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Food & Recipes

Asian Turkey Meatballs Are a Delicious Twist on a Classic Favorite: Easy 30-Minute Recipe

Plus, a simple homemade Asian dipping sauce and expert tips on cooking ground turkey

There’s a reason everyone loves meatballs. They’re crispy on the outside, tender on the inside and coated in delicious sauces and seasonings. But the best part thing about meatballs? They’re surprisingly versatile. All combinations of ground meat and cuisines around the world are fair game. So when we heard of Asian turkey meatballs, we had to try them. Bursting with flavors like ginger and hoisin, these baked meatballs are a healthy and delicious twist on a weeknight meal. We’re sharing our favorite recipe that’s so easy to make in 30 minutes, plus a sweet homemade dipping sauce and chef tips for cooking ground turkey. Here’s everything you need to know to make Asian turkey meatballs!

What are Asian turkey meatballs?

Asian Turkey Meatballs
Tatiana Volgutova/Getty

Asian turkey meatballs are a type of meatball using ground turkey instead of the more traditional beef or pork, egg and bread crumbs. We’re dubbing them “Asian” thanks to their delicious flavor with traditional East Asian ingredients, including ginger, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and fish sauce. These meatballs are a lighter, juicy and aromatic alternative to traditional meatballs, perfect for enjoying as a main dish or appetizer.

What are some of these ingredients?

You may be unfamiliar with some of the Asian ingredients listed above, but don’t worry. While you might not cook with them every day, incorporating them into dishes like Asian turkey meatballs can truly elevate their flavor profiles — and you can easily find them in most grocery stores. Here’s a quick rundown with food blogger Jessica Chan of Jecca Chantilly.

1. Fish sauce
“Fish sauce has an intense salty and umami kick with a funky aroma,” says Chan. “It’s made with fermented salted fish and is often used to add depth and complexity to dishes.”

2. Hoisin Sauce

“Hoisin sauce is a thick sauce that’s savory, sweet, and slightly tangy,” says Chan. “Not only is it used to cook, but it is also used as a dipping sauce for many Asian dishes.”

3. Ginger

“Ginger has a warm and slightly peppery taste that can be used in a variety of dishes,” says Chan. “It is spicy and slightly sweet and can be used to enhance both savory and sweet dishes.”

For more delicious Asian dishes, click through for Kung Pao Beef and Frozen Soup Dumplings

Chef tips for cooking ground turkey

Lean ground turkey is a great, heart-healthy protein to cook with if you’re looking for an alternative to red meat. But the key is making sure it’s flavorful, as turkey has less fat and can taste bland or quickly become dry. Cooking ground turkey to perfection requires a few chef tricks. Here’s what to know from Chef Nicole Abisror at Merois West Hollywood and Executive Chef Alisa Vannah at Mr. T in Hollywood.

1. Try milk-soaked bread

 “Turkey meatballs are usually dry, but my technique to make the meat more juicer is adding soak bread with milk or cooked rice,” says Vannah. “That can keep the meat ball more tender without added extra fat.” Simply soak ½”-thick cubes of white bread in milk until it becomes a mushy binding agent.

2. Pile on flavor

Turkey requires a little more love to build flavor. And sauces are a great solution! Chef Abisror recommends a Nam Pla sauce to dip your turkey meatballs into. It’s “fish sauce based [with] Thai chili, ginger, garlic, lime leaf all minced [and] mixed with lime juice and fish sauce.”

Related: 5 Fun Leftover Turkey Ideas (That Aren’t Sandwiches)

30-minute Asian turkey meatballs recipe

Here’s a recipe we turn to time and time again, and it does not disappoint! These meatballs are first seared in a pan to get a nice crust before finishing in the oven. We like to serve them with rice and broccoli for a quick, healthy dinner.

Asian Turkey Meatballs

Asian Turkey Meatballs


  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. pepper
  • 2 Tbs. soy sauce
  • 1 Tbs. hoisin
  • 1 tsp. fish sauce
  • 1″-piece ginger, grated
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1 cup plain Panko bread crumbs, plus more
  • 2 Tbs. olive oil, plus more


  • Active Time: 10 min
  • Total Time: 30 min
  • Servings: 12-15 meatballs
  1. Preheat oven to 425°F.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, add ground turkey. Using gloves, add egg, salt, pepper, soy sauce, hoisin sauce and fish sauce. Grate ginger and garlic. Mix thoroughly.
  3. With one ungloved hand, add Panko bread crumbs and continue mixing. Keep adding bread crumbs until mixture holds its shape. Form into golf-ball sized balls (1½”-thick).
  4. In a large pan over medium-high heat, add olive oil. Sear the meatballs on all sides, about 2 minutes until browned. Place meatballs on a large, lined baking sheet. Bake in the oven for about 20 minutes, or until meat is tender, then remove and serve.

Homemade dipping sauce for Asian turkey meatballs

Asian Turkey Meatballs
Nopadol Uengbunchoo/Getty

While these Asian turkey meatballs are great on their own, they’re even better with a thick, sweet sauce for dipping. This recipe comes from Gimme Some Oven and can easily be made ahead of time for convenience. The sauce doubles as a glaze to coat over the meatballs once they’re out of the oven and cooled!

Sesame Dipping Sauce


  • ⅓ cup hoisin sauce
  • 2 Tbs. rice vinegar
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 Tbs. soy sauce
  • ½ tsp. sesame oil
  • ½ tsp. ground ginger
  • Sliced scallions and toasted sesame seeds for garnish, optional


  1. In a medium bowl, whisk together all ingredients until blended. Garnish and serve alongside meatballs. If using a glaze, either dip each meatball with a toothpick or pour over meatballs in a large bowl and stir until covered.

How to serve Asian turkey meatballs

Since these meatballs are made with Asian flavors, it seems only fitting to share some fun, Asian-inspired dishes to serve them in. So, try these creative ideas and make your Asian turkey meatballs the star of the show!

1. In lettuce cups

Make your meatballs hand-held bites by wrapping them in big pieces of butter lettuce.

2. In an sub

Just like regular subs, line meatballs on crusty bread and add Asian toppings like cabbage, vegetables or even kimchi!

3. In a rice bowl

Pure comfort in a bowl! Add vegetables like broccoli or carrots for more flavor.

4. With egg noodles

You can’t go wrong with spaghetti and meatballs, or in this case, Chinese egg noodles. Pan-fry them with the dipping sauce for extra flavor!

For more mouthwatering meatball stories, check out these below:

You’ll Love These Party-Perfect Stuffed Meatballs: They’re Cheesy + Easy to Make

The Secret to Making The Perfect Meatball Subs — While Cutting Prep-time In Half!

Air-Fryer Meatballs Are the Perfect Party Appetizer — Easy Recipe Ready in 12 Minutes

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