Homemade Copycat Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs


Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs

Making your own copycat recipe for Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs has never been easier, or more delicious. This meatball recipe is surprisingly easy to make and tastes great. But don’t take my word for it, this recipe is one you need to try out for yourself. 

Turkey Meatballs

Turkey Meatballs

Perhaps you are like me, and typically rely on purchasing your meatballs in a frozen package from the store. This was my philosophy, until last year. I would typically go to the store, purchase my bag of frozen meatballs, pour them into my crockpot with my sauce, and then eat them when they were warmed through. That is, until they became difficult to find, then I learned just how easy it was to make my own delicious meatballs at home.

Today, I am excited to share with you, how you can make your own turkey meatballs at home, which will rival any you could buy from Trader Joe’s. Our copycat recipe is simple to make, and they taste wonderful. In my family, we can sometimes be quite the food critics. But we all agree that these are the best meatballs, but I will let you be the judge of that. 


The taste of these copycat Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs largely depends on the seasonings you decide to add, as well as the sauce you choose. My favorite way to prepare them includes seasoning with salt, pepper, garlic powder, garlic salt, and some dried onions. This helps to preserve and enhance the original turkey flavoring. My favorite sauce to warm these meatballs in, is a mixture of BBQ and grape jelly, making a delicious, sweet BBQ flavor to compliment the turkey meatballs. 

Classic Turkey Meatballs

Classic turkey meatballs are typically made by combining ground turkey, with some eggs, breadcrumbs, and seasonings of your choice. Classic turkey meatballs try to keep the original flavoring noticeable while enhancing it slightly with good seasonings. Let’s look at the ingredients you will need to make our copycat recipe for Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs. 

Ingredients Used:

Ground turkey
Seasoning salt
Garlic powder
Garlic salt
Dried onions
Italian seasoning

Trader Joe’s Fully Cooked Turkey Meatballs

You can also purchase a bag of Trader Joe’s frozen meatballs at Trader Joe’s stores. However, if you have the ingredients, these meatballs are quite simple to make on your own. My opinion is that these meatballs can rival any store-bought meatballs in flavor and overall deliciousness in general. 

Cooking Time and Temperature

Depending upon the oven you have, and the climate you live in, the cooking time and temperature may vary slightly. I can typically bake these meatballs in my oven at 375°F for 12-15 minutes and have them be fully cooked. If you are unsure if they are fully cooked, insert a meat thermometer into the center of your meatballs. If your internal temperature reaches 165°F, then they are fully cooked. 


The benefit of making your own meatballs is that you have complete control over the taste as well as the freshness of your finished dish. You can also make the individual balls as large or as small as you prefer. 


This recipe typically makes about eight large meatballs or about twelve smaller ones. Making them according to these instructions, usually takes about ten minutes to prepare, then baking takes around ten to fifteen minutes, depending on the size. I like to put my meatballs into a crockpot with the sauce to let them meld together. If you are pressed for time, you can also cover them with sauce while baking in the oven. 


Mixing bowl
Rubber spatula
Baking sheet
Cooking Spray
Crockpot or casserole pan with lid
Meatball press (optional)

Copycat Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs Recipe



1 lb ground turkey
½ cup quick oats
1/3 cup breadcrumbs
2 large eggs
1 tsp seasoning salt
¾ tsp garlic powder
½ tsp garlic salt
1 tsp dried onions
1 tsp parsley
½ tsp Italian seasoning
¼ tsp thyme
Salt, to taste
Pepper, to taste


¾ cup BBQ sauce
½ cup grape jelly


Step 2: Preheat Oven

Preheat your oven to 375°F

Step 2: Mix The Meat

In a mixing bowl, combine all your ingredients and mix them together. Then roll your meatballs. Place each meatball onto your greased baking sheet. 

Step 2: Bake

Bake at 375°F for 10-15 minutes or until your internal temperature reaches 165°F. Remove from oven. 

Step 3: Add Sauce

Move your cooked meatballs to a crockpot or baking pan. Pour in 1/8 cup water, along with BBQ sauce and grape jelly. Stir together. Turn crockpot to low setting and allow your sauce and meatballs to warm together and the sauce to meld into the meatballs. Serve while warm, and enjoy. 

If you would like your meatballs and sauce faster, you can place your cooked meatballs into a baking dish, add your water, BBQ sauce, and grape jelly, stir together. Heat at 350°F for 15-20 minutes or until warm. Serve once the sauce is warm and enjoy. 


If you would like, meatballs may be made ahead of time and baked. Then wrap them securely in an airtight container, or plastic bag and place in the freezer for up to three months. You may then remove them at any time, and place them into a crockpot with your sauce to warm up. 

Turkey meatballs top view

Some Tips For Making Meatballs

When you are making your meat mixture into meatballs, you might get a bit concerned if your meat seems to be a bit too squishy. If you want, you can try adding some more oatmeal or breadcrumbs to help make your meatballs a bit stiffer. However, please keep in mind that the more dry ingredients you add, the dryer your finished meatballs will be. It is going to work out alright if your balls are a bit squishy. If they mostly hold their form, they will be great. 

Some Great Sauces

My favorite sauce is to add a bit of BBQ sauce to some grape jelly for a delicious combination. However, there are many different types you can choose to add if you want. Some great options are to pour a jar of marinara over your meatballs and sprinkle on a bit of parmesan cheese while you bake them for a few minutes. Another great option is to make a white cream sauce with a base of cream and beef broth. The best sauce for you all depends on your favorite flavors. 


While these meatballs are great, you might be surprised about the nutritional value of the meatball recipe. We have included our estimated nutritional facts here for you. However, please note that they can change, depending on what ingredients you elect to use. 

Nutrition Facts

We estimate that one large meatball contains an average of 168 calories, which makes up 8.4% of your suggested daily calorie value. One meatball is also estimated to contain 8.1g fat, 105mg cholesterol, 418mg sodium, 7.1g carbohydrates, and 18.4g protein. The biggest overall contributor to the calorie count is the ground turkey. 

Calories, Net Carbs, Protein

Each meatball is estimated to contain 168 calories, which is about up 8.4% of your suggested daily calorie value, based on a suggested intake of 2,000 calories per day. Net carbs are estimated to be 7.1g per meatball, which is 3% of the suggested daily value. Every meatball is also estimated to contain 18.4g of protein, which makes these meatballs a good source of protein, if that’s something you are specifically looking to include in your daily diet.

Activity Needed to Burn 200 Calories:

30 Minutes of Cycling
20 Minutes of Running
72 Minutes of Cleaning

Heating These Up

There are several different ways you may wish to cook or re-heat these meatballs. After they have been fully cooked, my favorite way is to simply place them into a crockpot to warm with their sauce. You may also place them into the oven in a covered pan, at 300°F or 350°F for a few minutes to warm them up. Or you can try microwaving them for a few minutes to reheat them as well. 

Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

If you are a fan of using your air fryer, you will be delighted to know that meatballs may be cooked or reheated using your air fryer if desired. Typically, using your air fryer will speed up the cooking process, compared to using your oven. However, be sure to check the internal temperature before eating. 

How to Make Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs

I would recommend using the bake function on your air fryer if you have it, and baking the raw meatballs at 375°F, for 5-8 minutes. Then check on your meatballs, and cook longer if necessary. You may also use your air fryer to re-heat the meatballs if desired. I would recommend that you not use the air fryer once the sauce is added to your meatballs. 

Stovetop Directions

You can also use your stovetop to cook and reheat your meatballs if desired. Simply place the raw meatballs in a sauté pan, over medium-low heat, with a little bit of water, and cook until they begin to brown, and their internal temperature has reached 165°F. You may then add the sauce to your meatballs that are cooked on your stovetop if desired. However, be aware that the sauce can burn easily, so it should be constantly monitored, and cooked over low heat. 

Recipe Variations

There are many different ways you can prepare these copycat Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs after the actual meatballs have been prepared according to the instructions above. Below we will walk through a few of the popular variations to these delicious meatballs. 

Trader Joe’s Slow Cooker Meatball Parm

Once your meatballs have been rolled and prepared according to your above instructions, place them into a ceramic baking dish that has been coated in cooking oil. Add your raw meatballs, and bake according to instructions. Once they are fully cooked, remove them from the oven, and add a jar of marinara sauce. Top with parmesan cheese and parsley. Cover with a lid, and place your dish back into the oven for about 10 minutes, until the sauce is warmed and the cheese is melted. Serve and enjoy. 

Sweet Balls of Fire

If you enjoy a little bit of a kick in your meals, try adding some red pepper flakes, or even some minced hot peppers of your choice. If you really like to spice things up, even more, you can add some hot sauce to your meatball sauce, as well as your favorite hot onions. Mix it up, just the way you like. 

Sriracha BBQ Meatballs

For those who love spicy things, even more, try making your meatball sauce by using a bottle of sriracha BBQ sauce in place of regular BBQ sauce. This will be sure to liven up any party and give you some extra spice. 

Slow-Cooker Hoisin Turkey Meatballs

Slow cooker hoisin turkey meatballs are all about the hoisin sauce. To make this, you will want to prepare your meatballs as instructed above. Then in a mixing bowl, mix together 1 ½ cup hoisin sauce, 1/3 cup beef stock, 3 Tbsp soy sauce, 3 Tbsp rice vinegar, 1 ½ Tbsp sesame oil, 6 cloves minced garlic, and 1 ½ tsp ginger. Coat your meatballs in the sauce and warm them in a crockpot until it is all warmed through. You may enjoy serving your meatballs and sauce on top of some prepared white rice. 

Thai Turkey Meatballs

To make Thai turkey meatballs, you will want to prepare the meatballs as stated in our recipe above. Then make your sauce, by sauteing ¾ cup diced onions until they become translucent. Add in 6 cloves minced garlic, along with 2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste. Stir together. Add in 28oz coconut milk, 3 Tbsp lime juice, 1 tsp salt, 1 Tbsp fish sauce, and 1 Tbsp sugar. Bring to a boil, and then add meatballs. Top with basil, cilantro, or chili flakes if desired. Serve and enjoy. 


If you happen to have any leftovers, you might wonder what you should do. When meatballs have sauce already on them, I would recommend that you not freeze them. However, if there are any remaining plain meatballs, they may be wrapped securely in a plastic bag, or airtight container, and placed in the freezer for up to three months. Once your meatballs have sauce on them, they are best stored in the fridge, in an airtight container, and enjoyed within three to four days after they are prepared. 

Side Dishes

There are many different side dishes that you may enjoy with these copycat Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs. They are great served as an appetizer, or as a main dish for your meal. If enjoying these meatballs as a main dish, you can pair these with pretty much any fruit or vegetable dish. Some of our favorites are not limited to, but include the follows: 

Janet’s Banana Bread
Green Bean Bundles
Scalloped Potato Roll
Twice Baked Potato Casserole 

Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs, Fully Cooked

Although you can sometimes purchase Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs from the store, there is nothing quite like enjoying homemade meatballs. Surprisingly the process to make these meatballs is quite easy and they can be savored right away, or frozen for use at a later date. 


Overall, this recipe for copycat Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs is easy to make and tastes amazing. You will have to be the judge of which version is best, but I think it is definitely worth the effort to enjoy your own homemade version. 

The Bottom Line

The bottom line in regards to this meatball recipe is that they just plain taste great. They are not complicated to prepare and can make for an easy dinner recipe or appetizer for any occasion. 

turkey meatballs close up


How to make frozen turkey meatballs in air fryer?

Heating frozen turkey meatballs in the air fryer is quite a simple process. Most of the time it simply involves warming your meatballs all the way through. Typically you can warm them at 375°F or 400°F, for 5-8 minutes in an air fryer. 

How do you keep turkey meatballs from falling apart?

The key to keeping turkey meatballs from falling apart is to try adding eggs to them. This will help hold them together. Breadcrumbs and quick oats also help prevent them from falling apart. 

How to make turkey meatballs in the air fryer with no egg?

The process of making turkey meatballs in the air fryer with no egg is very much the same as preparing ones that do contain eggs. Simply warm them in the air fryer until they are warmed or cooked all the way through.

Is it better to bake or fry meatballs?

It is by far healthier to bake meatballs. However, fried meatballs may taste better. 

How do you know when turkey meatballs are done?

The best way is to check the internal temperature of meatballs. Because turkey is poultry, you will want the internal temperature of your meatballs to reach 165°F when cooking raw turkey meatballs. If your turkey meatballs are pre-cooked, you will simply want to be sure they are warm all the way through. 

How Do I Cook Frozen Meatballs for Spaghetti in An Air Fryer?

Simply place your frozen meatballs into the air fryer and turn your temperature to 375°F. Cook them until they are warmed all the way through. This will typically take around 8-10 minutes for frozen meatballs but may take a little longer depending on your specific air fryer. 

What Can I Serve with Frozen Meatballs?

There are many things you can serve with prepared frozen meatballs. This includes, white rice, potatoes, soups, green beans, corn, and bread. Check out our side dish recipes for more ideas. 

Will This Recipe Work With Homemade Meatballs I Froze?

Yes! You can simply take your homemade meatballs and warm them up, then add some grape jelly and BBQ sauce to them, for a delicious main dish, or appetizer. 

Trader Joe’s – Turkey Meatballs

This copycat recipe for Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs makes a surprisingly easy meal, and one that is very delicious. This is great for any event as an appetizer, or main dish. These meatballs are also great for potlucks. 

Look no further for the most flavorful turkey meatball recipe

This meatball recipe is full of delicious flavors that help to enhance the natural ground turkey flavor. Plus, you can add your favorite seasonings when making your own homemade meatballs if you want. Simple and delicious, just the way we like it! 

Trader Joe’s Turkey Meatballs- YUM!

Our copycat recipe for Trader Joe’s turkey meatballs is easy to make, and tasty to enjoy. This recipe is great for any occasion and won’t break the bank. Give it a try, and let us know what you think about it! 

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Faith is the resident baking expert of this sister duo, and first started baking at age ten when she learned to make chocolate chip cookies on her own. From there she went on to have her own night of the week to make dinner for the whole family. She is excited to share amazing recipes and a love of food, and help you become kitchen smart!

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