These gluten free turkey meatballs are easy to make, ready in under 30 minutes, and work great for freezing and meal prepping. Add them to pasta sauce, meatball subs, or bowls.
These meatballs are not only gluten free, but dairy free as well. They are an extremely versatile protein to have on hand. In fact, I always have some stored in the freezer for a quick healthy meal. Top with Buffalo Sauce or Pink Pasta Sauce for an easy go-to lunch or dinner!
Highlights of this recipe
This recipe is:
You will need a few simple ingredients for this recipe.
- Ground turkey - Ground turkey meat usually comes in 85% lean, 93% lean, or 99% lean. Buy the 93% lean version. This will have less fat, but still enough to keep the meatballs moist. You can even make these meatballs with ground chicken, ground beef, or ground pork.
- Gluten free crackers - Typical meatball recipes call for breadcrumbs. To make these meatballs gluten free, I switched out breadcrumbs for gluten free crackers. I like to use Simple Mills Almond Flour crackers. You can crumble the crackers with your hands, or pulse a few times in a food processor .
- Garlic salt - I like using garlic salt in my recipes instead of garlic powder or traditional salt. It’s like 2 ingredients in one! Substitute for traditional kosher salt.
I love that this gluten free dairy free meatball recipe is so easy to put together. This recipe can also be easily doubled as well.
To make these meatballs, first combine all ingredients in a large bowl. To ensure tender meatballs, don’t overmix.
Portion out the ground meat mixture into 12 equal portions and roll into meatballs. You can use an ice cream scoop or large spoon to make this easier.
Using an oven is the easiest way to cook meatballs, since the oven will be doing all the work!
Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cover a large baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with nonstick cooking spray. You can also use 2 smaller baking sheets.
Add the meatballs to the baking sheet in a single layer. Space the meatballs out evenly, giving them enough room around each other. Giving them space will help them to brown.
Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remember, turkey is poultry, and needs to be cooked throughout for it to be safe to eat.
Next, turn the broiler to high, and broil the meatballs until the tops are slightly browned. Always keep an eye on foods under the broiler, and they can burn very easily.
Sear on the stove
Cooking meatballs on the stove top is the best way to get that flavorful browned crust.
Once you have the meatballs rolled out, heat up a large skillet or sauce pan over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan.
Heat oil for about 1 minute, then sear the meatballs for about 2-3 minutes per side, until all sides are browned and the meatballs are fully cooked through. Make sure to reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
If you are serving these meatballs for pasta night, you can add in your favorite marinara sauce to the skillet in the last few minutes of cooking so the meatballs can finish cooking in the simmering sauce.
You could also transfer the seared meatballs to a large pot or dutch oven with your sauce, and let them finish cooking there.
A note about cooking with cast iron: Cooking acidic ingredients, like tomato sauce, wine, or citrus, in a cast iron pan for an extended time can release metal from the pan into your food. While it’s not harmful to consume, it can add a metallic flavor and ruin your pan’s seasoning over time. So while it is great to use a cast iron for searing meatballs, I would advise not to use it when adding tomato sauce after.
Cooking meatballs in the air fryer is the fastest method.
Add the meatballs to the basket or tray of your air fryer. Cook them at 350°F for about 10 minutes, until the outsides are golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
I love that these meatballs are so versatile! You can serve them up in so many different ways. Here are some serving ideas.
- With pasta sauce - Try them with your favorite marinara sauce, a pink pasta sauce, or this green pasta sauce. Serve them with gluten free pasta or zucchini noodles to keep the whole meal gluten free!
- Toss them in Buffalo Sauce for an appetizer or snack.
- Use them for meatball subs, pitas, or wraps.
- They are best meatballs for meal prep! Add them to meal prep bowls with veggies like roasted carrots, and grains like vegan Mexican rice.
- Add them to a salad for extra protein, like this Israeli Couscous Salad, or Kale Fennel Dried Fig Salad.
Leftovers: reheating and storing
Store the leftover meatballs in an airtight container for 3-4 days in the fridge.
How to freeze
To freeze the cooked meatballs, add them to a baking sheet with parchment paper, making sure they are not touching. Freeze the meatballs for about 2 hours, until they are mostly frozen. Transfer the meatballs to a large plastic freezer bag. Keep in the freezer for up to 3-4 months.
How to reheat
You can microwave cooked refrigerated meatballs for a minute or two until they are warmed throughout.
To reheat from frozen, thaw the meatballs, then reheat in the microwave. You can also reheat in simmering sauce on the stovetop.
Variations & substitutions
This is a base recipe that you can change up and add to to fit your needs!
- If you can't find gluten-free crackers, you can sub for gluten-free bread. Lightly toast the bread, then pulse in a food processor .
- You can also use this recipe for gluten free meatloaf! Put into a loaf pan and bake at 350°F for about 30-40 minutes until the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
- If you don’t need these to be dairy free, you can add ¼ cup of grated parmesan cheese.
- If you want to add some fresh veggies, try some minced onion, minced garlic cloves, diced bell peppers, shredded carrots, or shredded zucchini.
- If you want to make gluten free meatballs without breadcrumbs, you can sub for potato flakes.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes, you can make these meatballs ahead of time. They are great for meal prepping. You can make the meatballs a day ahead of time, then reheat in pasta sauce.
Yes, typically meatballs contain gluten from the breadcrumbs. You can make gluten free meatballs by using gluten free breadcrumbs, gluten free cracker crumbs, or potato flakes in place of regular breadcrumbs.
Using an egg in meatballs helps hold them together and keep their shape while cooking.
Other gluten free recipes
- Gluten Free Dairy Free Snacks
- Pumpkin Mac and Cheese with Kielbasa
- Oat Milk Pancakes
- Gluten Free Pho
- Gluten Free Soba Noodle Salad
Gluten Free Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey 93% lean
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup gluten free crackers crumbled to a medium-fine crumb; I like Simple Mills Almond Flour crackers
- ½ teaspoon garlic salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl, and mix until just combined. Don't over mix.
- Roll into 12 equal sized meatballs.
To Bake Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Spread meatballs evenly among 2 small baking sheets or one large baking sheet.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes, until the internal temp reaches 165°F.
- Next, broil on high for 2-3 minutes, until the tops are slightly browned.
To Sear Meatballs
- Heat up a large skillet or sauce pan over medium heat. Add about 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil to the pan.
- Sear meatballs 3-5 minutes per side, until all sides are browned and the meatballs are fully cooked through and have reached an internal temp of 165°F.
In an air fryer
- Add the meatballs to the basket or tray of your air fryer.
- Cook them at 350°F for about 10 minutes, until the outsides are golden brown and the internal temperature has reached 165°F.
In a slow cooker
- I recommend first searing the meatballs in a skillet to get the extra flavor from browning them. Once they are seared, transfer them to the crock pot with your favorite sauce.
- For seared meatballs, cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low.
- If you want to skip the searing, add the raw meatballs to the slow cooker, and cover with sauce.
- To cook the meatballs from raw in the sauce, cook for about 4-5 hours hours on high, or 6-8 hours on low.
- For either method, make sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.
In a pressure cooker
- Add the sauce to the pot, then add in the uncooked meatballs. Cook on high pressure for 6 minutes, then do a natural pressure release. Make sure the internal temperature reaches 165°F.