Thanksgiving Meatballs 2.0

by Michele Pesula Kuegler | April 14th, 2022 | Appetizers, Recipes, Tapas Monday

Want the flavor of Thanksgiving in bite-sized format? This is the recipe you need.

turkey meatballs

Thanksgiving Meatballs 2.0

Michele Pesula Kuegler

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Servings 20 meatballs



  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 cup crushed garlic croutons
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon sage
  • Black pepper



  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • Combine turkey, crushed croutons, egg, and sage in a large mixing bowl.
  • Mix well using hands or a spoon.
  • Season with black pepper.
  • Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.
  • Form mixture into balls the size of walnuts and place on prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until cooked thoroughly.

Thanksgiving is just two weeks away, and this year it’s going to be different than almost any other year. For some people this may make them crave the full turkey dinner with all of its fixing to give a sense of normalcy. For others, they may seek to choose a different menu. If you’re looking for something different, give these meatballs a try. They have all of the Thanksgiving flavors without much work at all.

To learn more about this recipe, originally published in May 2017, keep reading.

Looking through the Think Tasty archives, I stumbled upon a recipe for Thanksgiving Meatballs that I had created four years ago. The recipe was fine, but I was pretty sure I could get some more flavor into it. Being May and six months away from Thanksgiving, I was once again craving that holiday meal without all of the work. My instinct was the same as it was in 2013, turn it into a Tapas Monday menu item.

My initial plan was to work with packaged stuffing to create the binding for the meatballs but wondered what I would do with the leftover stuffing. Even with my daughter home from college for the summer, it seemed unlikely that it would do anything but go stale in the cupboard. Thus, I began contemplating as to what I could use to add more flavor. What would have the crispness and seasonings of stuffing cubes? The answer was simple: croutons.

In many ways croutons work better than stuffing. First, they’re tastier. Choose a good package of garlic croutons, and it will have all sorts of flavors- garlic, salt, and butter. Second, they’re not as hard as stuffing cubes, which make them easier to crush into crumbs. Third, in my house at least, it’s more likely that any leftovers will be eaten.

This meatball recipe has five ingredients instead of seven. Not amazingly easier but reducing a few ingredients never hurts. The other change I made was creating a dipping sauce for these meatballs to add even more Thanksgiving flavors. This cranberry-infused ketchup was the perfect dip.

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