Turkey Meatballs

Best turkey meatballs ever. Made with ground turkey, mushrooms, onions, and a touch of mayo, they are tender, flavorful, and not at ALL dry! Includes an optional tomato sauce recipe.

Turkey Meatballs in tomato sauce in a white dish

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

My father stopped by the other day to say hello. I offered him lunch which he declined but he did take me up on the offer to try one of these turkey meatballs.

One bite and two wide eyes later, "Wow, why didn't you tell me they were good?" Lunch served.

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How to Make Turkey Meatballs

How to Make Turkey Meatballs That Aren't Dry

I love ground turkey, but it can be dry. Often for turkey meatballs, we do things to compensate for the dryness, like adding moistened breadcrumbs or egg. Grated zucchini is an option too.

For these turkey meatballs, we skip breadcrumbs and instead get extra moisture from the addition of lots of minced mushrooms and a little mayonnaise. The mushrooms give the turkey meatballs a meaty flavor. The mayonnaise, which is just an emulsion of oil, egg, and vinegar, not only adds some needed fat but a bit of egg to help as a binder.

Turkey Meatballs served with and without sauce on platters

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

A Flexible Turkey Meatball Recipe

The meatballs are tender, have more flavor, and on top of that are gluten-free! Serve these easy turkey meatballs with or without sauce. They're great both ways.

This turkey meatball recipe is wonderfully flexible. You can form small meatballs for appetizer bites, or larger ones for a main course meal. You could even flatten them to make turkey burgers.

How to Freeze Meatballs for Later

You can freeze both the cooked or uncooked meatballs. If cooked, let the meatballs cool completely before freezing.

For either, space them out on a parchment-lined sheet pan so the meatballs aren't touching. Freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer container or plastic bag with as much air pressed out as possible. Freeze for up to 3 months.

Thaw the meatballs overnight in the fridge. Cook uncooked meatballs following the directions in the recipe. Cooked meatballs can be gently rewarmed in tomato sauce over medium heat.

Turkey Meatballs in tomato sauce in a white dish

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Looking for More Meatball Recipes?

Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time 15 mins
Cook Time 25 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Servings 4 to 6 servings
Yield 16 to 24 meatballs

This recipe includes an easy tomato sauce that pairs nicely with the meatballs, but you can use a store-bought sauce, a different sauce, or serve them as-is without sauce.

If you want a more pronounced mushroom flavor, add a few more minced shiitake mushrooms to the mix.

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 1 tablespoon butter

  • 1 large shallot, minced (about 1 tablespoon)

  • 1 clove garlic, minced (about 1 teaspoon)

  • 6 ounces mushrooms (a mix of shiitake and cremini), finely chopped

  • 1 teaspoon herbes de Provence

  • 1 pound ground turkey (we prefer thigh meat)

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, plus more for garnish

  • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard

  • 1/2 teaspoon balsamic vinegar

  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon zest, optional

  • 1 tablespoon mayonnaise

  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

For the optional marinara sauce

  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

  • 1/4 cup minced onion

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced (2 teaspoons)

  • 1 (28-ounce) can whole peeled tomatoes

  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Special Equipment

  • Blender or food processor

Method

  1. Cook the shallots and mushrooms:

    Melt the butter in a small frying pan over medium heat. Add the minced shallots and cook gently for 3 to 4 minutes until softened.

    Stir in the minced garlic and the mushrooms. Continue to cook on medium heat until the mushrooms are cooked through and have given up some, but not all, of their moisture.

    saute shallots for turkey meatballs
    Elise Bauer
    saute mushrooms for turkey meatballs
    Elise Bauer

    Stir in the herbes de Provence. Remove from heat. Place in a bowl to cool.

  2. Make the meatball mixture:

    In a large mixing bowl, place the ground turkey, parsley, Dijon mustard, balsamic vinegar, lemon zest if using, mayonnaise, salt, black pepper, and the cooled mushroom shallot mixture.

    Using your clean hands gently mix the turkey and other ingredients together until well combined. Don't over mix.

    make turkey meatball mixture
    Elise Bauer
  3. Shape the meatballs:

    Form the meatballs, 1 to 1 1/2 inches wide, depending on your preference. Smaller meatballs with be easier to serve as a one-bite appetizer, larger meatballs for a main dish. Place the meatballs on a tray.

    put formed turkey meatballs on a tray
    Elise Bauer
  4. Brown the meatballs:

    Heat the olive oil in a large sauté pan on medium-low to medium heat. Once the oil is hot, place the meatballs in the pan, allowing for space around each meatball.

    brown the turkey meatballs
    Elise Bauer

    Do not crowd the pan; if your pan isn't big enough, cook the meatballs in batches. Gently cook the meatballs until cooked through, turning them frequently so that they get lightly browned on all sides. If meatballs are not browning, increase the burner heat a little.

    brown the turkey meatballs on all sides
    Elise Bauer
  5. Make the marinara sauce (optional):

    Heat a tablespoon of olive oil in a sauté pan on medium heat. Add the minced onions and cook until translucent, about 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook for one minute more.

    While the onions and garlic are cooking, pulse the canned tomatoes in their juices in a blender or food processor until chopped, but not completely smooth.

    Add the tomatoes to the onion-garlic mixture. Cook for 10 minutes. Add salt and pepper to taste.

    saute onions for turkey meatball tomato sauce
    Elise Bauer
    make tomato sauce for turkey meatballs
    Elise Bauer

    Add meatballs to the sauce. Simmer for a minute to warm the meatballs through. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley to serve.

    Add turkey meatballs to tomato sauce
    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
268 Calories
19g Fat
4g Carbs
20g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4 to 6
Amount per serving
Calories 268
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 5g 26%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 329mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 4g 2%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Total Sugars 2g
Protein 20g
Vitamin C 3mg 17%
Calcium 49mg 4%
Iron 2mg 13%
Potassium 370mg 8%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.