HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >



I make a basic beef meatball. I am looking for recipes using all kinds of meat or fish with different flavors, ingredients, etc. Please no pork, or dairy, can be beef, turkey, chicken, veal, fish. Would like to have some interesting ingredients, and flavors, expecially spicy. TIA

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. Paprkurtr, I've been making turkey meatballs which include lots of finely chopped fresh basil, onion and garlic along with a generous amount of cumin and a small amount of breadcrumbs. I form the meatballs in the morning and let them set covered and refrigerated all day so they hold their shape better. I then bake on parchment in a 350 degree oven for about twenty minutes and then let them finish cooking in the sauce. The basil adds an interesting dimension and makes bland turkey come alive.

    1. Gefilte fish is essentially a fish meatball. I always use coleslaw or minced steamed cabbage in my meatloaf and non-Italian meatballs. Keeps them moist, and melts into unrecognizable caramelized tenderness. However much onion I use, I add the same amount of cabbage. I think chicken needs a lot of help to make a decent meatball, and apologies to the many fans of turkey meatloaf/meatballs but I think they are delusional. Turkey combined with beef and/or pork is okay, but on its own is hopeless, even if the meatballs are fried.

      Add some form of soy sauce to chicken or fish meatballs for extra flavor. Your favorite grated cheese to any meatball mix, ditto bell or other peppers, sun-dried tomatoes, mushrooms, carrot. Whole grain bread is better than white.

      Lamb makes good meatballs with curry or Middle-Eastern flavorings.

      4 Replies
      1. re: greygarious

        GG is right...ground lamb IS very nice in meatballs (though for me right now, darned hard to find!!) I've been wanting to try this lamb meatball in yogurt sauce recipe...but no ground lamb to be found...ugh...a special trip to Fresh Market might be necessary, though Whole Foods is right down the street....paprkutr, if you want this recipe, I'll post it but it's not tried and true to me yet. Glad you posted your question...it urges me on to find the ground lamb! LOL!

        1. re: Val

          Thank you I would love to have the recipe. I am trying to make different ones to have on hand, and also they make a great quick meal.

          1. re: paprkutr

            Okay, I usually write down the sources of recipes I print off but this one, no:

            for the meatballs:
            1 pound ground lamb
            1/4 cup finely chopped white or yellow onion
            1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh mint
            1 Tablespoon finely chopped fresh cilantro
            1 garlic clove, crushed
            1 teaspoon ground coriander
            1 teaspoon kosher salt
            1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
            1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
            1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

            For the yogurt:
            7 ounces whole-milk Greek yogurt
            2 teaspoons finely chopped cilantro
            2 teaspoons finely chopped mint
            1 teaspoon ground cumin
            Zest of 1 lemon, minced

            Heat oven to 375 and position rack in middle of oven.
            Combine all meatball ingredients in large bowl and mix thoroughly with hands.
            Form into 30 meatballs (about 2 teaspoons each) and place on lightly oiled baking sheet.
            Bake til meatballs are cooked through about 15 or 20 minutes.
            While meatballs are baking, mix together yogurt ingredients and season with salt and pepper. Mix well and serve with the meatballs.

        2. re: greygarious

          GG, thanks for your suggestions. I make gefilte fish from scratch and have been doing it for a long time.

        3. I do a Greek meatball made out of turkey. For 3 lb of turkey I use 3 large bundles of fresh mint. I use about 1 head of garlic pre fried, then I pour the entire think evoo and garlic into the mix.

          3LB Turkey
          3 eggs
          Panko crumbs
          1 Head garlic
          3 bundles of Mint (1 cup of so)
          Seeded fresh tomato
          I do use Feta but you could leave this out

          I then fry the meatballs in 75/25 each side until golden brown

          Finish off in the oven at 350 for 25 minutes.

          1. How about veal? These are really spectacular: http://seminal.firedoglake.com/diary/...

            And here are some reviews and photos from a number of us who tried and loved the recipe:


            1 Reply
            1. Thanks everyone. Anyone do anything with chiles, or water chestnuts, etc?

              2 Replies
              1. re: paprkutr

                I've added Sriracha to my meatball mix.

                Also, not just for extending your meats, but shredded cabbage makes a meatball more juicy (esp. when you are using lean cuts of meat).

                I will sometimes puree roasted garlic and peppers into my meatball mixture when I want a real earthy flavor, esp. with things like lamb or venison.

                1. re: paprkutr

                  Sunset's "Easy Basics for Good Cooking" has a wonderful turkey meatball recipe with water chesnuts and a sweet/sour sauce. Alas the cookbook is out of print though I think you can find it used.

                2. this is why learning techniques trumps learning recipes.

                  you know how to make meatballs - that's a technique. use the same technique with almost any protein, and vary the spices as you wish.

                  1. Beef and lamb with garlic and onion and some smoked paprika.

                    1. Lidia Bastianich was on The View this week making turkey meatballs in tomato sauce. She used onions, panade, golden raisins, pine nuts, grated cheese. I can't remember what herbs if any, and don't recall garlic but I think she must have used it. The segment was very rushed - no amounts given. She said to fry or bake the meatballs before putting them in the sauce. Joy Behar, who is of Italian descent and seems to know her way around a kitchen, stressed that Lidia's meatballs were outstanding.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: greygarious

                        Found the recipe online:


                        Not sure about the raisins, but the porcini powder is a great idea. And no garlic. Although there's plenty of garlic and shallots in the sauce.

                        1. re: JoanN

                          Raisins in meatballs is very Sicilian. My mother would always make some this way for my father, but I disliked them so much that she would make them a different shape -- more of a torpedo -- to distinguish them from the raisin-free meatballs.

                          1. re: roxlet

                            What a great! idea--making something a different shape to distinguish it from something else. One of those OMG!, why didn't *I* think of that? That's going to come in handy. Thanks, roxlet.

                          2. re: JoanN

                            Since it's turkey, after all, sweetened dried cranberries could be substituted for the raisins. The orange-flavored "craisins" from Trader Joe's might be a nice addition, especially if you were going to serve the meatballs without tomato sauce.

                        2. Try a beef and lamb combination seasoned with oregano, cumin and maybe a little coriander and light garlic. If you like, you can buy premixed Greek or Turkish seasoning and try that. It will have the rich flavor of a gyro -- wonderful.

                          1. I've experimented a few times with ground pork, beef, lamb, veal, a combination of few or none using a variety of spices and ingredients (cumin, raisins, nutmeg, pine nuts, even grape jelly as a secret ingredient, etc., etc.) My favorite is pork and beef, minced onion, panko, freshly grated Pecorino Romano, parsley, garlic, sea salt, ground white pepper and a full flavored extra virgin olive oil.

                            1. I came up with a basic recipe with a little spice into it. You can ignore the addition of milk but it a pretty solid recipe. Let me know what you think:

                              Meatballs: (28 ct)

                              2 lbs ground beef
                              2 eggs
                              1 1/2 cups bread crumbs
                              1 cup milk
                              1/2 cup finely chopped parsely (fresh)
                              1 cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
                              2 garlic cloves, finely minced
                              2 tablespoons red pepper flakes
                              Olive oil or bacon grease
                              Salt, to taste


                              1 can (28 oz) peeled tomatoes
                              1 tablespoon tomato paste
                              1 medium onion, diced
                              1 tablespoon light brown sugar
                              Salt, to taste

                              -Latin Lovin' Eatin' Grubbin'

                              1 Reply
                              1. ever try rice in place of bread to keep the balls moist

                                1. My sister swore by and introduced me to Ina Garten's recipe, excellent, though not really spicy, and it does use ground pork and cheese. Suggest you look at it and consider substitutes for those ingredients - I'm sure ground turkey or lamb would sub for the pork.

                                  1. Thank you everyone, I plan on trying on some of your recipes.