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BBQ Turkey Meatballs

Alright, here’s a confession: meatballs used to scare me. I know that sounds absurd and probably irrational but it’s true. There’s something about meatballs served as a stand alone appetizer that I never really trusted. You know –  meatballs not served with spaghetti. I would always have so many questions: what’s in them, are they cooked all the way through, why do they look so gray? Everyone asks these questions before eating, right? Probably not but let’s move on. This site is all about ideas and inspiration for entertaining at home and these BBQ turkey meatballs are the perfect appetizer to serve at your next party.

I’ve made these a few times and what I love most is that they can be made with ground turkey, chicken or even beef. They’re simple to assemble and you can just set them out with toothpicks or those cute, tiny little forks (officially known as cocktail forks) that are just so adorable and let your guests serve themselves.

Even though, yes, you can serve these on a cute serving dish if you want, you can also save some time by serving them in the skillet you cooked them in. Tie a tea towel or a dish towel around the handle to make it look presentatble. It also saves you in having to wash an extra dish at the end of the night.

If you make the BBQ turkey meatballs with beef, you probably won’t need as much oil; the beef will produce a decent amount. It’s still a good idea to add some to the pan, just not as much. If you have vegetarian guests, they can have meatballs too. Minimalist Baker has an awesome recipe for vegetarian meatballs.

Let’s make BBQ turkey meatballs

I love barbecue sauce – I always have. There’s just something about the sweet, tangy, sometimes spicy sauce that can make any dish better. This recipe doesn’t call for making your own BBQ sauce, so feel free to use whatever your favorite brand is. I love KC Masterpiece, Sweet Baby Ray’s, Kraft and Jack Daniel’s.

Ready to make your guests happy?

BBQ Turkey Meatballs

BBQ Turkey Meatballs


  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • fresh cracked black pepper to taste
  • 1 cup your favorite bbq sauce
  • 1/2 small onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • Fresh parsley or cilantro for garnish


    To make the meatballs:
  1. In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, garlic, egg, bread crumbs, chili powder, paprika, salt and pepper. Use your hands (make sure they're clean) and mix together well.
  2. Roll about 1-2 Tablespoons of meatball mixture into a ball. Repeat for the rest. Chill the balls for about 15 minutes in fridge to firm them up a bit.
  3. In large pan over medium-high heat add oil. Add meatballs and brown them on all sides, about 5 minutes total. Remove meatballs and set aside.
  4. In same pan, add onion and cook until translucent. Then add meatballs back into the pan and top with bbq sauce. If sauce is too thick, add water.
  5. Allow the sauce to simmer then lower heat and cover. Gently simmer meatballs in the sauce for 15-20 minutes, or until meatballs are completely cooked.
  6. Set them out and let guests serve themselves.


You can serve the meatballs on their own or with small crusty pieces of bread.


bbq turkey meatballs

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cocktail forks, gold cocktail forks, fave BBQ sauce



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