I love to batch cook and freeze these turkey and pork meatballs for the week. Ground turkey and carrots make these meatballs leaner than beef meatballs, and the ground pork gives them the juicy chewiness that I love in meatballs. These meatballs go well with a tomato-based sauce and are great for pasta, salad, or sandwiches.
Hidden veggie for picky kids
I sneak veggies into my recipes as much as possible to ensure my kids eat enough veggies. A little bit here and there adds up in addition to serving veggies as sides. Carrots complement the flavors of these turkey and pork meatballs, and the orange color blends in well. However, you can use other vegetables you have on hand. If you’d like the carrots to blend, it’s best to process carrots in the food processor until they are micro-chopped. You can also grate the carrots using a box grater-coarsely grated carrots will be more visible in the cooked meatballs.
Making turkey meatballs chewy
All-turkey meatballs end up a bit mushy and soft. It may be a personal preference, but I like meatballs to be on the chewy side with a bit of fat. I mix pork into these meatballs to give them chewiness and juiciness.
Adding a tablespoon of gelatin to the mix can make these meatballs even chewier. I wouldn’t buy a box of gelatin just for meatballs, but it’s a worthy addition if you already have it in your pantry. Why would I keep gelatin in my pantry? I keep them for making homemade gummies!
For the best meatball texture, try not to overmix. Gently massage the mixture using your fingers until they are just combined.
Freezing and reheating tips
Meatballs freeze wonderfully, so I make a large batch whenever I make them. To freeze, divide the meatballs into single-serving portions and store them in a freezer-safe glass container. This way, you can pop the whole container in the microwave to reheat. Meatballs tend to heat pretty quickly in the microwave, so check every 30 seconds until they’re just hot enough- we don’t want to overcook the meatballs.
If you’re serving these turkey and pork meatballs with pasta, you can reheat them in pasta sauce on the stove. That will keep the meatballs juicy while they soak up delicious flavors from the sauce. The sauce also turns richer from the meat juice.
Change it up!
This turkey and pork meatballs recipe is versatile and can be easily customized to your preference. You can use all turkey instead of mixing it with pork. Keep in mind that turkey-only meatballs can have a mushy texture, and adding a tablespoon of beef gelatin to the mixture can improve the texture. You can use your favorite spices and herbs for a different flavor and swap the carrots with another vegetable. I would love to try these with finely chopped mushrooms one day, although my kids would riot if I did at the moment.
Also, check out this Beef Meatballs With Korean Flavors recipe.
If you tried this recipe, I would love to hear from you!
Kid friendly baked turkey & pork meatballs
Ground turkey and carrots make these meatballs lean, and the pork gives them the juicy chewiness.
- 3 medium-size carrots
- 2 eggs
- 2 lb ground turkey
- 1 lb ground pork
- 1 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1 tbsp ground cumin
- 2 tsp ground coriander
- 2 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp ground sage
Position rack in the oven's upper third and lower third and preheat to 375 F.
Chop carrots into 1" chunks. Add to a food processor and pulse until very finely chopped but before they become a puree. Alternatively, you can grate the carrots using a box grater.
In a large bowl, beat the eggs. Add the rest of the ingredients and mix with your hands to incorporate all the ingredients.
Line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Form the meat mixture into balls the size of a golf ball. Place meatballs on the sheet pan with some space between them.
Bake for about 25 minutes or until cooked through, changing the position of the baking sheets midway.