These tangy baked bbq turkey meatballs are easy, quick, and perfect for your next family gathering. These moist turkey meatballs are kid-friendly and ready in under 20 minutes. If you’re looking for baked, gluten-free meatballs that pair perfectly with your favorite bbq sauce, these baked bbq turkey meatballs are all you need.
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As the mother of a toddler, I am often looking for meals that I can make ahead of time. Also, meals that I can make with leftovers is a win. Emory is at that age where she is very picky and particular about what she eats. To be honest, she only eats fries, chicken nuggets, and potato chips. So, imagine how pleased we were when she said showed interest in my tangy baked bbq turkey meatballs. I think she enjoyed the Kansas City styled BBQ sauce more than the meatballs, though. Because these are gluten-free turkey meatballs (made with gluten-free breadcrumbs), I feared that they might be a tad be dry. Not the case at all. These meatballs are baked then simmered with bbq sauce in a crockpot. Making for some very moist turkey meatballs.
Do you prefer baked or fried meatballs? I’ve only ever baked them. One of my dear friends is Italian and swears by frying or browning the meatballs before using them. To me, they are a bit drier and oiler than when they are baked. These baked bbq turkey meatballs are juicy and full of flavor. After the meatballs have finished baking, I add them to a crockpot and allow them to rest in the tangy bbq sauce. That not only adds tons of flavor, but it locks in the juices and keeps the meatballs from falling apart.
WHAT DO YOU NEED TO MAKE BBQ TURKEY MEATBALLS?
- Ground turkey – I prefer Jennie -O lean ground turkey. You can use whatever brand you choose.
- Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs – I swear by this brand and use it in all of my recipes that call or breadcrumbs. If you’re making gluten-free meatballs, I highly suggest it.
- Salt and pepper
- Paprika – can use regular or smoked
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Barbecue sauce – I used my tangy Kansas City style BBQ sauce in this recipe.
- Organic Apple Juice – this thins out the sauce, so it coats the meatballs and adds a rich sweet flavor. You can substitute apple cider or apple cider vinegar if you want a less sweet and more tangy version.
HOW TO MAKE TANGY BAKED BBQ TURKEY MEATBALLS?
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees and coat a large baking sheet with oil or cooking spray.
- Place the ground turkey, gluten-free breadcrumbs, and seasonings in a bowl and gently mix. I do this by hand and focus on ensuring all ingredients are evenly incorporated. The key to moist meatballs is not overworking the meat mixture.
- Form balls with about a tablespoon of the turkey mixture. I use a small cookie scoop to get my portions.
- Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake the meatballs for about 15 minutes or until no longer pink. The internal meat thermometer should read 165 degrees F.
- Stir together and heat a mixture of your favorite barbecue sauce and apple juice.
- Add baked meatballs and sauce to crockpot and heat until everything is warmed through.
TIPS FOR KEEPING YOUR TURKEY MEATBALLS FROM FALLING APART
Incorporating the appropriate binders are the keys to keeping your meatballs from balling apart. Traditional meatball recipes include ingredients like eggs and breadcrumbs. These gluten-free meatballs do not contain eggs, but they do have gluten-free breadcrumbs. TIP: If you are not using eggs, it’s essential that you do not overwork the meat or will become dry and crumble. The BBQ sauce also helps keep the meatballs from becoming dry. All your meatballs to rest in the bbq sauce also ensure they are not dry.
BAKING vs. FRYING BBQ TURKEY MEATBALLS
If you want moist meatballs, baking them is the best cooking method. Whenever possible, I will bake my turkey meatballs before adding them to a sauce. Additionally, baking the meatballs adds more flavor than frying, and it reduces the amount of oil in the meatball. Honestly, there is no wrong way to prepare your meatballs. It comes down to your plans after the meatballs are made. Will you be allowing them to rest in a sauce, or are you adding them to a sandwich? These are the questions that need to be asked when considering baking vs. frying your meatballs.
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Tangy Baked BBQ Turkey Meatballs
- crock pot
- 1 lb Ground Turkey Meat
- 1/4 Cup Gluten-Free Breadcrumbs
- 1/2 tsp Salt
- 1/2 tsp Paprika
- 1/2 tsp Onion powder
- 1/4 tsp Pepper
- 1/4 tsp Garlic Powder
- 1/2 Cup BBQ Sauce
- 1/2 Cup Apple Juice
- Preheat oven to 375° and line baking sheet with parchment paper
- In a medium-sized bowl combine ground turkey, spices, and breadcrumbs by hand. Do not overwork the mixture or your meatballs will be dry
- Using a small scoop or tablespoon form small meatballs. This recipe makes 20 small meatballs.
- Bake meatballs for 15 minutes. or until Internal thermometer reads 165°
Adding Meatballs to BBQ Sauce
- In a small saucepan or crockpot, warm bbq sauce and apple juice (or cider vinegar). Add fully cooked meatballs and heat until cooked through. Roughly 5-7 minutes.
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