You must be logged in to bookmark
Log In / Sign Up

Click here to see the related post

This is how you make the BEST Turkey Meatballs!

RECIPE: This is how you make the BEST Turkey Meatballs!

Want to make the best tasting meatballs? I’ve got you covered. Just-ground turkey with loads of veggies  – and a technique that adds ton of flavor, and yields a tender meatball!

The BEST Turkey Meatball recipe ever!
Use a scoop to ensure evenly shaped meatballs

The Technique: brown meatballs in a skillet, then cover with sauce and bake. 

This is how you make the BEST Turkey Meatballs!


2 pounds freshly ground turkey* (thigh)

¾ cup onion, peeled, small dice

1 tablespoon freshly grated garlic

½ cup finely grated carrot  

½ cup finely grated zucchini 

1  ½ cups fresh spinach, cleaned and dried (packed)

1/ 4 cup fresh parsley, cleaned, dried and chopped

1 slice white bread; gluten-free, Italian or Sourdough 

1 large egg, beaten (I used pasture raised) 

2 teaspoons Italian seasoning, ground fine with your fingertips

½ teaspoon chipotle chili powder (can use red pepper flakes)

1 teaspoon sea salt 

1 cup chopped tomatoes in juice ( I use Pomi brand)

1 tablespoon tomato paste (I use Mutti brand (has no “natural flavoring”)

2 ½ cups marinara sauce (I use Rao’s brand) 

¼ cup shaved reggiano parmesan cheese 

3 tablespoons fresh basil leaves



In a large bowl add first 12 ingredients.
For spinach – I add to my 4 cup food processor and pulse until fine.
Add a slice of bread after to the food processor, and pulse until fine crumbs.


Mix the ground turkey, vegetables and seasoning together until well distributed.
Have a rimmed baking tray ready lined with parchment paper.
Using a 2″ scoop – scoop out the mixture with rounded tops.
Use watered hands and roll the balls gently until nice and round.
Add them to the lined pan.


Freeze for 15 minutes until firm, yet not hard on the bottoms.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Add 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil to a large skillet – I use my seasoned cast iron one.
Heat to medium – when very hot add half of the meatballs and cook, shaking the pan, or gently rolling them with a wooden spoon – until good and browned all around.


Remove them to a 9″ x 13″ baking pan (I used ceramic.)
Repeat with remaining meatballs; add a teaspoon more oil if needed, add to baking pan.


In the skillet add the chopped tomatoes in juice and cook over moderate heat until reduced slightly, 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and marinara sauce and bring just to a boil.
Spoon the sauce over the meatballs.


Cover with parchment paper to fit (I recycle the parchment from the baking pan!)
Cover with heavy foil, seal tightly and bake in a preheated 350 degree oven for 45 minutes, until bubbly and cooked through.


To Serve:
Top meatballs and sauce over individual bowls of warm pasta.
Add roasted vegetables (if using) – shaved parmesan cheese and basil leaves and enjoy.


Roast Veggies for a Healthier Dinner:
Heat oven to 400 degrees.
Cut Japanese eggplant (very tender) in half lengthwise.
Cut small sized zucchini in half lengthwise.
Add to a baking pan – drizzle a few teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil with a pinch of salt & pepper. Mix in. Roast, cut side down until golden underneath and cooked through, 15 – 20 minutes. Cut on an angle into 1″ pieces and add to the meatballs.

*If possible ask you butcher to bring turkey thighs fresh for you. I have found there is a superior test difference, with no preservatives. Although – I also use a organic ground package.
Stays fresh almost 1 week when covered well in sauce and in an airtight container. These meatballs freeze well!

See BLOG for many more photos and information.

Also in blog: Investigation on packaged ground turkey; what is “rosemary extract”?

This recipe may not be reproduced without the consent of its author, Karen Sheer

To say hello, discuss a recipe, share one, or have a comment - I would love to know what you think!

    • H
    • 5 Mar 2020

    I’ve made America’s Test Kitchen turkey meatloaf and it was a ‘thumbs down’ as per my family. I agreed. I’ve also tried Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs and didn’t care for them. So I’m going to go to Whole Foods (aka.Whole Paycheck) for the turkey you suggest and try your recipe. I have several organic pasture farms near me, so once farmers markets open, I will purchase from them.
    Question: I prefer to bake the meatballs rather than fry. Will I get the same results?
    Many thanks.
    Your recipes are intriguing… you should post tutorial videos on YouTube. I would subscribe.

    1. Reply

      Thanks for your thoughts. Let me know how you like (love) the recipe!
      You CAN bake the meatballs. One reason I pan-fry is so that they stay “very round.”
      So bake them at a high temperature – 400 degrees until golden (can brush with olive oil.)
      Then – cover with sauce, turn heat down to 350, cover with sauce and bake until cooked and tender, about 30
      minutes more. Add parchment over, then foil.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Close Cookmode