2020 Update! These baked turkey meatballs are one of those back-pocket meals that the Whole. Family. Loves. Meaning, there are backseat claps when I announce what’s for dinner (yes, my kids want to know what’s for dinner when we’re on the way to school in the morning, and yes, it often results in groans). The meatballs come together quickly and can be piled over spaghetti or polenta, or they can be stuffed into hoagies for meatball subs (cheers!). New VIDEO below!

A large spoon holding two turkey meatballs in marinara sauce, with the pot in the background.

Baked turkey meatballs with spinach

These healthy turkey meatballs are baked instead of sautéed, making them easy and fuss-free (and mess-free!). I stuff them with chopped spinach for added nutrition and moisture (and nobody is the wiser).  

Close up of a turkey meatball on a pile of spaghetti.

Italian turkey meatballs

The meatballs are flavored with plenty of garlic, shallots and dried oregano, giving them a classic Italian flavor. If you don’t have shallot you could use minced onion or even scallions in its place. 

Overhead shot showing all of the ingredients for the turkey meatballs, arranged on a counter.

How do you keep meatballs from falling apart?

The meatballs are bound with panko breadcrumbs (I go for gluten-free, but you could use regular) and an egg. They mixture is sticky, but the balls hold up really well in the oven. 

Process shot divided into four quadrants, showing how to make baked turkey meatballs.

How do you know when turkey meatballs are done?

These are quick cooking, needing less than 15 minutes in the oven! The meatballs should feel firm to the touch, and the internal temperature should read 165-170˚F. The meatballs are warmed in marinara sauce, so if they’re slightly undercooked they can always finish cooking in the sauce. 

Baked turkey meatballs in sauce

While you can eat these meatballs on their own, I simmer them briefly in marinara sauce after they come out of the oven, just to warm through. You can go for a homemade or store-bought sauce.

Close-up of turkey meatballs in marinara sauce.

How long are turkey meatballs good for?

The baked turkey meatballs can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. They also freeze beautifully and can be frozen (without the sauce) for up to 3 months (woohoo!). Defrost the frozen meatballs in the refrigerator overnight, or simmer them in marinara sauce (directly from the freezer) until warmed through. Easiest. Dinner. EVER.

Overhead shot of a plate of spaghetti and meatballs.

How do you serve turkey meatballs?

These meatballs are fabulous piled over spaghetti with grated parmesan and basil. We also love to stuff them into baguettes or hoagies for meatball subs (try melting some mozzarella over top!). They’re also delicious over these grits (which, btw, are the same thing as polenta 😊).

Side angle shot of a meatball sub, made with turkey meatballs.

Slow cooker turkey meatballs

Turkey meatballs also work great in the slow cooker. Check out my book, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker, for my favorite recipe (it’s equally as fuss-free)!

This an old-school kind of meal that I hope you’ll love—it’s comforting and damn tasty, especially after a long day. Maybe you’ll even get a few cheers as well. 😁 

Overhead shot of a plate of spaghetti topped with baked turkey meatballs, with pot of meatballs to the side.

Turkey meatball tips:

  • I prefer using dark meat turkey, which will result in juicier, more tender meatballs. However, you can use white meat turkey or even ground chicken instead.
  • You can swap out the shallot for minced onion or scallions.
  • A heavy duty sheet pan is one of my kitchen essentials and makes cooking these meatballs a breeze. These pre-cut parchment sheets are also an awesome time saver.
  • You can use homemade or store-bought marinara sauce. If using store-bought, I usually go for Rao’s, which has minimal ingredients, no added sugar, and tastes homemade.

Other easy weeknight meals to try:

Watch the video!

Get the recipe!

Healthy Baked Turkey Meatballs with Spinach

These easy and nutritious baked turkey meatballs are the perfect weeknight dinner! They can be made ahead and refrigerated or frozen until ready to use (perfect for busy schedules 😊). To serve, warm the meatballs in marinara sauce, then pile them on top of spaghetti or polenta, or stuff them into hoagies with mozzarella and basil. Mmm, mmm, it’s an old-school meal that’s damn tasty, especially on a busy weekday.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time15 mins
Total Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian
Keyword: baked meatballs recipe, baked turkey meatballs, healthy meatballs recipe, healthy turkey meatballs
Servings: 4 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground turkey, preferably dark meat
  • 1 tablespoon minced shallot (from 1 small shallot)
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup packed baby spinach leaves, finely chopped
  • 1/3 cup panko breadcrumbs (regular or gluten free)
  • Pinch freshly grated nutmeg
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 24 ounces marinara sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 450˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the turkey, shallot, garlic, oregano, egg, spinach, panko breadcrumbs and nutmeg. Season with salt and pepper. Mix everything together using a fork until evenly combined. Using a light touch, form the meat into1 ½-inch balls (they’ll be sticky) and place them on the baking sheet (you should get 15-16 meatballs). Do Ahead: The meatballs can be covered with plastic wrap (right on the baking sheet) and refrigerated for up to 24 hours. Let sit at room temperature for 15-30 minutes before baking.
  • Bake the meatballs for 8 minutes. Using tongs, flip the meatballs over. Continue baking until cooked through, about 4-5 minutes longer (the internal temperature should read 165-170˚F). Do Ahead: Once cooled, the baked meatballs can be frozen in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Defrost the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight, or reheat them directly in marinara sauce until warmed through.
  • To serve, simmer the meatballs in marinara sauce until just warmed through. Pile the meatballs on top of spaghetti or polenta, or stuff them into hoagies. Buon appetito!

Notes

Do Ahead: The meatballs can be refrigerated in the sauce for up to 5 days.
Tips:
  • I prefer using dark meat turkey, which will result in juicier, more tender meatballs. However, you can use white meat turkey or even ground chicken instead.
  • You can swap out the shallot for minced onion or scallions.
  • A heavy duty sheet pan is one of my kitchen essentials and makes cooking these meatballs a breeze. These pre-cut parchment sheets are also an awesome time saver.
  • You can use homemade or store-bought marinara sauce. If using store-bought, I usually go for Rao’s, which has minimal ingredients, no added sugar, and tastes homemade.
  • Check out my book, Fresh Flavors for the Slow Cooker, for my favorite slow cooker turkey meatball recipe!

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I’d love to hear what you’re cooking, and I’m happy to answer any questions! Be sure to tag any photos so that I can share! @FromScratchFast

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