Turkey Meatballs

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These Italian Healthy Turkey Meatballs are flavorful and moist! They’re bound together with oatmeal (no breadcrumbs), gluten-free, dairy-free, and very easy to make with only 8 ingredients in under 30 minutes. They can be cooked on the stovetop or baked in the oven.

up close front view of six Healthy Turkey Meatballs in a bowl on top of zucchini noodles


Spaghetti and meatballs is one of our family’s favorite meals! These healthy turkey meatballs are so delicious and easy to make they are the perfect lightened-up weeknight dinner.

These Italian turkey meatballs are flavorful and moist – and are easy to make in 30 minutes.

Serve them with your favorite sauce (like this homemade pesto) over zucchini noodles (zoodles), your favorite pasta or as a yummy appetizer! 

overhead view of a bowl of Healthy Turkey Meatballs covered in marinara sauce garnished with chopped fresh basil

Turkey Meatballs: Ingredients & Substitutions

overhead photo of the labeled ingredients in this turkey  meatballs recipe
  • Ground turkey. This recipe calls for 16 ounces of ground turkey! Also try these ground chicken meatballs or traditional homemade beef meatballs.
  • Marinara Sauce: Choose your favorite sauce, or you can substitute whole milk for the pasta sauce. Or, make your own homemade marinara sauce.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. BBQ sauce is a good substitute.
  • Garlic Powder. 2 teaspoons minced garlic is a good substitute for garlic powder.
  • Onion Powder. ¼ cup finely diced onion is a good substitute for the onion powder.
  • Quick Cooking Oatmeal. The oatmeal is the binder in this recipe. You can use oat flour by putting the oats into a blender and blending them into oat flour (it takes 5 seconds)! If you’d prefer to use oat flour, you can grind up old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking. Or you can substitute breadcrumbs for the oats.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes. You can use either sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil or dried, just be sure to not add too much extra oil.
  • Fresh Basil. Fresh is the best, but dried works in a pinch.
up close view of a Healthy Turkey Meatball cut in half on top of other meatballs in sauce

How to Make Turkey Meatballs

Let’s discuss how to make turkey meatballs, and don’t forget to watch the video.

Begin by combining the wet ingredients, then add the dry and stir until the mixture is uniform throughout.

Then, use a cookie scoop to make all the turkey meatballs uniform in size. This ensures the meatballs will bake evenly.

Please note, the turkey meatball mixture will feel a little “loose” but it will form a ball easily and they should not fall apart at all. The moistness of the mixture results in a deliciously moist final product! 

Cook the Turkey Meatballs

There are two ways to cook this turkey meatballs recipe; bake them in the oven or cook them on the stovetop. Make sure tjhe final temperature of the turkey meatballs reaches 160 degrees F on a digital instant read food thermometer.

Bake in the Oven

Grease a baking sheet, evenly space the turkey meatballs on it and then bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes. I usually prefer baking the meatballs because it’s easier and less messy. Also, all 16 meatballs fit on a large baking sheet, so you won’t have to cook them in batches.

two overhead photos, the left shows unbaked Healthy Turkey Meatballs on a baking sheet before baking, the right shows the meatballs on the baking sheet after they have been baked.

Cook on the Stovetop

To cook on the stovetop, fry them in a thin layer of olive oil in a non-stick fry pan with a lid. Covering the turkey meatballs while they’re cooking ensures they are cooked through before they get too brown.

I recommend cooking these turkey meatballs in two batches of 8 instead of trying to load all 16 in one pan! It takes 8-10 minutes per batch so it’s very quick! 

two overhead photos of Healthy Turkey Meatballs in a nonstick fry pan. the left shows them before cooking, the right shows them once they have been cooked.

Serve

I recommend serving these turkey meatballs with your favorite tomato sauce, or this homemade basil pesto! Since you only use ½ cup of jarred sauce in the recipe, the rest can be used for serving. More suggestions include:

front view of pasta sauce being poured into a nonstick fry pan with zucchini noodles and Healthy Turkey Meatballs

Store

Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Freeze

Freeze turkey meatballs in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 months.

Thaw by warming them in your favorite sauce, or heating them in a covered dish in the oven.

up close front view of six Healthy Turkey Meatballs in a bowl on top of zucchini noodles

Turkey Meatballs Recipe FAQs

How do you reheat turkey meatballs?

Put them in a 9×9 or 9×13″ baking dish. Cover with foil and bake at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes if refrigerated, and 20-30 minutes if frozen, or until warmed through. 

What should I serve with meatballs?

Serve on top of a bed of zucchini noodles (aka: zoodles), pictured here!
With your favorite store-bought pasta, or your own homemade whole wheat pasta!
With a side of balsamic roasted vegetables
As an appetizer! 
Make them into a healthier meatball sub!
With a side of roasted broccoli, roasted Brussels sprouts or parmesan roasted green beans!

How do you keep meatballs from falling apart? 

Cooking the turkey meatballs using one of these two methods before adding them to your sauce of choice is the best way to ensure they do not fall apart. This way they are nice and browned and hold up very well when you add sauce to serve them!

overhead view of a Healthy Turkey Meatball cut in half on top of zucchini noodles with pasta sauce and garnished with fresh chopped basil

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Italian Turkey Meatballs

Laura
These Italian Turkey Meatballs are flavorful and moist! They're bound together with oatmeal (no breadcrumbs), gluten-free, dairy-free, and very easy to make with only 8 ingredients in under 30 minutes. They can be cooked on the stovetop or baked in the oven.
5 from 8 votes
Course Main Course, Side Dish
Cuisine Italian
Servings 16 Servings
Calories 62.2
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time15 minutes
Total Time25 minutes

Ingredients 
 

Instructions 

Make the Meatballs

  • Mix together turkey, egg, marinara sauce and Worcestershire sauce until mixture is homogenous (uniform throughout).
  • Add sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and onion powder and stir to combine.
  • Add oatmeal, sun dried tomatoes and fresh basil and stir until evenly distributed.
  • Use a cookie scoop and scoop 2 Tablespoons turkey mixture, then roll it with your hands.

Cook on the Stovetop

  • Add 1-2 Tablespoons olive oil to a nonstick fry pan and turn heat to medium.
  • Add half of the meatballs (8) and cover.
  • Cook, covered, on one side for 4-5 minutes or until they are golden-brown.
  • Remove lid and flip the meatballs. Cook for another 4-5 minutes until meatballs are golden brown and the internal temperature is 160 degrees F.

Cook in the Oven

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place turkey meatballs on a greased baking sheet evenly spread out.
  • Bake in preheated oven for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through. Meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.

Serve

  • Serve with your favorite pasta sauce, pesto, etc.
  • Serve over zucchini noodles or your favorite pasta!

Video

Notes

Ingredient Substitutions
  • Ground turkey. This recipe calls for 16 ounces of ground turkey! Also try these ground chicken meatballs or traditional homemade beef meatballs.
  • Marinara Sauce: Choose your favorite sauce, or you can substitute whole milk for the pasta sauce, or make this marinara sauce recipe.
  • Worcestershire Sauce. BBQ sauce is a good substitute.
  • Garlic Powder. 2 teaspoons minced garlic is a good substitute for garlic powder.
  • Onion Powder. ¼ cup finely diced onion is a good substitute for the onion powder.
  • Quick Cooking Oatmeal. The oatmeal is the binder in this recipe. You can use oat flour by putting the oats into a blender and blending them into oat flour (it takes 5 seconds)! If you’d prefer to use oat flour, you can grind up old-fashioned oats instead of quick-cooking. Or you can substitute breadcrumbs for the oats.
  • Sun-Dried Tomatoes. You can use either sun dried tomatoes that are packed in oil or dried, just be sure to not add too much extra oil.
  • Fresh Basil. Fresh is the best, but dried works in a pinch.
Store
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
Freeze
Freeze in a single layer in an airtight container for up to 2 months. 
Thaw slowly in the refrigerator or at room temperature then use in your favorite recipe. You can also thaw them quicker by warming them in your favorite sauce.

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatball | Calories: 62.2kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.1g | Protein: 6.5g | Fat: 2.8g | Saturated Fat: 0.8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Cholesterol: 31.6mg | Sodium: 157.8mg | Potassium: 36.2mg | Fiber: 0.5g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 45IU | Vitamin C: 0.6mg | Calcium: 5mg | Iron: 0.7mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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Recipe Rating




5 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Thank you SO much for this recipe! I am now making it once or twice a week, and having meatballs with zoodles for a healthy lunch. 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    I just got on here to print this recipe because it’s been a family favorite for probably at least a year now and I’m trying to finally put together a recipe book of our commonly made meals. We don’t put in the sun dried tomatoes (both for ease of always having the ingredients and because my husband isn’t a big fan) but ALL of us – including my kids and including babies before teeth come in as mentioned below – absolutely love these meatballs! Thank you for the recipe!!

  3. 5 stars
    I forgot to add the sun-dried tomatoes…BUT I did have fresh basil on hand from our patio garden and they turned out great all the same. The baby ate 2!!! Which is a big deal! Will for sure be making these again, with everything!

    1. Thank you Sarah! I’m so glad you enjoyed them! Meatballs are my FAVORITE way to get my babies to eat meat! And these are so moist they’re easy for them to enjoy even before they get a lot of teeth!