Sweet and Savory Turkey Meatballs

I am on a ground turkey kick lately. I feel like it is such a sweet tasting meat and takes on the flavors of my sauces and marinades more than ground beef. I also feel like ground beef is a much heavier meat, so if I can switch out ground beef for ground turkey, I usually do.

These meatballs are so easy to make and taste delicious. If you have not tried making homemade meatballs,  you need to give them a try. They have so much more flavor, are easy to make, and healthier because you get to decide what all goes in them! A lot of the packaged or frozen meatballs I see at the store don’t look like actual meat. They look very processed and unrealistic. When you make your own meatballs, you can actually see the meat and the ingredients you put in them.

When I make meatballs, I like to start with a base. I get my ground turkey, and bread crumbs. I find it easiest to use my hands to mix them all together. I add a little salt and pepper, diced onion, and garlic to the mixture.

I then shape them into small one inch balls, much like the size you would roll cookie dough into. I place them on a heated and sprayed skillet. I usually add a little olive oil to the skillet to give the meatball a nice crunch to the outside. We do the same thing to our Brown Sugar Meatball Recipe and they are amazing! I don’t like when meatballs are soft without any texture, so that’s why I place them on a skillet before placing them in the oven. You can easily skip the skillet step and place them right on a pan and put them in the oven, but again, the texture of the meatball will be softer on the outside, and won’t have the best crunch to it.

Once all the meatballs are golden on the outside from cooking in the skillet, I place them on a baking sheet about one centimeter apart from each other. You don’t want them touching, or it will effect their shape and their cook time. They don’t need to be fully cooked from the skillet, I just use the skillet to add texture to the meatballs. Once all meatballs are on the baking sheet, place them in the oven and cook them for about 20 minutes at 400 degrees F. I wouldn’t make the meatballs much bigger than 1 inch because they won’t cook as evenly and could dry out your meat, then be undercooked in the middle.

While the turkey meatballs are baking, get out a fresh pan and begin to make the sauce. This is a simple sauce that only requires a few ingredient. Because it is a little sweet, we are going to start with the brown sugar and water. Mix them together until the brown sugar has become part of the liquid, and it is fully combined with the water. Next, you will want to add the orange marmalade, honey, barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce, and just a little bit of mustard. Whisk it together until it is fully combined and begins to bubble at the edges. Remove from heat and continue stirring. Pour the sauce over the meatballs as soon as they are done baking in the oven. Serve the turkey meatballs over rice, or chow mien noodles. You could also eat them just as meatballs and have a side of mixed steamed veggies. Enjoy!

If you are looking for other meatball sauce recipes, check out our delicious Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs.

Serves: 5

Sweet and Savory Turkey Meatballs

30 minPrep Time

40 minCook Time

1 hr, 10 Total Time

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion (minced)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 Tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange marmalade
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon buffalo sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon mustard


  1. Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey with the bread crumbs. It may be easiest to mix this with your hands.
  3. Once combined, mix in the minced onion and garlic.
  4. Roll the ground turkey mixture into 1 inch balls.
  5. Heat stove to medium high heat.
  6. Pour your olive oil into a pan or skillet.
  7. Once the olive oil begins to bubble at the bottom, place your turkey meatballs in the pan or skillet.
  8. Let each side of the pan or skillet cook the meatball until it begins to brown on the outside.
  9. Brown the meatballs on all sides,then place them in a pan or baking dish and cook the meatballs at 400 degrees for about 20 minutes.
  10. While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the sweet and savory sauce.
  11. In another saucepan combine the brown sugar and water until they are fully combined and melted together.
  12. Add the orange marmalade, honey, barbecue sauce, buffalo sauce and mustard until it's fully combined.
  13. Continue whisking until all the ingredients are fully mixed together and it begins to bubble, but don't let it come to a full broil or your sauce will be too thick and sticky.
  14. Pour over the cooked meatballs immediately and serve warm.


Delicious served over rice or steamed vegetables.

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