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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  • Meat is more generally sold in one pound packaging. For this reason (because I did not want three quarters of a pound of leftover of two kinds of meat), I tried the recipe with one pound of each meat. Seemed to come out fine as compared to when I have made it with 1.25 pound of each meat. Works for me, anyway. My spouse, who is a connoisseur of meatballs loved them.

    • — Kate Schiff on January 28, 2023
    • Reply
    • Shady Brook Farms used to sell their packages in 1.25 pound packages. Now, like everyone else, they have cut back on the volume in the packages. :o(

      • — Kim from Balto on February 20, 2023
      • Reply
  • A winner again. Delicious meatballs. Wonderful flavor and not mushy as some others I have made.. your recipes always make me look like a fantastic cook! My favs so far are your chicken salad and sloppy joe recipes. So many more to try😁

    • — Gloria on September 6, 2022
    • Reply
  • Yum!!

    • — Liz C. on July 22, 2022
    • Reply
  • I’ve been making these for years and they are my absolute favorite meatballs, hands down. I’m catering my own going-away party this weekend and made a triple batch of meatballs — I ended up with 101 balls. I couldn’t get my hands on the turkey sausage that I usually use, so I went with pork sausage instead … well, I didn’t think these babies could get any better, but the pork sausage makes them even more juicy and flavorful. Either way, though, you can’t go wrong.

  • If I could rate this 10,000 stars, I would. My aunt is from Sicily and taught me to make her gravy – rib meat, homemade meatballs that are fried on the stovetop, sausage fried on the stovetop, red wine…it takes me ALL day. Don’t get me wrong, it tastes amazing, and it’s a family heirloom of a recipe. But this recipe is at least as good as my Aunt Lisa’s. My four children ate 16 meatballs as snacks, I kid you not. And my husband said this is better than any restaurant meal he’s had.

    We used a top quality sauce (rao’s)…I hate to admit that we used jarred sauce. I doubled it so I could freeze some. We happen to love sauce, so we also added two 28oz cans of crushed tomatoes the the pot. We used rao’s spaghetti. Best dinner in a long time.

    Will make this again and again.

  • This is one of our favorite recipes, and it gets rave reviews every time we serve it. I usually have to tinker with recipes, but in this case, we make it exactly in accordance with the recipe. Leftovers freeze well.

  • Hi Jenn,
    I made these last night and they were soooo easy to make. They were delicious and will use the recipe over and over again. Thank you!!!

  • This recipe was amazing! I made meatball grinders with it. Everyone loved it, thanks!!

  • Would this recipe work with curly kale instead of spinach? Would you do anything differently to soften or break down the kale? Thank you!

    • Hi Audrey, I think this would work with kale but I may steam it for a few minutes so it softens it up and more closely resembles the texture of baby spinach. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • Made it tonight – was amazing! I couldn’t find any turkey sausages in the supermarket in Australia, so I replaced it with Pork sausages instead. Oddly, I couldn’t find shredded mozzarella and Parmigiano Reggiano either, so I just diced up some bocconcini cheese into it. Paired it with the tomato sauce recipe on the website rather than bottled sauced. Still tasted amazing, as always! Thank you for another rocker!

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

  • Hi Jen, what is a good substitute for spinach in this recipe? Also, can mix the ground turkey with italian pork sausage? Thanks.

    • Hi Maria, you could replace the spinach with arugula or just omit the spinach. And, yes, it’s fine to mix the ground turkey with pork sausage. Hope that helps and that you enjoy!

      • I’ve made this recipe twice. The first time I followed the recipe except I substituted chicken sausage for turkey sausage and it was delicious. The second time, I omitted the mozzarella and I got rave reviews from my family. The meatballs were less gummy without the cheese and everybody loved them! This will be a definite go-to recipe!

  • Jenn love your recipes, french apple cake is one of my very favorites. This recipe for meatballs looks scrumptious. My wife has a tomato allergy, can I make some other kind of gravy ? Any suggestions ?

    • Hi Walter, I’d recommend the sauce from this recipe. Hope you enjoy!

      • There are delicious! I made them in zucchini boats last week. I froze the extra raw meatballs last time, thawed them out and baked them inside the zucchini. I topped them with mozzarella for the last 10 minutes. I’m making them again today because they were that good! Thank you for the recipe

        • — Kaitlyn on August 3, 2022
        • Reply
  • Hi Jenn
    I received your new cookbook on the day it was released. So far, I made the turkey and spinach, cheese meatballs, as well as the fried chicken sandwich! Both were extremely well received.
    I figured the chicken sandwich would be a hit as I make your fried chicken tenders and they love those.

    My son does not like meatballs, for some reason, but he really enjoyed these turkey meatballs. I made my own marinara sauce, and I was thrilled at how much my family enjoyed this meal!
    ( used chicken sausage as that was all I could finD in my market)

    I’m going to make your Greek Style shrimp next, as I “ cook the book”….

    Thanks for your fantastic information, and your recipes, which manage to merge fine dining with home cooking in an absolutely perfect way !


    • Hi Carol, thanks for your support with the cookbook and your kind words — so glad the things you’ve made from the book so far have been well-received by your family!!

  • Counting calories and wondering how many meatballs in a serving?

    • Hi Jenifer, I serving is 5 meatballs. Hope you enjoy!

      • If I wanted to make this into a kind of meatball slider what kind of bread would you suggest?? Thank you!!!

        • — Preethi on February 19, 2024
        • Reply
        • Hi Preethi, Any slider rolls will work. If you want something particularly soft, you could go with potato slider rolls (I know Martin’s brand makes them). I’d love to hear what you think of them in slider form!

          • — Jenn on February 20, 2024
          • Reply
  • I want to make these for a large group, about 30 people. Could I make the meatballs the day before, store in fridge and then reheat them in the sauce in the oven day of?

    • Sure – hope everyone enjoys!

  • 10/10 omg these are so good! Such a delicious, healthy-ish version of a meatball.

    I used spicy sausage, because that’s what I had on hand, and love the kick. Will try with the mild next time.

  • Can I mix ground turkey and chicken sausage? My store was out of Italian turkey sausage.

    • Sure Lisa, that will work. Enjoy!

  • We loved these meatballs. Moist and perfect! I ended up spraying them with olive oil and flipping them mid broil. I’ll probably use a little less scallion next time, but that is just a personal preference.

  • substituted asiago for mozz., and can of collards for spinach. Placed meatballs on rack in a 400 degree oven. Brushed with olive oil and baked for 15-20 minutes at 165 degrees.

    • On one hand, cooking *is* about improvisation at its heart, but I’d question your rating as you did change the recipe and instructions significantly. Again, not criticizing your method, but maybe don’t rate if you are not following the recipe as written. It’s rather nonsensical. Everything I have made from this site has been fabulous, and I don’t think your criticisms entirely reflect the recipe as written. Experiment away!

  • Hi Jenn,

    If you wanted to bake the meatballs instead of broiling, at what temp and for how long

    Thank you for all your delicious recipes.
    Pat Ryan

    • Hi Pat, If you want to bake them, I’d use the guidance from this recipe. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • These are delicious and easy to make. My husband also enjoyed them, though while I was making them he kept complaining about the “green stuff.” (Only sort-of tongue in cheek.) Once I formed all of the meatballs I could fit on a sheet pan, I did have more meatball mixture than I thought I would. We are a family of four, and we ate the sheet-pan’s worth with a few meatballs left over. I ended up discarding the extra mixture because I was too tired to make more meatballs and I knew I wouldn’t make them later.

  • Hi Jenn!
    I have two pounds of ground turkey and cannot find turkey sausage. How can I make up for the lack of sausage? Is it okay to use all two pounds of the ground turkey?

    • 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 you enjoy!

  • As expected, another awesome recipe from Jenn. I had been wanting to make these for a while, and I finally tried these last night with a friend. I had a little scoop I’ve used for cookie dough that seemed to be just the right size, so I used that to scoop each meatball and my friend “rounded” them out. We did have a small mishap. Sharing in case this helps someone and in case Jenn has additional suggestions. We reused a pan with the foil for the final 6 meatballs, and ended up with a small fire on the pan, overheating the oven, and generating lots of smoke. We were able to pull the pan out and the fire went out. No damage, lots of smoke. And eventually got the house aired out with windows open and fans on. I don’t have a good kitchen vent (on the list for a future kitchen). So, a few mental notes I made: 1) don’t reuse a foil on pan, 2) use grapeseed or canola oil rather than EVOO (higher heat point), 3) move pan down to 3rd rack rather than 2nd one. All in all they turned out awesome. I used a little of my saved tomato basil sauce from the summer (Jenn’s recipe) as a little “spoon over” the meatballs. And, we also made the parmesan potatoes. YUM. And I plan to freeze the extras in small serving sizes for future dinners.

    • Excellent points, Nicole. We broiled these on the top rack with EVOO and smoked out the entire kitchen (and we should know because we are EVOO producers…)

      I would brush the meatballs lightly with EVOO but broil in canola…

  • I made these meatballs today. I used ground turkey and ground turkey sausage.
    They came out so tasty and delicious! Next time I will make a double batch so I can freeze some. Thank you Jenn for another great recipe.

    • — Leslie Richards
    • Reply
  • This recipe is amazing! I was looking for a healthier meatball option, and this is it. Unfortunately my food store was out of turkey sausage, so I used 2 packages of ground turkey instead. I thought the meatballs might lack some flavor because of the change, but man was I wrong! The meatballs were incredibly tasty even without the sausage. They were juicy, not dry at all, and even my 3 year old ate some. Thank you for this recipe, it’s definitely a keeper!

  • I’ll admit, I don’t even like meatballs, at all. But these…I’m so glad I decided to give this recipe a try. So much flavor! Even when I forgot the breadcrumbs, still good, just a bit dense, whoops! This is another go-to meal for us, it’s a great way to mix up a boring weeknight when you don’t want rice or pasta. Meatball subs!

  • Outstanding, versatile meatballs. We made them for the first time this week and regret not having tried the recipe sooner. The addition of spinach is a nice surprise; turkey resulted in an extra succulent texture. Next time, we’ll plan on doubling the recipe to enjoy more leftovers.

    Jenn is a gem – looking forward to making everything on this site. I’ve recommended the cookbook and the website to countless people who quickly adopt both as their go-to resource for delicious meals.

  • A delicious, quick, and easy dinner recipe! Plus a healthier alternative to regular meatballs. Homerun

  • I’ll start by saying that I really don’t like turkey, but I LOVE these meatballs! Since they’re a bit time consuming to make, I usually double the recipe and freeze a bunch of them. They freeze wonderfully and are great to have on hand for a quick meal. And they are kid-approved which makes me like them even more!

  • This is my go to recipe for meatballs. I love that it’s made with turkey and the spinach is a really nice addition. Served with pasta and Italian Salad for a perfect Italian dinner.

  • These meatballs are yummy and I love that they are baked. My husband asks me to make them constantly, help!!

  • Made these meatballs last night and they were amazing! We have a garlic allergy so I left that out and they were still so tasty. It will be one of our new favourite meals. Thanks again Jen for making me look like a good cook!!

  • I make this recipe often. Why do I like it? I make a double batch and freeze the extra. I cook them first, top with a lil sauce, place single layer on wax or parchment paper and let them individually freeze before I put them in a ziploc bag. That way they you can take out just the right amount for a meatball sandwich, snack on a few, or of course top pasta. The spinach adds a vege to something not typically made with veges in it and the feta cheese has a more intense flavor than other cheeses so need less of it – saving fat calories over using other types of hard cheese.

  • These are absolutely delicious! Everyone loved them and I love how easy and how many this recipe makes!

    So many of my favorite recipes come from Jenn Segal

    • — Margaret Anenen
    • Reply
  • These turkey meatballs are in my regular rotation. They are delicious and make your house smell amazing! Also, I go on cooking frenzies and freeze what I make for quick meals on busy nights. I have two homes and always have these meatballs in both freezers! Being on this website is a blessing … Jenn’s food is so good.

  • Try this recipe. You won’t be disappointed! Texture and flavor are great. Good as “leftovers”, too.

  • These meatballs are perfect as stated! I’ve even been able to convince a few ground turkey nay-sayers with this one. Nice and tender, not dry at all. They’re absolutely delicious with a good marinara sauce, even served over spaghetti squash for a nice, light weeknight meal.

  • This is one of my picky grandchildren’s favorite recipes! Easy to make, health, and delicious.

  • This was sooo yummy! I had to substitute dairy free cheese but that worked out well!! Would definitely make again.

  • These are great! A good way to sneak some greens into my kid’s dinner, and they can be frozen and re-heated for a quick dinner!

  • I make these every Christmas for our annual cocktail party and they are always a big hit! Sometimes have trouble finding ground turkey and turkey sausages, in which case I substitute with ground chicken or Italian sausages if necessary. Perfectly moist and flavourful. Thanks for this great recipe, and thank you for the step by step instructions, so easy to follow!

  • This recipe is super easy and definitely utilize the freezer directions to use those extra meatballs for another meal! My husband has an issue with tomato sauce, so I substituted the sauce in Jenn’s Swedish Meatballs and it was a huge hit!

    • I’d love to make these Keto friendly, do you think swapping out the breadcrumbs for something else would work? Just not sure what.

      • Hi Patty, I don’t know enough about what’s allowed on a keto diet to weigh in – I’m sorry! Perhaps someone else can chime in with some suggestios.

      • You can use pork rind chips….use food processor or use freezer bag and the rolling pin to grind it to bread crumb consistency and add Italian seasoning.

  • These are a favorite! They freeze well and I always have a package in the freezer for a quick meal.

    • I love, love, love these meatballs! They are so light, juicy and full of flavor. I often serve them with zucchini zoodles . A definite go to recipe in my house!

  • My go-to recipe. Easy, flavorful and healthy. For two of us, the recipe makes enough for freezing half for another night. I cut the amount of cheese back but still great!

  • These meatballs are top 3 of recipes that EVERYONE in our family like. I’ve never added the spring onions because I always forget to buy and only use a pound of each of the meats because that’s how it usually comes. I sub pepper Jack for mozzarella cuz we like spicy. But seriously, these meatballs are so flavorful and delicious and EASY!!

  • I have ingredients to make these meatballs. Unfortunately I have to watch my oxalate intake [kidney stones 🙁 ], so I cannot use spinach. What are your thoughts on using arrugala (low oxalate) in these meatballs? Thank you for your time.

    • Sure, Mary, arugula should work here. Please LMK how they turn out!

      • Thank you for your response. I am starting them now.

      • Hi Jenn. I used arugula instead of spinach. The meatballs were excellent. Got another question. I would like to make these again & freeze just the meatballs. How long should I broil these? I don’t want to freeze these with sauce as it would be difficult to take out just what I want. Thank you for your advice. Most of all, thank you for a wonderful website. You are a culinary genius.

        • Thanks for your kind words and glad they came out well! I’d broil them for about 20 minutes (but if you notice they’re getting too browned, I’d move them down one notch in the oven. Hope that helps!

  • Wonderful recipe. We love meatballs and are trying to eat lighter so these are a nice change from my usual (beef & pork sausage) stand-by. Really did not take long to mix this all up. I found that 3 meatballs is an ample serving size for us. I divided the meat mixture and froze dinner portions in vacuum bags. Like gold in the freezer for busy days.

  • What would be a good substitute for the egg in this recipe? I plan on making these for someone with an egg allergy.

    • Two of the best substitutes I’ve heard about (I haven’t personally tried either of them) are a combination of water, oil, and baking powder, and carbonated water. Scroll down to the bottom of this article for more information about both. I would assume many recipes would also work with some kind of store-bought egg substitute. Hope that helps!

      • Thanks so much for your quick response. I always feel confident following your recipes and your advice. Always! Thanks.

  • I have been making Italian meatballs for over 55 years. I learned the recipe as a young bride from my Italian mother-in-law (who was born in Italy and was a great cook!) Everyone loved my meatballs and always said they were the best they ever tasted. However, after trying Jenn’s recipe for Spinach, Sausage and Turkey meatballs, I never looked back. I just LOVE these meatballs and will be making them from now on!

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