check out my Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs.

a bowl of baked turkey meatballs

5 Star Review

“Best recipe ever! As soon as there were done and cooled I had 10 of them!!! I was doing a happy dance when I ate them!!!”

— Ruby —

The Best Meatball Cooking Method

Whereas most meatball recipes require that the meatballs be browned in a pan on the stove—undoubtedly delicious but also messy and a bit of a pain—this streamlined version skips the stove altogether.

  • Instead of browning the meatballs in oil on the stove, arrange them on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (or parchment paper if you prefer) for easy cleanup.
  • Brushing with olive oil ensures the meatballs become nicely golden on the outside and juicy on the inside, no messy frying required.

Save the stovetop method for when you’re looking to prepare a meatball recipe for a slow evening or special occasion (as with this Mozzarella Meatball Casserole).

For fast, less-fuss weeknights, baked meatballs are the move.

healthy baked turkey meatballs in a bowl with noodles and sauce

How to Make Turkey Meatballs

The Ingredients

  • Ground Turkey. While traditional meatball recipes usually call for a mix of different meats (sometimes up to 3!), this turkey meatball recipe keeps it straightforward with ground turkey only. Turkey is lean and mild.

Substitution Tip

You can also make these meatballs with lean ground beef.

Or, for a taste most similar to a classic meatball that is still on the healthy side, try a mix of ground pork and ground turkey or ground beef and ground turkey.

  • Italian Seasoned Bread Crumbs. Along with an egg, you need bread crumbs in meatballs to bind the meat and to keep the meatballs moist. I like Italian seasoned ones because they build in extra flavor without any extra effort.

Ingredient Note

If you can find them, use whole wheat Italian breadcrumbs for a slight boost of fiber.

I do not recommend panko breadcrumbs for this recipe, as they are more dry and will not bind the meatball as effectively.

  • Lazy Girl Basic Spices. Garlic powder, onion powder, dried oregano, red pepper flakes. Because sometimes I am hungry and I want to eat meatballs…without having to grate an onion or mince garlic cloves for them.
  • Parmesan. Because meatballs are better with cheese. It’s true. Parmesan also helps to ensure the meatballs are moist.

The Directions

combining turkey for meatballs
  1. Grab a Large Bowl. Add the spices, Parmesan, and ground turkey.
turkey and breadcrumbs for turkey meatballs
  1. Add the Egg. Be gentle when combining.
a baking sheet of healthy turkey meatballs
  1. Shape into Meatballs. Place on a foil-lined baking sheet.
brushing turkey meatballs on baking sheet
  1. Brush the Meatballs with Olive Oil. These helps them crisp outside and stay moist.
  2. Bake. Cook the turkey Meatballs at 375 degrees F for 15 Minutes for a 1 1/2-inch meatball, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F on a meat thermometer. When you cut into a meatball, it should be cooked through.
baked turkey meatballs with a bite taken out of

Recipe Variations

Storage Tips

  • To Store. Refrigerate meatballs in an airtight storage container for up to 4 days (either with or separately from the sauce).
  • To Reheat. Reheat leftovers gently on the stovetop, in the oven at 350 degrees F, or in the microwave (with or without the sauce).
  • To Freeze. Turkey meatballs can be frozen cooked or raw. Place meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until solid. Transfer frozen meatballs to an airtight freezer-safe storage container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months.

Meal Prep Tip

Having pre-shaped, ready-to-cook meatballs in the freezer is ideal for meal prep. Shape the meatballs as directed and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Freeze until firm, then transfer to an airtight container or ziptop bag for up to 3 months. When ready to cook, let thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Brush with oil and bake as directed.

How to Serve Meatballs

Here are a few of our favorite ways to enjoy these tasty meatballs:

  • Sauce. Turkey meatballs in tomato sauce are pure comfort! You can warm the sauce in a small pot on the stove, then serve the turkey meatballs in sauce, or take our favorite approach: warm the sauce in a large skillet, then simmer the meatballs at the end to heat them through.
  • Pasta. Whole wheat dry pasta is perfect for healthy dinners. You can use your favorite pasta shape, though when we’re feeling ultra traditional, I like to do the baked turkey meatballs and spaghetti.
  • Sandwich. Grab a hoagie bun and turn these meatballs into a meatball sub!
  • Appetizer. Place the meatballs on a plate with toothpicks and enjoy as an appetizer with a side of sauce for dipping.
turkey meatballs recipe

What to Serve with Turkey Meatballs

  • Scoop. For easy, uniform portioning. I use mine for cookie dough too!
  • Instant-Read Thermometer. The easiest, best way to see if the meatballs are cooked all the way through.
  • Baking Sheet. I use these for everything, from meatballs to veggies to sheet pan suppers.

Recipe Tips & Tricks

  • Don’t Overwork the Meat. Overworking will make the meatballs tough; handle it lightly and you’ll have tender, juicy turkey meatballs every time.
  • Don’t Skip the Egg and Breadcrumbs. These keep the meatballs from falling apart.
  • Use a Meat Thermometer. Your meatballs can still be a little pink inside and be cooked safely. The best way to know if they are done without drying them out is to use a meat thermometer.
  • Add Herbs if You’ve Got ‘Em. No matter how you are serving meatballs, if you have fresh basil or other herbs on hand, it makes a nice addition.

These baked turkey meatballs are my keeper for when I’m craving simple comfort food that won’t lock me to my stove.

I hope you love them too! As always, if you try this recipe, please leave a comment below. It means so much to hear from you.

Turkey Meatballs

4.80 from 273 votes
Baked Turkey Meatballs. Easy to make, tender, and absolutely delicious! Serve with spaghetti, buns, or over zucchini noodles.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Servings: 20 meatballs


For the Baked Turkey Meatballs:

  • 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese plus additional for serving
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs whole wheat if possible
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh herbs basil, parsley, or chives a combo, plus additional for serving
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey keep in your refrigerator until the last possible second
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more as needed

For serving:

  • Prepared pasta sauce
  • Cooked whole wheat pasta or zucchini noodles
  • Creamy Polenta
  • Split and toasted hoagie buns
  • Prepared brown rice


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the cheese, bread crumbs, herbs, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, pepper, and red pepper flakes and stir well to combine. Add the turkey.
  • In a small bowl, beat the egg, then add it to the meat mixture. With a fork or your fingers, mix just until combined, being careful not to compact the meat.
  • With a scoop or spoon, scoop the meat and shape into 1 1/2-inch meatballs. Arrange on the prepared baking sheet. You will have about 20 meatballs total.
  • Brush the tops of the meatballs with the olive oil.
  • Bake for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer. As an alternate way to check, a meatball in the center of the baking sheet should be fully cooked through when cut in half.
  • While the meatballs cook, warm the sauce and any other items you’d like to serve them with (pasta, hoagie buns, rice, etc.). Serve the meatballs hot, topped with the sauce, cheese, herbs, and any other additions.



  • Adapted from my Crock Pot Turkey Meatballs.
  • TO STORE: Store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 4 days (either with or separately from the sauce). Rewarm gently with the sauce on the stove.
  • TO FREEZE: Cooked meatballs can be frozen baked or unbaked for up to 3 months. See detailed notes in the post above for a step-by-step.


Serving: 1meatballCalories: 62kcalCarbohydrates: 2gProtein: 5gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 26mgPotassium: 58mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 0.1mgCalcium: 29mgIron: 0.4mg

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Frequently Asked Questions

Why Are My Turkey Meatballs Tough, Hard, and/or Rubbery?

If your turkey meatballs are hard or rubbery, you likely overworked the meat or compacted them too tightly. Use a light touch and mix gently for the most tender meatballs.

Can I Make Meatballs in the Air Fryer?

If you want to know how to make turkey meatballs, follow my Air Fryer Meatballs recipe.

How Do I Make Turkey Meatballs that Won’t Fall Apart?

If your meatballs fall apart, they need a better binding agent. This recipe uses both breadcrumbs and an egg, so you can rest assured your meatballs will hold together.

Can I Make Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs?

Those looking for turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs can check out my Whole30 Meatballs, which use almond flour instead. <—this meatball recipe is Paleo as well.

Can I Make Turkey Meatballs Gluten Free?

Certainly! Swap the Italian breadcrumbs in this recipe for your favorite Italian gluten free breadcrumbs. You also could experiment with making the meatballs with oats that are lightly ground in the food processor (add additional seasoning to the oats, such as salt, pepper, and Italian seasoning).

More Turkey Recipes

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

Learn more about Erin

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  1. Hi Erin, this is an excellent recipe! I used a tube of ground turkey, it was more like emulsified so I cooked the first dozen in a miniature muffin pan, well greased to help them hold their shape. I chilled the rest and then decided to try them in my air fryer. They cooked in 12 minutes. The air fried meat balls had a bit of a crust on top which I liked for serving with sauce on the side. Whatever the cooking technique the flavours and texture are spot on. Thank you5 stars

    1. Hi Gary! So glad you enjoyed the recipe! Thank you for this kind review and feedback on the air fyer!

  2. The meatballs are delicious. The only thing I don’t like about this recipe is that I had to keep scrolling up and down between the ingredients and the recipe. Please keep them together.4 stars

    1. Hi Liz! So glad you enjoyed the meatballs! Were you looking through the blog post or in the actual recipe card (it’s in the area above where you commented)? In the blog post is an overview of the recipe with some extra tips and tricks included. In the recipe card you’ll find the full list of ingredients plus the full list of the directions. At the top of the each post you’ll find a “jump to recipe” button that will take you straight to the recipe and you’ll also find the print button. Hope this helps!

  3. I was skeptical about using turkey instead of ground beef. But I gave it a try. Delicious! Easy on the salt though. Parmesan cheese is salty enough, so adjust to your taste. This is also a very forgiving recipe. Use ingredients that you like, leave out the ones you don’t. Make it your own. Having said that, I do suggest keeping egg for binding. This is a recipe I will use over and over again!5 stars

  4. Best meatballs!! They’re so flavorful with the fresh herbs, and I made them gluten free with g-free breadcrumbs. Delicious! Thank you, Erin!!5 stars

  5. Great! Both teens liked it as did the hubby! Usually if one kid likes it, the other does not. This was a win all around.4 stars

  6. I used Gluten Free Breadcrumbs for my gluten-sensitive husband and all dried herbs because that’s sadly what I had on hand, and they still turned out phenomenal! Thanks for sharing this great recipe! I have tried a lot of turkey meatball recipes, and this is by far the best.5 stars

  7. Best recipe ever! As soon as there were done and cooled I had 10 of them!!! I was doing a happy dance when I ate them!!!5 stars

  8. I made these last week and they have immediately become one of our favorites. The wife and (picky) son absolutely loved them and so did I! I made them again the next night and we put them on homemade pizza. Turkey is on sale so we’re having them AGAIN tonight with spaghetti and tomorrow we’ll be having them on fresh hoagie rolls.

    I bought turkey with a bit more fat so I toss in a few extra spoonfuls of (gluten free) breadcrumbs. They’re super adaptable depending on what’s in the garden/pantry. Thanks so much!5 stars

  9. Thank you!👏 The best Italian turkey meatballs recipe I’ve ever had and I will keep it for future cooking. I substituted panko breadcrumbs and used dried basil and parsley, all same measurements and baking times. A little lazy to cook pasta so I paired the meatballs in red sauce with naan bread. Dinner was served in no time 😋♥️5 stars

  10. These are the tastiest turkey meatballs I’ve had and made to-date! Consistent turn out every time and I am a beginner-level cook :).5 stars

  11. I made gf as have to be gf. Very good . Recipe only made 12. I had to leave out the garlic, onions due to husbands allergies but still very good!
    Took an extra 5 minutes to cook. Very tasty!4 stars

  12. These were delicious!! Everyone in the family raved about them! I used fresh homegrown basil and the flavor really came through. Served with Rao’s pasta sauce and spaghetti squash.5 stars

  13. I’m looking for a lower sodium turkey meatball recipe. I think the sodium content is missing from the nutritional information?

    1. Hi Donna! I stopped including sodium info because it can vary so much depending upon what products you used, and I found a lot of conflicting info online, so ultimately I didn’t feel comfortable publishing it because sometimes it wasn’t even in the ballpark. If you’d like to calculate it yourself, there are lots of free tools online ( is popular). I hope that helps!

  14. Literally the best meatball recipe I’ve ever made. So much flavor and the meatballs kept their juiciness as well. 100/10! The only thing I did different is after baking them I pan seared them for a couple mins on each side just to give it some extra color before putting in my sauce. Just personal preference! Will be keeping this recipe in my vault forever.5 stars

  15. Made these but fried in a pan to get a good crispy outside because I was adding them to ChickPea Noodle soup for my kids. Husband and I are Vegan/vegetarian so this was a great way for the kids to have more calories with their soup. I tasted one, then added 2 to my soup they were so good!5 stars

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