These healthy turkey meatballs are made with lean ground turkey and simple seasonings, making them a weeknight dinner favorite.
They are low in fat, packed with protein, and incredibly easy to make. Plus, they’re versatile—you can incorporate them into practically any dish, from pasta or pizza to a Banh Mi sandwich.
Comfort Food, Made Healthy!
Traditional spaghetti and meatballs is a classic comfort food staple. Savory, tender meatballs mixed with tangy garlic basil marinara sauce, all piled on a heap of Al dente spaghetti noodles and dusted with fresh parmesan. It sparks memories of family gatherings with family and friends, cozy Sunday dinners, and comforting aromas.
These healthy ground turkey meatballs pay homage to that memory in the best way – and they are good for you!
One of the best features of homemade meatballs is their versatility. Whether it’s these spicy Moroccan lamb meatballs, mini Asian pork meatballs, or keto Italian meatballs, there are so many flavors you can impart on these savory spheres of goodness.
Why This Recipe Works
- Easy to make with minimal ingredients, most of which you likely already have on hand.
- Leaner than meatballs made from ground beef or sausage.
- Versatile. You can make them with a variety of spices and serve them with many different sauces, like this red wine tomato sauce, our easy San Marzano sauce, or lemon garlic butter sauce.
- Comfort food made easy and healthy.
Here are the ingredients you will need for ground turkey meatballs. For all the details, scroll down to the printable recipe card.
- Ground turkey. – Any lean ground turkey will do and you can even use ground chicken.
- Onion. The juices from the onion add flavor and moisture. If you substitute the onion with onion powder, add a splash of chicken broth to the meatloaf mixture.
- Bread crumbs.
- Garlic. We used fresh garlic but you can substitute with garlic powder.
- Lemon. Lemon zest adds a vibrant flavor to the ground turkey.
- Seasonings. – We used ground fennel, allspice, salt & pepper and fresh parsley.
Here is a brief overview of the healthy turkey meatball recipe, but make sure you scroll down to the printable recipe card for all the details.
Grate the onion over a bowl, then add the bread crumbs and milk. Add the seasonings, lemon zest, and parmesan, and stir well. Stir in the ground turkey.
Form the ground turkey mixture into small balls and place on a baking sheet, then refrigerate for 1 hour. To bake them, brush them with oil and pop them in the oven until cooked through.
If you want to cook them on the stovetop: Fry the meatballs in batches of 5-8 at a time. Roll the meatballs to brown them on all sides. As each batch browns, transfer them to a plate.
To cook them in sauce, add marinara sauce to the skillet and simmer the meatballs for 15 minutes.
✅ Substitutions and Variations
- Add fresh herbs like rosemary, oregano, or basil.
- Change up the seasonings: add red pepper flakes or chili powder for a spicy bite or get creative with Spiceology spices and try their Black and Bleu seasoning or Buffalo wing seasoning.
- Add chopped mushrooms for extra moisture and texture (see our turkey meatloaf recipe to see how we incorporated mushrooms).
You can store the meatballs in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months, making these healthy turkey meatballs perfect for meal prep.
Store them in an airtight container to prevent freezer burn.
This is a great make-ahead recipe. Make a double batch and freeze some for a quick and easy meal next month.
? Tips for Success
- Make sure you chill your meatballs after forming and before cooking: refrigerating your meatballs at least an hour before cooking helps them hold their shape throughout the cooking process.
- Use a small cookie scoop to form meatballs quickly.
- For a healthy, low-calorie dinner option, serve the meatballs over baked spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles.
- Place parchment paper on the baking sheet to make clean up fast and easy.
If you are wondering what to serve with turkey meatballs, here are a few suggestions.
- truffle mashed potatoes with white wine mushroom sauce
- butternut squash pasta and spinach salad with goat cheese
- giant stuffed shells and sugar snap pea salad
- Cajun rice with garlic butter sauce
- wild blend rice with mushroom marsala sauce
More Meatball Recipes
Here are some more meatball recipes that work well as an appetizer or main meal.
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- Roast beef pasta skillet
- Turkey pasta bake
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- 1 small white onion
- ¾ cup bread crumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 1 teaspoon dried fennel seed, crushed with a mortar
- ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
- 4 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
- ¼ teaspoon ground allspice
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1 pound ground turkey
- olive oil for browning
- Optional: 1 (28-ounce) jar of prepared marinara sauce
Make the Turkey Meatballs:
- Grate the onion over a bowl and collect the juices and minced onion in the bowl. Add the bread crumbs and milk to the bowl. Let the mixture sit for 5 minutes.
- Add the egg, crushed fennel seed, Parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, lemon zest, allspice, salt, and black pepper. Stir well, then add the ground turkey. Gently mix until all the ingredients are blended.
- Form the meat into small balls about 1-½ inches in diameter. Place the meatballs on a tray or baking sheet in one layer and refrigerate for 1 to 2 hours. See below to cook the meatballs on the stovetop in marinara sauce or in the oven.
To Cook on the Stovetop
- In a large skillet, heat 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat. Fry the meatballs in batches of 5-8 at a time. Roll the meatballs to brown them on all sides. As each batch browns, transfer them to a plate. The meatballs will be slightly underdone and will finish cooking in the simmering sauce or in the oven.
- Add the marinara sauce to the saucepan and bring it to a simmer while scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan. Add the turkey meatballs (along with their juices) and reduce the heat to low. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.
To Cook in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 375°F and place the meatballs on a baking sheet.
- Brush the tops of the meatballs with olive oil and slide them into the oven.
- Bake for 18 to 25 minutes or until cooked through. If you have an instant-read thermometer, the internal temperature of the meatballs should read 165°F.
- You can store the meatballs in the fridge for up to four days or in the freezer for up to three months.
- For a healthy, low-calorie dinner option, serve the meatballs over baked spaghetti squash. Just cut a spaghetti squash in half, drizzle it with olive oil, and sprinkle it with salt and pepper. Bake it at 400°F for 40 to 45 minutes. Scrape the strands of squash with a fork and serve it like spaghetti noodles.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 8 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 314Total Fat: 14gSodium: 422mgCarbohydrates: 24gSugar: 12gProtein: 21g