Cranberry Appetizer Turkey Meatballs

Appetizer Turkey Meatballs glazed in an orange cranberry riesling sauce. A simple and delicious appetizer perfect for bringing to holiday gatherings or to ring in the new year!

Three turkey appetizer meatballs on a white plate with toothpicks and green herb garnish

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I am not sure why turkey is usually only eaten during the holiday season from October to December but I love this giant bird. Turkey meat is much more flavourful than chicken and needs only a few simple ingredients to really sing. Add some cranberry sauce to these simple turkey cocktail meatballs and you have an appetizer that is bursting with flavour!

I got to thinking while I was reviewing all the holiday recipes I have created this year and it occurred to me … wait a hot minute… I have no appetizers to share! How is this even possible considering my favourite meal is a table full of charcuterie or appies!

A silver tray filled with cranberry turkey cocktail meatballs on a wood table with two glasses of wine in crystal glasses

I made this Cranberry Sauce with Late Harvest Reisling & Orange Zest and had a tonne of great ideas but I got bogged down in making all things dessert and dinner that I totally forgot to put the recipe to use! So it is about time I got this Turkey Meatball Appetizer recipe up!

This recipe is very easy to throw together all in one bowl so less mess to clean up before the guests arrive. Your welcome!

ingredients you will need:

  • Ground Turkey – you can substitute with ground chicken or pork as well.
  • Onion – finely chopped.
  • Egg – holds all the goodness in this cocktail meatball recipe together
  • Dried herbs and seasoning – sage, rosemary, salt and pepper
  • Riesling & Orange Cranberry Sauce
Ingredients needed for turkey meatballs - onion, egg, rosemary spices and ground turkey on a wood table

Making Cranberry Appertizer Turkey Meatballs

Preheat your oven to 400ºF.  In a medium bowl combine the ground turkey, finely chopped, egg, chopped rosemary, thyme, sage, salt and pepper.  Use your hands to mix the ingredients together just until combined.  Do not overwork or meatballs they will become tough.

A bowl of turkey mixed with spices for turkey meatballs.

Scoop a heaping teaspoon out of the turkey mixture and form a ball using your hands. I find that after a bit the turkey meat sticks to your hands and makes it hard to roll the balls nicely. Washing your hands a few times during this process helps to reduce the stickiness and makes it easier to continue forming the turkey balls.

Place the balls of the turkey mixture evenly out on a ceramic baking pan or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or foil. Leave about an inch between each ball to allow for even cooking. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until meatballs have reached an internal temperature using a meat thermometer of 165 º F. Remove them from the oven.

While the turkey meatballs are cooking this is the perfect time to make the Cranberry Sauce. Then once the turkey meatballs are done simply toss them in the cranberry sauce and serve!

A worn ceramic baking sheet lined with uncooked turkey meatballs

other ways to serve Appetizer turkey meatballs

  • Serve the turkey meatballs with the cranberry sauce on the side for dipping
  • Shake things up with another sauce. The sauce from these Asian Cauliflower Bites or Nonni’s Ragu would be great!
  • Place the meatballs in a crockpot with the cranberry sauce to bring to parties or to reheat the cranberry sauce you made previously with the meatballs.
  • Use these baked turkey meatballs instead of beef meatballs with your pasta dinner
  • Bring these meatballs as a quick lunch or snack at work or school
  • Toss these turkey meatballs in pasta sauce and make a delicious meatball sub!

Can other proteins be used in this recipe instead of turkey?

Yes of course! You can swap out the turkey 1:1 for ground chicken or pork. The recipe would be exactly the same.

Can These Turkey Cocktail meatballs be air-fried?

Absolutely! Make them exact same way but instead air-fry them! They will likely be done about 5 minutes earlier since they are being cooked on all sides. But be sure to check the internal temperature to be sure.

A close up of a turkey meatball appetizer in cranberry sauce on a silver platter

Can you freeze turkey cocktail meatballs?

You sure can! I would recommend freezing the meatballs and the sauce separately. The meatballs can be frozen for up to 2 months. The sauce tends to thicken up when frozen so add about 2 tbsp to a 1/4 cup of water to thin out the cranberry sauce when warming up before tossing in the meatballs.

To warm up the meatballs, simply let the turkey cocktail meatballs thaw in the fridge overnight and then reheat in the oven.

More Great Appetizer Recipes

A close up of a turkey meatball appetizer in cranberry sauce on a silver platter

Cranberry Appetizer Turkey Meatballs

Alisa Infanti | The Delicious Spoon
Appetizer Turkey Meatballs glazed in an orange cranberry riesling sauce. A simple and delicious appetizer perfect for bringing to holiday gatherings or to ring in the new year!
5 from 3 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 17 minutes
Total Time 27 minutes
Course Appetizer, Snack
Cuisine 21 Day Fix, American, Canadian
Servings 6 people
Calories 52 kcal


  • Oven
  • Stove
  • Chopping Knife
  • Medium bowl
  • Medium Saucepan
  • Spoon
  • Measuring Cups
  • Measuring Spoons
  • Baking Sheet
  • Toothpicks (optional)


Baked Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ½ medium onion finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried sage
  • 1 ½ tsp fresh rosemary finely chopped
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper

Cranberry Sauce


  • Preheat oven to 400F
  • In a medium bowl add 1 lb ground turkey, 1/2 an onion finely chopped, 1 egg, 1 tsp dried sage, 1 1/2 tsp finely chopped fresh rosemary, 1 tsp dried thyme, 1 tsp salt, 1/4 tsp black pepper. Mix together with hands just until well blended. Do not overmix.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil. Scoop out one heaping teaspoon of the turkey mixture at a time and use hands to form a small ball. Place the balls of turkey evenly on the baking sheet leaving about 1 inch between each ball.
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until the turkey balls have reach an internal temperature according to a meat thermometer of 165F. Remove from oven.
  • While meatballs are baking make the cranberry sauce. The recipe can be found here:
  • Toss the baked turkey meatballs in 1/2 a cup fo the cranberry sauce until well coated and serve individually with a toothpick or serve the turkey meatballs with the cranberry sauce in a separate bowl for dipping.


Serving: 1meatballCalories: 52kcalCarbohydrates: 6gProtein: 4.4gFat: 1.25gSaturated Fat: 0.3gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.3gMonounsaturated Fat: 0.4gTrans Fat: 0gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 121mgPotassium: 53mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 5.9gVitamin A: 25IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 6mgIron: 0.3mg


Leftover turkey meatballs can be stored once cooled completely in the fridge in a sealed container for up to two days. Or freeze for up to 3 months.  If possible freeze the sauce separately from the meatballs and assemble before eating.  
If following the 21 day fix meal plan 6 turkey meatballs would be considered 1 red. With the cranberry sauce consider it to be 1/2 a purple.
Please Note:

The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.

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Pinterest pin showing baked or air-fried turkey meatballs made with orange cranberry sauce.

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  1. I have made these with beef and they were delicious! I’ll definitely have to try and make these with turkey, still delicious and more healthy!! This will help me keep those New Year’s resolutions. 🙂

5 from 3 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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