Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs - Real Food Whole Life

Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs

March 31, 2016 (Updated on December 20, 2021)

top down shot of turkey meatballs on a white plate with fresh herbs on top

These easy, delicious gluten free turkey meatballs are made with ground turkey, without any breadcrumbs or eggs.

Plus they can easily be made ahead and frozen for a quick, comforting meal any night of the week!

Close up shot of turkey meatballs sprinkled with parsley on a white plate.

about this gluten free turkey meatballs recipe

We love healthy gluten free meatballs around here!

Whether it’s for a hearty Sunday night dinner, a celebratory game day, or just a busy weeknight – they are always a big hit in our house.

With hundreds of recipes on Real Food Whole Life, this is one I find myself coming back to again and again (for several reasons).

First, I know if I make a batch they’ll be happily gobbled up by both my daughter, Elle and husband, Andrew.

Second, they’re super versatile – they make the perfect, protein-packed afternoon snack, easy appetizer, lunch or pasta night addition.

And third, they come together quickly & easily with just a handful of feel-good ingredients (including some extra veggies).

What’s not to love about that?

process & tips

Even without the traditional breadcrumbs or cheese, these really are so delicious and incredibly simple to make.

Just combine your ingredients in a mixing bowl, roll & place your meatballs onto a greased baking sheet and bake them up!

It’s hard to go wrong with this recipe but here’s a two quick tips I find that help me get the best results:

1. Instead of chopping the veggies, use a food processor to chop the onion and bell pepper into tiny, tiny pieces (this step may also help kids who don’t like the texture of chopped veggies to enjoy these meatballs even more).

2. Try not to over-mix the meat mixture, or you’ll end up with tough meatballs (and no one wants that).

Note: ground turkey is sticky and won’t roll the way beef does. If it’s too wet to roll, use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to scoop balls onto the pan.

how to keep gluten free meatballs from falling apart

So without eggs, cheese or milk-soaked breadcrumbs… what keeps these meatballs together?

Our secret is that we use oat flour in this recipe to keep it breadcrumb free!

Almond flour is another breadcrumb free option if you want an easy paleo or whole30 option.

The other trick?

We add finely chopped veggies like onion and bell pepper to keep the meatballs moist and together.

Overhead shot of turkey meatballs sprinkled with parsley on a white plate.

ingredients & modifications

Onion: Don’t skip the onion! It releases much-needed moisture and allows it to dissolve into the meat as it cooks.

Bell pepper: I used red bell peppers in this recipe but you can also use orange or yellow bell peppers in its place. It adds a bit of extra fiber, flavor and moisture to the meat.

Ground turkey: I used 93% lean ground turkey, you can use an even leaner ground turkey if you like but it will be drier, less tender and less flavorful.

Oat flour: You can use almond flour for a grain-free, paleo, whole30 version of this recipe. Or use oat flour for a nut-free option. Be sure to buy gluten-free oats if you want to keep the recipe gluten-free.

Garlic powder: I like the convenience and subtle garlic flavor of using garlic powder in this recipe, but you can use fresh minced garlic in its place if you prefer.

Olive oil: I like the flavor of olive oil best in this recipe. But any neutral oil will work in this soup, such as avocado oil, vegetable oil or canola.

Kosher salt: Look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store (it has a subtler flavor). Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Make your own oat flour by placing 2 cups whole, rolled oats in a blender, and blend until a coarse flour forms. You can also buy pre-made oat flour at well-stocked grocery stores or online.

ways to serve these healthy turkey meatballs

Serve them on top of cooked pasta, spaghetti squash or zoodles tossed with marinara, dairy-free pesto or any other sauce you like.

Or, create a hearty dinner bowl with roasted veggies & a grain base like rice, quinoa or creamy polenta.

They’re really fun as an appetizer too, we sometimes serve them plain with a mustard or marinara dipping sauce on the side.

Get creative with your toppings to make it your own! Some classics would be red pepper flakes, fresh basil & parsley, and grated Parmesan (traditional or dairy-free).

Close up shot of meatballs sprinkled with parsley on a white plate.

how to store or freeze leftover gluten free turkey meatballs

The best thing about this recipe is that it can be made ahead!

Make a double or triple batch and freeze the leftovers (if there are any) for a quick dinner or snack anytime.

Homemade turkey meatballs will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

This recipe also freezes well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container or zip-top bag for up to 2-3 months.

more gluten free meatball recipes

Easy Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

5-Ingredient Free Meatballs (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)

Crockpot Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup

Thai Inspired Chicken Meatball Soup

this recipe is…

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I hope you’ll make this easy Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs recipe soon.

If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

Close up shot of turkey meatballs sprinkled with parsley on a white plate.
4.67 from 3 votes

Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs

Yield 24 meatballs
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

These easy, delicious gluten free turkey meatballs are made with ground turkey, without breadcrumbs or eggs, and can easily made and frozen.

Ingredients

  • 1 small yellow onion finely chopped, about ½ cup
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped red bell pepper or yellow or orange bell pepper
  • 1/3 cup gluten free oat flour or almond flour
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 pound 93% lean ground turkey
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400F.
  • In a large bowl, stir together the onion, bell pepper, flour, garlic powder, and salt. Add the turkey and stir again until all the ingredients are well incorporated, being careful not to over mix.
  • Pour 1 tablespoon olive oil onto a sheet pan or large baking dish. Rub it around until the pan is well coated.
  • Spoon 1 tablespoon of turkey mixture into your hands, rolling the mixture gently into a ball. Place the meatball onto the oiled pan, then continue the process with the remaining mixture. Note: ground turkey is sticky and won't roll the way beef does. If it’s too wet to roll, use a spoon or small ice cream scoop to scoop balls onto the pan.
  • Drizzle the additional 1 tablespoon olive oil over the meatballs, rolling them around so they are well coated.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, or until golden brown and cooked through, flipping once halfway through.

Notes

Nutrition information is calculated for 1 meatball.
Make your own oat flour by placing 2 cups whole, rolled oats in a blender, and blend until a coarse flour forms. Alternatively, you can buy pre-made oat flour at well-stocked grocery stores and online (either regular or gluten-free). Be sure to buy gluten-free oats if you want to keep the recipe gluten-free.
Instead of chopping the veggies, use a food processor to chop the onion and bell pepper into tiny, tiny pieces, which will made prep easier and will help people who don’t like the texture of chopped veggies to enjoy these meatballs.
Use almond flour for a grain-free, paleo, whole30 version of this recipe, or use oat flour for a nut-free option.
Serve these meatballs any way you like, with dipping sauce on the side (I used yellow and whole-grain mustard mixed together in the photos here and a simple marinara).
You can also toss them in your favorite sauce and serve over pasta.
For more recipe notes & ingredient modifications, see the blog post above.

Nutrition

Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 62mg | Potassium: 61mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 111IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 6mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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32 comments to " Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs "

  • Allison Duke

    Hello! I am making a big batch of these today and I was wondering… do you think these would freeze well? Thank you! Love your blog!

    • Robyn Downs

      Allison, I think these would freeze beautifully! Once they are cooked put them on a sheet pan spread apart to freeze. Once the are frozen solid put them in a freezer bag and freeze away. 🙂

  • Melissa

    Can’t wait to try these! Please share a meatball recipe with spinach soon! 🙂

    • Robyn Downs

      Melissa, hope you enjoy these! And thanks for the suggestion, I’ll add it to the list of recipes to test. 🙂

      • Melissa

        I made these last night and they are amazing! We had roasted green beans and asparagus with them… It was a wonderful meal. Thank you!

        • Robyn Downs

          Melissa, yay, I’m so glad you enjoyed! I love the idea of roasting green beans and asparagus alongside. Thanks for the tip! 🙂

  • Sara

    I made these with chickpea flour instead of oat since that’s what I had. Great, moist, nutty taste! Thanks for the recipe!

    • Robyn Downs

      Wow, I love that idea Sara! I will definitely be trying it with chickpea four next time. Thanks for the suggestion! So glad you enjoyed. 🙂

  • Amber

    Yum, I made these and served on whole wheat rolls with marinara sauce and cheese for Meatball Subs with a side salad of spinach and tomatoes. There were no leftovers after feeding 2 adults, 2 teenagers and 1 toddler! My son loved adding the onion and pepper to the food processor, I loved not finely dicing anything.

    • Robyn Downs

      Amber, yum, love turning these meatball into subs. Sounds amazing! Fun that you got your little one in the kitchen, too. 🙂

  • Melissa sims

    Cooked these babies and served over zoodles with marinara and was phenomenal! Subbed tigernut flour for almond flour. Worked like a charm😋

  • Lauren Davis

    I made these tonight and served alone, with pasta sauce. They were delicious and definitely our new favorite turkey meatball recipe. Thanks, Robyn!

  • Nanette

    These look yummy. I plan to make them for a party. What is the best way to reheat them and keep them warm for the party?

    • Robyn Downs

      Nanette, hmmm, I’m not sure on that one. If you have a crockpot you could set it to low, pop the cooked meatballs in, cover and transport. You could also cover the sheet pan with foil and then gently reheat when you arrive. Hope you enjoy!

  • Nicole

    I made this tonight – thank you so much for the recipe! Question… I couldn’t get them to cook evenly, could it be because I used extra lean ground turkey (making them as a WW meal) and regular flour? They also stuck to the tray and I kept losing layers when I turned them. Lol. I’m a mess! They didn’t look anything like yours, so just curious!

    • Robyn Downs

      Nicole, the lack of fat is definitely going to make the meat stick. You should really only need to flip them once. Using a silicone baking mat should help with the sticking, as would greasing the pan with some olive oil. Hope this helps! 🙂

      • Nicole

        Thank your for replying! I oiled the the pan, maybe just not enough? … hmmm… I’ll use my silicone mat and try again with lean turkey vs the extra lean. 🙂 Thank you! (Ps – they were still super yummy, just not as pretty as yours!)

        • Robyn Downs

          Fingers crossed it works a bit better with the adjustments! Also, make sure the oven is all the way pre-heated and wait until the cook a little more before trying the flip. You can also skip the flip and just wait until they’re cooked through. 🙂

  • Jillian

    This is the fourth or fifth time I made these meatballs and I had to comment and say how amazing they are. They come out awesome every time. I like trying different spices to see how they come out. Never disappointed so far. So glad I don’t have to find another meatball recipe for the rest of my life, ha!

  • Emily

    5 stars
    Made these a few weeks ago and LOVED! Super moist. Added a dash of tomato paste. Making again this weekend 🙂

  • Stephanie

    5 stars
    Love this recipe! Been making it for almost half a year now for my 18 month old. I love the option to make your own oat flour since we always have rolled oats on hand. (A lot of meatball type recipes call for breadcrumbs but we avoid due to sesame seed (allergen) in most store bought breadcrumbs.) Such an easy recipe that even my husband can follow. 😉 We all enjoy and it’s so easy to freeze for future use. Love it!

    • Robyn Downs

      Stephanie, yay, so glad you enjoyed this one and that the oat flour worked for you and your fam. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review!

  • Juliana

    Can you use green pepper? I am trying to eat low sugar.

    • Robyn Downs

      Juliana, yes, green pepper should work – the flavor won’t quite be there, but the texture should still be fine.

      • Juliana

        4 stars
        I made them big as I have a large cookie scoop. They were rather bland so I’m going to try them with some mustard tonight! I’m not eating salt either and I really missed it with these. Turkey is naturally rather tasteless.

        • Robyn Downs

          Juliana, yes, I can see how these might be bland without salt! You could try the same recipe with beef, or I have several other gf meatballs on the site with other meat options. Mustard sounds like a great choice for dipping!

  • Amanda

    5 stars
    Overall, I loved the simplicity of this recipe. Definitely going to make it again. I did use avocado oil vs olive oil.

    The flavor was good and next time I will experiment w other options.

    Thanks for keeping it simple.

    • Robyn Downs

      Amanda, simple is definitely our approach around here! Avocado oil sounds like a great sub, thanks for sharing!

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If you love this recipe it would mean SO MUCH if you gave it a star rating and left a comment. Your feedback helps me create more recipes you'll love, and helps others find my recipes online. Thanks so much for your feedback! —Robyn

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