Flavorful, juicy and gluten-free baked turkey meatballs. Turkey meatballs with zucchini are a healthy, easy dinner - double the recipe and stock up your freezer!
One of my favorite turkey meatball recipes is turkey and ricotta meatballs. But when I'm in the mood for something lighter - and I also have a few zucchini lying around - then baked turkey meatballs with zucchini are my go-to turkey meatballs.
Grated zucchini keeps these meatballs moist and juicy. The best part - you don't have to squeeze the moisture out of the zucchini, just add the zucchini right to the ground turkey.
Add a few more ingredients - egg, garlic and seasoning - then bake the meatballs for less than 20 minutes. They're quick and easy, healthy and really versatile.
There are so many ways to serve these turkey meatballs!
What Goes with Meatballs for Dinner?
Are Breadcrumbs Necessary for Meatballs?
Not for this recipe! They hold together just fine using only egg as a binder.
Without breadcrumbs, the mixture is more wet and loose, but don't worry, the meatballs will hold together just fine in the oven.
How to Brown Meatballs
I always bake meatballs (or make meatballs in an Instant Pot), because it's more convenient. The only downside is that baked meatballs don't get crispy and browned on the outside like fried meatballs do.
To encourage baked meatballs to brown, you have 3 different options:
- Set a rack (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) on the sheet pan. This lifts the meatballs up, so air circulates around the entire meatball and it keeps the meatball from sitting in fat and juices as it cooks.
- Put the meatballs under the broiler during the final 5 minutes of cooking, turning as needed.
- Use the "convection roast" setting if you have a convection oven. Convection ovens circulate hot air, which encourages the outside of meat to dry and brown.
How Long Do Turkey Meatballs Cook in the Oven?
Turkey meatballs cook in the oven for only about 15 minutes at 400 F. If you want to make sure the meatballs are cooked, use an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature of fully cooked turkey meatballs is 165 F.
How to Reheat Frozen Meatballs
Frozen, fully cooked meatballs can be reheated either frozen or defrosted. Use any of the reheating methods below. Frozen meatballs will just take longer to reheat than thawed meatballs.
With Sauce: Marinara sauce helps keep meatballs from drying out as they reheat. You can simmer sauce and meatballs in a covered pot on the stove or in a covered dish in the oven. It will take around 15 minutes to heat defrosted meatballs and closer to 30 minutes or more for frozen meatballs to heat all the way through.
In the Oven: Put frozen or defrosted meatballs in a dish or tray covered with foil. The foil (or a tight lid) traps moisture, preventing the meatballs from drying out. Bake at 325 F for 15 to 45 minutes, or until warmed all the way through.
Crockpot: Reheat meatballs in a crockpot with sauce for 3 to 5 hours.
Instant Pot: (Frozen meatballs) You can reheat frozen meatballs in an Instant Pot, but defrosted meatballs will overcook. Pour ½ cup water into the Instant pot and set a trivet or steamer basket over the water. Place the frozen meatballs on the trivet. If the meatballs don’t fit in one layer, it’s okay to stack them. Cook for 5 minutes on high pressure.
Healthy Turkey Meatballs
Not only are these meatballs packed with a green veggie, they are gluten-free, dairy-free and low-carb!
More Yummy Sheet-Pan Dinners
- Vegetarian Fajitas with Smoky Lime Sour Cream
- Sheet-Pan Honey Mustard Chicken and Cauliflower
- Sheet-Pan Salmon and Green Beans with Sesame-Lime Dressing
- Sheet-Pan Greek Chicken Breasts
Baked Turkey Meatballs (with zucchini)
Grated zucchini keeps these gluten-free, dairy-free, low-carb meatballs moist and juicy.
Double this recipe and stock your freezer with cooked turkey meatballs. Defrosting and reheating meatballs is easy (see tips in blog post above). A batch of cooked meatballs in the freezer is so helpful when yo don't have time to start cooking from scratch.
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 15 to 20 minutes
- Total Time: 45 minutes
- Yield: 15 to 18 meatballs 1x
- Category: turkey and chicken
- Method: baked
- Cuisine: American
- Diet: Gluten Free
- 1 to 1 ¼ pounds ground turkey (preferably 93% lean or less)
- 1 cup packed grated zucchini (grated on a cheese grater)
- 1 egg
- 3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
- ½ teaspoon dried oregano or Italian seasoning
- ¼ cup chopped fresh basil or parsley (optional)
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- Heat oven to 400 F. Line a rimmed sheet pan with parchment or foil, or spray with non-stick cooking spray.
- In a large bowl, gently mix together ground turkey, zucchini, egg, garlic, dried and fresh herbs and salt.
- Use your hands to form the meat into evenly sized meatballs about the size of golf balls (I usually end up with 15 to 18 meatballs). The meatballs will be wet and loose, but will form into balls. Keeping your hands slightly wet can help keep the meat from sticking to yor hands.
- Space the turkey meatballs out evenly on the baking sheet. If you want the meatballs to brown more evenly on all sides, then set a rack (sprayed with non-stick cooking spray) on the sheet pan.
- Bake 15 to 20 minutes. If you want to make sure the meatballs are cooked, use an instant read thermometer. The internal temperature of fully cooked turkey meatballs is 165 F.
I skip adding breadcrumbs because these meatballs don’t really need it. The egg will bind the meat together, even with the extra moisture that zucchini adds. However, if you prefer meatballs with a slightly more dense and firm texture, then add ½ cup panko or breadcrumbs.
Freezing Meatballs: To freeze meatballs, let the cooked meatballs cool, then put them in a Ziploc freezer bag. To make sure the meatballs don't stick together, you can first freeze them on a sheet-pan for 1 to 2 hours, then put the meatballs in a freezer bag or other container.
Defrosting frozen meatballs: To defrost meatballs, leave them in the refrigerator overnight.
Keywords: turkey meatballs, gluten-free turkey meatballs, turkey zucchini meatballs
I like having a meatball recipe that stays moist, without adding dairy.