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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!
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.
Thai Meatball Ingredients
- Ground Dark Meat Turkey
- Garlic + Ginger
- Coconut Aminos
- Chili Paste
- Salt + Red Pepper Flakes
- Sesame Oil
- Fish Sauce
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.
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!
- 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!
- 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.
- Make sure to wet your hands! This helps prevent the meat mixture from sticking to you.
- 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:
- Cauliflower Rice
- Coconut Rice
- Stir Fry Veggies
- Roasted Veggies
- Zucchini Noodles
- Rice Noodles
- Spaghetti Squash
Watch the video:
Like this healthy meatball recipe? Try these other favorite meatball recipes:
- 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
- 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
- Preheat oven to 375ºF and set aside a baking sheet.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
I don’t often leave reviews but these were amazing! Every bite so full of flavor! Yum! I will definitely be adding them to the rotation. And next time I will double the recipe so I can freeze some. I did not see that I was supposed to use dark meat until I had already gone to the store but they were not dry at all. Can’t imagine how tasty they are when done right! Thanks for a great recipe!
Lexi – those meatballs look absolutely incredible! Wonderful pics!
These are a staple in our family’s dinner rotation. I leave out the chili paste for my kids, create their meatballs first, then add the paste for my husband and me. Delicious!
I used ground chicken and had to sub sweet chili sauce for the chili paste (I didn’t have the paste). I ran out of time to make the meatballs so I did a deconstructed version. Holy cow it was good! I added it to a home made vegetable egg roll filling, mixed it all together and served over rice. It was perfect! This is definitely going into our rotation!
When you say chili paste, do you mean the hot,spicy Sambal paste or another variety?
You can use a few different ones (I’ve tested a few), I like that one though!
These Thai Meatballs were so full of flavor! I love I can make healthy options for my family but not lose all the flavor. My young daughter loved eating these.
These Thai Meatballs were so full of flavor and easy to make! I love I can make healthy options for my family but not lose all the flavor. My young daughter loved eating these.
Only changes were due to a lack of ingredients on hand — I subbed soy sauce for coconut amino and omitted the red pepper.
These were so good, I skipped the sauce because they were so flavorful without.
I’ve never met a Lexi’s Clean Kitchen recipe that I didn’t like. This is a super quick and tasty recipe and I’ve made it a number of times now. I keep coming back to it. Tonight I’m going to have it with spiralised zucchini. Thank you Lexi!
These were fab! Minor tweaks with the chili paste. Packed with flavor. Will make again.
Hi Lexi, these sound absolutely delicious! I love lighter, healthier recipes when spring and summer roll around, so this will be the perfect dish to try in my weekly rotation. Thank you so much for sharing it!
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!!!
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!
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.
made these tonight! yum, great recipe! will make again!!
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!
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!
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!
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.
Can you use ground Chicken? It’s in my freezer 🙂
Do the two cloves of garlic for the meatballs need to be chopped or minced?