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Turkey Meatballs...

Don't be hard on me - I don't cook a lot, but have been lately trying to reduce fat and cholesterol. Anyhow, dumb question here... I make turkey meatballs (97% fat free) and in addition to the normal stuff/spices/egg beaters I add one whole finely chopped red pepper per pound of ground turkey. This and paprika I found makes them less grey and both visually and taste-wise more appealing. Anyhow, by the time they come out of the oven (and I do flip them midway) they always look like mini sliders instead of meatballs - probably because of the higher moisture. Any suggestions? I have tried increasing the panko which did help. Thanks, Will

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  1. Turkey lacks the collagen that structures meatballs made with red meat. When you make poultry meatballs, adding a teaspoon of gelatin dissolved in three tablespoons of chicken stock to every two pounds of meat will substitute for that collagen and solve for your collapsing problem.

    1. Red pepper puts off moisture when it cooks, same with onion or anything else you're adding. You can try pre-cooking it to get some of the moisture out to see if that helps.

      I personally like to use shredded zucchini that I've squeezed the life out of with a paper towel, or shredded carrot to add moisture. Cooked mushrooms might be good too.

      These are two recipes I've used that have turned out well, you can tweak for flavors etc, but the ratios used here are good:



      1. I used these ingredients:
        1/2 pound ground turkey
        1/8 cup golden raisins, chopped
        1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon
        kosher salt and pepper
        1/4 cup bread crumbs
        1 large egg white
        3 scallions (white and light green parts), sliced

        And this recipe:


        And I never have a problem with the shape. No need to the pita, serve however you like. I make labneh from the yogurt.

        1. If you can find some mini-muffin tins you could try roasting in those to preserve the shape.

          3 Replies
          1. re: acgold7

            or just let them be flat and don't worry about it. :)

            1. re: hotoynoodle

              But... but... then they're not meatballs. They're Meatpucks.... They taste totally different.

          2. Also you could drop them into a deep pot of simmering broth and poach before you roast them. They should harden up enough to hold their shape.

            1. Funny I find turkey ground so dry that without adding some or even all of the add ins juliej mentioned I wouldn't bother making them. I tend to make turkey meatloaf instead and then just cut slabs for sandwiches. But, I prefer ground lamb over turkey and lamb is less fatty than beef without being as dry. Also cook at a hot oven temp but don't over cook them. Or, cook them in sauce.

              1. I don't eat beef at all, so I make turkey meatballs (and meatloaf) all of the time. I add GRATED (not diced or minced) onion to my meatballs, as well as tomato paste.Also, as suggested before some chicken or veggie broth in the mix helps too (I use unsalted). Use a cookie scooper thing and roll them before you bake them on parchment. I have found this helps them hold their shape.

                1. How big are they? Maybe try a smaller size so the weight is more evenly distributed, and/or cook in a sauce

                  1. Google Ottolenghi's turkey meatballs. They are incredible.

                    1. I'm wondering if maybe popping them in the freezer a bit before cooking them, until they at least become semi-frozen might help. Then perhaps bake them at a high temp to start off just so the exterior gets cooked and browned a bit, then lower it until the center is cooked through.

                      I also agree with the other suggestions on here to cook out the excess moisture from the peppers and onions first too - in fact I would even blot them really well with paper towel after cooking them down.

                      You could even maybe try dehydrated onion flakes. Or perhaps the Knorr dry veggie soup mix?