Thai Meatballs

These Thai Meatballs are paleo, gluten-free, and bursting with flavor. The meatballs themselves, made from ground turkey, are full of veggies and infused with the perfect flavor combination of ginger, chili, garlic, and more. A total crowd-pleaser that gets rave reviews!

A bowl of turkey meatballs with rice.

Healthy Thai Turkey Meatballs

Let me (re)introduce you to one of my favorite recipes from the early days of this blog! These Thai Meatballs are from the first few years of blogging and I’m excited to be giving it an update with new photos, so more of you can find this amazing recipe. These meatballs are bursting with Thai flavors, filled with some extra hidden veggies, and have stood the test of time. I know you are going to love them as much as my family has over the years!

When a meatball recipe is as delicious as these are–plus, easy-to-make–you know you have yourself a dinner-time favorite. Mix all the ingredients, toss on a baking sheet, bake, and enjoy! They make for a great meal prep option too! Protein-packed, nutritious, and easy to take on the go.

And don’t worry, if you’ve had trouble making gluten-free turkey meatballs in the past, we’re sharing our tips for working with turkey meatballs to make this recipe fool-proof.

Ingredient prep for Thai meatballs.

Thai Meatball Ingredients

  • Ground Dark Meat Turkey
  • Carrots
  • Scallions
  • Garlic + Ginger
  • Coconut Aminos
  • Chili Paste
  • Salt + Red Pepper Flakes
  • Sesame Oil
  • Fish Sauce

Substitutes

Here are some common substitution questions answered for this recipe:

Turkey: Feel free to swap out the turkey for ground dark meat chicken!

Fish Sauce: We know we often get questions about this. This is optional! But recommended as it does add a really nice flavor to the meatball.

Coconut Aminos: This is a soy-free alternative to soy sauce. You can use soy sauce in this but omit the added salt.

Sesame Oil: This adds a really nice flavor, but can be substituted for olive oil or avocado oil.

Chili Paste: If you don’t have this, you can swap it with sriracha.

Pouring sauce over thai meatballs.

Tips for Making Turkey Meatballs

Making gluten-free meatballs with ground turkey can be a little tricky. Follow these best practices to make for the best Thai meatballs!

  1. Don’t use only white meat ground turkey. It will be too dry. Stick to ground dark meat or a mix of white and dark meat. If you can’t find ground turkey already in the case, check with the butcher to see if they can grind up some boneless dark meat for you fresh!
  2. Work with very cold meat! The colder the meat mixture, the easier it is to work with. We’ve even stuck the meatballs in the freezer for 10-15 minutes to shape them better when need be.
  3. Make sure to wet your hands! This helps prevent the meat mixture from sticking to you.
  4. Use a cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs to ensure even-sized meatballs.

How to Serve Thai Meatballs

There are two main ways to serve these meatballs. The first is as an appetizer! These meatballs have frequently been served as an Hors d’Oeuvre in my house over the years, and to great fanfare! Or, you can serve this as a meal on it’s own (and they make great meal prep!).

If serving them as a meal, serve them with any of these sides for a complete lunch or dinner:

A bowl of Thai meatballs.

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Like this healthy meatball recipe? Try these other favorite meatball recipes:

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Thai Meatballs

A bowl of turkey meatballs with rice.

These Thai Meatballs are paleo, gluten-free, and bursting with flavor. The meatballs themselves, made from ground turkey, are full of veggies and infused with the perfect flavor combination of ginger, chili, garlic, and more. A total crowd-pleaser that gets rave reviews!

  • Author: Lexi's Clean Kitchen
  • Prep Time: 00:10
  • Cook Time: 00:15
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: Serves 4 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: Gluten-free
Scale

Ingredients

For Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup shredded carrots
  • 1/4 cup scallions, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
  • 2 tablespoons coconut aminos
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon chili paste
  • ¼ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • Pinch red pepper flakes

For Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 2 tablespoon sesame oil (or olive oil)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 2 teaspoon grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon chili paste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375ºF and set aside a baking sheet.
  2. Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix together. Portion out about 2 heaping tablespoons amount of the mixture and form into meatballs with wet hands. If the mixture is difficult to handle, place in the refrigerator or freezer for a few minutes.
  3. Place meatballs on the baking sheet for 14-16 minutes or until meatballs are golden on the outside and reach an internal temperature of 165ºF.
  4. Meanwhile make sauce ingredients: Add all of the sauce ingredients to a medium pot and whisk together. Cook over medium heat until the sauce comes to a boil. Reduce the heat and let simmer until sauce thickens up.
  5. Toss the meatballs with 3/4 of the sauce, and serve over rice or another side dish, or as an appetizer with some extra sauce on the side.

Notes

Feel free to substitute in ground chicken for the turkey.

If you don’t have chili paste, you can substitute in sriracha.

Nutrition

  • Serving Size: 1/4 recipe
  • Calories: 190
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 350mg
  • Fat: 9g
  • Saturated Fat: 2g
  • Carbohydrates: 4g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 23g
  • Cholesterol: 78mg

Keywords: Thai Meatballs

63 comments
December 27, 2020

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63 Responses

  1. These look terrific. May give them a try this week with my family. I laughed when I saw your comment about Sushi. Tried this at home also, but my rolls were too thick with rice. Just couldn’t get the right amount of rice in the roll to make it hold together, too much. Any hints from your class?

  2. These sound amazing Lexi!! And look so good. Glad you had an awesome weekend. A night making sushi followed by meals out and shopping sounds like it was a great way to spend a few days.

      1. Currently, no because of the chile paste and red pepper flakes. However, I am starting to think about some reintroductions. Overall, I haven’t really felt different doing AIP. I have an appointment with my endocronologist next week. Hopefully I’ll get more blood tests done to see how my thyroid levels are doing and then go from there. Will let you know how it turns out (I’ve been missing not tasting some of the goodies you’ve posted recently). 😀

  3. I loved the flavors in these meatballs. The meatballs and sauce were on the salty side for me so I would eliminate the salt in the recipe and find some amino that is low sodium. I would also double the amount of sauce for the meatballs; I found that it wasn’t enough as a single recipe.

  4. HI Can’t wait to make these tonight (finally)!! How many meatballs would you say is a serving size? Thank you for all your recipes and cook book!!!

    Beverly

  5. These look great, I can’t wait to try! Do you know if there is anything to sub the coconut aminos with? Thanks!

  6. So excited for these but they are sooo sticky! Whats your trick to rolling them into balls when they get stuck all over your fingers? Thanks!

  7. I’ve never heard of amminos, are they better for you than tamari or soy?
    If you don’t like fish sauce can I omit it?

  8. These are absolutely amazing! I make a few without chili paste for the kids and then add extra for the hubs and myself. Everyone absolutely loves these over rice!

    5.0 rating

  9. I made these today, using a #100 disher ((1.8 teaspoons) to portion. They were adorable little hors d’oeuvres! I served them on a square plate, with the dipping sauce in the center (in a square bowl). HUGE hit, and I will make them again and again!

    5.0 rating

  10. Love these meatballs!!! This recipe is very forgiving, I’ve added chopped red bell peppers and mushrooms to get some extra vegetables in. Make extra, you won’t regret it because they are so good reheated!

    5.0 rating

  11. Super simple to make with tons of flavor . The whole family enjoyed them.

    5.0 rating

  12. These were so flavorful and delicious- and all three of my children enjoyed them as well!!! That’s a win in my book! Served them with a yummy crunchy Asian style broccoli slaw ??

  13. These meatballs were so delicious! The flavors were amazing and it is a nice quick recipe! I served them with sautéed sweet potato noodles.

    5.0 rating

  14. After I made these the first time my husband declared them “the best thing I have ever made.” Really?! Haha! I make them weekly now. My toddler likes them if I make them in a stick shape. I like to dip mine in a sweet Thai chili sauce too. Great with rice and a chopped Asian salad. The fresh ginger is everything!

    5.0 rating

  15. Another go to recipe for our family. We served them rice noodles (for those that aren’t watching carbs) and zucchini noodles for the rest of us. They are loaded with flavor. Easy to make and definitely easy to eat. We doubled the sauce since we are excessive dippers (lol).

    5.0 rating

  16. These were excellent! I shared the recipe with some non-paleo folks as well! I doubled the sauce and added a small amount of truvia for a sweet heat and used half the sauce on some carrot noddles (caroodles?). My boyfriend gobbled it up!

  17. Oh my word I love these, I could eat them every day, nice and spicy, I might make them a little more spicy next time

    5.0 rating

  18. i made these tonight and they were so amazing! I can’t wait to eat them again, I made a double batch and frozen some. The flavors were so fresh and they felt lighter than a normal meatball. Thanks!

    5.0 rating

  19. Mine were so dry. The first time I made them they were good. Second time, very dry. I don’t know what went wrong.

  20. I made these as a meal train meal for a friend (and their family) that had been in the hospital. I knew the wife was celiac and wanted them not to worry about finding food for her to enjoy with the whole family during this hard time. This recipe was so easy to make, traveled well and they absolutely loved it!

    5.0 rating

  21. Love this recipe! It’s a great twist on a meatball, easy to prepare, freezes well and is delicious. I always use sriracha in place of the chili paste and I use soy sauce sometimes to make it lower carb for carb cycling days. I like to serve over cooked zoodles or cauliflower fried rice. The first time I made them my husband asked me to make them again.

    5.0 rating

  22. I made this today and the meatballs were delicious and easy. The sauce was too salty for us, but the meatballs were a winner! I served them as fresh spring rolls: shredded lettuce, pepper strips and fresh basil with two meatballs wrapped in a rice paper wrapper – they are fun to assemble and to eat. I tried to save the sauce by adding some water and peanut butter but it was just too, too salty. Next time I’ll use my regular peanut sauce recipe, which uses far less coconut aminos. (Yes, I know peanut butter isn’t truly paleo …)

  23. So we love thai food but these were not a hit at our house. I used a light soy sauce instead of the coconut aminos as per suggestions in the comments. The sauce was SO salty; like inedible. That’s all you could taste. And the meatballs were dry. Not sure where we went wrong. Served with an asian slaw that I didnt salt and some sriracha mayo to try to save it and it was ok.

    2.0 rating

    1. Sorry these didn’t work out for you! Perhaps you cooked the sauce for too long and it got too concentrated. Also, if the meatballs were dry also sounds like they might have been overcooked! Sometimes oven temperatures can vary, so using a meat thermometer can help decide when they are cooked enough.

  24. These are fantastic! I’ve made them twice this week (second batch currently in the oven)…even my 12 year old son raved about them. These are definitely going in the rotation!

    5.0 rating

  25. Made these Thai meatballs last night. They were excellent! My husband loved them! Thank you for your fabulous recipes!

    5.0 rating

  26. Meatballs had really good flavor. I did use white meat since that’s what I had. Next time I would probably triple the sauce. Loved the recipe just wish there was more sauce to coat the cauliflower rice.

    5.0 rating

  27. Can you recommend a chili paste brand please? Also how spicy is chili paste? It’s new to me but I would like to get a good one. Thanks!

    1. Thai Kitchen has one – most grocery stores have a brand or two! It can be fairly spicy in large quantities, you just use a drop and it won’t be- it’ll just be flavorful!

  28. This recipe was so delicious! Easy, flavorful, and healthy. What a perfect combo. This recipe was approved by even my pickiest eater. I will definitely try out other recipes from your site!

  29. Made these yesterday for meal prep! They are delicious and super easy to put together. I’ll have them with a teriyaki veggie side each day.

    5.0 rating

  30. These are amazing! I’ve made them twice and next time I think I just need to double the recipe so we have leftovers. My kids (1 and 4) gobble them up, and then my husband and I devour what’s left. Perfect, easy, and delicious!

    5.0 rating

  31. These are fantastic!! I made the with grass fed ground beef and I’m making these for a second time tonight with ground turkey. The sauce is amazing as well. Will make again and again!!!

    5.0 rating

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