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There are nights when I want to feel adventurous in the kitchen, and then there are nights when I crave simple comforts. Those are the nights I make Baked Turkey Meatballs. These moist, juicy meatballs in sauce are easy to make, boast Italian flare, and will remind you that you can get a healthy dinner on the table fast!

turkey meatballs on a bed of spaghetti

Why You’ll Love These Baked Meatballs

  • Easy. 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!
  • Juicy and Moist. Burned by bland (or, gasp!, dry) turkey meatballs in the past? Me too! That’s why with all of my ground turkey recipes from Turkey Burgers to Turkey Chili, I made sure the meat is tender and moist.
  • 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.

Tip!

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.

  • Arrange the turkey meatballs on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil (or parchment paper if you prefer) for easy cleanup.
  • Brush with olive oil to ensure 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).

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.
turkey meatballs recipe

How to Serve Meatballs

  • In 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.
  • With Pasta. Whole wheat dry pasta is perfect for healthy dinners. You can also take Instant Pot Spaghetti up a notch by adding these meatballs, or add meatballs to Zucchini Pasta or Crockpot Spaghetti Squash.
  • On a Sandwich. Grab a hoagie bun (or get creative with No Knead Focaccia or Rosemary Olive Oil Bread) and turn these meatballs into a meatball sub!
  • As an Appetizer. Place the meatballs on a plate with toothpicks and enjoy as an appetizer with a side of sauce for dipping.
  • With Vegetables. Pair meatballs with Sauteed Zucchini Recipe, Air Fryer Broccoli, or Roasted Mushrooms.
  • Over Polenta. Serve meatballs with Creamy Polenta for a rustic, hearty dinner.
  • 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.

Turkey Meatballs

4.82 from 322 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

Ingredients
  

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

Instructions
 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

  • 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.

Nutrition

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).

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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 wellplated.com 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!

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397 Comments

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  1. These are so much better than any recipe I’ve tried before for meatballs. My family raves about them every time. Thank you!5 stars

  2. I made these tonite and they will be my go to meatball recipe from now on! I just changed it up with fresh parsley and garlic. Delicious!3 stars

  3. I’ve started to make these every weekend. I double the recipe and they just don’t last because they’re soooo good. I add a tsp of dried basil and a handful of fresh parsley, and I reduced the salt after the first time.5 stars

  4. These are great meatballs- I do cook them a little longer. They are super easy to adapt- don’t want Italian seasoning? Just go with plain breadcrumbs and leave out Italian herbs- – want a more Swedish profile- add some nutmeg and allspice. I have them plain for lunch at work as I’m trying to avoid lunch meat, or with any sauce/pasta/mash/polenta combination. And it makes a ton- enough for 3 meals for 4 people – or for about 7-10 lunch serving- (I like them w just a bit of BBQ sauce or Dijon mustard), a serving being 4 per person for me.5 stars

  5. These are the best meatballs; they are so much lighter than beef meatballs. Will be making these from now on.
    Thank your for the recipe!5 stars

  6. Love these meatballs!!! As do my family and they usually aren’t the biggest fan of ground turkey:) I didn’t have onion powder so I added fresh onion. We had it with spaghetti and red sauce but I also can just eat it alone. Very satisfying! Thank you THANK YOU5 stars

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