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Photo Credit: Elizabeth Newman

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs

Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs



Prep Time

40 minutes

Cook Time

45 minutes




Giada De Laurentiis

Image of Classic Italian Turkey Meatballs


    For the Meatballs:

  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely grated Parmesan (plus more for serving)
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/4 cup whole milk (at room temperature)
  • 1 tablespoon ketchup (optional)
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 large eggs (at room temperature)
  • 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • 1 small onion (finely chopped)
  • 1 pound ground dark turkey meat
  • 1 pound spicy Italian turkey sausage links (casings removed)
  • Extra-virgin olive oil (for drizzling)
  • For the Sauce:

  • 1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
  • 3 large cloves garlic (smashed and peeled)
  • 1 large onion (finely chopped 1 teaspoon kosher salt, plus more to season)
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper (plus more to season)
  • 3/4 cup chopped fresh basil
  • 2 teaspoons finely ground fennel seeds
  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano
  • Two 28-ounce cans crushed tomatoes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium chicken broth (optional)


  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. For the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, Parmesan, basil, parsley, milk, ketchup if using, tomato paste, salt, pepper, eggs, garlic and onions. Using a wooden spoon, stir to blend. Add the ground turkey and sausage meat. Using fingers, gently mix all the ingredients until thoroughly combined.
  3. Using a 1-ounce cookie scoop or a small ice cream scoop, form the meat mixture into 1 1/2-inch balls (22 to 24 meatballs). Place the meatballs on a heavy nonstick baking sheet, spacing apart. Drizzle with olive oil and bake until cooked through, 15 minutes.
  4. For the tomato sauce: Heat the olive oil in a large deep skillet with 2-inch-high sides over medium-high heat. Add the garlic, onions, salt and pepper. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Add 1/2 cup of the basil, the fennel, oregano and crushed tomatoes. Bring to a simmer. Cook over medium heat until the sauce thickens slightly, stirring occasionally, 15 to 20 minutes. Stir in the remaining 1/4 cup basil. Adjust the seasoning with more salt and pepper if desired.
  5. Add the meatballs to the tomato sauce and simmer until the meatballs are heated through, about 10 minutes. Thin the sauce with chicken stock, 1/4 cup at a time, if needed.
  6. Serve with grated Parmesan alongside.



Nutrition Serving Size
per serving
Amount/Serving % Daily Value
18 grams
20 grams
13 grams
Saturated Fat
3 grams
77 milligrams
607 milligrams
3 grams
7 grams
nut free

1 comment

  • Author's avatar image
    Lynn Kraft

    Hi, Giada, as fall settles in here in the northeast, these comfort foods, are the backbone of my diet, thanks, just.Lynn.kraft

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