Healthy Turkey Meatballs are juicy while being low fat! Made without breadcrumbs, they’re keto, Whole30, paleo, gluten free and dairy free! A nutritious twist on a classic dish. Made with lean turkey and fresh herbs- they’re the perfect dinner! I love pairing with tomato sauce and zucchini noodles.
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Whether you’re Italian or not – there’s no denying that there are few better things in life than a big bowl of pasta + meatballs. Especially when they’re delicious AND gluten free, dairy free, paleo, whole30 AND taste just like what you grew up eating!
These Healthy Turkey Meatballs are loaded with flavor, packed with lean protein, and super easy to make.
Plus.. they can be made with no breadcrumbs! Yes, it’s possible to make meatballs without breadcrumbs, I’ll show you how!
What makes these turkey meatballs healthy?
These turkey meatballs are healthy and delicious. Here’s what makes them healthy:
- Low fat: These turkey meatballs are made with ground turkey which is lower in fat than traditional meatballs which are often made with ground beef and ground pork.
- Dairy/Gluten Free: These meatballs are easily made gluten free by using GF breadcrumbs or subbing coconut flour.
- High Protein: These turkey meatballs are high in protein making them a great snack or meal!
Ingredients for Turkey Meatballs
To make this recipe you’ll need:
- ground turkey
- breadcrumbs OR coconut flour
- onion, garlic
- dried basil, dried parsley, dried oregano
- salt, pepper
- olive oil
- parmesan cheese (optional)
There are many substitutions you can make with these healthy meatballs – check out the green box below!
How to make Healthy Turkey Meatballs:
To make this recipe:
- Mix all ingredients together in a bowl until combined.
- Roll the batter into about 1.5 tablespoon balls and place on cookie sheet. Tip: Use a cookie scoop for consistency!
- Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes on the other side.
Substitutions for Turkey Meatballs without Breadcrumbs:
Ground Turkey: You can sub ground chicken or ground beef for the ground turkey. You can also try our Ground Beef Meatballs Recipe or Ground Chicken Meatballs.
Egg: If you have an egg allergy you can skip the egg, but we do recommend it. It helps bind the meatballs.
Breadcrumbs: You can use 1/2 cup whole wheat breadcrumbs OR coconut flour to make this recipe gluten free/paleo/Whole30 friendly. This recipe originally used to call for a mix of coconut flour/almond flour but to make it simpler/lower in calories we adjusted the recipe.
Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs are so much better than dried ones! If you have fresh basil or parsley on hand, sub in 1 tablespoon of minced fresh for 1/2 teaspoon of dried herbs.
Extra Veggies –You can add in chopped spinach or kale for extra veggies. I actually like to pulse in the food processor so it gets super fine. You can’t even taste it!
Parmesan Cheese: Cheese is optional in meatballs but it helps to make the meatballs super tender and flavorful.
Doubling the batch: You can easily double this batch of meatballs and we totally recommend it!
How to make turkey meatballs on the stovetop: You can easily make these turkey meatballs on the stovetop. Heat a pan with olive oil. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook for 10-15 minutes, turning every 3 minutes until all sides are browned.
How to make turkey meatballs in the air fryer: Air Fry at 400° for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, allow to cool + enjoy!
How to make turkey meatballs in the instant pot: We don’t recommend making these meatballs in the instant pot, but it is possible. Place meatballs on top of trivet, stacking as needed.
Cover instant pot and make sure the pressure release is set to sealing. Lastly, set instant pot to pressure cook for 7 minutes.
Storing Turkey Meatballs:
This Turkey Meatball recipe stores SO well!
Refrigerator: These turkey meatballs will last in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.
Freezing: Freeze cooked turkey meatballs in an airtight container for up to 6 months. You can also freeze in a reusable ziploc bag.
Reheating: I microwave these turkey meatballs to reheat them, but you can also cook them on the stovetop until warm or put them in the toaster oven.
Can you freeze Turkey Meatballs?
YES! And you totally should. I like to double the batch and freeze half of them after they have been baked.
Then you can quickly defrost for busy nights or simple lunch! I recommend allowing them to cool completely and putting in a container or freezer size ziploc bag.
When you’re ready to eat you can microwave them or heat in a pan!
You can freeze them raw, but we don’t recommend it.
How to serve Healthy Turkey Meatballs
These clean eating turkey meatballs are perfect on their own but here are some other ideas:
- With Crockpot Tomato Sauce – The key to the best turkey meatballs ever is cooking them IN sauce after they have been baked. I like to let my meatballs cook low and slow for hours in our homemade sauce.
- Over pasta: We like to serve these over Homemade Ricotta Cavatelli – so yummy!
- Over zoodles (zucchini noodles)– If you don’t have a spiralizer you have to get one! As much as I love eating a bowl of pasta – spiralized zucchini is a great lower calorie option, or if you are GF/paleo/Whole30
- Over a salad – These meatballs are great over spring mix with a yummy dressing. We like our Greek Salad Dressing Recipe or with our Kale Salad with Lemon Dressing.
Tips for making the Best Healthy Turkey Meatballs
Make a full batch or double batch and freeze some of these clean eating meatballs. It will make your life SO much easier. These freeze perfectly in a big ziploc bag and then you can just defrost them as you need them!
Cook the meatballs in sauce after baking them. They’re delicious on their own, but so yummy when you let them cook low and slow!
Add things in! These Caprese Meatballs or Greek Turkey Meatballs have fun add ins and are SO yummy!
Pro Tip: Use a large cookie scoop for forming ‘balls’ for even, equal meatballs! I scoop the batter with a cookie scoop and then roll them for uniform meatballs.
Turkey Meatball FAQ
The healthiest meatballs are high in protein and low in carbs/fat. These meatballs are made from lean ground turkey and you can use almond/coconut flour instead of breadcrumbs to make them lower in carbs!
Turkey meatballs are healthier than beef for a few reasons. Ground turkey is lower in calories and fat than ground beef – making turkey meatballs a healthier choice than beef meatballs.
Yes, Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs are healthy! They’re high in protein, made with no artificial ingredients, and low in calories.
These turkey meatballs have roughly 70 calories per meatball.
Adding an egg to meatballs is a good idea. It works as a binder that helps hold the meatballs together
You can make meatballs stick together a few different ways. Breadcrumbs, milk, and eggs all act as binders for meatballs.
Turkey meatballs will get rubbery if they are over-mixed. Just mix the batter until combined and gently form into balls. Do not overwork the batter!
Turkey meatballs fall apart if they have too much egg, milk, or breadcrumbs in them.
Will meatballs fall apart without breadcrumbs? No, meatballs will not fall apart without breadcrumbs, but they might not be as tender. If you’re not using breadcrumbs in this recipe, you can sub with coconut flour and it will help to bind them.
Other healthy turkey recipes:
We love ground turkey! It’s so versatile and delicious. We have a whole list of the Best Healthy Ground Turkey Recipes but here are some of our favs!
Healthy Turkey Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs OR coconut flour (sub for gf/paleo/whole30)
- 2 tablespoons almond milk
- 1/2 cup onion finely chopped
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic about 3 cloves
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup parmesan cheese optional – omit if DF/paleo/Whole30
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Prepare a parchment lined baking sheet. (Nonstick foil will also work)
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined.
- Roll the batter into about 1.5 tablespoon balls and place on cookie sheet. Tip: Use a cooke scoop for consistency!
- Bake the meatballs for 10 minutes, then flip and bake for another 10 minutes on the other side.
Instant Pot Instructions
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until combined. Roll into approximately 1.5 inch balls and place on cookie sheet.
- Freeze meatballs for 10 minutes to make them easier to handle.
- Once meatballs have been frozen, place trivet insert into Instant Pot. Pour 1 cup of water into bottom of pot.
- Place meatballs on top of trivet, stacking as needed.
- Cover instant pot and make sure the pressure release is set to sealing. Set instant pot to pressure cook for 7 minutes.
- Allow pressure to naturally release for 5 minutes. Release any remaining pressure and remove with tongs.
- See Notes for additional tips/tricks for cooking meatballs in instant pot.
Air Fryer Instructions
- Preheat air fryer to 400 degrees.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until thoroughly combined
- Roll into approximately 1.5 inch balls and place in greased air fryer basket
- Air Fry at 400 for 12-15 minutes until golden brown, allow to cool + enjoy!
- Cook time does not include time to come to pressure (about 14 minutes).
- Freezing meatballs isn’t necessary but will make the meatballs easier to handle and they won’t cook together in the pot.
- If you want the meatballs to be browned, you can either sauté them before cooking. In the Instant Pot you can use the sauté method – be sure to scrape off any bits of food on the bottom of the pan before cooking or you may get a burn notice.
- You can also sauté or broil meatballs after cooking to brown them.
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