close up shot of chop sticks holding a turkey meatball and dipping in sauce

Asian Turkey Meatballs

By Rachel Tiemeyer
November 30, 2021

Whether you want a tasty appetizer for a party or a healthy, satisfying dinner for the fam, this creative spin on meatballs does the trick. Bake the Asian Turkey Meatballs and serve alongside the Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce. Or, serve over brown rice (in the Instant Pot) and stir fried veggies with a drizzle of the sauce. Make ahead and freezing instructions included.

asian meatballs on a plate with stir fry veggies as a side and chop sticks laying on the plate

Ingredients Needed for Asian Turkey Meatballs

For this fun spin on a typical meatball, we’ll be using some of my favorite Asian-inspired foods. Ground turkey is lean and fairly bland, as ground meats go, so this line-up of ingredients infuses complex flavor.

overhead shot of the ingredients for asian turkey meatballs

Here’s what you’ll need…

For the Turkey Meatballs:

  • Finely chopped green onions
  • Ffinely chopped fresh cilantro (sub: fresh parsley)
  • Minced garlic
  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce (GF option: gluten-free Tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos)
  • Sesame oil
  • Panko bread crumbs* (GF option: gluten-free bread crumbs)
  • 1 large egg
  • Ground turkey** (sub: ground chicken or ground pork)
  • Optional (but recommended): a squirt or two of Sriracha hot chili sauce

For the Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce: 

  • Reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Green onions, sliced (sub: 2 tablespoons minced dried onion)
  • A squirt of Sriracha sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes

*We like to use the whole wheat Panko for extra nutrition, if you can find it. 

**We recommend NOT using the 99% lean ground turkey. It’s much better to get turkey that’s less lean, so the meatballs are more moist and flavorful. You could also use half ground turkey/chicken sausage and half ground turkey/chicken to add more flavor.

Video Tutorial: How to Make Asian Meatballs and Dipping Sauce

Take a look at how easily these meatballs and the sauce come together.

Step-by-Step Instructions

Set aside about 30 minutes to make the meatballs and sauce from start to finish.

Step 1: Add all the meatball ingredients to a mixing bowl.

ingredients for turkey meatballs in a white mixing bowl before combining

Step 2: Combine gently with clean hands.

meatball mixture in a white bowl

Step 3: Roll into 1 1/2 inch Asian Turkey Meatballs and place on a lined sheet pan.

process shot of a rolled turkey meatball being placed on a sheet pan

You’ll end up with 20-24 meatballs. Be sure to spread them out on the pan.

overhead process shot of turkey meatballs before going in the oven

Step 4: Bake at 400°F for about 15 minutes.

baked asian meatballs on a sheet pan

Step 5: While they bake, make the Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce on the stovetop.

close up shot of the asian dipping sauce

Step 6: Serve the meatballs with the warm dipping sauce.

close up shot of chop sticks holding a turkey meatball and dipping in sauce

How to Freeze as a Meal Kit

One of the best parts of this recipe is that you can make a complete Asian Turkey Meatballs meal kit to freeze for later.

Simply double the batch of meatballs and sauce. Eat one meal fresh that night and freeze the other for later. Plus, to make your future life even easier, freeze the meatballs along with your side dishes for a complete meal kit.

asian turkey meatball kit for the freezer

As freezer cooking authors and experts, here’s how we recommend freezing this meal:

Freeze For Later: Label and open a gallon-sized freezer bag and lay it on the counter. Follow Step 2 and 3, however, place the meatballs in a single layer in the freezer bag. Seal, squeezing out excess air, and freeze flat. Then, combine all the ingredients for the Dipping Sauce in a quart-sized freezer bag, seal, toss to combine, and freeze along with the meatballs. You can also include a bag of cooked brown rice and a bag of frozen stir fry veggies to complete the meal kit.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the meatballs, sauce, and rice in the refrigerator. Follow Step 1 and then Steps 4-6 to cook the meatballs and sauce. Warm up the rice in the microwave and prepare the stir fry veggies according to package directions.

Tip: This would make a wonderful freezer meal to take to a new parent or someone in need!

How to Serve Asian Turkey Meatballs

There are two simple ways to serve these meatballs:

  1. Appetizer Style – Serve them warm or at room temperature with a small ramekin of warm Sweet Soy Dipping sauce.
  2. Main Dish with Sides – Serve them over brown rice and stir fry veggies. Drizzle the sauce over everything! Top with some sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnish.
overhead shot of asian meatballs on a plate with stir fry veggies as a side and chop sticks laying on the plate
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close up shot of chop sticks holding a turkey meatball and dipping in sauce

Asian Turkey Meatballs

  • Author: Thriving Home
  • Yield: 45 servings (2024 meatballs) 1x
  • Category: Turkey
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Asian

Description

Whether you want a tasty appetizer for a party or a healthy, satisfying dinner for the fam, this creative spin on meatballs does the trick. Bake the Asian Turkey Meatballs and serve alongside the Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce. Or, serve over brown rice and stir fried veggies with a drizzle of the sauce for a nutritious and fun spin on Asian take out. Freezing instructions included.


Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1/4 cup finely chopped green onions (about 3)
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro (sub: fresh parsley)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic (or 2 garlic cloves, minced)
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce (GF option: gluten-free Tamari soy sauce or coconut aminos)
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 3/4 cup plain Panko bread crumbs* (GF option: gluten-free bread crumbs)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 11 1/4 pounds ground turkey**
  • Optional (but recommended): a squirt or two of Sriracha hot chili sauce

Sweet Soy Dipping Sauce: 

  • 1/4 cup reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 green onions, sliced (sub: 2 tablespoons minced dried onion)
  • A squirt of Sriracha sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes

 

*We like to use the whole wheat Panko for extra nutrition, if you can find it. 

**We recommend NOT using the 99% lean ground turkey. It’s much better to get turkey that’s less lean, so the meatballs are more moist and flavorful. You could also use half ground turkey/chicken sausage and half ground turkey/chicken to add more flavor.


Instructions

Make It Now:

  1. (Freezing instructions begin here.) Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper (for easier clean up). Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add the green onions, cilantro/parsley, garlic, sesame oil, soy sauce, bread crumbs, beaten egg, and the turkey. Use your clean hands to gently combine.
  3. Scoop one heaping tablespoon of the turkey mixture at a time and shape into about 1 ½-inch diameter meatballs. Place meatballs in rows on the baking sheet, making sure to leave a little room between each one. 
  4. Bake for about 15 minutes. The meatballs are done when there is no more pink in the middle when cut open or a meat thermometer registers an internal temperature of 160-165°F (the internal temp will rise about 5 more degrees after you remove from oven). (Note: If you want the meatballs to have a crispier exterior, remove the meatballs after 13 minutes of baking. Turn on the broiler and place the pan on the top oven rack. Broil for about 2 minutes, until golden on top and cooked through.)
  5. While the meatballs bake, make the Dipping Sauce. In a medium saucepan, add the soy sauce, brown sugar, green onion, and Sriracha or red pepper flakes. Bring to a boil and reduce to a simmer (watch closely so it doesn’t boil over!). Cook for about 5 minutes. 
  6. Serve the warm meatballs with a small ramekin of dipping sauce. Or, serve meatballs over brown rice with stir-fried vegetables and drizzle the sauce over the top. 

Freeze For Later: Label and open a gallon-sized freezer bag and lay it on the counter. Follow Step 2 and 3, however, place the meatballs in a single layer in the freezer bag. Seal, squeezing out excess air, and freeze flat. Then, combine all the ingredients for the Dipping Sauce in a quart-sized freezer bag, seal, toss to combine, and freeze along with the meatballs. You can also include a bag of cooked brown rice and a bag of frozen stir fry veggies to complete the meal kit.

Prepare From Frozen: Thaw the meatballs, sauce, and rice in the refrigerator. Follow Step 1 and then Steps 4-6 to cook the meatballs and sauce. Warm up the rice in the microwave and prepare the stir fry veggies according to package directions.

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2 replies
  1. Julie says:

    The meatballs were good, but the sauce was too salty. I would try low sodium soy sauce if I make it again. That said, I made a double batch and only five meatballs were left.

    Reply