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Italian Turkey Meatballs over pasta
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5 from 5 votes

One-Pan Italian Turkey Meatballs with Marinara

These One-Pan Italian Turkey Meatballs with Easy Marinara Sauce are seasoned with a blend of dried herbs and include panko breadcrumbs and finely minced onion in the meatball mixture - these help to keep the meatballs tender. Once the meatballs have been formed, the dish comes together in a flash.
Want to scale this recipe down to serve 2 or scale it up to make an extra batch for the freezer? Use the slider next to “servings” below to customize.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course, Main Dish
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 4
Calories: 326kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $9.75


  • Dutch Oven, Saute Pan, or Skillet


For Meatballs

  • 1/4 cup Panko Breadcrumbs (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp Milk, any type
  • 20 oz Ground Turkey (see note)
  • 2 Tbsp White Onion, very finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 tsp Italian Herb Seasoning (use this homemade version or storebought Italian Seasoning)
  • 1 Egg
  • 4 Tbsp Cooking Oil

For Sauce

For Serving

  • Spaghetti or other type of pasta (or spaghetti squash for a lower carb / lighter option)
  • Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Chopped Parsley (for topping)


Make the Meatballs

  • Combine Panko breadcrumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl.
  • Let sit for 5 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to soak up the liquid.
  • Set a small sheet pan, baking dish, or cutting board next to the bowl (this is where you will line up the meatballs as you shape them).
  • To the breadcrumbs / milk, add turkey, 2 Tbsp onion, 1 ½ tsp Italian Herb Seasoning, and egg. Add salt (1 tsp if your Italian Seasoning doesn't include salt; 1/2 tsp if your Italian Seasoning does include salt).
  • Using your hands, gently combine all of the ingredients, mixing them just until combined (but being careful not to over-mix).
  • Use a 1 Tbsp measuring spoon to scoop up one heaping spoonful of the meatball mixture at a time and then roll it into a ball. (Don’t worry if they aren’t all perfect balls, but try to make them uniform in size so they cook evenly.)
  • Line up the meatballs on the prepared pan as you make them. (At this point, you can cover and refrigerate the meatballs to cook them later if you’d like.

Cook Meatballs

  • Heat a large Dutch oven, saute pan, or skillet over low-medium heat. Add oil and let it heat for a minute until shimmering. When oil is hot and shimmering, transfer the meatballs to the pan (I find it easiest to use my hands to quickly transfer the meatballs one-by-one).
  • Let the meatballs sear on the bottom for 2 minutes and then give them pan a gentle shake or use a spatula to gently turn them so that the meatballs start to roll around a bit (this will help them to hold their round shape).
  • Continue cooking meatballs, turning with a spatula or tongs, until meatballs are nearly cooked through. (Take one out of the pan and slice it open to be sure. It should be tender and juicy inside but not look pink.) It should take a total of 8 to 10 minutes to cook the meatballs.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a plate and return the pan to heat.

Make Sauce

  • If the pan looks dry, add a splash of oil.
  • Add 3/4 cup onion. Saute until onion is tender and starting to brown in spots.
  • Add 1 ½ tsp Italian Herb Seasoning and tomato paste and stir for 1 minute.
  • Pour crushed tomatoes into the pan and stir everything to combine.
  • Simmer sauce for 2 minutes to let the flavors come together.
  • Add meatballs to sauce and cook everything together for 1 minute.
  • Serve meatballs over spaghetti (or spaghetti squash) or with bread on the side. Top with parmesan and chopped parsley.


In this and almost all recipes, I prefer to use Panko breadcrumbs. These are Japanese breadcrumbs that can be found in the international aisle of almost any grocery store. 
Just like with chicken, turkey is available in both light and dark meat. Light meat ground turkey will work just fine, but dark meat ground turkey will give you the most tender and juicy meatballs.
If you’re delivering this meal to someone else or planning to freeze it for later, attach this label to the top so that anyone can easily serve it!


Serving: 0.5cup | Calories: 326kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 38g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 125mg | Sodium: 205mg | Potassium: 579mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 301IU | Vitamin C: 3mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg