These flavorful and easy to make garlic herb baked turkey meatballs will add some excitement to your weeknight dinner routine. And, they come with a creamy and tangy lemon herb sauce for even more flavor! You can make these easy baked turkey meatballs in only 35 minutes.
Note: this post was originally published in 2019 and updated in 2022 with new photos and improved instructions.
Garlic herb baked turkey meatballs with creamy lemon herb sauce will be your next go-to dinner when you need something fast but don't want to compromise on flavor. These meatballs are not only easy to make, but they are ready in only 35 minutes!
And they are so delicious; turkey is the perfect subtle backdrop to showcase all the delicious garlic and herbs in here. Add in the creamy lemon herb sauce, and you are in for a delicious weeknight treat!
This dish can be served in a variety of ways so you can make it over and over again without getting bored. Serve on a bed of grains, in a salad, sandwich or wrap.
The creamy lemon herb sauce is versatile too - you can dip the meatballs in it (this makes a great appetizer!). Or, you can use as a sandwich spread, or even thin the sauce out to drizzle if you are using the meatballs in a salad. This recipe is definitely one to keep in heavy rotation for whenever you need a quick and easy weeknight meal!
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Turkey meatball ingredients
Creamy lemon herb sauce ingredients
- Turkey: I recommend using 93% lean turkey. I have also used 99% lean turkey and both work and taste delicious. But, the extra bit of fat really makes a difference in the texture of the meatball - much softer and more tender!
- Fresh herbs: you can use any kind you like! I used half dill and half parsley. Chives, basil, thyme, and even cilantro would be delicious. The recipe calls for a lot of herbs, so if you want to use a woody herb (like oregano or rosemary, for example), I would use only about ¼ of that herb and mix it with ¾ of another, more delicate type such as parsley or chives.
- Greek yogurt: you can use full fat, low fat, or even fat free Greek yogurt for the sauce, I've tried them all and they all taste great!
Step by step photos
1. First, pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Then, prep your pan. Grab a sheet pan, and line it with aluminum foil. Lining the pan is optional but it makes for easier cleanup.
Place an oven-safe wire rack on top of the pan, and then either spray the pan with non-stick spray, or wipe the wire rack down with a paper towel dipped in oil. If you need good, affordable, sturdy wire baking racks, I recommend these wire racks from Checkered Chef (affiliate link).
2. Next, finely chop the onion and herbs, and mince the garlic. To save time on prep, chop some extra herbs to use in the sauce later on.
3. Now, dump the herbs, onion and garlic in a large bowl. Add in kosher salt and pepper, an egg, and bread crumbs. Mix everything together so it's evenly combined.
4. At this point you can add in the ground turkey. Mix everything just until it's evenly combined, but try not to overwork the meatball mix. I like to use my (clean) hands to do this, but you can also use a large spoon if you prefer.
5. So next, all you need to do is roll the meatball mixture into balls that are about 1 ¼ inches (3.2 cm) in diameter. You should get about 24 meatballs. Place the turkey meatballs on the prepped wire rack, spaced evenly apart.
Bake them in the preheated oven for about 15 - 20 minutes, until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) using an instant-read thermometer.
6. While the turkey meatballs are baking, you can quickly mix up your creamy lemon herb sauce. For this, all you need to do is add the Greek yogurt, mayo, herbs, lemon juice, kosher salt and pepper into a small bowl.
Then, use a fork or whisk to mix everything together. You can also use 1 - 3 tablespoons of water to thin the sauce to your desired consistency. For whisking small amounts together, I cannot say enough about how much joy this mini whisk (affiliate link) has brought me. It's the little things in life!
7. Once the turkey meatballs are cooked, remove them from the oven and serve them immediately, topped with the creamy lemon herb sauce. I talk some more about serving suggestions in the Recipe FAQs section below!
Tips and tricks
- This recipe uses kosher salt, which is coarser-grained than regular table salt. If you want to use fine-grain salt instead, use only 1 teaspoon in the meatball mixture rather than the 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt called for in the recipe. You can also start with less salt in the sauce, give it a taste, and add more as needed.
- I really like using a wire rack to elevate the meatballs while they are cooking, it allows the oven heat to circulate more evenly around the meatballs. But, if you don't have a wire rack, don't worry! I have made these before just putting them straight on the sheet pan, and they still tasted delicious.
- Want a little more browning on the turkey meatballs? You can broil them after baking for 1 - 2 minutes. Just set up the tray on an oven rack a few inches from the top of the oven, and watch them carefully so they don't get too dark.
- If you are planning on broiling the meatballs, please make sure the wire rack you are using can be used in the broiler. I discuss this more in my post for baked BBQ chicken thighs. The ones I recommend above can be used in the broiler, but some cannot, especially if it has any kind of coating on the metal. If you're not sure, just remove the rack before broiling.
You can brush the meatballs with oil before baking if you like, but I didn't include that in this recipe because I don't think it's necessary. I tested this out by brushing only half the batch of the meatballs with oil before baking.
Then, after baking, I asked my husband to see if he could tell a difference between the oiled vs. non-oiled meatballs (without telling him which was which). He couldn't tell a difference either in appearance or taste. So, brush or not, the choice is yours. They will taste delicious either way!
Yes, these turkey meatballs freeze well. I like to freeze them in 1 - 2 serving size containers with an airtight lid. I didn't have any issue with them sticking together. As long as they are sealed well, they should last in the freezer for 3 - 4 months.
When you want to eat them, you can reheat them in a baking tray covered with aluminum foil, in a 350 degree F (177 degree C) oven for about 20 - 25 minutes, or until the meatballs reach 165 degrees F (74 degrees C).
Or, you can reheat them in the microwave for about 1 - 2 minutes on high, again until they reach 165 degrees F (74 degrees C). Make sure to cover the meatballs with a damp paper towel when microwaving so they don't dry out. For more tips and tricks on reheating frozen meatballs, check out this cool article on five ways to reheat frozen meatballs.
Because the sauce has yogurt and mayo, both of which don't freeze well, I do not recommend that you freeze the sauce. But, it will keep in the fridge for 3 - 4 days in a covered container.
There are so many delicious ways to serve these turkey meatballs! My favorite way is to serve them as a part of a grain bowl, with either farro, rice, cauliflower rice, or quinoa. Add a cooked veggie or a side of arugula or mixed greens for a complete meal! The best part is that you can drizzle the creamy lemon herb sauce over the whole shebang.
You can also serve these meatballs on top of a salad, in a lettuce wrap, or stuffed in a pita. Or, serve them alongside a baked potato and sautéed veggies for a delicious and easy main course.
If you’ve tried this recipe, please leave a star rating and/or review in the comments section below, I would love to hear from you! You can also follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest. And sign up for my weekly newsletter to get recipes delivered straight to you!Print
Garlic Herb Baked Turkey Meatballs
Baked turkey meatballs are easy to make and ready in 35 minutes. Topped with a delicious creamy lemon herb sauce for an extra pop of bright flavor!
- Prep Time: 15 minutes
- Cook Time: 20 minutes
- Total Time: 35 minutes
- Yield: 24 meatballs 1x
- Category: main course, entree
- Method: bake
- Cuisine: American
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound (454 g) 93% lean ground turkey
- ½ cup (62 g) finely chopped onion (about ½ medium onion)
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup (18 g) chopped fresh herbs (see note 1)
- ½ cup (73 g) breadcrumbs
- 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt (see note 2)
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- nonstick spray or oil
For the creamy lemon herb sauce:
- 3 tablespoons (7 g) chopped fresh herbs
- ½ cup (113 g) plain Greek yogurt
- ¼ cup (56 g) mayonnaise
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt, or to taste
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 1 - 3 tablespoons water
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).
- Line a sheet pan with aluminum foil (optional, for easier cleanup). Top with a wire baking rack (see note 3). Spray the rack with nonstick spray. Alternatively, wipe down the rack with a paper towel dipped in oil.
- Finely chop the onion and mince the garlic. Chop the fresh herbs (to save time, chop enough for both the meatballs and creamy lemon herb sauce).
- Add the finely chopped onion, minced garlic, egg, ½ cup chopped fresh herbs, breadcrumbs, 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt and ½ teaspoon black pepper to a large bowl. Mix together until evenly combined.
- Add the ground turkey to the bowl and mix with clean hands until evenly combined.
- Roll the turkey mixture into 1 ¼ inch (3.2 cm) balls and place on greased wire baking rack. You should have about 24 meatballs.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15 - 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) on an instant-read thermometer.
- While the meatballs are baking, add all ingredients for the creamy lemon herb sauce to a small bowl. If you want a thicker sauce, only add 1 tablespoon of water, for a thinner sauce, add 2 - 3 tablespoons. If you aren't sure, start with the smaller amount of water. Whisk with a fork until smooth. If needed, add more water and whisk again until desired consistency is reached.
- Serve the turkey meatballs immediately, drizzled with the creamy lemon herb sauce.
- I used half dill and half parsley. Chives, basil, thyme, and even cilantro would be delicious. The recipe calls for a lot of herbs, so if you want to use a stronger flavored woody herb (like oregano or rosemary, for example), I would definitely use only about ¼ of that herb and mix it with ¾ of another, more delicate type such as parsley or chives.
- Kosher salt is coarse grained; if you want to substitute fine grain salt, use 1 teaspoon rather than the 1 ¼ teaspoon kosher salt called for in the meatball recipe.
- If you don't have a wire baking rack, just place the meatballs directly onto a greased baking pan (first lined with aluminum foil if you want easier cleanup). The meatballs will be less crisp underneath but will still taste delicious!
- If you want the turkey meatballs to be a little browner, you can broil them for 1 - 2 minutes after baking. Position the baking sheet in the oven so the top of the meatballs are a few inches below the top broiler (I used the second oven rack position from the top). Please note: If your baking rack is not designed to withstand the high direct heat of the broiler (for example, if it has a coating on it), remove it before broiling.
- The nutrition information below was calculated using 2% Greek yogurt. This nutrition information is an estimate only, provided by an online nutrition calculator, and should not be considered a substitute for professional medical, health, or nutritional advice. See our full disclosure policy.
- Serving Size: ¼ recipe
- Calories: 356
- Sugar: 2.5 g
- Sodium: 424 mg
- Fat: 20.6 g
- Saturated Fat: 4.4 g
- Carbohydrates: 13.5 g
- Fiber: 1.1 g
- Protein: 28 g
- Cholesterol: 140 mg
Keywords: baked turkey meatballs, turkey meatballs