Turkey Swedish meatballs are a quick, easy and healthy dinner idea. Whip them up in just 30-40 minutes and feed the family in no time at all! And the best part? They're gluten free, low carb and keto-friendly. I especially love making this comfort food meal during the winter months, but it can absolutely be enjoyed year round.
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If you love this recipe, be sure to check out my delicious Porcupine Meatballs! They are equally as scrumptious. I make them with ground beef but you can easily sub turkey.
If a search for healthy comfort food is what landed you here, you may also enjoy my Sweet Potato And Ground Beef Casserole, Pumpkin Chicken Curry, Creamy White Chicken Chili, Creamy Taco Soup or Shredded Beef Enchiladas. Hot meals to get you through the cold months!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
Quick & easy: Get dinner on the table in 30 minutes or less! You can also make your meatballs ahead of time to cut down on prep if you have an extra busy weeknight coming up. Or, fully prepare the dish and store it in the refrigerator or freezer for later. This dish reheats very well.
Goes with any side: These meatballs can be paired with pretty much any side you can think of. I love using up produce that needs to get eaten and reducing food waste.
Family friendly: Kids love meatballs! Who wouldn't?! They are a very fun meal.
Why Ground Turkey?
Swedish meatballs are traditionally made with a combination of ground beef and ground pork. So why use turkey?
Turkey and ground beef are fairly comparable when it comes to nutrition value, though ground turkey does have a little less saturated fat. (source: healthline).
And, 99% lean ground turkey is available at many grocery stores, where the leanest ground beef you'll find is 96%. Buying extra lean ground turkey is great if you're trying to cut back on calories. (source: healthline).
So if you're trying to eat healthier, or just trying to eat less red meat, this version of Swedish Meatballs is a good option.
Ingredients & Substitutions
- Lean ground turkey: I use 93/7%. Sub a different ground meat if desired.
- Eggs: eggs bind the meat together and keep balls from falling apart or turning out crumbly and dry.
- Gluten free plain breadcrumbs: you can use regular, plain breadcrumbs if you don't need this recipe to be gluten free.
- Seasonings: salt, ground black pepper, ground cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, ground nutmeg, ground cloves.
- Extra virgin olive oil: for browning/sautéing meatballs.
- Beef broth: or sub chicken broth.
- Heavy cream: or half and half.
- Worcestershire sauce: adds a ton of flavor to our creamy gravy mix.
- Dijon mustard: just a touch adds nice warmth and depth.
- Seasonings: ground allspice, ground cardamom, black pepper. You can also use white pepper if you'd like! White pepper is very common in Swedish cooking.
- Extra virgin olive oil: whisked together with flour to create a thickening roux for our sauce!
- Gluten free flour: regular, all-purpose wheat flour will work fine if you don't need this recipe to be gluten free.
- Reduced fat sour cream: full fat can also be used.
- Fresh parsley
- Parmesan cheese
How To Make Turkey Swedish Meatballs
Keep scrolling for the full recipe card and measurements. We’ll start here with a quick overview!
Make your meatballs:
- Add ground turkey, eggs, gluten free breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and cloves to a large bowl. Mix until well combined!
- Portion and form meat mixture into 2-tablespoon sized spheres and line them on a cutting board or baking sheet. You'll end up with around 30 meatballs.
- Note: You can use a cookie scoop for even portioning if desired. I've found it can create a packing effect which makes the meatballs a bit dense, so I generally choose to eyeball it!
Make sauce mixture:
- Set meatballs to the side.
- Measure broth, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, allspice, cardamom and pepper into a medium bowl and whisk well. Set aside.
- Measure a tablespoon of olive oil into a large skillet and brown meatballs over medium-high heat.
- Cook the meatballs on all sides until a nice, golden brown crust forms. Sauté them in batches, if necessary, to avoid overcrowding the pan.
- Use a clean paper towel to carefully wipe excess brown bits from the skillet.
- Add more olive oil to the pan and whisk in flour to create a paste (roux). Sauté this paste for about 30 seconds over medium-high heat.
- Slowly whisk in the brown gravy sauce mixture and turn heat to high. Once boiling, reduce heat down to medium/medium-low. The sauce should begin to thicken.
- Add browned meatballs back into the skillet. Stir and spoon sauce over each sphere. Cover and simmer for 15-20 minutes.
- Take the lid off, remove skillet from heat and stir in the sour cream.
- Serve meatballs warm over egg noodles, creamy mashed potatoes or rice.
- Add fresh chopped parsley or some grated parmesan cheese, if desired. Enjoy!
Cookie scoop: you can use a cookie scoop to portion meatballs evenly. I prefer to eyeball it as I've found that a scoop often creates a packing effect and makes the meatballs a bit dense, rather than tender.
Food gloves: meatball mixture can be a little sticky. I have found that food gloves help exponentially in keeping my hands clean and forming my spheres! The mixture won't stick to the gloves as much as it does your hands.
Sautéing meatballs: make sure and give your meatballs time to get that golden, crisp crust on the outside. It tastes so good and adds great flavor.
In a rush? Save a little time by making just the sauce and adding frozen meatballs!
What To Serve With Swedish Meatballs
- Rice: brown, white or cauliflower rice for low carb/keto.
- Egg noodles: a very traditional and authentic pairing for Swedish meatballs.
- Other pasta: if you don't have any egg noodles, any pasta will do!
- Mashed potatoes: also a very traditional pairing.
- Mashed Cauliflower: another low carb/keto friendly accompaniment.
- Lingonberry jam
- Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- Balsamic Maple Roasted Brussels Sprouts
- Roasted Cauliflower And Broccoli
- Air Fryer Sweet Potato Cubes
- Simple Roasted Asparagus
- Simple Garden Salad Recipe
- Cucumber And Onion Salad
- Whipped Cream Fruit Salad
- Green beans
- Bread and butter
- Dinner rolls
- Garlic bread
How To Store Leftovers
Allow leftovers to cool and place them in an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days or freeze for 2-3 months.
Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop until warmed through completely!
Frequently Asked Questions
The spices in these meatballs are ones commonly used in Swedish cooking! Cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, allspice, etc.! And this dish is one you will find if you visit the country, it's very popular, though it's traditionally made with ground beef and pork rather than turkey. (source: visitsweden).
Traditionally, Swedish meatballs are made with a combination or both ground beef and ground pork.
The sauce on Swedish meatballs is made up of beef broth, Worcestershire sauce, warm spices and Dijon mustard! Sour cream is another common addition.
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Ground Turkey Swedish Meatballs Recipe
Ground Turkey Meatballs
- 2 lbs lean ground turkey *I use 93/7% *see note below
- 2 large eggs
- ½ cup gluten free plain breadcrumbs *see note below
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil *for sautéing meatballs
Brown Gravy Sauce
- 1 can (or 1 & ¾ cups) beef broth
- ½ cup heavy cream *or half and half
- ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
- 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
- ¾ teaspoon ground allspice
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 tablespoons gluten free flour *see note below
- ½ cup reduced fat sour cream *regular will also work fine!
Optional for serving:
- Rice, mashed potatoes or gluten free pasta. Regular pasta or egg noodles are fine if you don't need to make this recipe gluten free.
- Fresh parsley, parmesan cheese
Recipe notes:Ground turkey: substitute ground chicken if desired. Or, you can make more traditional Swedish meatballs which often use a mixture of ground beef & ground pork. Gluten free breadcrumbs: if you don't need to make this recipe gluten free, regular breadcrumbs will work. Gluten free flour: if you don't need to make this recipe gluten free, regular all-purpose flour will work fine. General: this is a fairly large recipe. Sometimes, if I'm cooking for just 2-3 people I'll cut it in half. Though, you can't go wrong with making a full batch as leftover are delicious and make for a tasty, easy lunch the next day!
- Combine ground turkey, eggs, breadcrumbs, salt, pepper, cinnamon, garlic powder, onion powder, nutmeg and cloves in a large mixing bowl. Use your hands or a spoon to mix until well combined, but don't over-do it. Overmixing can lead to tough meatballs.2 lbs lean ground turkey, 2 large eggs, ½ cup gluten free plain breadcrumbs, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon ground black pepper, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, ½ teaspoon garlic powder, ½ teaspoon onion powder, ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg, ¼ teaspoon ground cloves
- Form turkey mixture into 2 tablespoon sized balls (you'll end up with around 30 total). Try to keep them even in size, perfection isn't necessary. You can use a cookie scoop for even portioning, but I prefer to eyeball it and use my hands. A cookie scoop can create kind of a "packing" effect and result in dense meatballs.
- Make your sauce mixture: measure beef broth, heavy cream, Worcestershire sauce, Dijon mustard, allspice, cardamom and pepper into a separate mixing bowl. Whisk well and set aside.1 can (or 1 & ¾ cups) beef broth, ½ cup heavy cream, ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce, 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard, ¾ teaspoon ground allspice, ½ teaspoon ground cardamom, ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- Measure oil into a skillet over medium-high heat. Sauté meatballs, in batches if necessary, to avoid overcrowding. If the pan gets too full, this can prevent proper browning. Rotate each sphere until golden on all sides. Remove from pan and place on a plate or in a small bowl. Set aside.1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- Carefully wipe the skillet out with a paper towel. If there isn't a whole lot of residue from the meatballs, you can skip this step.
- Add more olive oil to the pan and whisk in the gluten free flour to create a roux. Sauté oil and flour together for about 30 seconds, whisking continuously.1 tablespoon olive oil, 2 tablespoons gluten free flour
- Slowly whisk in the sauce mixture. Increase heat to high and bring ingredients to a boil, then add meatballs and reduce heat to medium/medium-low. Cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until thickened. Stir occasionally and spoon sauce over the meatballs.
- If you're making rice or noodles to serve with your meatballs, now is a good time to get that going on the side.
- Once sauce has thickened, take lid off skillet, remove from heat and stir in your sour cream until well combined.
- Serve meatballs and sauce (over rice or noodles if you'd like)! Add a sprinkling of fresh chopped parsley or grated parmesan cheese. Both are optional, but delicious.
- Place cooled leftovers in an airtight food-storage container. Refrigerate for up to 3-4 days or freeze for 2-3 months. Reheat in the microwave or in a pot on the stovetop until warmed through completely!
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