Delicious and Easy Turkey Meatballs Recipe

This Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs Recipe will have your taste buds dancing with joy! If you’re a fan of meatballs and looking for a healthier option, then this recipe is perfect for you. Not only is it delicious, but it’s also easy to make and customizable to fit your preferences.

Why go out to an Italian restaurant when you can recreate the taste of the famous Olive Garden meatballs right in your own kitchen? This copycat recipe is simple, yet elegant, making it perfect for any occasion, from a weeknight dinner to a fancy party.

The beauty of this recipe lies in the use of ground turkey, which is a leaner and healthier option compared to ground beef or pork. Combined with a variety of Italian seasonings, breadcrumbs, and eggs, these meatballs are full of flavor and incredibly savory.

Whether you want to impress your guests or simply treat yourself to something special, this Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs Recipe will not disappoint. So roll up your sleeves and get ready to cook up some of the best turkey meatballs you’ve ever had.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs
Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs

Fellow foodies, let me tell you why this Olive Garden inspired turkey meatballs recipe is a must-try. First of all, let’s talk about the health benefits. By using ground turkey instead of ground beef, you can reduce the amount of fat and calories in your favorite meatballs without sacrificing taste. Plus, when you add in some fresh ground black pepper and salt, as well as Italian seasoning and breadcrumbs, this dish becomes a flavorful and delicious option for those trying to maintain a healthy lifestyle.

But don’t be fooled into thinking that these turkey meatballs will be any less satisfying than their beefy counterparts – these tasty morsels are just as hearty and filling. And the fact that they’re inspired by the iconic Olive Garden means that you can recreate that restaurant-quality taste at home!

One thing I always appreciate about homemade meatballs is the ability to customize them to my liking. In this recipe, I like to add in some red pepper flakes for an added kick of spice. But if you want to keep it more classic or mild, feel free to omit the pepper flakes.

And let’s not forget about versatility – this turkey meatballs recipe can be used in so many different ways! Whether you want traditional spaghetti and meatballs or want to try something different like bruschetta with meatballs, these turkey meatballs are sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

So why turkey meatballs? For a healthier alternative that still packs in delicious flavor. Why this recipe? For an Olive Garden inspired twist on a classic dish that you can make right in your own kitchen. Trust me, once you try these Italian herb turkey meatballs, you’ll never look back.

Ingredient List

“These meatballs are the epitome of comfort food!”

Before we dive into the “how-to” of this Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs Recipe, let’s take a look at the list of ingredients you’ll need to make this savory dish. You will need:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup seasoned croutons, crushed into fine breadcrumbs
  • 3/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup low-fat milk
  • 1/2 cup Italian bread crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp dried Italian seasoning
  • Pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Olive oil for frying

The combination of turkey, beef, and pork guarantees juicy and flavorful meatballs. The use of croutons instead of regular breadcrumbs provides a delightful crunch that beautifully complements the creamy texture of the meatballs. Eggs and milk work as binding agents that keep the ingredients together, while the mixture of spices adds Italian flavor to these meaty balls.

The Recipe How-To

“These olive garden inspired meatballs are the perfect addition to any party platter.”

Now, it’s time for the exciting (and tasty) part – making the Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs!

Here’s what you’ll need:


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ½ lb ground pork
  • 2 cups seasoned croutons (finely ground)
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs
  • ½ cup low-fat milk
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder or 2 cloves garlic (minced)
  • ¼ tsp red pepper flakes
  • Salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste
  • Olive oil to cook with

Step 1

Begin by baking your Italian bread in the oven until crispy for about 5 minutes. Once done, remove from the oven and add it to a food processor with the seasoned croutons. Pulse until you get fine crumbs.

Step 2

In a large bowl, mix together the ground turkey and pork until well combined. Then add in the breadcrumbs mixture, milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, minced garlic or garlic powder, red pepper flakes, salt and black pepper. Mix thoroughly until all ingredients are evenly incorporated.

Step 3

Use your hands to form golf-ball-sized meatballs.

Step 4

Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once heated, brown the meatballs on all sides turning them every two minutes or so. Depending on their size and quantity, this might take about ten minutes.

Step 5

Cover the skillet and let the meatballs cook for another five to seven minutes or until they are fully cooked through in the center.

Voila! Your delicious Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs are ready to be served!

Pro tip: These meatballs also go great in spaghetti or bruschetta. Enjoy!

Substitutions and Variations

“With each bite, the aroma of Italian seasoning and delicious turkey will fill your senses!”

Now that you have the basic recipe for Olive Garden inspired turkey meatballs, it’s time to get creative with some substitutions and variations. Here are some ideas to spice up this already delicious recipe:

1. Ground Beef or Pork: If you don’t have ground turkey or if you’re just in the mood for something different, try using ground beef or pork instead. You can also mix and match different types of meat to create a unique flavor.

2. Bruschetta Meatballs: Add ¼ cup of chopped fresh basil leaves and ¼ cup of diced tomatoes to the mixture to create bruschetta-inspired turkey meatballs.

3. Chicken Meatballs: Substitute the ground turkey with ground chicken for a lighter variation.

4. Spinach Meatballs: Add 1 cup of chopped spinach leaves to the mixture to create a healthy and flavorful version.

5. Homemade Meat Sauce: Instead of serving your turkey meatballs with tomato sauce, try making your own homemade meat sauce.

6. Greek Turkey Meatballs: Mix in some feta cheese, kalamata olives, and oregano into your mixture before forming your turkey meatballs for a Mediterranean twist.

7. Creamy Spinach Turkey Meatballs: Use low-fat milk and add 1 cup of cooked spinach to make these meatballs creamy and delicious.

With these substitutions and variations, you can easily customize this recipe for Olive Garden inspired turkey meatballs to suit your taste preferences or simply try something new!

Serving and Pairing

“They’ll never know it’s turkey! These meatballs are packed with flavor and perfect for a healthier option.”

Once you’ve made these delicious Olive Garden-inspired turkey meatballs, it’s time to think about how to serve them up for your guests. The meatballs themselves are incredibly versatile and can be paired with a range of different dishes depending on your preferences. Here are a few ideas:

– Spaghetti and meatballs: This classic combination is always a crowd-pleaser. Cook up some spaghetti (or your favorite pasta) and top with tomato sauce and a few of these flavorful turkey meatballs.

– Bruschetta: For an Italian-inspired appetizer, try serving these turkey meatballs on top of toasted bread with fresh tomatoes, garlic, and basil.

– Garden salad: If you’re looking for a lighter pairing, try serving the turkey meatballs on top of a bed of fresh greens with your favorite vegetables and a drizzle of balsamic vinaigrette.

– Meat sauce: These turkey meatballs would also pair well with other Italian-inspired dishes, like lasagna or baked ziti. Top the dish with a homemade meat sauce for added flavor.

– Creamy spinach: Serve the turkey meatballs over creamy spinach for an elevated take on comfort food that will warm you up on cold nights.

Overall, these turkey meatballs are incredibly versatile and can be served in many different ways depending on your personal tastes. Whether you choose to pair them with pasta, vegetables, or other sauces, they are sure to impress your guests and leave them coming back for more.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Add a pop of color to your plate with these beautifully crafted meatballs.”

One of the key benefits of this Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs recipe is its versatility when it comes to preparing ahead of time and storing leftovers. If you’re hosting a party or simply looking to save time in the kitchen, these meatballs can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer for later use.

To make these meatballs in advance, simply follow the recipe instructions, roll the mixture into 1 ½ inch balls, and place them onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Once you have all of your meatballs formed, cover them with plastic wrap and place them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours.

If you’re looking to store these meatballs for even longer, they can also be frozen for up to three months. To do so, place them on a baking tray and then put the tray in the freezer until they are fully hardened. Once they are frozen, transfer them into an airtight container or freezer bag.

When reheating these delicious meatballs, there are plenty of options as well. You can either reheat them in the oven at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes or simply reheat them on the stovetop by gently simmering them in tomato sauce until heated through.

These meatballs hold up incredibly well overnight and even improve in flavor over time. So whether you’re making them for a dinner party or simply meal prepping for the week ahead, this make-ahead and storage option makes this recipe even more convenient and practical.

Tips for Perfect Results

“Our secret ingredient? Italian breadcrumbs for maximum flavor.”

To achieve the best-tasting turkey meatballs, it’s essential to prepare them with care and follow certain tips. Here are some of my recommendations that will guarantee you a delicious Olive Garden inspired turkey meatball recipe.

Firstly, make sure to use fresh ground black pepper and salt when making your mixture. While these may seem like small components, they will significantly impact the flavor profile of your dish.

Additionally, utilize low-fat milk instead of whole milk or cream when mixing the eggs and breadcrumbs. This creates a lighter texture in the meatballs, which won’t weigh down the rest of your meal.

Another tip is to add seasoned croutons as a substitution for bread crumbs in your mixture. These add an extra burst of flavor to your Italian-style turkey meatballs.

When forming the 1 ½ inch balls, use a large bowl and mix gently using your hands. Overworking or compacting the mixture can result in dense meatballs that are less enjoyable.

For cooking, heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat and cook the meatballs in batches until they’re browned on all sides. To avoid overcrowding, make sure not to overcrowd them in the pan; this will help to ensure even cooking.

Finally, if serving your Olive Garden meatballs with spaghetti or pasta, reserve additional tomato sauce for an extra flavor boost. Try serving them with creamy spinach or bruschetta to complement their taste better.

By following these simple tips for perfect results, you’ll be sure to impress guests at any party or gathering you host with delicious Olive Garden-Inspired Turkey Meatballs.


Before concluding this recipe article, let’s dive into some frequently asked questions that might be on your mind regarding our Olive Garden inspired turkey meatballs dish. These questions may address concerns about ingredients, cooking time, storage, or substitutions. By reviewing these queries, we can help you clear any doubts to ensure the perfect outcome for your gourmet experience.

What are the meatballs made of at Olive Garden?

To make some delicious Olive Garden meatballs, you’ll need some plain bread crumbs, whole milk, eggs, Italian seasoning, and make sure to have them ready by December 4th, 2022.

Why are my turkey meatballs rubbery?

As a home chef, I understand the importance of using the right method for cooking meatballs. If you make the mistake of packing the meat mixture too tightly, the end result can be unpleasantly chewy and rubbery. To avoid this, I recommend taking a gentle approach when forming meatballs. You can coat your hands with oil to prevent sticking, and then delicately and quickly shape the mixture into equally sized balls. Trust me, this technique will produce tender and juicy meatballs that your guests will love.

Why are my turkey meatballs falling apart?

In the realm of meatball-making, there is a common issue that many chefs come across – the meatballs falling apart. One of the main culprits of this problem is the binder used in the recipe. While most recipes call for the combination of bread crumbs and eggs, it’s a delicate balance. Adding too many bread crumbs can make the meatballs loose, while too few won’t give the necessary strength to hold them together. It’s important to find the perfect ratio for a successful and satisfying meatball.

What is a good binder for meatballs?

When it comes to making meatballs, it’s important to use some sort of binder to keep the balls intact. You have several options to choose from, such as eggs, breadcrumbs, grated cheese, creamy cheese like ricotta or feta, ground nuts, or a combination of these ingredients. These binders will not only help the meatballs hold their shape while cooking, but also as you serve and eat them. After all, no one wants a crumbly mess on their plate instead of a delicious meatball.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, this Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs Recipe is a must-have for every party lover who wants to make something that’s both delicious and easy to prepare. The combination of fresh ground black pepper, salt, low-fat milk, eggs, seasoned croutons, ground turkey, and Italian seasoning creates an enticing aroma that no one can resist.

Why settle for store-bought meatballs when you can make the best turkey meatball with this copycat Olive Garden meatballs recipe? You can also swop the turkey for ground beef or pork to cater to your taste preference. The possibilities are endless!

Serve the turkey meatballs with spaghetti or homemade bruschetta on the side. You can also pair it with a garden salad to add some greens to your meal. The creamy spinach turkey meatballs dish is also an excellent alternative for those who want a more exotic twist.

With make-ahead, storing, and reheating options available, you can quickly prepare this recipe in advance and still enjoy it fresh at your party. This dish is versatile and perfect for hosting parties all year long.

To guarantee the perfect results, follow our tips in making the best turkey meatball gravy recipes from Yummly. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions about preparing this recipe in our FAQ section.

In summary, this Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs Recipe guarantees a party that will be remembered by all your guests. It’s simple, easy to prepare; guaranteed to leave everyone asking for seconds. So go ahead and try out this recipe! You won’t be disappointed.

Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs

Olive Garden Inspired Turkey Meatballs Recipe

These homemade meatballs are made with Olive Garden croutons. They're shaped, pan seared, and then slow cooked in the crockpot. It is a simple recipe that can be tweaked to your taste. I highly recommend cooking a trial meatball in the pan before you fry your first batch. Cook it like a mini hamburger pressing it slightly flat. Flip it over and brown the other side. Spoon a tablespoon of your sauce over the "burger". Taste the meatball to determine if you need to adjust seasoning to your taste.
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Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 2 hrs
Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian-American
Servings 24 meatballs
Calories 517.1 kcal


  • 3 lbs ground turkey
  • 3 cups of olive garden italian kitchen garlic and romano seasoned croutons
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cups low-fat milk
  • 3 teaspoons salt
  • 3 teaspoons fresh ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil


  • Blend croutons into 3 Cups of bread crumbs and set aside.
  • slightly beat eggs and set combine with milk in a Pyrex cup.
  • In a large bowl place turkey and separate with a spoon. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Add 1/3 of the dry bread crumbs to the meat.
  • Pour 1/3 of milk mixture over the meat mixture. Mix ingredients.
  • Repeat steps 4 and 5 until all ingredients are mixed in large bowl.
  • Set meat mixture aside.
  • Heat vegetable oil in a cast iron skillet on medium high heat.
  • Place medium size meatballs around the perimeter of the skillet browning on the bottom and one side.
  • Flip the meatballs over and align the opposite side along the side of pan.
  • Once meatballs are brown, gently scoop them into your spaghetti sauce filled crock pot.
  • Allow meatballs to finish cooking in the crockpot on low for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until done.
  • Serve over noodles or in a sub bun.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 323gCalories: 517.1kcalCarbohydrates: 16.1gProtein: 50.7gFat: 27.7gSaturated Fat: 7.1gCholesterol: 222.6mgSodium: 1558.5mgFiber: 1.3gSugar: 3.6g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy, European, High In..., High Protein, Potluck, Stove Top
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