Sometimes the best meals are the ones that take the least amount of time to prepare. And that’s definitely the case with these healthy sweet Asian turkey meatballs.
Requiring virtually no prep and a mere 10 minutes of cook time, you can have a healthy, flavor-packed dinner ready in just 15 minutes!
These meatballs are bursting with an authentic Asian flavor profile while maintaining a calorie-friendly count – just what you’d expect from one of my recipes.
This recipe makes 16 little meatballs, or you can make larger meatballs if that’s more your style. Either way, each serving (4 small meatballs, in this case) contains just 255 calories and a generous 24 grams of protein!
And not to toot my own horn, but the sweet Asian sauce is unreal. Whether you plan on making this as a main course or an appetizer for your next party, it is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.
How to make healthy sweet Asian turkey meatballs
The creation of these healthy Asian turkey meatballs involves two stages: the turkey meatballs themselves and the sweet Asian glaze that takes them to the next level.
For our meatballs, we’re opting for 93/7 lean ground turkey. It’s a perfect balance of lean protein and fat, resulting in moist and flavorful meatballs. However, if you prefer a richer flavor, you could replace the turkey with lean ground beef or even ground pork.
You can use 99% lean ground turkey as well, but I find that the lack of fat leads to a less desirable result.
Our meatball ingredients also include minced garlic, which we’re adding to provide a potent punch of flavor, and panko breadcrumbs, which give the meatballs a tender, juicy texture. We’re also using a bit of soy sauce (I recommend using lite soy sauce to control the sodium levels), along with onion powder and black pepper for added spice.
The process of making the meatballs is straightforward. In a large mixing bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients, mix, and form into balls. You can use a cookie scoop to ensure consistent sizing, but I prefer to just eyeball the portions.
I ended up making 16 small meatballs, but the exact amount may vary depending on how large (or small) you prefer to make these meatballs. I like to keep them on the smaller size to help them cook faster, personally.
Once your meatballs are ready, it’s air fryer time! Set the temperature to 380 degrees F and let it do its thing for 10 minutes – no flipping necessary.
If you’re a traditionalist and prefer to bake your meatballs, you can do that in an oven at 350 degrees F for 12-13 minutes. Just place the meatballs in a single layer with parchment paper on your baking sheet, and they should cook up nicely.
Note that I didn’t test this recipe in the oven, so I do not know the exact time needed for baked meatballs. I recommend using a meat thermometer to check the internal temperature if you are unsure.
While the meatballs cook, it’s time to whip up our sweet Asian glaze.
This sticky sauce is a symphony of hoisin sauce, soy sauce, lemon juice (or lime juice), sesame oil, and ground ginger. It’s sweet with a hint of tang and a whole lot of umami thanks to the hoisin sauce. If you like a bit of heat, throw in some red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper for a sweet and spicy twist.
Hoisin isn’t a super common ingredient, but I absolutely recommend it for this recipe. It adds an amazing flavor and sweetness that is tough to match- but you could use honey for added sweetness if needed.
Once your meatballs are cooked, let them cool for about 2 minutes. Then drop the cooked meatballs into the bowl of sauce, rolling each one to ensure a thorough coating.
The result? Beautifully glossy, Asian glazed turkey meatballs that are packed full of flavor!
Serving your sweet Asian turkey meatballs
Pair these meatballs with your choice of rice, whether that’s traditional white rice, nutrient-rich brown rice, or even cauliflower rice for a lower-carb option.
Sprinkle sesame seeds and sliced green onions on top for an extra crunch and flavor that really elevates the dish.
These Asian meatballs also make for great leftovers. Pop them in an airtight container and you’ve got an easy meal ready to be reheated the next time you need a quick meal. They’re perfect for meal prep!
Also, why not try using these meatballs in different ways? They make an excellent topping for a noodle bowl or can be served as appetizers with toothpicks and a side of dipping sauce.
The beauty of homemade meatballs like these is their versatility. You can add vegetables to your meat mixture for a micronutrient-rich main dish, form bite-sized meatballs to serve alongside your dipping sauce as an appetizer, or even put them on small buns to create Asian turkey sliders.
More recipes you’re going to love
If you loved these Asian style turkey meatballs, consider checking out some more of my healthy recipes. They’re perfect for those busy weeknights when you need a quick and nutritious dinner.
Here are some recommendations to get you started:
- Garlic Ginger Soba Noodle Stir Fry in 20 Minutes
- Hot Honey Ground Beef & Broccoli
- 20-Minute Garlic Parmesan Chicken Pasta
- Chipotle Chicken Pasta
- Healthy Meatballs Without Breadcrumbs or Eggs
- 1 lb (16oz) 93/7 Ground Turkey
- 1 Large Egg
- 30g (1/2 Cup) Panko Breadcrumbs
- 4 Garlic Cloves (Minced)
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1/4 tsp Onion Powder
- 1/4 tsp Black Pepper
Sweet Asian Glaze
- 1/4 Cup Hoisin Sauce
- 1 Tbsp Soy Sauce
- 1 tsp Lemon Juice
- 1 tsp Sesame Oil
- 1/2 tsp Ground Ginger
- Add all of the ingredients for the turkey meatballs to a large bowl and use your hands to mix everything together.
- Take a small amount of the mixture, roll it into a ball, and place it in your air fryer. The exact size is up to you, but I made 16 small meatballs out of the mixture, each roughly 1oz.
- Air fry the meatballs at 380 degrees F for 10 minutes- no flipping required. If you prefer to use a traditional oven, you can bake these meatballs at 350 degrees F for about 12-13 minutes.
- While the meatballs cook, make your sauce by whisking together all of the ingredients in a small bowl until smooth.
- Once the turkey meatballs have cooked, allow them to sit and cool for about 2 minutes before dropping each into the bowl of sauce. Roll each meatball around to fully coat.
- Serve alongside your favorite rice and top with sesame seeds, green onion, or any other toppings of your choice.
- I recommend using lite soy sauce, which is lower in sodium, to avoid the dish from becoming too salty.
- This sweet Asian sauce doesn't have any heat to it, so if you prefer a sweet & spicy combination, you can add red pepper flakes or cayenne pepper to your sauce.
- The sesame oil in the sauce is a small amount, but a little goes a long way. It can be omitted if absolutely necessary, but it adds amazing flavor and helps the sauce stick to the meatballs much easier.
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Nutrition InformationYield 4 Serving Size 4 Small Meatballs
Amount Per Serving Calories 255Total Fat 10.5gCarbohydrates 14gProtein 24g