This is a variation of our simple turkey meatballs base recipe. Chef V grew up eating seekh kebabs – a Pakistani ground beef skewer. She wanted to create a lighter, simplified version to share with her kids, and this recipe is the result. Make these Indian meatballs with raita yogurt sauce that feature ground turkey instead of beef. Decrease the saturated fat, but not the flavor!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for the Best Indian Spiced Meatballs
If you have picky eaters, dice the onions finely so that they don’t notice them.
When mixing the ingredients, don’t overwork the meat. Otherwise, the meatballs will turn out tough.
A portion scoop makes forming the meatballs fast and easy and keeps your hands from getting messy.
Cook the meatballs directly on the pan. Don’t use parchment paper; it hinders browning.
Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Cook turkey meatballs to 165ºF for food safety.
You will notice that the meatballs and sauce share some ingredients. Be sure to look at the total amount of each ingredient you need so that you can do all of your dicing and chopping at once! There are still only 10 ingredients (to keep our recipe promises), not counting salt, pepper, and oil.
- Ground Turkey: substitute ground chicken, ground salmon, or a mixture of ground beef and mushrooms. We don’t recommend fully substituting red meat as it is higher in saturated fat and might require recipe modifications.
- Red Onion: substitute white or yellow.
- Panko Bread Crumbs: substitute plain, whole wheat, or seasoned bread crumbs, but cut back on the added salt if you do. Panko is typically very low in sodium. If you want turkey meatballs without breadcrumbs, leave them out!
- Cilantro: substitute Italian parsley or chives, but note the flavor will be different.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute canola oil or avocado oil.
- Garam Masala: use a store-bought blend or make your own. You can also substitute tikka masala seasoning, chaat masala, or a curry powder.
- Lemon Zest: substitute 2 teaspoons freshly squeezed lemon juice.
- Plain Yogurt: use a fat percentage that fits within your diet. You can substitute plain Greek Yogurt, although it’s not traditional for raita. Greek yogurt is more tangy and thicker, so you might add a splash of milk to thin it out.
- Cucumber: use English or regular or leave out.
- Oil for the Pan: use cooking spray.
We love buying our spices from The Spice House. Click on the picture below to view & try out hundreds of flavorful spices and herbs!
Indian Meatball Variations
You can change up these meatballs by changing the meat. Make Indian chicken meatballs with ground chicken or a mixture of grass-fed ground beef and mushrooms for other lightened up versions. If you do choose to use 100% beef, don’t add the extra virgin olive oil to the mix.
If you want spicy Indian meatballs, add a diced green jalapeno or serrano to the mix. You can also add some fresh chopped mint, minced garlic, and/or minced ginger for a more authentic Indian flavor.
Need some recipe inspiration?
Use our base recipe as a guide to make these meatballs your own, or check out some of our other favorite meatball variations!
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success!
- Cutting Board
- Chef’s Knife
- Mixing Bowl
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Portion Scoop
- Baking Sheet
- Pastry Brush
- Cookie Spatula
Are these Indian meatballs healthy?
Not all meatballs are healthy on their own, but they can definitely be included in a well-balanced diet. These Indian turkey meatballs are a much healthier choice than their greasy counterparts; they are full of nutritious ingredients, including lean turkey, spices, and plain yogurt.
Turkey is a lean source of protein and is rich in B vitamins, and minerals such as iron.
Using spices decreases the need for salt, which may help reduce hypertension risk and therefore promote heart health. (1) Additionally, the garam masala contains powerful antioxidants which may help reduce inflammation in the body. (2)
Plain yogurt is a great source of B vitamins, calcium, protein, and probiotics. Select a fat content that works with your overall diet. If you tend to consume a lot of foods high in saturated fat, a low-fat or fat-free variety is your best choice. If you limit saturated fat in your diet, full-fat varieties are okay.
For more information about best ingredients to use, check out our ingredient guide!
Serve these Indian meatballs with yogurt sauce as an appetizer or build a wrap using a piece of naan.
How to Store and Reheat Indian Style Meatballs
Cool leftover meatballs completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days. Leftover meatballs can also be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place on a baking sheet and freeze. Once the meatballs are completely frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating.
Leftover raita can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
To reheat, place meatballs on a pan and place in a cold oven. Turn oven to heat to 350ºF. Once it hits 350° F, your meatballs should be warmed and ready!
Looking for more healthy dinner recipes?
Try out these flavorful recipes!
Indian Meatballs with Raita Yogurt Sauce
- 1 pound ground turkey, 93% lean or more
- ¼ cup finely diced red onion
- ¼ cup Panko bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- 1 teaspoon lemon zest (from 1 medium lemon)
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Dash of pepper
- 1 Tablespoon canola or avocado oil
Raita Yogurt Sauce
- ½ cup plain yogurt
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ Tablespoon finely diced cucumber
- ½ Tablespoon finely diced red onion
- ¼ teaspoon cumin
- Salt & pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Place turkey in a large bowl. Add onion, bread crumbs, cilantro, oil, egg, garam masala, lemon zest, salt, and pepper. Mix until just combined.
- Brush a baking sheet with the oil. Create golf ball-sized meatballs with your hands or a portion scoop and place on the pan, spacing them about 1” apart.
- Cook meatballs for 12-14 minutes or until cooked through to 165° F.
- While meatballs are cooking, prepare sauce. In a small bowl, combine yogurt with cilantro, cucumber, onion, and cumin. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve alongside meatballs. Enjoy!