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Turkey Meatballs w/white breast help please!

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Having read with a bunch of posts and on the net, I cannot find a decent recipe that overcomes the dryness that seems to be a major complaint. I wanted to make meatballs similiar to how I would make beef meatballs, brown them, and then finish cooking them in a sauce. Many of the recipes show them just baking on a sheet, or throwing them into a sauce without browning them, which just seems kind of gross to me.

I've got a 1 lb package of ground turkey breast white from whole foods, and am trying to make meatballs for my 3 year old. He loves my meatloaf which has a barbecue soy sauce to it, and he loves pizza, but is afraid of pasta...so, I would like to see if he would eat these turkey meatballs with a tomato sauce...he eats soy meatballs from Trader joes.

Please help me with a good recipe quick. Should I add soy milk? eggs? bread crumbs? greek yogurt? Reggiano cheese? Worscheshire? Dry mustard? Fresh Parsley? This is what I've got....

Thank you experts out there!

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  1. finely chopped (or even ground) veggies....mushrooms, zucchini, onions.

    1. I've made turkey meatballs using the same ingredients as beef meatballs- For 1 lb turkey- 1 egg, bread crumbs to hold them together (start with 1/4 cup and add as needed, 1 Tb worcestershire sauce, 1/2 onion minced and garlic (both sauteed first- my preference), parsley, s&p, olive oil and a bit of water if they seem dry (I do this with beef, too). If I'm putting them in sauce I just brown the outside in the oven and then add to the sauce. I used to cook them fully in the oven and not add them to the sauce to cook and my husband always complained they were dry.

      1. No to soy milk -- you would be better off with water. Bread crumbs and egg are good to add moisture, and really are somewhat necessary. If you are making tomato sauce, add a cup or so of the sauce to the meatball mix. Let it cool a bit first, and it will add flavor as well as moisture.

        You know, it occurred to me that I was using more egg for turkey meatballs than for lean beef, which sort of offset any cholesterol savings. You could try mixing the turkey with beef or even pork, and you will be able to cut down on the amount of egg needed.

        1 Reply
        1. re: RGC1982

          I don't eggs add any moisture to meatballs, they just help hold them together. As for cholesterol, the chol that is already in food is not a problem - the issue is saturated fat which your body uses to make cholesterol....and you get a significant drop in saturated fat by choosing white meat turkey over beef.

        2. Janie: No expert here. I usually buy ground chicken or turkey, knowing it has fat in it, organic if possible. I grind up Pepperidge Farm Herb stuffing mix in a mini processor for the bread crumbs. Turkey and chicken are so sticky, they don't need extra eggs or oil. Minimal salt, pepper, but lots of grated onion. Use my cookie scooper to portion, roll by hand, brown in olive oil, cook in the pressure cooker for 5 minutes, or if you're doing a double batch, 10 minutes.

          Defat the liquid from the pressure cooker and make gravy.

          You can easily add a bit of sweet or hot Italian sausage to the mix, depending on your child's tastes.

          1 Reply
          1. re: nemo

            we are Chinese and my mum always put a scoop of ultra smooth tofu in meatballs. it makes the meatballs softer. you may need to add in bread crumbs, starch or wheat germ to soak up and it should retain the moisture you are looking for. get the of tofu that is "silken" or better yet, try to find the korean variety that comes in a squeeze tube. Do some experimenting, add just a little at a time so ppl can't tell :)

            I would also give the egg a go - you need a binder. beaten egg whites (2) or egg beaters will work, if you are watching your cholesterol.

            i often put minced shitake mushrooms (squeezed dry) and carrots for sweetness/flavor. veggies will also contribute.

          2. I know that what I am about to suggest in not on the list of things you have....but just in case you also have them around, a bit of white bread soaked in milk will keep your meatballs very moist.

            1. Thanks for the suggestions, this is what I did in case others are interested in a good outcome. I pretty much winged it, and lucked out that it came out nice and moist. My very picky 3 year old gobbled it up!

              1.15 lb of White breast turkey ground (from Whole foods)
              1 large egg beaten slightly
              1/2 cup + 1/8 cup of seasoned bread crumbs
              2 heaping tablespoons of Fage 0% fat greek yogurt
              several swigs of worceshire sauce
              kosher salt and pepper (not too much of either)
              fresh garlic squeezed in press (about 3-4 cloves)
              fresh chopped italian parsley (about 4 tbsp)
              Reggiano cheese grated (about 1/8 cup or so--maybe less)
              very finely minced sweet onion (1/3 of med size onion)

              Mix it all together (i put baggies on my hands, and blend it thoroughly, but I don't overmix either) turn it around, and over and blend it, because too rough of a mixing can create tough meatballs.

              Then I formed meatballs, about 1 1/2 inches in diameter, put them on a sheet of foil, and heated up some olive oil, enough to coat a large skillet frying pan ( i use a large Le Creuset enamel cast iron pan), and have a bit extra there, so it won't dry out as they're frying. Brown them on all sides on a medium flame, watch them carefully as it goes very fast. Drain them on paper towel.

              Make a seperate marinara sauce --I had some left from the day before and added to it, it had sauteed onions in it, and lots of garlic and parsley, tomato paste, whole tomatoes and basil tomato puree. I got the sauce going, and then added the meatballs and kept them simmering in the sauce for 40 minutes. They came out perfect, nice and well done on the outside, and juicy in the inside. The trick is letting them finish cooking in the sauce that is what makes them.

              In my travels to find a good recipe, I came across some interesting versions of Italian wedding soup with turkey meatballs, want to try that next.

              Anyway, this worked out really well, and is a fairly healthy alternative to making beef meatballs. I think the secret was in the yogurt, that Fage is just great for s many things, I use it as a sub for mayo, and all kinds of stuff.

              1 Reply
              1. re: janie

                Made this one successfully. Modified it in a few ways:
                1. No flour for dredging and frying. Baked once and sauteed in EVOO another.
                2. No whipping cream.
                3. Have made it with or without raisins.
                4. Never used sausage, but seasoned generously and added some fresh chopped onion and garlic that was wilted in EVOO.