Looking for simple, healthy foods that everyone will happily scarf down? These Baked Turkey Meatballs are just the ticket! Chock full of lean protein and with a few vegetables snuck in, they’re easy to prepare, reheat well, and a good size and texture for even the littlest diners. Not to mention, extremely delicious!

Plate of baked turkey meatballs served with farfalle.

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These simple turkey meatballs have been a go-to here since shortly after my oldest child began eating table food. That kid got choosy in a hurry, but these were a simple way to get some protein and veggies in his little body, that just happened to be juicy and delicious enough that the rest of us would want to enjoy them for lunch or dinner, as well.

Ingredient Notes

Simple pantry ingredients are all you need to round out these meatballs once you have the turkey and veggies on hand. You can leave out one or both veggies if preferred, no other changes required.

  • Ground turkey is, of course, the base. You can use ground chicken or ground beef, as well. We get ours from ButcherBox, so it’s always high-quality and in the freezer, ready to go.
  • Shredded carrot and zucchini adds moisture and dramatically ups the nutrition factor. You can buy pre-shredded, blitz the whole veggies through a food processor fitted with the shredding disc, or simply grate them on the fine side of a standard box grater. You don’t need a huge quantity, so it’s quick and easy either way.
  • Breadcrumbs and egg add texture and keep it all together, literally.
  • Seasonings come in compliments of ketchup, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. This is easy to adjust to taste — try adding oregano, Italian, or Greek seasoning blends for more of a Mediterranean flavor profile, or just experimenting with different amounts. I do find that using powdered spices in meatballs makes them more palatable to picky eaters, because they can’t pick out tiny bits of onion. 🙂

Tip: Extra carrot or zucchini? Put it to good use in a French carrot salad, zucchini chocolate chip muffins, or zucchini pesto!

Can I make these egg-free?

Yes! A friend confirms you can use a flax egg to replace the egg in this recipe! It’s very easy – combine 1 tablespoon of flax seed meal and 3 tablespoons of water, stir well, then add that combination to the other meatball ingredients and proceed as directed.

In the market for a breadcrumb-free version? Try Hot Pan Kitchen’s delicious recipe for baked paleo turkey meatballs.

How To Make Baked Turkey Meatballs

The process couldn’t be simpler – gather all your ingredients, throw them together in one big bowl, mix, portion out on a sheet pan, and bake!

  • For best results, mix gently with a spatula, a fork, or your hands. You want everything to be evenly moistened, but not overly pressed together, or the meatballs will not be optimally tender and juicy.
  • I like to portion them out with a small cookie scoop, but a heaping tablespoon works very well, also.
  • When shaping, it helps tremendously to have damp hands.
  • Line your sheet pan with a silicone mat or parchment paper for easy clean-up.

Is it better to bake or pan-fry turkey meatballs?

This is really a matter of personal preference; the advantages of baking meatballs include less fat because you do not need any oil or butter in which to pan fry them, and a more hands-off preparation, because you don’t need to turn them or cook in batches in a skillet — or clean up any pan splatter!

How long to bake turkey meatballs?

Turkey meatballs usually bake in 18-20 minutes at an oven temperature between 350-375 degrees F. I prefer to bake these at 375 so they go a bit more quickly and develop a touch more of a browned crust on the underside. Of course, the exact baking time will vary according to your precise oven temperature and the size of the meatballs, and they should reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees F, according to the USDA.

Using an instant read thermometer makes it fool-proof to know and remove the meatballs when they hit this mark, keeping them juicy and perfect but completely safe to eat.

Help! Why are my meatballs falling apart?

Usually when meatballs fall apart, it’s a problem with the ratio of ingredients, specifically the amount of binder. In this, as in many meatball recipes, the breadcrumbs are the binding agents, but too much or too little will make them too wet or dry to come together.

For best results, use a standard large egg and measure precisely 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs. The mixture should hold its shape in balls before the meatballs are baked — if it does not, add a bit more breadcrumb or a few sprinkles of water to adjust until the texture is more consistent.

What To Serve With Turkey Meatballs

These are terrific with couscous, quinoa, or pasta lightly tossed in butter or olive oil. Add some greens on the side to make it a full meal. I love that a healthy dose of shredded carrot and zucchini is mixed right into the meatballs, too – double veggie duty!

Want to serve these more like a traditional meatball dish? Absolutely! Add some spaghetti and your favorite sauce – a traditional marinara goes perfectly!

Are these good for meal prep?

Yes! You’ll love how easy it is to bake a big batch and keep any extras on hand for a few lunches or an easy dinner throughout the week, especially if feeding little ones is part of your routine.

  • This recipe yields about two dozen small-medium meatballs, making it great for a couple of meals or feeding a small crowd.

Storage and Reheating

Allow the fully baked meatballs to cool then store tightly covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Microwave on 50% power to reheat as needed. Using reduced power is a good tip for warming any poultry or seafood in the microwave without drying it out.

Are these freezer-friendly?

Yes! Make a double batch and freeze half for the benefit of your future self. You even have options for how to do it:

  • Freeze Unbaked Meatballs: Shape as directed and space out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze on the baking sheet until firm, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
  • To Cook Frozen Meatballs. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then place on a sheet pan and bake as directed, or bake directly from frozen, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
  • Freeze Baked Meatballs: Let baked meatballs cool fully, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently on the stove in a simmering sauce or in the oven or microwave.
Plate of baked turkey meatballs served with farfalle.

More Easy Turkey Recipes

Looking to incorporate more of this lean white meat into your meals? Try my ground turkey pasta bake, or make a simple herb-roasted turkey breast and use the leftovers to make the most delicious creamy turkey and dumplings soup.

If you try these Baked Turkey Meatballs, don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave a comment below. I love hearing how recipes turn out in your kitchen, and it helps other readers, too.

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Plate of baked turkey meatballs served with farfalle.
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Baked Turkey Meatballs

Chock full of lean protein and sneak in a few vegetables, these are easy to prepare, reheat well, and a good size and texture for even the littlest diners. Not to mention, extremely delicious!

Ingredients

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1 cup grated carrot from 1-2 medium carrots
  • 1 cup grated zucchini from 1 small zucchini
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs plain or seasoned
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tbsp. ketchup
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tsp. onion powder
  • 1 tsp. garlic powder
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees F and set aside a large baking tray.
  • Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, and mix with a spatula or your hands just until everything is evenly combined. 
  • Using a cookie scoop or a measuring spoon, portion the meatball mixture out into heaping tablespoons. Gently roll each between your palms to smooth it into a ball. (It helps to do this with slightly wet hands.) Arrange meatballs on the baking sheet, being sure they do not touch one another. 
  • Bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until internal temperature reaches 165 degrees F. Serve immediately, or allow to cool slightly and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

Notes

  • Extra carrot or zucchini? Put it to good use in a French carrot salad, zucchini chocolate chip muffins, or zucchini pesto!
  • Storage: Allow the fully baked meatballs to cool then store tightly covered in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Microwave on 50% power to reheat as needed. 
  • Freezer-friendly: Make a double batch and freeze half for the benefit of your future self:
    • Freeze Unbaked Meatballs: Shape as directed and space out on a parchment lined baking sheet. Freeze on the baking sheet until firm, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months.
    • To Cook Frozen Meatballs. Defrost overnight in the refrigerator, then place on a sheet pan and bake as directed, or bake directly from frozen, adding 5-10 minutes to the cooking time.
    • Freeze Baked Meatballs: Let baked meatballs cool fully, then transfer to an airtight container or zip-top bag and store in the freezer for up to 4 months. Reheat gently on the stove in a simmering sauce or in the oven or microwave.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 184kcal, Carbohydrates: 14g, Protein: 23g, Fat: 4g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 73mg, Sodium: 635mg, Potassium: 481mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 5300IU, Vitamin C: 9mg, Calcium: 94mg, Iron: 2mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!

This post was originally published in March 2017 and has been updated with new photos and a lot of additional information on substitutions, storage and freezing, serving suggestions, and more frequently asked questions.