These Asian Turkey Meatballs are easy to make and make a nice change to traditional Italian style meatballs!
My kids will always give me an enthusiastic cheer when I tell them it’s meatballs for dinner. Usually, like most parents I’ll mix them with some kind of tomato sauce and boil some pasta to go with them, dinner done and done!
But I introduced them recently to these Asian turkey meatballs and they were just as impressed with them as they are with my regular meatballs. The meatballs have all the flavors I love like sesame oil, garlic, ginger, and hoisin sauce and they make a great alternative with some brown rice rather than spaghetti. I also made them with ground turkey instead of beef which keeps things a little healthier because the turkey is leaner.
How to make the best meatballs!
To make really good meatballs, there’s a few simple rules. You’ll need some kind of binder in the mixture and that’s usually egg and breadcrumbs. I prefer to use panko just because they always seem crunchier so the texture is better than finely ground breadcrumbs. Meatball lovers will tell you that the meat has to be a fifty-fifty combination of beef and pork which will give you a really tasty meatball, but there’s no shame in using turkey. The cooking time will be less with turkey because it has much less fat so we have to be careful not to dry them out. Including the sesame oil, hoisin, soy sauce, and maple syrup will compensate for the reduced fat in our Asian turkey meatballs and still keep them on the moist side.
Baking or pan-frying your meatballs?
I’ve made meatballs both ways and each way has its pros and cons. I love the crusty sear meatballs will get when you cook them in a pan on the stovetop. But I also love the ease of baking them in the oven and not having to constantly watch them and turning them over before they burn. For these Asian turkey meatballs, I baked them in the oven and they only took around 20 minutes.
Portioning and serving the meatballs.
I prefer to use an ice cream scoop for consistent size which makes for even cooking too. Serve them with some brown rice and a side of warm hoisin or teriyaki sauce for dipping or just drizzle the sauce over the meatballs. These are good sized meatballs so I’d say three per adult is a good indicator and maybe one or two for the kids. This recipe will give you 12 nice sized meatballs.
Storing the meatballs.
Any leftover meatballs will keep nicely for 3-4 days in a sealed container in the refrigerator. Microwave until hot for serving again.
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Oven Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 tsp minced garlic
- 1 tsp minced ginger
- 1/2 tsp sesame oil
- 2 tsp maple syrup
- 1 tbsp soy sauce
- 1 1/2 tbsp hoisin sauce
- 1/4 cup green onion sliced
- 1 large egg
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 tsp kosher salt
- 2 tbsp sesame seeds
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a baking pan with parchment paper.
- In a medium-sized bowl, combine all of the ingredients and mix well using your hands to make sure all of the ingredients are well combined.
- Using an ice cream scoop, grab level well-packed scoops of the meatball mixture and place on the prepared pan about 2 inches from each other.
- Once all of the meatballs have been scooped, sprinkle generously with the sesame seeds on top of each meatball.
- Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes.
- Serve with brown rice and extra warm sauce or teriyaki sauce on the side or drizzled over the top of the meatballs.