This is a super easy recipe for baked turkey meatballs Italian-style that comes together quickly. I like to leave the meat mixture in the refrigerator for a few hours or even overnight, so this can easily be made ahead or cooked and then frozen.
An easy weeknight meal: step by step baked turkey meatballs
I love these turkey meatballs because, much like my turkey burgers, they are such an easy weeknight meal or even great for those busy weekends! They come together in minutes and I simply bake them to avoid the hassle and mess associated with frying meatballs.
There are a simple mixture of: ground turkey, egg, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, lotsa fresh basil, garlic, chopped onion, salt, pepper, and dried oregano. As you can see I simply add everything to a bowl as shown here:
Next, I portion the meat mixture on a baking sheet and pour a bit of flour to help me roll them as the mixture is quite sticky.
All finished rolling? Line the meatballs up on a tray and bake! Here’s how mine looked after they were all rolled out and about to go into the oven:
You won’t even miss the frying, trust me! Look at how good these look fresh out of the oven (I baked at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes and they were perfect, but this will depend on how large you make your meatballs!
You can see the little flecks of basil, which is one of my favorite herbs and a staple in Italian cooking! If you don’t have fresh basil, lots of stores are carrying frozen cubes of it. The dried basil doesn’t make a good substitute because basil changes flavor when dried.
Tips to Make Great Baked Turkey Meatballs
- Don’t use an ultra-lean turkey for these meatballs; a little fat will add to the flavor and allow them to remain moist (use 80% lean)
- If time allows, you can let the mixture sit in the refrigerator, covered, to allow for the flavors to meld
- Use fresh basil! Dried is not a good substitute. If basil is not in season, try looking for fresh frozen basil
- Use a scooper (ie, ice cream scooper) or large spoon to portion the meatballs equal in size so they all cook evenly
- The turkey mixture is often very wet and so I like to roll the turkey meatballs in a bit of flour to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands (see above)
Topping and serving the turkey meatballs
I like to top these meatballs with a simple spaghetti/red sauce. And also lots of grated parmesan cheese! They can be eaten as is or in a sandwich roll topped with melted mozzarella cheese. Of course, you can always serve them with spaghetti for a classic meal of spaghetti and meatballs. Ohhhh yum.
Baked turkey meatballs
For the meatball mixture
- 2 pounds ground turkey don't use ultra lean (use 80/20)
- 1 medium onion finely diced/minced
- 1/2 cup basil chopped, loosely packed
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup parmesan grated
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs unseasoned
- 3 cloves garlic
- 1.5 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1 tsp dried oregano
- all purpose flour enough for rolling the meatballs
- 56 ounces marinara sauce
- 3 ounces parmesan grated
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees
- Add all ingredients for the meatball mixture, except for flour, to a large mixing bowl
- Gently combine the ingredients
- Using a large spoon or ice cream scooper, drop equal portions of the mixture onto a baking sheet
- Sprinkle each portion with all purpose flour and roll into a ball, adding a bit more flour if necessary to aid in rolling as the mixture will be quite sticky
- Transfer rolled meatballs to a clean baking sheet and bake in preheated oven for about 20 minutes. You may turn the meatballs halfway through cooking (at about 10 minutes)
- Top with your favorite red sauce (optional)