Ground Turkey Meatballs (Pan-Fried) – Fit Foodie Finds


We love whipping up a batch of these ground turkey meatballs for a protein-packed weeknight meal. Our recipe calls for ground turkey, an egg, breadcrumbs, and butter.

If you love our Italian meatballs, you’re sure to love this turkey meatball recipe, too. They aren’t your average boring meatball. Ours are super flavorful thanks to the combination of fresh and dried herbs and are NEVER dry thanks to the grated cold butter (our secret).

Not only do we love eating these meatballs with our homemade marinara and pasta, but we also love prepping them and freezing them for later. We’ll teach you how to mix up these meatballs, pan-fry them, and serve them.

What You Need for Ground Turkey Meatballs

  • Ground turkey 
  • Egg
  • Plain bread crumbs (or feel free to use Italian breadcrumbs!)
  • Minced shallots and garlic
  • Grated cold butter  
  • Dried oregano 
  • Fresh parsley and basil
  • Salt & pepper
  • Olive oil

Why are my meatballs falling apart?

Your meatballs either don’t have enough moisture or a proper binder. This is why we recommend both an egg and breadcrumbs.

Why are my turkey meatballs dry?

Turkey is an extremely lean meat and our secret to make moist, golden brown turkey meatballs is adding grated butter. Just trust us.

Kitchen Tools for Making Meatballs

Planning to serve with marinara?

If you’re planning to cook your turkey meatballs with marinara, our trick is to brown them, but not cook them all the way and then let them simmer in the sauce to fully cook. PS: try our ground turkey shells!

  1. Brown meatballs: Brown the meatballs on all sides for around 3-5 minutes over medium heat using a pair of tongs to flip each meatball, being careful not to burn the outsides. Once all sides have been browned, remove them from the heat. The meatballs will not be fully cooked at this point.
  2. Add sauce: Pour in your marinara sauce. Then, carefully transfer the turkey meatballs back into the pan
  3. Let simmer: Bring the sauce to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the meatballs simmer for around 10 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165ºF.
  4. Serve Over Pasta: Serve turkey meatballs over your favorite pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

Storage

Let your turkey meatballs and marinara sauce cool completely. Then, transfer into an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 3-5 days.

How to Freeze Cooked Turkey Meatballs

  1. Brown meatballs: Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet making sure the pan is thoroughly greased. Brown meatballs on all sides for 8-10 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to turn each meatball every few minutes, being careful not to burn the outsides. Cook meatballs until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
  2. Cool meatballs: Let the meatballs cool completely.
  3. Freeze: Once cooled, transfer them into a gallon-size freezer-safe bag. Remove as much air as possible and then seal. Freeze for up to 3 months. 

How to Reheat Turkey Meatballs

These meatballs reheat incredibly well! Remove the meatballs from the refrigerator.

Simply place the meatballs in a baking pan, and cover with tin foil. Reheat at 350°F for 10-12 minutes, or until the meatballs are heated through.

FROM FROZEN

Place the frozen meatballs in a casserole dish and drizzle them with olive oil or cover with marinara sauce. Cover them with tin foil and bake them at 350ºF and bake for 20-30 minutes.

Add the meatballs to a slow cooker and add 1-2 tablespoons of broth to the slow cooker or cover with marinara sauce. Cook them on low for 2-3 hours.

Other Ways to Serve Turkey Meatballs

Don’t feel like eating your meatballs on a bed of pasta? You’re in luck because there are so many different ways you can eat these turkey meatballs:

  • Appetizer: eat this turkey meatball recipe on their own. Serve them at a party with a toothpick and you’ve got a quick and easy app.
  • Sub or Sandwich: everyone loves a meatball sub! Pop a few meatballs and marinara on your favorite Italian bread, cover it with mozzarella cheese, and bam, you’ve got a brand new meal to feed the fam.
  • Bowl: serve your meatballs next to quinoa, your favorite green and roasted veggies.

Try a Different Sauce

Another reason why we love these turkey meatballs is because they are so versatile. Make your meatballs as directed, but instead of simmering in marinara sauce, try one of these sauces instead:

  • BBQ: bbq sauce is seriously such an easy thing to flavor any meatball recipe with. Use your favorite brand or make homemade bbq sauce!
  • Tikka Masala: tikka masala is made from a mixture of coconut milk, tomato sauce, and garam masala. It’s super simple to make and packed with flavor! Check out our Tikka Masala Meatballs here.
  • Teriyaki: our homemade teriyaki sauce is made with 5 ingredients. Serve your meatballs on rice next to your favorite stir fried veggie.
  • Coconut Curry: if you’ve never made our curry meatballs, they are seriously SO GOOD. Check out our coconut curry sauce in this post.
Meatballs in a skillet with basil leaves.

Ground Turkey Meatballs

Incredibly tender and flavorful turkey meatballs made with loads of fresh herbs and garlic. Make them ahead or simmer them in marinara for a complete meal!

Prep:10 minutes

Cook:20 minutes

Total:30 minutes

Fat 23

Carbs 21

Protein 27

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup plain bread crumbs option to use Italian breadcrumbs
  • 2 shallots minced (approx. ¼ cup)
  • 4 cloves garlic minced
  • 3 tablespoons cold butter grated
  • 1 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 1 tablespoons fresh parsley minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh basil minced
  • ½ teaspoon ground pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

If Cooking with Marinara

  • 2 24-oz. marinara sauce 2 jars
  • 8 oz. angel hair pasta or any kind of pasta
  • Freshly grated parmesan cheese
  • More fresh basil and parsley

Instructions 

  • Place ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, shallots, garlic, oregano, parsley, basil, ground pepper and salt into a large bowl.

  • Then, use a large wooden spoon or your hands to thoroughly mix, combining all ingredients. We recommend using your hands as it’s faster and easier.

  • Once combined, fold in cold grated butter to evenly distribute throughout the meatball mixture.

  • Use your hands to form golf ball-sized meatballs. Repeat until there is no meat left. This should yield around 12 meatballs.

If Cooking with Marinara

  • Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet (or nonstick pan) over medium heat. Brown meatballs on all sides for around 3-5 minutes using a pair of tongs to flip each meatball, being careful not to burn the outsides.

  • Once all sides have been browned, remove them from the heat. Note that the meatballs will not be fully cooked at this point. Clean your skillet and then pour in your marinara sauce. Then, carefully transfer the turkey meatballs.

  • Heat over medium/high heat and bring sauce to a boil. Once boiling, turn the heat down to low and let the meatballs simmer for around 10 minutes or until the internal temperature has reached 165ºF.

  • Serve turkey meatballs over your favorite pasta with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.

If Freezing or Making Ahead

  • Heat olive oil in a large cast iron skillet (or nonstick pan) over medium heat. Make sure the pan is thoroughly greased.

  • Brown meatballs on all sides for 8-10 minutes. Use a pair of tongs to turn each meatball every few minutes, being careful not to burn the outsides. Cook meatballs until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

  • Remove meatballs from the heat and let them cool for 15 minutes. Then, store them in the fridge for up to 3-5 days. Or, transfer them into a freezer-safe, gallon-size bag and remove as much air as possible and freeze them for later.

Nutrition facts

Calories: 394kcal Carbohydrates: 21g Protein: 27g Fat: 23g Fiber: 2g Sugar: 5g

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