Need an easy weeknight dinner? These 5-Ingredient Turkey Meatballs make a quick healthy meal and can be frozen, too!
Turkey meatballs are an easy and healthy recipe that you can use in many different ways!
Whether it’s for spaghetti, Swedish meatballs, or even your favorite BBQ meatballs, this one recipe can be used for them all.
You can even double and make a big batch of these to freeze for those busy weeknights!
And yes, this great recipe only has 5 main ingredients but still the best flavor- perfect for this busy mom, but you can fine-tune this and make it your own.
Read on to find substitutions, add-ins, and cooking instructions for this turkey meatballs recipe!
Why use ground turkey?
Ground turkey is one of my favorite proteins! I use it instead of ground beef for many of my recipes. Ground turkey can be used in healthier options for some people:
- It’s a lean protein, so it’s lower in fat. Especially saturated fat, which my family is trying to cut back on for cholesterol reasons. It still has a great flavor, though.
- It’s lower in calories. Poultry tends to be lower in calories than beef, which can be nice if you’re trying to lower calories to lose weight.
- It’s a little cheaper. Inflation has hit hard, but the great thing is I can still find ground turkey cheaper than most other meats. I use FlashFood to help find good markdowns on meat at the grocery store!
Now, you COULD use ground beef or ground pork instead! The recipe would stay the same, but the texture and flavor would definitely be different.
These have some really simple ingredients:
- Ground turkey: For this turkey meatball recipe, I used 99% lean ground turkey; but I’ve also used 90% and 85% learn turkey with great results. If you’re thawing from frozen, make sure it’s completely thawed before working with it!
- Panko bread crumbs: Used as a binder and helps absorb the juices from the meat, keeping your meatballs tender and flavorful!
- Egg: Also used as a binder.
- Italian seasoning: My main seasoning for this recipe. The bottle I use contains basil, oregano, thyme, and rosemary; so if you have all of those separate ingredients, feel free to use those instead.
- Salt/ black pepper
Other great options for this ground turkey mixture
- Form it into a giant loaf and make a turkey meatloaf! You’d have to cook it longer but it uses the same ingredients. Just add a tomato sauce or other favorite sauce on top.
- Turn them into turkey burgers! Instead of rolling them into balls, flatten them into round discs and cook on the stovetop.
- Add taco seasoning and make them Mexican-inspired meatballs! I can see this used in a burrito bowl with rice, black beans, sour cream, salsa, and maybe tortilla chips.
How to make these meatballs
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.
Combine the meat mixture with your hands or a spoon until fully mixed.
Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (I use an olive oil kind). Roll the meatball mixture into small equal portions. I use a small cookie scoop to make it easier; or you could use a tablespoon to help.
Space the uncooked meatballs about one inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes. If your meatballs are larger, you may need to cook for 12-14 minutes.
When they’re finished, the internal temperature should read at least 165 degrees F. I use a meat thermometer for this.
Use them in your favorite recipe or eat them with your favorite side items!
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Can you freeze these meatballs?
Absolutely! I’ve frozen them both cooked and uncooked; but I highly recommend you cook them first because it just makes life easier when you’re ready to eat them.
For both ways, lay the meatballs on a sheet pan lined with parchment paper. Make sure they’re all separated in a single layer, and place in the freezer overnight. Then you can transfer them to a gallon-size freezer bag or your favorite freezer container.
These baked turkey meatballs will stay fresh in the freezer up to 3 months. They’re still safe to eat after that, but you just risk them getting freezer burnt!
To thaw, just place the bag in the fridge overnight. You can also put them in the slow cooker with your favorite sauce and cook on LOW. This helps to make a quick dinner in the future!
Can you cook these in the slow cooker?
Yes, you can! But for best results, I recommend adding a sauce to them as they cook, so they don’t dry out.
Just spray the inside of your slow cooker; add the meatballs in a single layer; pour the sauce over top; and cook on LOW for 4-6 hours.
- Use ground beef, pork, or other ground meat instead of turkey.
- Use either plain or Italian bread crumbs in place of Panko.
- To make this recipe gluten free, you can use rolled oats instead of bread crumbs! I just add them in whole; but you could run them through a food processor to make them more fine.
- Add some grated or shredded Parmesan cheese for more flavor!
- Add in red pepper flakes for a bit of spice.
- You can make the meatballs bigger and get less total; but you’ll have to adjust the cooking time and add a couple extra minutes.
Meal ideas that use these meatballs
- Spaghetti and meatballs using your favorite pasta sauce. For a low-carb option you could use zucchini noodles instead!
- Meatball subs (Can use spaghetti sauce, pizza sauce, or even BBQ sauce)
- Slow cooker BBQ meatballs
What to serve with this turkey meatball recipe
- Bread Machine Breadsticks
- Steamed or roasted vegetables (We like green beans and broccoli)
- Brown rice
- Side salad with lots of fresh veggies
- Air fryer sweet potatoes
Other easy ground turkey recipes
Have a lot of ground turkey and need to use it all up? Here are some of the best ground turkey recipes I’ve made!
I make these in my meal prep sessions every so often to give me an easy dinner later on! Look below to print the recipe for these easy turkey meatballs and tell me what you think!
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1/2 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
- In a large bowl, add the ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, Italian seasoning, and salt and pepper.
- Combine the meat mixture with your hands or a spoon until fully mixed.
- Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray (I use an olive oil kind). Roll the meatball mixture into small equal portions. I use a small cookie scoop to make it easier; or you could use a tablespoon to help.
- Space the uncooked meatballs about one inch apart. Bake for 10 minutes. If your meatballs are larger, you may need to cook for 12-14 minutes.
- When they're finished, the internal temperature should read at least 165 degrees F. I use a meat thermometer for this.
- Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 73Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 57mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 6g
Jaime is a Nutrition Coach and professional writer. She enjoys cooking easy meals, running, and learning more about food.
Jaime specializes in helping women with ADHD learn to meal plan and cook healthier meals without getting overwhelmed.