Skip to Content

How Long to Cook Turkey Meatballs

If you’re used to the traditional beef meatballs for your pasta and tomato sauce, then you may feel cooking turkey meatballs would be challenging. But they’re easier than you think, plus you get a healthier alternative to beef. And knowing how long to make turkey meatballs for different cooking methods is a breeze.

Making Turkey Meatballs

Before we jump to the cooking time, we should make turkey meatballs. Regardless of the cooking technique, the meatball preparation itself remains the same.

Seasoning Ground Turkey

All turkey meatball recipes mix selected spices and seasonings with the ground turkey by default. And key ingredients you’ll find in every turkey meatball recipe include eggs and breadcrumbs, both of which bind and keep the meat moist.

You’ll also find various spice options and aromatics meatballs. Popular contenders include diced onions, minced garlic, black pepper, paprika, parsley, cayenne, rosemary, and fresh thyme.

You can also consider soy sauce for a hint of umami or grated Parmesan cheese for a richer flavor and moisture. And some also include a dash of Italian seasoning, resulting in an unforgettable Italian meatball experience.

Rolling the Meatballs

The meatballs can be formed once the ingredients are folded (not stirred thoroughly) into the ground turkey. Like burger patties, ground meat needs to be handled lightly, or it’ll become tough. The reason is the heat from your palms can melt the fat that binds the ingredients, causing the meatballs not to form proper balls.

So, the best way to make the meatballs is to cut the patties into equal parts, then roll each portion over a cold tray or clean countertop. It’s also important to keep the balls at roughly the same size so they cook evenly, meaning if you’re making one-inch balls, they must all be one-inch balls. Then, each ball is placed in a greased container, ready to be cooked.

Cooking the Meatballs

You can cook turkey meatballs in several ways, and each type determines how long the recipe requires. That said, here are some common ways to cook turkey meatballs and how long they require.

In the Oven

After the balls are formed, they’re arranged on a baking sheet lined with foil and brushed with olive oil. Then, the meatballs are cooked in a 400F oven for 15 to 20 minutes, depending on the size. And they’re ready when the internal temperature indicates 165F on a meat thermometer.

On the Stove

For stovetop turkey meatballs, the oil is heated in a skillet, then the meatballs are added and cooked for 10 to 12 minutes. In the first five minutes, the meatballs are turned to brown on all sides. Then, they’re covered and cooked for three minutes or until the moisture is all gone.  And even then, the meatballs are only considered ready when the internal temperature reads 165F.

In an Air Fryer

The air fryer meatball method is new and gaining recognition among enthusiasts. And like everything else prepared in these appliances, it’s pretty quick and easy. The basket is first greased with cooking spray, so the meat doesn’t stick to it. Then, the meatballs are added and air-fried for 10 minutes at 400F, turning them over at the five-minute mark.

In a Crockpot

While crockpot turkey meatballs are great for convenience, you’ll still need a bit of browning in a skillet before finishing in the slow cooker. And it’s best prepared with whatever sauce you plan to add it. After forming the balls to the desired size, sauté them on the stovetop for one minute per side, then transfer them to the crockpot. Next, pour in whatever sauce you plan to cook and cover and cook on LOW for six to six-and-a-half minutes.

In an Instant Pot

Like the crockpot, you’ll need some liquid to produce steam for the pressure cooker. Add the meatballs to the trivet and pour over water, sauce, or broth. Then, close the instant pot, seal the vent and cook on HIGH for 10 minutes. Once the timer is done, quickly release the pressure and take the meatballs after the steam has been expelled.

clock clock iconcutlery cutlery iconflag flag iconfolder folder iconinstagram instagram iconpinterest pinterest iconfacebook facebook iconprint print iconsquares squares iconheart heart iconheart solid heart solid icon
How Long to Cook Turkey Meatballs..

Baked Turkey Meatballs (20 meatballs)

Save Recipe


  • One pound ground turkey, 93% lean, refrigerated
  • One large egg
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup Italian-seasoned breadcrumbs
  • One-and-a-half tablespoons olive oil, extra-virgin
  • Three tablespoons fresh herbs combo, finely chopped
  • One teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ½ teaspoon dried oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • ¼ teaspoon black pepper


  1. Set the oven so it heats to 375F and lines a rimmed baking tray, then coat it further with non-stick cooking spray. Next, combine the breadcrumbs, herbs, spices, cheese, and salt into one mixture, and add the turkey. Then, whisk the egg and add to the ground meat mix. Then using a cold fork, gently mix the ingredients such that you don’t compact the meat.
  2. Form 20 one-and-a-half-inch meatballs from the meat mixture, taking care, so you don’t handle the meat for too long. Then, brush each ball with olive oil and toss the tray in the oven when you’re done.
  3. Bake the meatballs for 15 minutes or till the 165F doneness temperature. Then, take the tray out of the oven and serve as desired.

Also, this video recipe can help with more suggestions.

  • Author: Bobby