Asian Turkey Meatballs

5 from 2 votes
45 minutes
Jump To Recipe

Asian Turkey Meatballs have it all in one bite-sized sweet, tangy, and spicy morsel! Healthy ground turkey is seasoned with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and then blanketed in a zesty Orange Sesame Sauce! This easy dinner, meal prep recipe, or crowd-pleasing appetizer is ready in about 45 minutes!

Asian Turkey Meatballs in white oval serving bowl with serving fork garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Why This Recipe is a Keeper!

Meatballs put a smile on everyone’s face, but make them on the healthier side with a sweet, tangy, and spicy Asian twist, and you’re sure to capture hearts!

These healthy turkey meatballs are perfect for a fun, easy dinner that’s ready in about 45 minutes or an appetizer for your next get-together that’s sure to be a hit!

Lean ground turkey is seasoned with ginger, garlic, cilantro, and soy sauce and then baked rather than fried for ease and easy clean-up. A simple sauce with scallions, soy sauce, orange juice, tangy rice vinegar, brown sugar, sesame oil, and more ginger and garlic simmers while the meatballs bake.

This Asian meatballs recipe is:

  • Versatile! Not a turkey fan? Use chicken, pork, or beef.
  • Easy! A cookie scoop makes quick work of forming the turkey meatballs.
  • Perfect for meal prep.
  • Freezer-friendly!
  • Kid-friendly! (Tone down the chili paste if necessary.)
  • A great appetizer! Can be made ahead and reheated in your slow cooker.

Here’s how to make this recipe for turkey meatballs!

Asian Turkey Meatballs in white oval serving bowl with serving fork garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

How to Make an Asian Turkey Meatballs Recipe:

Recipe Ingredients:

Here’s everything you’ll need to make this Asian meatball recipe, as well as instructions for preparing the ingredients. The exact quantities are on the recipe card below.

Ingredients for Asian Turkey Meatballs in glass bowls.

Ingredient Notes and Substitutions:

  • Ginger: Fresh ginger is sold in “hands,” with the branches being “fingers.” Most grocery stores let you break off what you need. Prepared ginger paste in a tube or jar will work in a pinch, but there’s nothing quite like the zing of fresh ginger in Asian meatballs!
  • Panko: Panko, or Japanese breadcrumbs, is a must-have in your pantry. Its coarse texture adds body and texture to ground meats like ground turkey.
  • Ground Turkey: Use all white, all dark, or a combination of the two for these Asian turkey meatballs. Use chicken, pork, or beef if you’re not a turkey fan.
  • Soy Sauce: We always use low-sodium just because we find the saltiness of regular soy sauce too intense. You can also use tamari.
  • Sesame Oil: Use dark or toasted sesame oil because it’s meant for flavoring. Don’t use light sesame oil, which is intended for cooking.
  • Orange Juice: No need to use freshly squeezed; the bottle of OJ you may already have in your refrigerator will work fine.
  • Rice Vinegar: Rice vinegar is fermented twice, making it milder and less acidic than distilled white vinegar or grape-based. Use unseasoned rice vinegar; seasoned rice vinegar has added sugar and salt.
  • Chili Paste: As in Sambal Oelek. If heat is not your thing, omit it or use less. Thai sweet chili sauce makes a good, less spicy alternative.

Step-By-Step Instructions:

  • Gather and prep all the ingredients.
  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  • Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine the scallions, garlic, cilantro, ginger, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, egg and panko.
  • Add the ground turkey and mix well.
Ingredients for meatballs in glass bowl fully combined.
  • Using a large cookie scoop or eye-balling it, form the turkey mixture into 28 even meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center of each meatball registers at least 165 degrees.
  • While the meatballs are baking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes.
  • Let stand until the meatballs are fully cooked (the sauce will thicken more upon standing).
  • Adjust acidity and sweetness as desired with more vinegar or brown sugar.
  • Place the meatballs into the saucepan and stir to coat.
Meatballs and sauce in stainless steel saucepan.
  • Serve, garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.
Asian Turkey Meatballs in white oval serving bowl with serving fork garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Chef Tips and Tricks:

  • When I mix up any ground meat dish, I wear disposable gloves and mix with my hands to get the job done faster and more thoroughly.
  • Combine the ingredients for meatballs (and recipes like meatloaf) before adding the ground meat, as shown above. This allows for better distribution of all the ingredients. If you don’t add the egg, you can also taste the mixture for seasoning to get an idea of the taste.
  • The best way to portion and form meatballs is with a 1-inch cookie dough scoop.  Grab a handful of the meat mixture in one hand, and the cookie dough scoop in the other.  Use the heel of the hand holding the meat mixture to level off the scoop. Empty the scoop on a baking sheet. Then, wet your hands and fine-tune them, rolling them into neat little balls in the palms of your hands.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven as soon as they reach 165 degrees in the center, which is the safe temperature for turkey and all ground meats. Overcooking lean meats such as ground turkey will make it dry.
Asian Turkey Meatballs in serving bowl with chopsticks garnished with sesame seeds and scallions over brown rice.

Frequently Asked Questions:

Can Asian Turkey Meatballs be made ahead of time?

Sure can! You have a few options:

— I don’t advise forming the meatballs and refrigerating them unbaked for more than 24 hours. Ground meat of any type is highly perishable. If you leave them unbaked for 24 hours, ensure the ground turkey is fresh, or you just opened the package.

— You can bake the meatballs a day ahead, cool them, refrigerate them, and make the sauce when ready to serve.

— You can make the Asian meatballs recipe completely and then reheat them in your slow cooker. However, excessive reheating can break down cornstarch-thickened sauces, so go low and slow and stir halfway through heating. You can also reheat in a covered casserole dish in a 350-degree oven. Because of the sugar content, direct heat on the sauce on the stovetop could cause scorching.

How would I reheat these meatballs if I meal-prepped them?

Reheating small amounts of these Asian Turkey Meatballs is okay to do in the microwave.

Can Asian Turkey Meatballs be frozen?

Absolutely! Sauces are your friend when it comes to freezing proteins, so freeze in the sauce. Cool completely, then package in an air-tight container for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator or the microwave.

Three Asian Turkey Meatballs on appetizer plates with serving picks inserted garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Storage:

  • Store any leftovers in the refrigerator. Reheat in the microwave or a covered container in your toaster oven.

Serve with:

More great meatball recipes you’ll love!

Get all my turkey recipes at Chicken and Turkey Recipes – From A Chef’s Kitchen.

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Asian Turkey Meatballs in white oval serving bowl with serving fork garnished with sesame seeds and scallions.

Asian Turkey Meatballs

5 from 2 votes

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By: Carol | From A Chef’s Kitchen
Asian Turkey Meatballs have it all in one bite-sized sweet, tangy, and spicy morsel! Healthy ground turkey is seasoned with ginger, garlic, and soy sauce and then blanketed in a zesty Orange Sesame Sauce! This easy dinner, meal prep recipe, or crowd-pleasing appetizer is ready in about 45 minutes!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes
Course Chicken and Turkey
Cuisine Asian
Servings 6
Calories 249 kcal

Ingredients
  

Meatballs

  • 4 scallions - white and light green part only, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 2 teaspoons minced ginger
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg - beaten
  • 3/4 cup panko - or 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 pound ground turkey - all white meat, dark meat, or a combination

Orange Sesame Sauce

  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar - or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons sesame oil
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste - or hot sauce such as Sriracha
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 3 cloves garlic - minced
  • 2 scallions - white and light green part only, minced
  • 2 tablespoons corn starch
  • Sesame seeds - for garnish

Instructions
 

Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine the scallions, garlic, cilantro, ginger, soy sauce, salt, black pepper, egg and panko. Add the ground turkey and mix well.
  • Using a large cookie scoop or eye-balling it, form the turkey into 28 even meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until a thermometer inserted in the center of each meatball registers at least 165 degrees.

Orange Sesame Sauce

  • While the meatballs are baking, combine all the sauce ingredients in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and simmer for 8-10 minutes. Let stand until the meatballs are fully cooked (sauce thickens more upon standing).
  • Adjust acidity and sweetness as desired with more vinegar or brown sugar.
  • Place the meatballs into the saucepan and stir to coat.
  • Serve, garnished with scallions and sesame seeds.

Notes

The meatballs and sauce use some of the same ingredients. The totals are 1 bunch of scallions, 1 tablespoon minced ginger, 6 cloves of garlic, and 1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon soy sauce.
MAKE AHEAD:  The meatballs can be formed and refrigerated unbaked for no more than 24 hours.  Ensure the ground turkey is fresh or you just opened the package.
You can bake the meatballs a day ahead, cool them, refrigerate them, and make the sauce when ready to serve.
You can make the Asian meatballs recipe completely and then reheat them in your slow cooker. However, excessive reheating can break down cornstarch-thickened sauces, so go low and slow and stir halfway through heating. You can also reheat in a covered casserole dish in a 350-degree oven.
FREEZER-FRIENDLY:  Cool completely then package in an air-tight container for up to two months. Thaw in the refrigerator or the microwave.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 | Calories: 249kcal | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.02g | Cholesterol: 73mg | Sodium: 1624mg | Potassium: 411mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 12g | Vitamin A: 236IU | Vitamin C: 14mg | Calcium: 52mg | Iron: 2mg

These are estimated values generated from a nutritional database using unbranded products. Please do your own research with the products you’re using if you have a serious health issue or are following a specific diet.

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