Delicious Asian turkey meatballs that you won’t be able to stop eating! These amazing meatballs are coated in a sweet and sour glaze and are ready in about 30 minutes.
Moreish and rather healthy Asian turkey meatballs made with ground turkey and glazed with a sweet, sour, sticky sauce. A simple recipe using staple kitchen ingredients, quick to make, and always a delight – this has the potential of becoming a family favorite. The perfect recipe for busy weeknights!
- Lean ground turkey: You can buy a pack or grind the meat yourself. When grinding, I prefer a mixture of white and dark meat, but only one or the other is fine.
- Breadcrumbs: Panko are my favorite breadcrumbs, but you can use regular ones instead.
- Egg: To bind the ingredients together.
- Flavors: I use onion, garlic, fresh ginger, soy sauce, fish sauce, fine sea salt (or Kosher), and black pepper.
Ingredients for the glaze:
- Sweet: Granulated sugar and ketchup. Use sugar to taste, one teaspoon should be enough, but it also depends on the ketchup and the vinegar’s acidity.
- Sour: Sushi or white wine vinegar (See Expert Tips).
- Savory: Soy sauce, salt, and pepper.
- Cornstarch for thickening the sauce.
How to make Asian-style turkey meatballs?
- Meat mixture: Combine meat, panko, grated onion, garlic, ginger, egg, sauces, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl (1).
- Form about 30 balls, slightly smaller than a goofball. Each one weighs about 1 oz/ 30 g (2).
- Cook balls: Heat the oil in a large skillet or frying pan. Cook the turkey meatballs for about 5 minutes, turning them frequently so they can brown all over (See Tips). Remove them from the pan (3).
- Mix the sauce ingredients in a small bowl while the meatballs are cooked.
- Cook the sauce: Pour the glaze mixture into the empty pan and cook it for 4-5 minutes or until thicker.
- Add the meatballs, stir well to coat them with the sauce, and cook on medium-low heat for another 2-3 minutes or until the balls are cooked through, glossy and sticky. The sauce should have reduced well by now.
- The safe internal temperature measured with a meat thermometer is 165°F/74°C.
- If you have it, use 2 tablespoons of sushi vinegar; it’s sweeter than regular and fits the Asian-style turkey meatballs.
- If you don’t have it, regular vinegar (white wine/apple cider, rice vinegar) will be fine. In this case, start with 1 tablespoon and adjust the taste at the end. Depending on the vinegar’s acidity, you might need more vinegar or more sugar.
- Fry the balls in batches if the pan is not large enough.
Sure. Use the same amount of ground chicken, ground pork, or ground beef.
Yes. Place them on a lined sheet pan and bake them in the preheated oven at 350°F/ 180°C for about 10 minutes or until almost cooked through. Prepare the sauce in the pan as instructed and add the balls to finish cooking them.
Sure. Preheat the air fryer to 400°F/ 200°C and spray the basket with oil. Add the meatballs in a single layer (in two batches). Air fry them for 6-8 minutes, shaking them a couple of times in between.
Air-fried or baked meatballs will remain pale, but that doesn’t matter. They will taste delicious, and you will glaze them with the sweet and sour sauce anyway.
Refrigerate the Asian turkey meatballs in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
Freeze: It’s preferable to coat the cooked balls before covering them with sauce. Place them in an airtight container or a freezer bag and freeze them for about 3-4 months. When ready to enjoy them, make the sauce and heat the meatballs in the sauce.
Reheat in the microwave or a small saucepan. If reheating in a saucepan, add a splash of water, cover, and reheat on low heat, stirring or shaking the pan frequently.
How to serve?
- Serve the Asian turkey meatballs immediately drizzled with the sauce that remains in the skillet. You can garnish the dish with thinly sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
- Serve them with rice (white rice like Basmati, Jasmine, or brown rice) or Asian noodles.
- Add a side of steamed, boiled, or roasted vegetables, like pak choi, broccoli, sugar snap peas, spinach, green beans, etc. Stir fry veggies are also an excellent match for this Asian turkey meatballs recipe.
- Make it a low-carb meal by serving the sticky meatballs with cauliflower rice or zucchini noodles.
More ground meat recipes
Glazed Asian Turkey Meatballs
- Large skillet/frying pan
- 1 ¾ lb ground turkey 800 g/ 28 oz
- 3 oz panko breadcrumbs 85 g
- 1 small onion
- 3 garlic cloves
- ½ inch ginger 1.3 cm 1.5 cm
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ – ¾ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 1 cup water 250 ml
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 2-3 teaspoons sugar to taste, Note 1
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon white wine vinegar more to taste, Note 2
- 4 teaspoons cornstarch
- fine sea salt and black pepper to taste
- Grate the onion, garlic, and ginger. Place them in a medium bowl.
- Combine: Add ground turkey, panko breadcrumbs, egg, soy and fish sauce, salt, and pepper and mix well to combine.
- Form about 30 meatballs, slightly smaller than a golf ball; each should weigh about 1 oz/ 30 g.
- Fry the meatballs: Heat the oil in a large skillet. Fry the meatballs for about 5 minutes, turning them often to help them brown all over. If the skillet is not large enough, it’s preferable to fry the meatballs in two batches. The meatballs should be almost cooked through, but not quite there yet.
- Make the glaze while the meatballs are in the frying pan.
- Whisk the water, ketchup, sugar, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch in a smaller bowl. Adjust the taste with salt and pepper. Add more sugar or vinegar to taste; the sauce should be sweet and sour.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet.
- Cook sauce: Pour the sauce into the skillet and bring it to a boil on medium heat. Cook while stirring often until thickened, about 4-5 minutes.
- Return the meatballs to the pan and stir to coat them with the sauce.
- Cook meatballs: Reduce the heat and cook gently until the meatballs are cooked through (internal temperature 165°F/ 74°C) and the sauce is reduced and glossy. This will take about 2-3 minutes, stirring often.
- Use sugar to taste, one teaspoon should be enough, but it also depends on the ketchup and the vinegar’s acidity.
- I sometimes use sushi vinegar instead; it’s sweeter and fits the recipe. In this case, use 2 tablespoons; if the sauce is not sour enough, add 1 teaspoon of regular vinegar.