Southwest Turkey Meatballs

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These Southwest Turkey Meatballs are made with ground turkey, cilantro, jalapeño peppers, scallions, garlic and cumin which I served with a Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dipping Sauce.

Meatballs make the perfect finger food and are so much fun to eat. Put them on a platter with toothpicks or as a main dish with salad or grains. Also great for meal prep!

I really love Italian meatballs and spaghetti, who doesn’t, but why not get creative and experiment with different meat, herbs and seasoning.

If you prefer them spicy, leave the seeds in, or play around with different peppers like serrano, poblano, or habaneros.

To Meal Prep, divide the meatballs in 4 meal prep containers and serve with salad and vegetables such as cauliflower rice.

How To Make Southwest Turkey Meatballs

Meatballs make the perfect finger food and are so much fun to eat. Put them on a platter with toothpicks or serve them on small buns to make sliders and you have yourself a party!
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5 from 5 votes
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Southwest Turkey Meatballs

67 Cals 10.5 Protein 2.5 Carbs 2 Fats
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 15 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Yield: 12 servings
COURSE: Appetizer
CUISINE: Mexican
Meatballs make the perfect finger food and are so much fun to eat. Put them on a platter with toothpicks or serve them on small buns to make sliders and you have yourself a party!


  • 1-1/4 lbs 99% lean ground turkey
  • 1 jalapeño, seeds removed (leave some in for spicier meatballs)
  • 2 cloves garlic
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 3 scallions, chopped
  • 1/4 cup seasoned plain or gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • pinch oregano
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • cooking spray
  • Creamy Cilantro Tomatillo Dipping Sauce, optional for dipping


  • Lightly spray baking pan with oil. Preheat oven to 400°.
  • Place jalapeño, garlic, cilantro, and scallions into a small food processor or chopper and pulse a few times until finely minced.
  • In a large bowl combine turkey, chopped herbs, bread crumbs, egg, cumin, salt and pepper.
  • Using your hands, mix well and measure 1/4 cup meat, then divide in two so you end up with each meatball 1/8 cup in size.
  • Roll and place on a baking pan.
  • Bake meatballs at 400° 15 minutes.
  • Makes 24 meatball.


Serving: 2meatballs, Calories: 67kcal, Carbohydrates: 2.5g, Protein: 10.5g, Fat: 2g, Fiber: 0.5g
WW Points Plus: 2
Keywords: Gluten Free, Kid Friendly, Meal Prep Recipes, Under 30 Minutes

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  1. Can these be made in an air fryer?

  2. Made these for the first time as meal-prep lunches with a small side salad.  I reheated the meatballs covered with a damp paper towel for one minute in the microwave. I used the sauce on the meatballs and the salad.  1/4 cup was just the right amount.  I left some jalapeño seeds in the meatballs and they have the perfect kick. I won’t change anything about this recipe; I think it’s perfect as written.  My new favorite lunch!

  3. For zero points these meatballs are awesome I did find the first time I made them a little bit dry. The second time I added grated zucchini and grated onion and they came out much Moister.

  4. Hi! I don’t have a blender. Would a food processor work?!

  5. I’m on Keto is it better to substitute breadcrumbs for coconut or almond flour? I love your recipes I just want them to fit into the diet that works so well for my weight loss 

  6. These are one of my go to recipes for my book club pot luck. Everyone loves them! Some will even eat the dressing with a spoon!

  7. Great base recipe … but I added a few extra ingredients to make it my own and they came out delicious! I used 1.3 lbs of Shady Brook 85% lean ground turkey, added 1/4 cup each of finely chopped red and orange pepper, substituted the scallions with 1/4 cup vidalia onion, 3 cloves of garlic on a fine zester, skipped the oregano and added 3 T of my favorite heavily herbed oil I normally use to dip bread. Beside meatballs, I sliced the remaining red and orange peppers in quarter size and stuffed them 😉

  8. Anyone make without jalapeño? I can’t have anything spicy, not even black pepper 🙁

  9. I bet these would be delicious with the avacado sauce from the turkey Santa Fe taco salad.

  10. I just made these.. they are SO good! And the dipping sauce is absolutely addicting. I left the jalapeno seeds in the sauce because I like things spicy, and it is fantastic. I want to put it on everything. Thank you for making eating healthy not so bad! I already can't wait to make these again.

  11. I've had them! there unbelievably good! Great appie

  12. if you can also give calories and serving size it would be great! i love the recipes

  13. making these right now … they smell so good!! The dressing turned out great!!!

  14. I made these and ate the leftovers the next day. The dipping sauce is even better the next day! Then I made cauliflower crust pizza and used the rest of the sauce as the pizza sauce! Great one Gina!

  15. Looove these!! I didnt have scallions or cilantro on hand so I added onion, green onion, and kale instead. I add kale to everything!! Turned out wonderful!!

  16. Would I be able to freeze these? If yes, should I reheat them in oven or microwave?? I'm looking for appetizers to make ahead for my hubbies 50th bday party, and these sound wonderful!!

  17. Hi Gina! These look amazing! I want to make them for a work pot luck, but I'm curious-if I made them the night before, what is the best way to prepare them the following day? Could I throw them in a crockpot to heat them up? Or will microwaving them be ok? Thanks!!

  18. Make these for your next get together and you will be the HIT of the party like I was! Delicious and the dipping sauce is to die for!! Highly recommend making these! Follow the easy recipe as written and you won't be disappointed!!

  19. Well, Gina…you've done it again! Excellent recipe, easy to make and WW-friendly!! And the sauce was TO DIE FOR 🙂 Lunch for tomorrow is the leftover meatballs (that I had to fight for!), on top of regular salad fixins, with the cilantro dipping sauce as dressing. Can't wait! THANK YOU!!

  20. Delicious. Love the tip on sizing the meatballs. The 1/4 cup then splitting it made them all the same size. Great taste and presentation.

  21. Delicious. but a bit of advice – do NOT cook them for 20 minutes because they "don't look done" at 15. unfortunately, they were very hard. next time will monitor more closely

  22. I have to eat a non-dairy diet. Can you suggest a dipping sauce that does not have milk in it??

  23. I made these last night, but instead I turned them into burgers and used the creamy cilantro dressing on the burger. I only used a small amount of the egg to hold everything together and grilled for about 20 minutes. Adding a pickle gave it the crunch it needed.

  24. I decided to make these into burgers and the results were a success. I used half the egg and bread crumbs as needed for the meatball recipe. Formed the mixture into patties, cooked them on my grill pan, topped them with melted fat-free cheddar cheese and salsa, and served them on 80 calorie wheat buns. YUM! The burgers by themselves were very light in flavor so the salsa was key to making this a tasty, almost fat free, dinner. I paired them with "baked seasoned fries".

  25. I made these last night and they were beyond amazing. I could literally eat them daily and never tire of them. My husband raved and raved about them and absolutely went nuts for the Cilantro dipping sauce! Fantastic…I rarely comment on recipes, but this one is out of this world delicious!!!!

  26. I mixed ingredients from this recipe and the Greek meatball recipe. OMG Amazing. I made them for lunch and dinner this week and I'm sitting here resisting the urge to devour them all now!

  27. How can I print this?

  28. I I really want to make these tomorrow, but can not find the creamy cilantro tomatillo dipping sauce on your website, I can only find the dressing. How do I make the dipping sauce?

  29. has anyone tried these in a crock pot/slow cooker? if so, how long did you cook them for?

  30. Made this tonight-was great-had baked sweet potatoes and boiled cabbage. Sliced an avacado and put some of the cilantro sauce on it. Very filling-no bedtime munchies tonight. Thanks for all your great recipes!!

  31. I made these for the Virginia Tech game the other day and they were great! So easy and a different flavor for turkey meatballs. Thanks for a great idea!!

  32. I have made these twice and they are awesome. the first time I used 99% lean turkey and i think I overcooked a little bit and the second time i used 93% lean turkey and cooked exactly 15 minutes and they turned out amazing. I will be taking these to alot of parties this fall. Oh, and the dipping sauce is to die for. Thanks Gina.

  33. FYI, Those little forky things can be picked up at any party supply store, CVS, or even $ stores sometimes. Also, Bed, Bath & Beyond, etc. Not a difficult item to find.

  34. I've been thinking of making these into burgers, love your idea! I may try this soon!!

  35. Gina, these were the bomb! I made mine into burgers. threw them on the grill. I then mixed some chipotle pepper and adobe sauce in some ketchup. I used the 100 calorie thin buns. Fabulous dinner! served with roasted veggies. Can't wait to try these as meatballs but I think we may be addicted to the burgers!

  36. I made these yesterday for my BF's birthday party and they were a huge hit! It was my first time making homemade meatballs and i'm so happy they came out well. I also made the sauce, but they didn't have tomatillos at the grocery store. Of course no one noticed and enjoyed it all the same. Thanks!

  37. I bet these would make great burgers too!

  38. Oh, Gina, these were so good. Thank you!!!

  39. I'm back on my 3rd time of making these – very popular 🙂

  40. I made these for a pot-luck party and people loved it!

  41. Just to let you know, the meatballs and sauce freeze well. Had the leftovers as a very tasty lunch – this could well become a family favourite. Thanks!

  42. Thanks for another great recipe! Can you please tell me where you got those cute little forkie things you stuck in the meatballs?

  43. I'm not sure, I would cut one open to see if it's cooked through.

  44. hi gina!

    just wanted to ask, if i want to pan fry this meatballs (with Pam spray), how long should it be?

  45. I've used your recipes all week to cook dinner for me and my husband. I have LOVED every recipe. I made these tonight and served it as a main course over rice with the tomatillo dressing. It was AMAZING. I love your website. Thanks for sharing!

  46. These sound amazing. I like the idea of something a little different. All of the spices together will be perfect. Thanks for sharing!

  47. I made these for a Super Bowl party and they were a hit! I only made one batch but they went really fast. I put a lot more cilantro in mine but I was surprised how filling they were for being turkey. Definitely will make again!

  48. I made these for a Super Bowl party and they were a smashing hit! I had a ton of compliments from everyone. Had a couple guys ask for the recipe as well. Definitly a recipe to repeat for pot lucks and get togethers with friends and family. Thanks so much for my new favorit orderve! 🙂

  49. These were great! We made turkey burgers instead of meatballs and skipped the buttermilk and lime juice in the sauce for a thicker consistency. Perfect!

  50. Harkin, I like a little kick too!

    Texas peach, yes the flavors are right up your alley!

  51. These look very tasty. As a Texas gal, I love all of those flavors. These would be great for a party. The sauce sounds fantastic.

  52. My wife and I made these last night for the superbowl… they were tasty! We kept the jalapeno seeds in for the balls, and kept them out of the sauce. I would add seeds next time for a little more kick. We also used fresh parsley… I think next time we'll use the recommended dried.

    Thanks for the recipe – it was a hit, and the Packers Won! YES!!!

  53. I made these yesterday, wrapped them in flour tortillas with salad using the sauce as a dressing and they were delicious. I've frozen the leftovers, so we'll see how they turn out …

  54. I'm so happy you all enjoyed them, would make great sliders too!

    I have a lightened up beef stroganoff recipe, you can use the search bar (top right) and you'll find it.

  55. These are soooo good! These meatballs would be great with pasta or even as a meatloaf. Fresh and satisfying the cilantro dip is just lovely. I made extra! It is my new go to salad dressing. I did not have buttermilk and so I just measured out 1/2 cup of milk into the blended, then added the limejuice, and let it sit to sour while I prepared the rest of the ingredients. So easy and everyone loves them.

  56. These meatballs were absolutely DELICIOUS!!! I served them with brown rice and the cilantro dipping sauce on top and they were to die for! Thanks Gina for inspiring me to cook new and interesting recipes that are totally outside of my comfort zone!!

  57. These look delicious! Is there any way you could lighten up beef stroganoff? It's my favorite and I miss it now that I'm dieting

  58. Hooray! Now I have a yummy, healthy snack to take to the Super Bowl party. Think anyone will be offended if I just eat my own food 😉

  59. The Clarks, wow I won! 🙂

  60. I'm making this weekend for superbowl Sunday!!

  61. Congrats on winning the "Best Home Cooking Blog"! I'm way excited for you, I love your blog! I've been introducing it to my entire family and they love it too!

  62. What a wonderful and creative appetizer and beautiful photos! Thanks so much for sharing. I'm so glad to have found your beautiful blog and look forward to seeing more! 🙂 – Georgia

  63. I gotta get those mini dipping forks. Gina, we love mini meatballs over here too. This recipe looks great 🙂

  64. I'm trying these this weekend…They look and sound YUMMY!!!!! I love Cilantro!!!

  65. These look delicious – a fantastic option for a Super Bowl party this Sunday! I just made a cilantro-based sauce with roasted poblanos that was oh-so good: It would actually work well as a dipping sauce too. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Lovely blog, by the way!


  66. Turkey Meatballs are my favorite! What a great idea to serve them as an appetizer!

  67. These sound so spicy and delicious! definitely great game day food!

  68. I absolutely love this sauce with such tiny and delicious meatballs!

  69. Those sound great!

  70. These sound very yummy, I will be trying them out. There are so many of your recipes that I make and hubby doesn't even know that they are lower in calorie!! I also stopped by to tell you that I gave you a Stylish Blogger award. Come on by and pick it up.

  71. Everytime I visit your blog I feel so glad to have found you! All the recipes are something I can make anytime and ENJOY them without feeling guilty!

  72. I think it would freeze fine, also think it would work as a meatloaf.

    Tomatillos are not spicy at all, they are like green tomatoes, with a slightly different taste.

  73. This must be devine. I have some home made basil pesto , think I'll use it up in the meat balls. I love your recipes. I am embarrassed to say I have never used a tomatillo. I see them, but didn't know how to use them. Are they really hot?


  74. Can this be made into a meatloaf?

  75. After baking, do the meatballs freeze well? I was thinking of freezing them in ziplocs in pre-portioned meals for easy reheating…what do you think? thanks

  76. Wow they sound amazing and look good to. I am going to try these this weekend. Thanks

  77. Wow! This sounds amazing! I know my husband will love it!

  78. Love it! Thanks so much……..No problems printing this with IE7.

  79. i cannot wait to make these for my husband. he is going to flip. 🙂

  80. These look delicious. I can't wait to try them! All the recipes I've tried so far have been delicious, so I know these will be just as good.