These tender and flavor-packed Turkey Meatballs in Sauce offer a refreshing alternative to ground beef. Your turkey meatballs are guaranteed to come out rich, soft, and creamy – which is all thanks to the boost of fatty content provided by the buttermilk.
Opting to cook these Turkey Meatballs in the skillet ensures they get a beautiful golden finish that won’t otherwise be achieved if cooked in the oven. Combine ground turkey meatballs with marinara sauce or another tomato sauce recipe
Serve these ground turkey meatballs over spaghetti squash, zucchini noodles, brown rice, or cauliflower rice as a tasty dinner for those busy weeknights. If you love this turkey meatballs recipe, make sure to try these Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly, Easy Dump and Bake Meatball Pasta Casserole, or Easy Basil Pesto Pasta with Meatballs.
What do I Need for Turkey Meatballs in Sauce?
- Ground turkey – Regular or lean ground turkey can be used to make these healthy turkey meatballs
- Minced garlic – Garlic powder can also be used
- Dried herbs – Including dried basil and dried oregano
- Coarse black pepper and coarse sea salt
- Dried onion flakes
- Italian herb-seasoned bread crumbs
- Buttermilk – Makes the meatballs extra juicy!
- Worcestershire sauce
- Granulated sugar
- Parmesan cheese – Freshly grated for the best flavor
- Fresh parsley – Freshly minced or dried parsley (using a reduced amount).
- Oil – Canola oil or olive oil
Sprinkle fresh Italian parsley or fresh basil over the turkey meatballs as an optional garnish.
Medium bowl, cookie dough scoop, and a large skillet.
Variations and Substitutions:
- This recipe makes 12 large meatballs but you could make 24 smaller “regular”-sized meatballs (great for serving as appetizers) or you can simply double the recipe if you plan on feeding a crowd or want to make a larger meal.
- Feel free to mix in other meats into your ground turkey or use different meats entirely like ground chicken, ground beef, or even ground sausage.
- You can use panko breadcrumbs or regular breadcrumbs for these turkey meatballs.
- I love browning these meatballs in a skillet since it increases the flavor, and also provides that appetizing golden brown color to the meatballs! If you would rather make baked turkey meatballs, then add them to the oven in a greased 9×13 casserole dish or on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 425°F for 15 minutes (for meatballs that will be cooked additionally in a sauce or casserole) or for 18-20 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. You should note that these turkey meatballs won’t brown much in the oven.
- Marinara sauce is great to add to these turkey meatballs, but you can use another delicious sauce like lemon garlic sauce or add a creamy gravy to every serving. Using hot sauce is a great way to add a kick of heat to these flavorful meatballs.
PREP: Assemble the ingredients for these Italian turkey meatballs.
Step 1: In a medium or large bowl, combine the buttermilk and breadcrumbs. Allow the mixture to sit for a few minutes as this will make extra moist meatballs.
Step 2: Add ground turkey, minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, egg, parmesan cheese, and fresh minced parsley to the large mixing bowl.
Step 3: Mix until combined well.
Step 4: Use a cookie scoop to measure individual turkey meatballs of uniform size and set aside.
Pro Tip: You can use your hands to roll the turkey meatballs into tighter balls if you like.
Step 5: Add the meatballs to a large nonstick skillet with hot oil and brown on all sides.
Step 6: Prepare your marinara sauce or another simple tomato sauce to pair with these meatballs. Add the meatballs to the sauce and allow to simmer, making sure that they don’t overcook.
SERVE: Top the delicious turkey meatballs with fresh herbs to enjoy as perfect appetizers or a delicious dinner idea.
- If you do opt to double this recipe, don’t forget about increasing the binding agents such as the eggs, buttermilk, and breadcrumbs in order to ensure that your meatballs hold shape and don’t fall apart.
- Don’t be alarmed if you notice your meatballs becoming misshapen while pan-frying. If you rotate them frequently and gently while cooking then they will retain their shape.
- Buttermilk is a lovely addition to turkey meatballs since turkey can be somewhat dry and lacking in flavor due to its lower fat content when compared to ground beef.
- Use your hands or a cookie scoop to form the meatballs. I find that I get uniform-size meatballs whenever I use my cookie scoop instead.
Meatballs are a popular dish in many different cultures. In Sweden, meatballs are traditionally served with lingonberry sauce and mashed potatoes, while in Italy, they are often served with spaghetti and homemade tomato sauce. In the United States, meatballs are often enjoyed as party appetizers.
These turkey meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3-4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.
These turkey meatballs in sauce can be reheated in the oven, covered with aluminum foil, or on the stovetop with leftover sauce. It’s important not to dry them out by reheating for too long.
These Turkey Meatballs can be enjoyed as a tasty appetizer or added to other ingredients to make a filling meal. Consider serving these turkey meatballs over spaghetti, zucchini noodles, mash potatoes, or make delicious baked casseroles and meatball subs. These meatballs can also be served without sauce as tasty appetizers with toothpicks.
Turkey Meatballs in Sauce
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 teaspoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon dried basil
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano
- ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
- ½ teaspoon coarse sea salt
- 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
- ½ cup Italian herb seasoned bread crumbs
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 large egg
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh parsley or ½ teaspoon dried parsley
- Fresh Italian parsley for garnish
- 1-2 tablespoons canola or olive oil
- In a medium mixing bowl, stir together bread crumbs and buttermilk. Allow the mixture to sit for a few moments so that the milk is absorbed into the bread crumbs. This makes an extra moist meatball.
- To the breadcrumb/milk mixture, add ground turkey, minced garlic, dried basil, dried oregano, black pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, egg, parmesan cheese, and fresh minced parsley. Use gloved hands to mix the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
- Use a 2 tablespoon cookie dough scoop (for large meatballs) to form balls from the meat mixture. Roll the balls by hand for a tighter, more uniform meatball if desired.
- Heat oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add meatballs to the skillet and cook, browning on each side.
- If you will be serving the meatballs straight from the skillet, be sure to cook them until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Turn the heat down and continue rotating the meatballs so that they do not burn.
- If you will be adding the meatballs to a marinara sauce or to another dish like meatball parmesan, do not cook the meatballs all the way through yet. Simply brown the meatballs on all sides. The meatballs will continue cooking when simmered in sauce or in a casserole – overcooking leads to a dry and tough meatball.
- When meatballs are browned, set aside while preparing marinara sauce. Add meatballs into the marinara sauce during the last 10 minutes of simmering. Simmer the meatballs until they are heated through and reach an internal temp of 165°F.