This is the ULTIMATE GUIDE to making delicious, moist, healthy Turkey Meatballs - baked, pan cooked, or even in the air fryer!
The base Turkey Meatball Recipe will stay the same no matter what cooking method you use, but I'll walk you through the advantages / disadvantages and methods for each.
No matter how you cook them, you'll need:
Turkey Meatball Ingredients:
- 1 lb Ground Turkey ( 85/15 or 90/10. The other leaner mixtures will be too dry )
- marinara sauce
How to Make Turkey Meatballs
There are three basic methods I'm going to address for how to cook turkey meatballs: baking, pan frying, air frying.
No matter which method you pick, I like to use a large sheet pan to store each meatball as I roll them. If you are baking your meatballs, then they can go straight into the oven from there. If not, it's a great way to stay organized while cooking.
How to Bake Turkey Meatballs
Until I discovered the Air Fryer, I would have said that making turkey meatballs in the oven was the easiest way. If you don't have an Air Fryer yet, then baked turkey meatballs are definitely a delicious, easy way to go!
How to Make Air Fryer Meatballs
Air fryer turkey meatballs are my FAVORITE. They are super simple, have a fabulous crisp exterior like they were pan fried, and create almost no mess!
Simply spray the inside of the air fryer with cooking oil, place the raw meatballs in the fryer in a single layer with no sides touching, and air fry!
They come out looking exactly like the picture below - crisp and perfectly cooked.
How to Make Pan Fried Meatballs
Definitely the most traditional method of cooking, pan fried meatballs give you an excellent crust, but also use a lot more oil and effort than the other methods. If you've got the time and the calories, I say go all in and pan fry your meatballs though!
Should you bake or fry meatballs?
If you are trying to make the most healthy turkey meatballs you can, then you will want to stick with baked turkey meatballs or air fried meatballs over pan fried meatballs.
How do you know when turkey meatballs are done?
The best way to know if turkey meatballs are done is to use a quick-read meat thermometer. I resisted getting one of these for YEARS, but finally bit the bullet and am so glad I have one now.
Here's the one I have, and it's a champion:
Use it to know when your meatballs reach the ideal temperature of 165 degrees F.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- The CRISPIEST Air Fryer Hot Wings
- White Wine Sausage Bites with Mustard Dipping Sauce
- Baked BBQ Chicken Thighs
- 1 lb ground turkey 93%
- 1/4 cup of your favorite tomato-based pasta sauce
- 1 egg large
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs seasoned or unseasoned
- 2 Tablespoons fresh chopped parsley packed
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon oregano dried
- Heavy Skillet
- In a large bowl, gently mix all ingredients with a fork or spatula until combined. Don't use a mixer or other high powered device as overmixing can make for tough meatballs.
- Gently shape the turkey mixture into 1" balls. You should get about 25 balls.
How to Make Meatballs in the Oven
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Bake on a greased sheet pan for 15 - 18 minutes, or until the balls are cooked through and have started to brown.For extra color, broil the balls for 1 - 2 minutes on high after cooking.
How To Pan Fry Meatballs
- In a hot heavy duty skillet or frying pan set over medium heat, pour 1 Tablespoon of oil. Working in batches of 8 - 10 ( depending on how many meatballs can fit in your skillet without touching each other ), fry the balls for 2 minutes on each "side".I consider a meatball to have four sides - a top and a bottom, and once those are cooked, a left and right side. It's like cooking a little cube.
How To Cook Meatballs in the Air Fryer
- Set the Air Fryer to 400°F. Spray the inside of the basket with cooking spray. Place the meatballs in the Air Fryer without their sides touching. My small 1.2 QT Air Fryer can cook 5 - 7 at a time like this. Air Fry for 7 - 9 minutes.