This Sage and Cranberry Turkey Meatballs recipe is easy to assemble and have on the table in no time! Ground turkey is mixed with cranberry sauce and dried sage for a hearty appetizer that tastes just like Thanksgiving and Christmas! You only need 5 simple ingredients and 25 minutes!
Holiday gatherings are right around the corner, which means it's time to get out your favorite party appetizer recipes! This recipe for sage and cranberry turkey meatballs has the essence of Thanksgiving and Christmas in each bite.
The tartness of the cranberries paired with the savory spices and sage brings all the flavors together into one easy-to-eat appetizer!
The best part about making this easy party food is how easy it is to assemble and bake.
Simply, mix everything together in one bowl, form into meatballs, and bake! You can even make them ahead of time and freeze them for a later date.
This recipe is perfect for feeding a large crowd or as an addition to your holiday buffet table! Serve them with a dipping sauce or on their own, either way, they are sure to be a hit!
For other great holiday appetizers, you'll love BLT Bites and Soy Garlic Chicken Wings.
Why Make This Recipe
- It tastes like Thanksgiving in each bite!
- They're great for feeding a large crowd or making as a holiday snack for the family.
- Make your turkey meatballs ahead and froze them, to save time and energy.
- They are made with 5 simple ingredients you can find at any grocery store.
- Ground Turkey - Makes up the base of the meatballs adding fresh turkey flavor throughout.
- Breadcrumbs - Plain dried breadcrumbs help bind all of the ingredients together.
- Cranberry Sauce - Adds moisture and sweet, tart cranberry flavor to the meatballs and is also served as a dipping sauce.
- Eggs - Binds all of the ingredients together to help keep their round meatball shape.
- Dried Sage - Gives the meatballs their classic holiday herb flavor that pairs well with turkey.
- Salt & Pepper - Used to balance and enhance the natural flavors of the meatballs.
Please scroll down to the recipe card below for the full quantities.
Wondering how to make this Sage and Cranberry Turkey Meatball recipe? It's easy!
Just follow this step-by-step photo tutorial. Then, scroll down for the recipe card for the full ingredients list and recipe method.
Prepare for baking: Preheat the oven to 400F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
Mix the meatballs: Add the ground turkey to a bowl along with the breadcrumbs, eggs, half of the cranberry sauce, sage, salt, and pepper, and gently mix with your hands without overworking the meat mixture. Shape the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them onto the baking sheet.
Bake the meatballs: Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until the turkey is fully cooked through.
Serve with cranberry sauce: Warm up the remaining cranberry sauce on the stovetop or in the microwave. Serve the turkey meatballs on toothpicks, with a bowl of cranberry sauce for dipping.
When mixing the ingredients into the ground turkey, do not overwork the meat. This can make the meatballs tough. Mix everything until just combined.
Ensure that all of the meatballs are roughly the same size. This will cook them evenly and all together at the same time.
The safe internal temperature of ground turkey is 165F. Use a cooking thermometer to check that the meatballs have reached this temperature before removing them from the oven.
This recipe can also be made in the air fryer. Follow the same instructions but cook at 400F for 12 minutes.
If using fresh herbs, use triple the amount called for in the recipe.
Instead of ground turkey, try using other types of meat including ground chicken, pork, beef or lamb.
Add in a bit of orange zest to the mixture to add a citrus flavor to the meatballs.
For a bit of heat, add in a pinch of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes to the meatballs
If you don't have any breadcrumbs on hand, you can use cracker crumbs or even oats that have been pulsed in a food processor.
Cranberry sauce can be replaced with a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce.
Add other holiday flavors to the meatballs by mixing in chopped fresh rosemary or thyme along with the sage.
Other dipping sauce ideas include ranch dressing, dill honey mustard, or a sweet chili sauce. It's also great with Horseradish Aioli, or Homemade Donair Sauce.
Storage & Freezing
Cooked and cooled meatballs can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or in the freezer for up to three months.
To freeze, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to eat, cook from frozen following the same instructions as above.
To freeze raw turkey meatballs, place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and freeze until solid. Once frozen, transfer them to an airtight container or freezer bag. When ready to cook, there is no need to thaw the meatballs first. Just cook according to the recipe instructions adding a few minutes to the cooking time.
You can do a few things to ensure that your meatballs stay together. First, make sure not to overwork the mixture when combining the ingredients. Second, add breadcrumbs or oats to help bind everything together. Third, use your hands to gently mix everything until just combined.
Yes! You can make the meatballs ahead of time and cook them when you're ready to serve. Just store them in the fridge for up to a day or in the freezer for up to three months. When you're ready to cook, just follow the recipe instructions.
The best way to reheat these meatballs is in the oven. Preheat the oven to 350F and place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake for about 15 minutes or until heated through.
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Sage and Cranberry Turkey Meatballs
- Baking Sheet
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- 1 cup plain dried breadcrumbs
- 1 cup cranberry sauce canned, divided
- 2 eggs large
- ½ teaspoon dried sage
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon pepper
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Add the ground turkey to a bowl along with the breadcrumbs eggs, half of the cranberry sauce, sage, salt and pepper and gently mix (it may be easier to mix with your hands).
- Shape the turkey mixture into 1-inch meatballs and place them onto the baking sheet.
- Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes or until cooked through (internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165F).
- Warm up the remaining cranberry sauce.
- Serve the turkey meatballs on toothpicks, with a bowl of the cranberry sauce for dipping.
To cook in the air fryer
- Follow all assembly instructions above, but cook in the air fryer in a single layer at 400°F for 12 minutes, shaking halfway. Ensure they are cooked through, and cook longer if necessary.
The nutritional information provided is approximate and can vary depending on several factors, so is not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietician for special diet advice.
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