Turkey cranberry meatballs are a flavor-filled appetizer that will please everyone

5D4B4685 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

Need a fun and flavor-packed appetizer that your holiday guests can eat gracefully with their fingers? Put these tasty turkey cranberry meatballs, inspired by Shutterbean, on your Thanksgiving menu and we guarantee that you’ll be eager to serve them for all of your fall and winter celebrations.

From family gatherings to game days to holiday cocktail parties, turkey cranberry meatballs are a finger food favorite. Who can resist grabbing a toothpick skewered into a mouthful of juicy, herbalicious and slightly sweet turkey meat? Certainly not us! Give this scrumptious holiday nibble a try and see for yourself!

ALSO TRY: Turkey meatballs with Asian-style dipping sauce

If you talk to meatball lovers, each one will have his or her own tips and tricks to amazing meatballs. We are no different Our big secret for these tongue-tantalizing meatballs is that our choice of ingredients makes them not only irresistibly delicious, but also deceptively nutritious.

Say what?

Yes, that’s right! Our turkey cranberry meatball recipe calls for a wholesome seeded bread for breadcrumbs, a few nutrient-dense Tuscan kale leaves and fresh garlic and sage for fresh flavor. Best yet, we roast these meatballs to perfection instead of frying them in a skillet of oil. This saves calories, fat — and clean-up.

>> Click here to jump straight to the recipe

For the crumb of it

Instead of pre-made breadcrumbs from the store, we make our own from fresh bread. We love Dave’s Killer Bread Good Seed, but any whole grain seeded bread will do. Toast the bread, let it cool, then pulse the toast into breadcrumbs in a food processor. Transfer the breadcrumbs to a large bowl and set aside. Clean out the food processor.

5D4B4275 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

Fresh greens make meatballs better

Fresh herbs, kale and garlic turn ground turkey into an outstandingly flavorful meat for meatballs. Skip the greens and garlic and your meatballs end up tasting like burger bites. Using your food processor, pulse the garlic cloves until minced, then pulse the kale and sage until roughly chopped. Add the greens and garlic to the breadcrumbs.

5D4B4314 - Turkey cranberry meatballs - Fresh greens make meatballs better

We’re making meatballs, baby!

Add the ground turkey, eggs and a half-cup of cranberry sauce to the bowl with the breadcrumb mixture. The eggs and cranberry sauce will help add moisture to your meat nibbles. Season with salt and pepper and gently mix the ingredients together. Oil your hands and shape the turkey mixture into one-inch meatballs (the oil will keep the meat from sticking to your hands). Be sure to use a light touch when shaping the meatballs to keep them from being tough meat pucks.

5D4B4386 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

Roasting meatballs is best

Place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and roast for 15 to 20 minutes or until cooked through. Roasting the meatballs allows you to cook all of them at one time without the spatter of oil from a hot skillet. Roasting also puts a nice sear on the exterior of the meatballs while ensuring that they don’t fall apart from being turned over in a skillet.

5D4B4550 - Turkey cranberry meatballs - Roasting meatballs is best

Finally it’s serving time

Stick a toothpick in each meatball and place on a platter. Your turkey cranberry meatballs are ready to be dipped into the reserved cranberry sauce and devoured.

5D4B4658 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

Juicy cranberries and tender garlicky turkey make for an outstanding flavor combo

5D4B4663 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

A savory favorite for any holiday gathering

5D4B4681 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

Absolutely delectable!

5D4B4679 - Turkey cranberry meatballs

Turkey cranberry meatballs

Yield 30 meatballs


  • 2 slices wholegrain seeded bread, toasted
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 5 Tuscan kale leaves chopped, stems removed
  • 4 fresh sage leaves
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup canned cranberry sauce, divided 1/2 cup and 1/2 cup
  • 1/2  teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat oven to 400F.
  2. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the toast until it becomes bread crumbs. Empty crumbs in a large bowl. Clean the bowl of the food processor.
  4. Add the garlic to the food processor. Process until chopped.
  5. Add the kale and sage. Process until roughly chopped. Transfer the chopped kale mixture to the bowl with the breadcrumbs.
  6. Stir in the ground turkey, eggs, and 1/2 cup cranberry sauce.
  7. Add salt and pepper and stir until well combined.
  8. Shape the turkey mixture into one-inch meatballs.
  9. Roast for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165F.
  10. Serve the meatballs hot with toothpicks with the remaining cranberry sauce as a dipping sauce on the side.

Courses Appetizer

5D4B4653 - Turkey cranberry meatballs