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Under 30 Minutes

Light Turkey Meatballs

Stock the freezer with these healthy basics and, when the mood strikes, try them in our Whole-Wheat Spaghetti and Turkey Meatballs, Turkey-Meatball Salad with Roasted Peppers and Parmesan, or in Mini Barbecue Meatball Sliders.

  • Prep:
  • Total Time:
  • Yield: Makes 35
Light Turkey Meatballs

Source: Everyday Food, January/February 2008


  • 3 slices whole-wheat sandwich bread
  • 1/4 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 pounds ground turkey (93 percent lean, dark meat)
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 large egg
  • Coarse salt and ground pepper


  1. Place bread in food processor; pulse until fine crumbs form. In a small bowl, mix breadcrumbs with milk; set aside at least 5 minutes.

  2. In a large bowl, combine turkey, scallions, garlic, parsley, egg, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, 1/2 teaspoon pepper, and breadcrumb mixture; mix gently with a fork.

  3. With hands, form mixture into balls, each equal to 2 level tablespoons; arrange in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

  4. To freeze, place baking sheet with meatballs in the freezer, and freeze for 1 hour to set their shape; transfer frozen meatballs to an airtight container or resealable plastic bag, and freeze for up to 3 months.

Reviews (27)

  • JoseyS 9 Nov, 2011

    I love this recipe and will be using it over and over again! I made 3 batches for our upcoming Thanksgiving feast and for the first batch I used extra milk in the breadcrumbs, 1/4 C didn't seem like enough! It's enough. My first batch was really wet as a result of the extra milk so I added extra meat to balance it out. I also substituted the parsley for 1T dried basil because thats what I had on hand. Froze them just fine because I cooked completely first. Reheat from frozen to maintain shape.

  • spotter22 26 Oct, 2011

    I use this recipe all the time, and I often double or triple it to keep on hand in the freezer. I often use fresh sage for the herb which gives them a sausage flavor.I also found that they MUST be frozen before cooking or they fall apart. I brown them in olive oil, then dump a bunch of chopped tomato (or canned) and other veggies on top once they are about half way cooked. I put a lid on it and let it all stew down and until the meat balls are cooked through (i use a thermometer). Instant sauce.

  • prweiss65 11 Apr, 2011

    This is our favorite meatball!!!! I've been trying different meatball recipes for 20 years and this is definitely the best of the best. Don't let the turkey scare you if you are used to ground beef....they are superb. The cooking instructions aren't listed, but after freezing, toss them in a bit of olive oil and broil until done. So easy and convenient. I triple the batch when I make them, so that we always have some in the freezer for sandwiches or for pasta.

  • ProtoDAda 7 Mar, 2011

    hello! how do i cook the meatballs? (the worst cook here) also, how do i cook frozen meatballs from the freezer? thank you very much!

  • dinnerwithdavid 29 Dec, 2009

    I make these once a week or so; they're great in pasta, served with rice, salad, etc. The ingredients are all pretty interchangeable beyond turkey, egg, and salt

  • thatsnotmyname 14 Mar, 2009

    I thought these were pretty good. I think I might try a few more recipes to compare, but I would probably make it again. I followed the recipe on how much per a meatball, but I only got 20 instead of the 35 it says.

  • BethAnn701 1 Mar, 2009

    elr94, I am not sure if a blender would get the bread to the required consistency. You could buy a little food processor for around $10 and use that. I have one and I actually use it more than I had thought I would.

  • BethAnn701 1 Mar, 2009

    How to cook the meatballs is on the spaghetti recipe:
    2. In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook until browned, 5 to 7 minutes. Add marinara sauce and 1/2 cup water; cook until heated through, 5 minutes. Add spaghetti and toss to combine; serve immediately.

  • elr94 9 Jan, 2009

    Can you use a blender or something instead of a food processor?

  • lauraline 20 Dec, 2008

    These are so good. Really easy and quick to make and also low in weight watchers points!! I made about 25 meatballs which have 1 point each.

  • CourtneyFFox 17 Aug, 2008

    how is everyone cooking these?

  • CourtneyFFox 17 Aug, 2008

    how is everyone cooking these?

  • prweiss65 14 Apr, 2008

    I made meatball parm sammies and they were awesome!

  • theodoramoody 10 Apr, 2008

    I've made these meatballs twice already and I agree, they are very flavorful for turkey. I've put them in my own pasta recipe and made the turkey salad in the January issue of Everyday Food magazine. These are great to have in the freezer to pop into a quick meal. I wonder how they'd taste as a parm hero??? Delicious I bet!

  • prweiss65 27 Mar, 2008

    Really, really good. Doubled the batch and froze a ton, then baked about 20 to make the meatball salad, and it was delicous! Had some leftover in the frig and ate them cold the next day, sooooo good!

  • CourtneyFFox 17 Mar, 2008

    Delicious! I was shocked at how flavorful these were! And very easy to make.

  • twoladybugs 28 Feb, 2008

    We loved them! What I ended up doing was browning them in olive oil and then baking them at 350 degrees for about 15 minutes. Instead of freezing them, I immediately threw them in the crockpot with spaghetti sauce on low for 3 hours. They were soooo good! I'll definitely make them again, this time making enough for a second batch to freeze. Delish!

  • collmal 18 Feb, 2008

    These are amazing! I hid the recipe so my husband doesn't know they're light, and REALLY doesn't know that they have wheat bread (gasp!) and turkey in them. So easy to make and even easier to cook later! I'm making a double batch next time and a triple batch before I have my baby in April! I just need to find the perfect tomato sauce to complement them . . .

  • 1hotmama 17 Feb, 2008

    I love these turkey meatballs. I don't feel guilty about feeding them to my kids!

  • CreoleInDC 19 Jan, 2008

    I loved the freezing method! My husband called today while I was out shopping asking for lunch and I told him to pop some in the oven and make a meatball salad. I called to ask how it turned out and he said he'd made TWO meatball sandwiches. *sigh* Good thing they were light huh?

  • Melsy8 17 Jan, 2008

    Excellent meatballs! I used ground chicken instead of turkey, but that is the only thing that I changed. These had great flavor, and I am so glad I have a stash in my freezer for a second dinner.

  • mmsrjs 16 Jan, 2008


  • tweetysocal 15 Jan, 2008

    Can't wait to try this recipe and have meatballs ready to go in the freezer.

  • Regan 15 Jan, 2008

    You're right, we accidentally omitted the links to the recipes that utilize this basic one for turkey meatballs. They have been added. Please enjoy our suggestions, and let us know what other recipes you made with your stash of frozen Light Turkey Meatballs!

  • Elliecat13 12 Jan, 2008

    Look at the Spag and Turkey meatball recipe on how to cook!

  • Krewson 11 Jan, 2008

    I really like the recipe but once you want to use the uncooked frozen meatballs what do you do? Nice try but you fell short on directions

  • danie12788 11 Jan, 2008

    This recipe doesn't include how to cook them...any ideas??

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