These classic turkey meatballs are simply seasoned and cooked to perfection (either in a skillet on the stovetop or in the oven) — they’re delicious paired with noodles and red sauce or with any sides you love!
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This recipe is…
These turkey meatballs are wonderful! They’re simple enough to be paired with any sides you love + classic enough to be popped into a bowl of spaghetti noodles and red sauce. I love them, my whole family loves them, and I’d be willing to bet that YOU will love them too!
You’ll need ingredients for the meatballs themselves and, if you’re planning to serve them spaghetti-style (like we did), the ingredients needed for serving. Here’s everything you’ll need:
For the Meatballs
- Ground Turkey – to start, you’ll need 2 pounds of ground turkey.
- Garlic – 3 cloves of minced garlic go into the meat mixture for some added flavor.
- Onion – ½ of a yellow onion gets finely diced and thrown into the mixture as well.
- Egg – 1 egg helps to hold all of the meatball ingredients together.
- Panko Breadcrumbs – a ½ cup of panko breadcrumbs head into the meatball mixture.
- Fresh Parsley – 2 tablespoons of finely chopped, fresh parsley gives the meatballs delicious flavor and (bonus!) adds a nice, bright color to the dish.
- Salt and Pepper – because of the use of fresh garlic, onion, and parsley, the only seasonings you’ll need here are 1 teaspoon of salt and a ¼ teaspoon of ground black pepper.
- Avocado Oil (Optional) – if you plan on cooking the meatballs in a hot skillet on the stovetop, you’ll also need about 2 tablespoons of avocado oil.
To Serve (Optional)
- Marinara Sauce – if you’re serving the turkey meatballs as a spaghetti and red sauce protein, you’ll need to grab 1 jar of your favorite marinara sauce.
- Spaghetti Noodles – you’ll also need 1 box of spaghetti noodles.
- Shaved Parmesan Cheese – a ¼ cup of shaved parmesan cheese gets sprinkled on top of the finished dish!
Though this recipe is top-notch as written, feel free to modify it as needed. A few swaps that I know will work:
- Make it gluten-free: use GF panko breadcrumbs and (if using) GF spaghetti noodles.
- Use a different protein: if turkey isn’t your thing, that’s ok! Use ground chicken, beef, or pork instead.
- Use garlic + onion powder instead of fresh: if you’re out of fresh garlic or onion, use granulated instead! If you go this route, you’ll need a ½ teaspoon of garlic powder and a ½ tablespoon of onion powder.
- Serve it with something else: feel free to get creative here and serve your meatballs with something besides spaghetti noodles and red sauce! These would be great alongside rice or quinoa and a simple green veggie.
How to Make
The process is super easy! Here’s how you’ll bring it together:
- Make the meatball mixture – mix together the ground turkey, garlic, yellow onion, egg, panko, parsley, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into 2 tablespoon-sized meatballs.
- Cook the meatballs – cook the meatballs all the way through either in a skillet on the stovetop or on a sheet pan in the oven. Skillet method: heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs, and cook on 3-4 sides until browned and cooked through, tossing every 4 minutes. Oven method: preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatball registers 165°F.
- Cook the noodles (optional) – cook the noodles in a pot on the stove according to package directions.
- Add the marinara sauce (optional) – while the noodles are cooking, add the marinara sauce to the skillet with the cooked meatballs and toss, then bring to a low simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Garnish, serve, and enjoy – serve over noodles with a garnish of parmesan cheese (optional), and enjoy (not optional!).
How to Store and Reheat
How to Store in the Fridge
Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge. Stored this way, your cooked turkey meatballs will stay good in the fridge for up to 5 days.
How to Freeze
Cook your meatballs, let them cool, then freeze them in an airtight container for up to 3 months. I recommend labeling the container you store them in with the date so that you know exactly what date you need to eat them by!
How do you reheat frozen turkey meatballs?
Reheat your frozen meatballs by popping them onto a baking sheet and baking at 350°F until heated all the way through.
Turkey Meatball FAQs
You’ll know your baked turkey meatballs are done when they’re browned on the outside, fully cooked through, and when the internal temperature registers 165°F.
Nothing’s worse than meatballs that fall apart the second they’re served — both the egg and breadcrumbs will help these bad boys stay together!
I personally really love the flavor that pan-searing my meatballs creates, but the ease of oven-baked meatballs definitely has me utilizing that method most often. In the end, both are delicious, so do what you have the time (and hands) for!
Overcooking your meatballs is a sure-fire way to dry them out, so be sure to use a thermometer to keep them from overcooking. If you don’t have a thermometer and you overcook your meatballs a tad, serving them in some sort of sauce will help to disguise any potential dryness!
If you don’t want to serve your meatballs with pasta, feel free to sub with a different starch instead. Quinoa, rice (white, wild, or brown), farro, or any other grain would be great.
For the Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground turkey
- 3 cloves garlic minced
- ½ yellow onion finely diced
- 1 egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons fresh parsley finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons avocado oil
To Serve (optional)
- 1 jar marinara sauce
- 1 box spaghetti noodles
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese shaved
- Mix together the ground turkey, garlic, yellow onion, egg, panko, parsley, salt, and pepper. Form mixture into 2 tablespoon-sized meatballs.
- Cook the meatballs all the way through either in a skillet on the stovetop or on a sheet pan in the oven.
- Skillet method – heat the avocado oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook on 3-4 sides until browned and cooked through, tossing every 4 minutes.
- Oven method – preheat the oven to 375°F, and bake the meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet for 15-20 minutes, until a meat thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatball registers 165°F.
- Optional step – cook the noodles in a pot on the stove according to package directions.
- Optional step – while the noodles are cooking, add the marinara sauce to the skillet with the cooked meatballs and toss, then bring to a low simmer for 5-10 minutes.
- Serve over noodles with a garnish of parmesan cheese (optional), and enjoy!