These parmesan turkey meatballs are tender, juicy, and bursting with flavor.  They are a great change-up from traditional pork and beef meatballs.  They’re awesome in red sauce with some Italian bread and pasta.  Roll smaller meatballs and they’re a welcome addition to any soup.  The possibilities are endless!

Turkey meatballs with red sauce in white bowl.

These work well with a quick marinara like the one from our easy marinara sauce recipe.  You can make the marinara in 20 minutes while waiting for the turkey meatballs to finish baking.

The great thing about this recipe is that they don’t need to be cooked in sauce for as long a time as traditional meatballs do.  In fact, they are better served right from the oven topped with your favorite sauce!

If you have leftovers, be sure to make a turkey meatball sub.  Follow this meatball parm hero recipe, to learn how to master it.

And finally, there’s nothing better than rolling these really small and using them for this super hearty Italian wedding soup recipe!

Ingredients shown: eggs, breadcrumbs, basil, parmesan cheese, and a large onion.

You will need ground turkey, breadcrumbs, basil, parsley, milk, olive oil, eggs, parmesan cheese (we used Parmigiano Reggiano), and onion.  The grated onion, milk, and olive oil play an important role in retaining the turkey’s moisture.  Without these helpers, ground turkey can be on the dry side, so please use them!

How to make Italian turkey meatballs

  1. Begin by grating 1/2 cup worth of onion.  Also, chop a 1/2 cup of fresh basil and a 1/2 cup of fresh parsley.
  2. In a large mixing bowl combine the onion, 2 pounds ground turkey, 1 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup chopped basil, 1/2 cup chopped parsley, 1/4 cup milk, 1/8 cup olive oil, 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup grated parmesan, 1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt, and 1 teaspoon of black pepper.

Turkey meatballs recipe process shot collage.

  1. Gently mix all of the ingredients in the bowl.  Note – Overmixing should be avoided with ground turkey to keep the meatballs tender.  Form the balls with either oiled or wet hands.  Having a bowl of water on the counter works well.  Before each meatball, dampen hands to easily roll them with no sticking.
  2. Bake the meatballs at 375f for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the middle of the meatball reaches 165f.  Use an instant-read thermometer to easily check the temperature.  Using a sheet pan lined with parchment paper prevents sticking and helps with easy cleanup.

Fully cooked meatballs on parchment paper lined pan.

What to serve with turkey meatballs

Top tips

  • Turkey is very lean meat, so milk and oil are critical ingredients for preventing dry meatballs.
  • Overmixing should be avoided, which will also help keep the turkey meatballs juicy.
  • Rolling the meatballs with oiled or wet hands works remarkably well at forming and keeping the sticky turkey meat off your hands.

Can breadcrumbs be omitted?

Yes.  If you want a keto-friendly version, omit the breadcrumbs and really oil your hands well before forming each ball.  They will be softer and more delicate during the rolling process.  One trick to employ with these is to place them in the freezer for 20 minutes, prior to baking to help them retain their shape.

Turkey meatballs with red sauce in a white bowl.

Try these meatball variations

If you’ve enjoyed this turkey meatball recipe, or any recipe on this site, please let us know in the comments.  We would love to hear how you did and it’s nice to show others as well.  Thanks!

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The full YouTube video for this recipe is directly below in the recipe card.

Turkey Meatballs

5 from 6 votes
Prep: 20 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Total: 45 minutes
Servings: 4
Tender and juicy Italian style turkey meatballs with parmesan, breadcrumbs, parsley, and basil.


  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup onion grated
  • 1/2 cup parmesan grated
  • 1/2 cup fresh basil minced
  • 1/2 cup fresh parsley minced
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/8 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper


  • Preheat oven to 375f and set the rack in middle. Chop 1/2 cup fresh basil and 1/2 a cup of fresh parsley. Grate 1/2 cup worth of onion.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, grated onion, basil, parsley, kosher salt, pepper, olive oil, breadcrumbs, milk, parmesan cheese, and 2 beaten eggs.
  • Gently mix all the ingredients. Form the turkey meatballs with wet or oiled hands to avoid sticking. The recipe makes approximately 16-20 two-inch round meatballs.
  • Bake the meatballs on an oiled or parchment paper-lined baking sheet for 20-25 minutes or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165f.
  • The turkey meatballs can be eaten right away or covered in sauce. Enjoy!


  • Recipe makes 16-20 two-inch meatballs. 
  • Turkey is very lean meat, so milk and oil are critical ingredients for preventing dry meatballs.
  • Over-mixing should be avoided, which will also help keep the turkey meatballs remain juicy.
  • Rolling the meatballs with oiled or wet hands works remarkably well at forming nice meatballs and keeping the sticky turkey meat off your hands.
  • Cooking time and internal temp should be monitored closely.  The turkey meatballs cook fairly quickly, so be sure to check them at the 20-minute mark.
  • The exact cooking time will depend on your oven and the size of the meatballs.  In this recipe, they are roughly a 2-inch diameter.  
  • Turkey meatballs can be refrigerated for 3 days or frozen for 6 months.  Reheat in marinara sauce over a low simmer or if in a rush the microwave.


Calories: 695kcal | Carbohydrates: 23.3g | Protein: 73g | Fat: 37.8g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 322mg | Sodium: 1321mg | Potassium: 754mg | Fiber: 1.8g | Sugar: 3.7g | Calcium: 268mg | Iron: 6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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  1. Jan Simmons says:

    Hi Jim,

    Just made your turkey meatballs again today and AGAIN they are just fabulous! The best tasting and moist turkey meatballs I have ever had! Thanx again!

  2. Jan Simmons says:

    5 stars
    I just made these meatballs this morning. After many attempts to make the best turkey meatballs I have finally come across a receipe that produced OUTSTANDING turkey meatballs! Thank you John!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Jan, I’m so happy you enjoyed the turkey meatballs and really appreciate the comment!

  3. Penny says:

    Hi Jim,
    I just made the turkey meatballs (they’re in the oven). Two questions,
    The ingredients call for 1/2 grated onion but the instructions say one medium onion.
    When measuring the chopped parsley and basil, do you measure before or after chopping?
    I have so 3 ring binder dedicated to just your recipes!❤️

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Penny, I just adjusted the recipe to clarify and thank you for pointing this out. It should be 1/2 cup of grated onion which is roughly equivalent to 1/2 medium sized onion. As far as the chopped herbs, it would be after they’ve been chopped. That being said, this isn’t a baking recipe so measurements don’t need to be 100% exact. If you want more or less herbs, go with what you like. It will still be good! I’m so happy you’re enjoying the recipes!

  4. Barbara milleisen says:

    5 stars
    This recipe was simple and easy and absolutely delicious…a mainstay for sure.😊

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Barbara, I’m so happy you enjoyed this recipe and really appreciate the comment!

    2. CDeacons says:

      Can I do this as a meatloaf? Weird question cuz I’m doing it anyhow but I’m going to check temp and times to see how it goes…. I really enjoy your recipes, thx. Btw I’ve made this in your wedding soup a few times. Good stuff

      1. Tara says:

        Hi there, you can do it as a meatloaf but since we haven’t tested it that way we can’t say for sure the timing. You could refer to one of Jim’s other meatloaf recipes and use turkey instead of beef for those. Either way, hope you enjoy and happy to hear you enjoyed the wedding soup!

  5. Karina says:

    5 stars
    Hi Jim,
    I’ve made these turkey meatballs from your recipe several times now. My family loves them. I make like 4lbs worth of meatballs and freeze some. In addition to your ingredients, I add one or two green and red peppers – i chop them up teeny-tiny and mix it all up. The meatballs come out extra juicy and my son is eating more veggies without even knowing. I bake them, and I turn on the broiler for an additional 10 minutes. It doesn’t overbake them and leaves them a little more crispy. Thank you for your recipes and videos. Looking forward to making one of your pizzas!

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Karina, I’m so happy you like the turkey meatballs! I love the addition of the peppers – definitely a great way to sneak in some veggies for the kids. I hope you enjoy the pizza and really appreciate the comment!

  6. Jessica says:

    Made these today and my husband and I enjoyed them. He said they were much juicer than a previous turkey meatball recipe I tried. We will use the leftover meatballs to make a meatball parm sub.

    1. Jim says:

      Hi Jessica, thank you for the comment and happy to hear you and your husband enjoyed them!