Baked Turkey Meatballs are healthy, juicy meatballs that are baked and browned to perfection. The recipe requires minimal prep and cleanup, and tastes delicious in weeknight dinners like Italian Wedding Soup, spaghetti with meatballs, meatball sandwiches, and more.
Turkey meatballs are lean and full of garlicky, herby, cheesy flavor. Aside from the ground turkey, the rest of the ingredients are pantry staples you likely already have in your kitchen. Plus, it takes just a few minutes to prep and roll into meatballs, and it only takes 20-25 minutes to bake the meatballs in the oven.
Ingredients to Make Baked Turkey Meatballs
- Ground turkey - Ground turkey is a lean protein with delicious flavor. Ground turkey is generally lower in saturated fat than beef; therefore, it is a healthier protein for heart health.
- Egg - Egg binds the meat so the meat doesn't fall apart. Eggs are not a source for moisture and you only need one egg for 1-2 pounds of ground meat.
- Panko - Panko gives the meatballs texture and weight. Panko breadcrumbs are airy and light but can be substituted with regular or Italian breadcrumbs.
- Grated Parmigiano-Reggiano - Cheese adds flavor and salt! Parmigiano-Reggiano is a deliciously funky cheese that gives the meatballs Italian flavor.
- Garlic and Parsley - Meatballs need seasoning. Garlic and parsley brighten the meatballs with fresh herby flavors. Fresh garlic and parsley can be substituted for garlic powder and dried parsley or other herbs, like sweet basil, rosemary, and more.
How to Make Meatballs
- Combine ingredients - Combine ground turkey, egg, garlic cloves, panko, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl. Gently toss with your hands and break up the meat until evenly mixed.
- Form meatballs - Use your hands to roll and shape 1-inch meatballs. This turkey mix yield about 24 meatballs.
- Prepare baking sheet and cook - Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil, place raw meatballs on the baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
Equipment to Make Meatballs
Baked Turkey Meatballs requires a few kitchen essentials, all of which can be used for many other common recipes. To make these meatballs, you will need a knife, cutting board, cheese grater, mixing bowl, like this glass mixing bowl set, and baking sheet.
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How to Make Moist Meatballs
To make moist and tender turkey meatballs, use a half cup of breadcrumbs and one egg for every one pound of ground meat. This ratio allows the turkey to bind and retain moisture without tasting dry. For breadcrumbs, use panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, or Italian breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs can be used interchangeably to bind the meat.
Use your hands to mix the ground meat and form the meatballs. Your hands offer a gentler touch than a spoon or fork, which can crush the meat and make it tough. Additionally, only combine the meat and ingredients just until mixed as to not over mix the meat.
Is it Better to Fry or Bake Meatballs?
There are pros and cons to both frying and baking meatballs. Frying meatballs require more cleanup and potential oil splatter. In contrast, baked meatballs require less cleanup, no oil, and it is a healthier method than frying.
How to Tell if Baked Meatballs are Done
Turkey meatballs are done and safe to eat once the thermometer registers the internal temperature as 165 degrees F. Additionally, the center of the meatball will be fully cooked and not pink when cut in half.
What to Serve with Turkey Meatballs
Turkey meatballs taste delicious in so many dishes! As a result, this a versatile recipe that can be incorporated in dishes like:
- Spaghetti with meatballs - Spaghetti with turkey meatballs is a leaner alternative to traditional beef, veal, or pork meatballs. Place the meatballs on top of a nest of al dente spaghetti and top with a spoonful of marinara and grated cheese.
- Meatball sub - Turkey meatball subs are a delicious twist on an Italian hoagie. It's a delicious weeknight dinner sandwich served with a bright and refreshing arugula salad.
- Italian Wedding Soup - Italian Wedding Soup with Turkey Meatballs is a healthy, hearty soup made with tender garlicky turkey meatballs, farro, white beans, and baby kale. A cozy bowl of this lean and nutritious soup will warm you right up.
Baked Turkey Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko
- ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- ¼ cup flat-leaf parsley minced
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, 2 minced garlic cloves, panko, cheese, parsley, salt, and pepper in a large mixing bowl.
- Gently toss with your hands and break up the meat until evenly mixed. Then use your hands to roll and shape 1-inch meatballs.
- Lightly grease a baking sheet with olive oil, place raw meatballs on the baking sheet, and cook in the oven for 25 minutes. Remove the meatballs and set aside.
- Don't leave food sitting out at room temperature for extended periods