Turkey Apple Meatballs in Cranberry Sauce

About this Recipe

Whatever the holiday or occasion, we like preparing finger food parties so that not all of the work was left to one cook. This turkey meatball recipe is great for a potluck served with toothpicks to just dip in a classic cranberry sauce, or like we are doing, in a warming tray served in the cranberry sauce. Like so many families around the world, holidays are a time where some of us spend ALOT of time in the kitchen. It is fun to make the same classic nostalgic recipes from our Grandmothers' and from our youth, but it is also fun to try out new things. Lucky for us, we have a family of eager taste testers always keen to give things a go.

Grandmother's Tips for Turkey Meatballs and Cranberry Sauce:

1. For the ingredients in our cranberry sauce, we used the frozen Pear Sauce Recipe, but you could absolutely use a homemade or store bought apple sauce. Keep in mind of course, that if add sweetened apple sauce it will change the nutrition information of the recipe.

2. You can also make these meatballs and serve them with this Easy Gravy Recipe. The amount in the gravy recipe would need to be doubled if you are ONLY using gravy with the 92 meatballs.

3. We also divided up our meatballs into two different serving trays so that we have one serving tray with meatballs in cranberry sauce and one serving tray with the meatballs in gravy.

4. Our meatballs were about 1 1/2 inches round, but we would suggest making even smaller, just under one inch so you can pop one full one into your mouth easily.



Makes - 92 meatballs

Serves 20 people (for 5 meatballs per person)

*This really depends on what else you are preparing and how big of meat eaters are coming to dinner.

For the meatballs:

5 lbs of lean ground turkey

2.5 cups panko crumbs

4 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil (and a bit extra for greasing your racks)

2 large eggs, beaten

2 cups apple, peeled and shredded (this took 2 large apples)

2 Tablespoon chopped fresh parsley

1 Tablespoon chopped fresh sage

1 clove fresh garlic, minced

2 teaspoons Kosher salt

1 teaspoon ground pepper

For the cranberry sauce:

4x 348ml cans (which is 4.5 cups) of cranberry sauce

2 cup pear sauce (or apple sauce)

8 Tablespoons maple syrup

4 Tablespoons orange juice

1 teaspoon of zest from an orange (washed very well in vinegar or a natural fruit and veggie wash)


For the meatballs:

1. Arrange your rack in the oven into the middle and preheat the oven to 425 degrees F.

2. Grease a baking rack with some olive oil and place the rack on top of a large cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper. 3. The parchment paper is to keep your pan from getting greasy.

4. In a large mixing bowl combine the ground turkey, olive oil, eggs, shredded apple, chopped herbs, garlic, panko and salt and pepper.

5. Roll the turkey mixture into 1 1/2 inch balls. We used a small cookie scoop to first scoop the turkey onto the pan, and then roll them all tight. We also use disposable kitchen gloves to roll the balls, but you could also use bare clean hands.

6. Arrange the meatballs onto your baking rack and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the turkey is cooked through, or the inside temperature of the meatballs is 165 degrees F.

7. For 92 meatballs, we had to use 3 cookies sheets, and had to bake in 2 batches so they are baked in the middle row.

For cranberry sauce:

1. In a large bowl, combine the cranberry sauce, pear (or apple) sauce, maple syrup, orange juice, and the zest of the orange.

2. Mix well to combine.

3. In a large bowl, pour over the meatballs and mix to combine.

4. Refrigerate if you are serving these the next day, or follow the next steps to heat.

To reheat and serve meatballs:

1. Pour the sauce and the meatballs into a saucepan and re-heat on the stove top until the inside of the meatballs are good and hot right through.


Return to this Turkey Apple Meatballs In Cranberry Sauce recipe or check out more recipes at Grandmother's Kitchen

If you plan to serve these turkey meatballs IN the cranberry sauce (or a gravy), then we recommend reheating them on the stovetop WITH the sauce. Just combine the meatballs and sauce in a large deep pan (or small depending on how much you are making) and cook over low heat until the meatballs are warmed inside. The timing of reheating your meatballs and sauce will really depend on how many meatballs you are cooking.

If you plan to serve this turkey meatball recipe as finger food with the sauce on the side for dipping, then reheat the meatballs in the oven at 300 degrees F. for about 15 minutes. Again, the timing will depend on how many meatballs there are you are heating up!

If you, like us, have picky children in your family, it is a good idea to keep a few dry plain meatballs on the side so the kids can dip them or not. Also since the cranberry sauce is quite high in natural sugars, any one watching their blood sugar may want to keep the sauce on the side as well. The meatballs themselves are very low in sugar (and high in protein) so are a great meal if you are watching blood sugar levels.

Note - you can also make these meatballs and serve them with this Easy Gravy Recipe. The amount in the gravy recipe would need to be doubled if you are ONLY using gravy with the 92 meatballs.

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