This is the variation of our simple turkey meatballs base recipe as seen in our Whole Life Meal Plan. Substituting turkey for beef helps cut saturated fat while still providing quality protein and essential vitamins and minerals. These spiced turkey meatballs are made with fresh garlic, herbs, and warming spices for a light and flavorful spin on traditionally bland and heavy meatballs!
Three Must-Know Cooking Skills
For recipe success, learn how to:
Culinary Tips for the Best Turkey Meatballs
If you have picky eaters, dice the onions and herbs 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.
Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Cook turkey meatballs to 165ºF for food safety.
- 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. If you do use red meat or salmon, do not add the oil called for in the ingredients.
- Yellow Onion: substitute white or red onion or shallot.
- 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! They just might be a little less moist.
- Extra Virgin Olive Oil: substitute canola oil or avocado oil.
- Cilantro: substitute Italian parsley. You can also use dried herbs. Typically, substitute 1 teaspoon dried in place of 1 tablespoon fresh, but reference your spice bottle or package for advice.
- Garlic: substitute 1 teaspoon pre-minced garlic, ½ teaspoon granulated garlic, or ¼ teaspoon garlic powder.
- Garam Masala: substitute curry powder for another Indian spiced meatballs variation. You can also substitute ras-el hanout to make Moroccan turkey meatballs.
- Canola 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!
Change up these meatballs by changing the meat. Make spiced chicken meatballs with ground chicken or use ground salmon or a mixture of grass-fed ground beef and mushrooms for other unique variations. If using salmon or 100% beef, don’t add the olive oil to the mix, as both of these meats contain more fat than turkey or chicken.
Add ¼ teaspoon cayenne or a dash of hot sauce to make spicy turkey meatballs.
Need some meatball recipe inspiration?
Use our base recipe as a guide, or try out these other tasty variations!
Use these kitchen tools for recipe success:
- Cutting Board
- Chef’s Knife
- Measuring Cups & Spoons
- Mixing Bowl
- Portion Scoop
- Baking Sheet
- Silicone Pastry Brush
- Cookie Spatula
Are garam masala meatballs healthy?
These turkey meatballs are a much healthier choice than their greasy counterparts; they are full of nutritious ingredients, including lean turkey, fresh herbs, and extra virgin olive oil.
Turkey is a lean source of protein. It is also rich in B vitamins and minerals, such as iron.
Not only do fresh herbs add a pop of freshness and flavor to a dish, but they add nutrition too! Herbs are rich in essential vitamins, minerals, and phytochemicals that promote health and help fight diseases.
Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Extra virgin olive oil is a key component of the Mediterranean Diet. It contains high amounts of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and polyphenols which may reduce inflammation. (1, 2) In this recipe, it replaces the saturated fat typically found in 100% beef meatballs.
Spice blends such as garam masala add flavor and nutrition to recipes. Using spices decreases the need for salt, which may help reduce hypertension risk and therefore promote heart health. (3) Additionally, these spices contain powerful antioxidants which may help reduce inflammation in the body. (4)
Learn more about the benefits of spices in this article!
Baked Turkey Meatballs Serving Suggestions
There are so many ways to serve spiced turkey meatballs! Serve as an appetizer with a dipping sauce or build a meatball sub, salad, or wrap for lunch. You can also serve turkey meatballs in sauce with pasta or turkey meatballs with gravy over brown rice.
How to Store and Reheat Spiced Turkey Meatballs
Cool leftover meatballs completely, then store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 7 days.
To reheat, place meatballs on a baking sheet and place in a cold oven. Turn the oven to heat to 350° F. Once the oven hits 350° F, your meatballs should be warmed and ready! We don’t recommend reheating meatballs in the microwave, as this can create a rubbery texture.
Leftover meatballs can also be frozen for up to 3 months. To freeze, place on a baking sheet and freeze. Once the meatballs are partially frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before heating. To reheat meatballs from frozen, warm in a 350°F oven on a baking sheet until internal temperature reaches 165°F.
Want more healthy and simple dinner recipes?
Try out these delicious recipes!
Spiced Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey, 93% lean or more
- ¼ cup finely diced yellow onion
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- 2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 Tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
- 1 large egg
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 2 teaspoons garam masala
- ¾ teaspoon kosher salt
- Dash pepper
- 1 Tablespoon canola or avocado oil
- Preheat oven to 425ºF.
- Place turkey in a large bowl and break into large chunks. Add onion, bread crumbs, oil, cilantro, egg, garlic, spices, salt, and pepper. Mix until just combined.
- Brush a baking sheet with the canola oil. Create golf ball-sized meatballs with your hands or a portion scoop and place on the pan, spaced ~1” apart.
- Cook meatballs 12-14 minutes or until cooked through to 165° F. Use a meat thermometer to check for doneness. Enjoy!