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How to Make the Best Baked Turkey Meatballs (Easy Recipe)


How to Make the Best Baked Turkey Meatballs (Easy Recipe)

Turkey meatballs are a delicious and healthier alternative to traditional beef or pork meatballs. 

They are lower in fat and calories but still pack tons of protein and flavor.

These baked turkey meatballs are so easy to make, customizable, and perfect for any occasion.

This easy recipe will show you how to make the juiciest, most tender and flavorful baked turkey meatballs you’ve ever had. 

They can be served as an appetizer, entree, or even on top of pasta. The key is choosing quality turkey meat and seasoning the meatballs well.

Below, you’ll find the simple ingredient list, tips for baking turkey meatballs, and even some serving idea combinations to try. Let’s get started!

Ground turkey meatballs in a skillet

Ingredients for baked turkey meatballs:

Ground Turkey (93% lean)1 pound
Panko Breadcrumbs1/4 cup
Large Egg1
Diced Onion1/4 cup
Garlic (minced)2 cloves
Italian Seasoning1 tablespoon
Salt1/2 teaspoon
Black Pepper1/4 teaspoon
Parmesan Cheese (grated)1/4 cup
Olive Oil2 tablespoons
Marinara Sauce1/2 cup
Ground turkey meatballs in a black skillet with whole tomatoes on the side

For Serving (Optional)

  • Spaghetti and extra marinara sauce
  • Sub sandwich rolls
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion for sandwiches
  • Cheese for topping meatballs


  • Store leftover baked turkey meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator up to 4 days.
  • Freeze cooked turkey meatballs in a freezer bag up to 3 months. Reheat in the oven or microwave until warmed through.

Tips for the Best Baked Turkey Meatballs

  • Use 93% lean ground turkey for the juiciest, most tender meatballs. Going leaner can cause dry meatballs.
  • Mix in panko breadcrumbs to help keep the turkey meatballs nice and moist.
  • Chill formed meatballs before baking so they hold their shape better.
  • Brush meatballs with a sauce coating before baking. This helps create a delicious baked on glaze.
  • Bake at 400°F until cooked through and nicely browned on the outside.
  • Sprinkle cheese over meatballs at the end for extra flavor.
  • Don’t overbake or meatballs will be dry. Cook just until 165°F internally.
  • Let meatballs rest 5 minutes before serving so juices can redistribute.
Ground turkey meatballs in a brown bowl

Nutrition Information for baked turkey meatballs

Below are the nutrition facts per turkey meatball (makes 16 servings):

Total Fat2 g
Cholesterol23 mg
Sodium118 mg
Total Carbs1 g
Protein7 g

Full recipe nutrition:

Total Fat32 g
Cholesterol368 mg
Sodium1,888 mg
Total Carbs16 g
Protein112 g

These baked turkey meatballs make a fantastic appetizer for any occasion. 

Serve them up at your next game day gathering, holiday party, or potluck.

The tender meatballs have an Italian flair, making them a perfect addition to an antipasto spread alongside elegant brie en croute, easy spinach artichoke dip, and warm butternut squash goat cheese dip

Or skip the appetizers and use the turkey meatballs as the protein for a hearty main dish. 

Bake a batch on Sunday for all week in meals like turkey tetrazzini or an easy turkey pot pie.

The flavors pair well with classic Thanksgiving sides too. Serve baked turkey meatballs with savory stuffing, creamy mashed potatoes, and your favorite cranberry sauce for an easy Thanksgiving meal

They make great subs when you want a break from leftover turkey sandwiches. 

Pile the meatballs onto rolls with gravy for open-faced turkey subs. For lighter fare, try them in salads or grain bowls. 

Whip up a kale salad topped with turkey meatballs, feta, and pumpkin seeds with a vegan 

Thanksgiving dressing, or build a quinoa bowl with roasted veggies, avocado, and meatballs for a perfectly balanced entrée. 

Finish of your Thanksgiving meal with some gluten-free Thanksgiving desserts.

With so many possibilities for using turkey meatballs creatively, this versatile recipe will become a staple you make repeatedly. 

Keep a batch in the freezer so you always have a quick, protein-packed addition ready for any meal.

Turkey Meatballs in a frying pan

History of Turkey Meatballs

Turkey meatballs are a relatively modern spin on the classic beef or pork meatball that dates back to ancient Persia and Arabia. 

The concept of minced or ground meat shaped into balls has been around for centuries in Middle Eastern and European cuisines.

Turkey was not as widely used or domesticated until Europeans colonized North America in the 17th century. 

Over time, turkeys became more affordable and accessible, leading to their use in more recipes.

Modern turkey meatballs as we know them today emerged in the 20th century as people looked for leaner and healthier alternatives to beef and pork. 

Ground turkey became readily available in grocery stores. The concept of Italian-style turkey meatballs in tomato sauce grew in popularity and became a staple family dinner.

Today, turkey meatballs are beloved for their versatility. 

They can be served Italian style with pasta and marinara, in subs or sandwiches, in soups, and so much more. 

Their tender and moist texture plus cleaner nutritional profile have made turkey meatballs an easy family favorite.

Ground turkey meatballs in a white bowl

Difficulty Level for baked turkey meatballs

These baked turkey meatballs are rated easy in terms of difficulty to make. They require just 15 minutes of prep time and 20-25 minutes of hands-off baking time.

The ingredient list is simple, and the cooking process involves mixing everything together, shaping it into balls, and popping it in the oven. 

No special culinary skills are required.

The key to delicious baked turkey meatballs is choosing quality lean ground turkey and avoiding overmixing or overbaking the meatballs.

Follow the recipe tips and instructions for the perfect tender and moist meatballs every time.

This easy-baked turkey meatball recipe is suitable for cooks of all levels.

Even beginner cooks can master these delicious meatballs on the first try.

It’s an easy weeknight dinner or appetizer that will impress any guests.

Ground turkey meatballs close up with marinara sauce

Serving Suggestions

Baked turkey meatballs are incredibly versatile. Here are some serving ideas:

As an Appetizer

  • Serve baked turkey meatballs on a platter with toothpicks. Provide a sauce for dipping like marinara, barbecue sauce, sweet chili sauce, etc.

  • Make mini turkey meatballs and serve them warm on skewers for easy finger food.

  • Use turkey meatballs on an antipasto platter with veggies, cheese, cured meats, olives, etc.

For Dinner

  • Serve turkey meatballs over spaghetti or zoodles with marinara sauce for a protein-packed meal.
  • Make meatball subs with the turkey meatballs, sauce, and favorite sandwich toppings.

  • Add turkey meatballs to soups or chili to make them heartier.

For Snacks

Top salads or bowls with baked turkey meatballs. The protein will help keep you full.

  • Make meatball skewers by threading turkey meatballs and veggies onto skewers. Grill or broil 3-5 minutes to heat through.

  • Use turkey meatballs in loaded nachos, on pizza, in wraps, or flatbreads for easy protein.

The possibilities are endless with these easy-baked turkey meatballs! Adjust seasonings to suit any flavor profile and use them in recipes however you like.

Common FAQs

What kind of ground turkey is best?

Opt for 93% lean ground turkey for the juiciest, most tender meatballs. Ground turkey that is 99% lean may lead to dry meatballs.

How do you keep turkey meatballs moist?

Adding panko breadcrumbs absorbs moisture to keep the meatballs tender. Also, avoid overmixing the meat or overbaking, which causes dryness.

How long do you bake turkey meatballs?

Bake at 400°F for 20-25 minutes. Turkey meatballs are done when they register 165°F internally on a food thermometer. Watch closely near the end to prevent overbaking.

Can you freeze turkey meatballs?

Yes! Freeze baked turkey meatballs in a single layer on a sheet tray, then transfer to freezer bags once hard. Reheat frozen meatballs in the oven or microwave until 165°F.

How do you reheat turkey meatballs?

To reheat, place frozen or refrigerated cooked turkey meatballs on a baking sheet and bake at 350°F for 15-20 minutes until heated through. Or microwave in 30-second intervals, stirring occasionally, until hot.

Ground turkey meatballs in a white dish

Final Thoughts

These easy-baked turkey meatballs are perfectly juicy, tender, and flavorful.

They are healthier than beef and pork meatballs, budget-friendly, and great for meal prepping.

Use this versatile recipe as an appetizer for events, quick dinners, sandwiches, in soups or pastas, and more. 

Customize with your favorite seasonings and mix-ins.

For moist and delicious turkey meatballs, remember to:

  • Use 93% lean ground turkey
  • Chill formed meatballs before baking
  • Brush with sauce before baking
  • Bake at 400°F until 165°F internally
  • Let rest 5 minutes before serving

Enjoy these simple and tasty baked turkey meatballs on their own or in all your favorite recipes!

Yield: 16 Servings

Prep Time: 15 Minutes

Cook Time: 20-25 Minutes

Total Time: 35-40 Minutes

Difficulty: Easy

How to Make the Best Baked Turkey Meatballs (Easy Recipe)

Recipe by Chris Cooper
0.0 from 0 votes
Course: MainCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy


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These juicy, baked turkey meatballs are full of flavor and incredibly easy to make. Ground turkey is seasoned with Italian spices, Parmesan, garlic, and onions, then shaped into tender meatballs. A quick bake in the oven creates deliciously browned turkey meatballs that are cooked all the way through but still so moist. Brushing the meatballs with a marinara coating gives them an extra layer of savory flavor. In just 40 minutes, you can have these tasty turkey meatballs on the table ready to enjoy on their own or served over pasta, on sandwiches or subs, or added to any of your favorite recipes. With simple ingredients and steps, even beginner cooks can master these mouthwatering baked turkey meatballs that make the perfect appetizer or healthy weeknight dinner.


  • 1 lb 1 93% lean ground turkey

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 panko breadcrumbs

  • 1 large 1 egg

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 diced onion

  • 2 cloves 2 garlic, minced

  • 1 tbsp 1 Italian seasoning

  • 1/2 tsp 1/2 salt

  • 1/4 tsp 1/4 black pepper

  • 1/4 cup 1/4 Parmesan cheese

  • 2 tbsp 2 olive oil

  • 1/2 cup 1/2 marinara sauce


  • Step-by-Step Instructions

    Prep the Turkey Meatball Mix
  • Combine the ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper, and Parmesan cheese in a large bowl.
  • Use clean hands to mix everything together until well combined. Do not overmix.
  • Form the Meatballs
  • Using a small cookie scoop or spoon, form the turkey mixture into golf ball sized meatballs.
  • Arrange the uncooked meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet as you form them. Space them about 1 inch apart.
  • Chill the formed meatballs in the refrigerator for 15-30 minutes. This helps them hold their shape better while baking.
  • Bake the Meatballs
  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Add olive oil and marinara sauce in a small bowl. Brush or spoon the sauce evenly over the turkey meatballs.
  • Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. Meatballs should register 165°F on a food thermometer.
  • For extra flavor, sprinkle shredded cheese over the meatballs during the last 5 minutes of baking.
  • Finish and Serve
  • Remove meatballs from the oven and let cool for 5 minutes before serving.
  • Serve meatballs on their own, over spaghetti with extra sauce, in sub sandwiches, or however you desire. Enjoy!


  • For Serving (Optional)
  • Spaghetti and extra marinara sauce
  • Sub sandwich rolls
  • Lettuce, tomato, onion for sandwiches
  • Cheese for topping meatballs

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Ground turkey meatballs

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