Moroccan Turkey Meatballs

New dinner motto: if it’s good, ball it. Moroccan Turkey Meatballs are the edible evidence that these are words upon which great meals are made.

Healthy Moroccan Turkey Meatballs with Whole Wheat CouscousSpicy ginger and warm cinnamon are two of my favorite spices, and while they appear most commonly in baked goods here in the U.S., they are also two important components in Moroccan cooking, As it turns out, when combined with other traditional Moroccan ingredients, such as cumin, parsley, and lemon, they make for killer turkey meatballs too.

Sorry Italy—you might be the first country named in a meatball word-association game, but meatballs are a dish loved around the world, and today Moroccan flavor is taking the first bite.

Moroccan Turkey Meatballs. Super juicy and flavor-packed meatballs!
The juiciest turkey meatballs.

the best turkey meatballs with Morrocan spicesWhile ginger, cinnamon, and cumin might not be the first spices out of the cabinet in most meatball recipes, their oomph is absolutely perfect with ground turkey, a meat that (while healthy) lacks flavor on its own. Not so with Moroccan Turkey Meatballs—these little hunks of love are vibrant, richly aromatic, and super juicy too.

The juiciest turkey meatballs with Morrocan spicesMoroccan Turkey Meatballs are also 1,000% comforting, a requirement for any self-respecting meatball recipe. I kept them extra moist with a quick spritz of Pompeian Avocado Oil Spray prior to baking. It’s perfect for roasting and made entirely from avocado oil, an ideal tool for healthy cooking.

I also swapped the pasta for whole wheat couscous. It feels truer to the Moroccan theme and does a champion’s work sopping up the precious meatball juices and flavorful tomato sauce.

Moroccan Turkey Meatballs—warm Moroccan spices are the perfect flavor for these juicy homemade turkey meatballsLet’s talk about that sauce, boss—it’s super easy (canned tomatoes make quick, happy work), hearty, and addictively spicy-sweet. A pinch of red pepper and cinnamon add the punch; plump golden raisins bring the sweetness. It’s a fine meatball balance best studied via second helpings.

I’m thinking an international trip based entirely around meatball consumption is a reasonable life goal. This list agrees.

Moroccan Turkey Meatballs—juicy turkey meatballs with the warm spices and flavors of MoraocoIn the meantime, I’ll take a bite of North Africa right in my kitchen, courtesy of Moroccan Turkey Meatballs.

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Moroccan Meatballs

A healthy turkey meatball recipe with the rich and aromatic flavors of Moroccan cooking.

Yield: about 28 meatballs (serves 4)

Prep Time: 25 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes


For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 yellow onion, diced
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 lemon, zested
  • 3/4 cup chicken stock, divided
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup golden raisins

For the meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup loosely packed fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil, plus additional for drizzling
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • Prepared whole wheat couscous, for serving
  • Pompeian Avocado Cooking Spray (or substitute regular cooking spray)


  1. Prepare the sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat, then add the onion and cook until soft but not brown, about 3 minutes. Add the garlic and lemon zest and cook for 1 more minute. Add the chicken stock, canned tomatoes, salt, pepper, red pepper, and cinnamon. Let simmer 8 minutes. Stir in the golden raisins.
  2. Prepare the meatballs: Place rack in center of the oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, then set a baking rack on top. Lightly coat with cooking spray and set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, lightly combine the turkey, parsley, breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic, cumin, cinnamon, salt, and pepper. Add the olive oil and eggs, combining lightly with a fork and being careful not to compact the meat. Roll the meatballs into 1-inch balls (about 28 balls total), then arrange on the prepared baking sheet. Drizzle lightly with olive oil (or coat with additional cooking spray), and bake until cooked through, 15 to 18 minutes. Transfer to the skillet with the sauce, then use spoon to coat the meatballs. Serve warm with prepared couscous.
All images and text ©/Well Plated.

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More meatballs to much:

I’m sharing this recipe and post in partnership with Pompeian as a member of its #PantryInsider program. As always, all opinions are my own, and thank you for supporting the brands that make it possible for me to provide quality content to you!

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About Erin Clarke

I’m fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food taste incredible. Wearer of plaid, travel enthusiast, and firmly convinced that sweets and veggies both deserve a place at the table. MORE ABOUT ERIN…


  1. If it’s good, ball it. <—- #Truth.

  2. HAHA I’m laughing at Liz’s comment. Love these meatballs.

  3. I love that new motto. I totally fall into that way of thinking!

  4. These meatballs are calling my name! Love the spices and flavors going on here!

  5. I am digging these balls. Love the spicy twist!

  6. oh my gawd, Erin…. these meatballs look SO GOOD!!! Ginger and cinnamon are two of my favorite spices too!! Wow and pinned!

  7. Love these flavors! Great way to switch things up!

  8. I love everything cultural and these sound great! Turkish food also has a meatball twist, called kofte which we ate a lot of in Istanbul last year! I love adding traditional sweet flavors to savory and vice versa!

  9. Yum! Personally, I’ll take Moroccan cooking over Italian any day. I just love the kinds of spices that are used in Greek, Middle Eastern and North African cooking. I just bought some Aleppo pepper, and I think I’ll use that in these in place of other pepper (I have no idea what it will taste like, just that it comes from that part of the world).

  10. These spices sound out of this world! I’m drooling over that sauce. I’m absolutely in love with the couscous, too :)

  11. Duuude Erin you’re speakin my language here. LOVE meatballifying things. ” if it’s good, ball it” lol! I need to try this with the couscous, love that idea!!

  12. So love the combo of cinnamon and cumin in these! This needs to happen for dinner at my house soon!

  13. Delicious meatballs. I could eat them right now..

  14. haha ball it! I love it. I am such a lover of meatballs so new twists on them are absolutely essential. Go Erin!

  15. I love this flavor combination. These look outstanding!

  16. Oh yum, these meatballs look divine! I will have to make them for dinner!

  17. I like the idea of a culinary tour researching the delicious variations on the beloved meatball. I am signing up. I love Moroccan flavorings. I think you are right—Killer Meatballs for sure.

  18. Oh wow! Love this spin on meatballs!

  19. Wowza! Even though I’m Italian… I’m still all about trying something new in the name of a good meatball! Nice recipe!

  20. cookingforkeeps2 Reply

    I love the warmth that cinnamon and cumin bring to savory dishes — it’s like a being wrapped up in a warm hug — so comforting. Love these Erin.

  21. I haven’t eaten enough Moroccan food but these sound incredible!!

  22. These look amazing!! Moroccan is one of those cuisines that pops into my mind from time to time and I think about how tasty it would be to have a Moroccan-inspiried meal…but then I never do it. Now I have no excuses – looking forward to trying this!

  23. Love all the flavors in this!!!

  24. OMG Yes, if it’s good, ball it lol! Love the flavor combo going on here, is it bad I could eat moroccan food every single night for dinner? Like EVERY single night!!

  25. Looks gorgeous… could you do it without the breadcrumbs and egg somehow? Or would the balls not ball properly?

  26. I made this tonight (as written) and the whole family loved it. Thanks for a great recipe.

  27. I made this the other night, yum!!! Used cayenne for the red pepper flakes, nice and spicy

    • Hi Nancy! I am so excited to hear that you enjoyed these. We love them spicy too, so I keep extra red pepper flakes on the table when serving. Thanks for taking time to comment, and have a great day!

  28. Hi Erin, Can’t wait to try these for dinner! When I was a caterer I made something similar to these – using Chut Nut (a form of Chutney with raisins) and made them appetizer sized. I made them with ground beef and served them with a pretzel “toothpick” and a curried mayo/yogurt dip on the side.

  29. So glad I ran across your recipe in one of the Google food communities…I think it was Recipes. They look great…I can’t wait to try them. Pinning!

  30. Does the recipe call for cilantro or parsley? The photos show cilantro but the written recipe calls it parsley.

  31. Made these tonight. We loved them and I will make them again! Thank you!

    • I am so happy to hear that Jennifer! Thanks so much for trying the recipe and leaving your review. It’s great feedback for me and truly helpful for others looking at the recipe too.

  32. I bought the ingredients to make these before reading all the instructions — oops! I don’t have a baking rack, unless you mean a cooling rack (which I still can’t use, because the coating can’t go in the oven). Do you have any suggestions for cooking these? Thanks!

    • Hi Angela, I think it would be okay to bake the meatballs directly on the foil-lined sheet if you don’t have a cooling rack that will work. They may get a flatter side from resting on the baking sheet but should still taste the same! I hope you love the recipe!

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