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Turkey, Spinach & Cheese Meatballs

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The addition of turkey sausage and cheese makes these meatballs tender and flavorful.

Spoon grabbing a meatball from a dish.

Photo by Johnny Miller, Clarkson Potter 2021

I used to be one of those opinionated people who felt you shouldn’t sneak vegetables into your children’s food, but then I gave birth to a picky eater and all that righteousness went right out the window. Parenting is nothing if not humbling, right? These meatballs are a great way to sneak in some spinach, but what makes them really special is the addition of turkey sausage. Not only does the sausage make the meatballs tender, but it also adds great flavor without the need for a ton of other ingredients. Serve the meatballs with pasta, Parmesan smashed potatoes, or polenta and a big Italian salad, and dinner is served!

“DELICIOUS!!!! I make a full batch and freeze for individual dinners. We serve it with zucchini noodles—really great twist on meatballs.”


What You’ll Need To Make Turkey Meatballs

Meatball ingredients including Italian bread crumbs, egg, and olive oil.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To begin, mix the egg with chopped spinach, scallions, and garlic.

Chopped vegetable and egg mixture in a bowl.

Add the ground turkey, turkey sausage, bread crumbs, mozzarella cheese and Parmigiano Reggiano.

Unmixed meatball ingredients in a bowl.

Mix until evenly combined.

Turkey meatball mixture in a bowl.

Form the mixture into 1-1/2 inch balls.

Turkey meatballs on a lined baking sheet next to an ice cream scoop in a bowl of meatball mixture.

Broil the turkey meatballs until golden, about 10 minutes.

Broiled meatballs on a lined baking sheet.

Then simmer in the sauce for 10 minutes more.

Meatballs simmering in a skillet of sauce.

That’s all there is to it. Enjoy!

Video Tutorial

Spoon grabbing a meatball from a dish.

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Turkey, Spinach & Cheese Meatballs

The addition of turkey sausage and cheese makes these meatballs tender and flavorful.

Servings: 4 - 6 (makes about 30 meatballs)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 20 Minutes
Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 ounces baby spinach, chopped (3½ cups whole; 1½ cups chopped)
  • 3 scallions, white and green parts, finely sliced
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1.25 pounds 93/7 ground turkey (I use Shady Brook Farms)
  • 1.25 pounds Italian turkey sausage, removed from the casings (I use Shady Brook Farms)
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (preferably whole milk but low-fat will work)
  • ⅓ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano, plus more for serving
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 (24 oz) jar marinara sauce, homemade or good quality store-bought


  1. Preheat the broiler and set an oven rack on the second-highest rack. Line a baking sheet with heavy duty aluminum foil and grease with the olive oil.
  2. In a bowl large enough to hold all of the ingredients, beat the egg. Add the chopped spinach, scallions, and garlic and stir until evenly combined. Add the ground turkey, turkey sausage, mozzarella, Parmigiano-Reggiano and bread crumbs. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined. Shape the mixture into 1½ inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Broil the meatballs until golden brown on top, about 10 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, heat the tomato sauce in a large pan on the stovetop. Add the broiled meatballs and simmer over low heat for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: These can be frozen in their sauce for up to 3 months. When ready to serve, reheat the meatballs in their sauce on the stovetop over medium heat until hot in the center.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 509
  • Fat: 27g
  • Saturated fat: 8g
  • Carbohydrates: 18g
  • Sugar: 7g
  • Fiber: 3g
  • Protein: 49g
  • Sodium: 1409mg
  • Cholesterol: 194mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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  • These meatballs are really helping me out on busy nights. My son, who is quite picky, really likes them. I make a batch and freeze them. I also freeze grinder/sub rolls and when I need a meal I will defrost enough for one sandwich and my son can have it for his dinner. I add the whole 5 oz container of spinach and use Raos sauce. Comes out great. Thanks!

    • — Lisa on March 21, 2024
    • Reply
  • These were so DELICIOUS!!…and extremely easy to make. We will most definitely keep this in our rotation.

    I am, however, baffled by a couple of things:

    1) I felt like I was pretty good at keeping the size of the meatballs right around 1.5” and, yet, this ended up yielding closer to 3 1/2 dozen meatballs, instead of 30.

    2) The night we first tried these we ended up using only 18 meatballs for three of us (which happily left us with enough for another full meal!). My concern lies in the quantity of the sauce. I used a 28oz jar of Rao’s (from Costco) and it was barely enough sauce for the 18 meatballs.

    I worked in restaurants for nearly 40 years (front of house), 8 of those in NYC, and am extremely fortunate to have worked with some world-class chefs. Although I’m not a ”kitchen professional” per se, I do know my way around a kitchen, which is why I was caught off guard about the proportions.

    Any thoughts about this, Jenn?

    Thank you


    • — Jeffrey D on February 10, 2024
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeffrey, so glad you all enjoyed the meatballs! Regarding the meatballs, there’s some variation in terms of how large people make the meatballs – I guess mine were closer to 2 inches in diameter, hence fewer meatballs. And regarding the sauce, everyone likes a different amount of sauce – I thought what the recipe included was enough, but it sounds like clearly the 24 ounces would not have been sufficient for you for the whole recipe, so feel free to change that amount to whatever you prefer. 😊

      • — Jenn on February 12, 2024
      • Reply
      • Thank you, Jenn! I had a feeling it would be something along those lines, but didn’t want to subscribe to that assessment until I heard back from you. 😊

        • — Jeffrey D on February 12, 2024
        • Reply
  • As usual, a great recipe from Jenn; my only change was to use hot turkey sausage. The ground turkey knocked down the heat of the sausage but the spice from the sausage increased the flavor of the meatball a little bit.

    • — Jack Balentine on January 19, 2024
    • Reply
  • The sodium content is due to the cheese, breadcrumbs and sausage, correct (as there is no added salt in the recipe)?

    • — Kim Graham on January 4, 2024
    • Reply
    • That’s right — the one way I can think of that could reduce the sodium is to use low-sodium or no salt added marinara sauce.

      • — Jenn on January 4, 2024
      • Reply
  • I am trying to find an uncooked turkey Italian sausage for this recipe, but am having no luck. My neighbor is under the weather and I want to make this for her.
    The brand you use apparently is not available in my area which is surprising. I can only find fully cooked turkey Italian sausages. Can you provide me with some options and spices that I can use to compensate for the turkey sausage? I can’t substitute Italian pork sausage because she can’t eat pork or beef. Thanks in advance.

    • — Brenda Swiger on December 5, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Brenda, They won’t be quite as tender and juicy with all ground turkey, but you can get away with it. I’d add some Italian seasoning to the mixture (I’d guesstimate you’d need a heaping tablespoon). You’ll also need to add salt if the Italian seasoning doesn’t include it. Hope that helps and that your neighbor enjoys!

      • — Jenn on December 6, 2023
      • Reply
  • I love everything about this recipe! I make it a lot. The meatballs are so flavorful. I’m so glad I found it. Thank you

    • — Debbie on December 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • These were delicious and so easy to make. I’ve been just resorting to frozen meatballs for all these years – but not any more! Thanks for sharing this recipe.

    • — Barb on November 27, 2023
    • Reply
  • I have been making this for years now and it never disappoints. Easy to put together and the ingredients generally what is on hand. Family favourite.

    • — Pat on November 26, 2023
    • Reply
  • I’ve made these hundreds of times over the years. They never fail and are so delicious. This time I’m making ahead and freezing. How could I reheat these in a crockpot and can I do it from frozen? Thank you Jenn!

    • — Vikki on November 18, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Vikki, so glad you like them! If you’re freezing them, I think I’d thaw them prior to reheating in a crockpot. And as I don’t have a crockpot, I’m honestly not sure how long it will take. Sorry, I can’t be more helpful!

      • — Jenn on November 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • The texture of these came out great! my family loved the “herbaceous-ness”
    element the spinach and scallions added; their words, not mine. I had to substitute turkey sausage with pork sausage. Something I would not do again because the flavor of the pork sausage overwhelmed the meatball. Or if I had to use pork sausage again I would probably only use half the amount of pork sausage and make it up the difference with more ground turkey.

    • — Rachel on November 4, 2023
    • Reply
  • These are perfect meatballs, delicious, nutritious and enough for 2 meals for my small family. You are the only chef I “follow” on social media for good reason. Your recipes are wonderful, and the ingredients are foods that I enjoy, have in my pantry and feel are most healthy for my family. Your hard work makes me look like a star! Thank you.

    • — Mary Liz DuCharme on October 31, 2023
    • Reply
  • I want to serve these cocktail style size would that work ? If so how big should I roll them and how will it change baking and cooking
    Time ?

    • — Asra on October 3, 2023
    • Reply
    • Sure, that should work. I’d broil them for 6 to 8 minutes and then simmer in the sauce until they’re fully cooked.

      • — Jenn on October 4, 2023
      • Reply
  • I don’t like sausage of any kind. When I make my beef meatball recipe, I substitute veal for the sausages called for to make them more tender. Do you think substituting a milk and bread parade seasoned with oregano, basil and crushed red pepper would work to make these more tender? If so, how much milk and bread do you recommend for 2.5 lbs of turkey?

    • — Elissa on October 2, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wonderful tasting, love that there is added spinach, easy and great for meal prep! My son helped me make these – he loved them!

    • — Jen L on September 28, 2023
    • Reply
  • Wow! These were the best meatballs I’ve ever had! Usually, turkey meatballs are kinda dry, but these were soft, juicy, and flavorful! It makes a huge amount, so I was able to freeze the leftovers. We could have used more sauce—maybe double since we were eating with pasta. It’s enough sauce if you’re serving with mashed potatoes. This is definitely a keeper! Your recipes never disappoint.

    • — Nancy Whittlesey on September 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • I forgot to mention that I only had one pound each of the ground turkey and sausage. I didn’t alter the rest of the ingredients. It worked out great, and I will do that when I make these again.

      • — Nancy on September 29, 2023
      • Reply
  • Made these many times – they’re great!

    • — Kate on September 24, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    I can’t seem to find any scallions at my closest grocery store. Any good substitute ?

    • — staci copeland on September 20, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Staci, you could substitute with chives or shallots. 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • These are my family’s favorite meatballs! I am so thankful to have found this recipe!

    • — Kristina on September 10, 2023
    • Reply
  • Jenn,
    Any suggestions as to what type of rice you would suggest pair with this?
    Thanks, Staci

    • — staci copeland on August 24, 2023
    • Reply
    • Hi Staci, I don’t often serve meatballs over rice, but I think you could just use a basic steamed white or brown rice. If you wanted to go with something more Italian, you could make something like the rice portion in this recipe. Please keep in mind I haven’t tried it myself.

      • — Jenn on August 24, 2023
      • Reply
  • Followed this recipe to the T, absolutely wonderful as are all your recipes.
    Thank you again Jenn,

    • — Phyllis L Green on June 10, 2023
    • Reply

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