Turkey zucchini meatballs are an easy and delicious meal for any night of the week!

My family loves spaghetti and meatballs, and these turkey meatballs filled with shredded zucchini, parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs are one of my favorite twists on the classic!

These meatballs are tender, juicy and flavorful, with extra sneaky veggies cooked right in.

It’s an awesome healthier meal for any night of the week, served as you like! I like to serve these turkey zucchini meatballs over al dente spaghetti or with a loaf of crusty bread.

Why you’ll love these turkey zucchini meatballs

What’s not to love? These meatballs are:

  • Quick and easy
  • Juicy and full of flavor
  • Made with simple healthy ingredients
  • A great way to use up zucchini
  • Made either on the stove or in the oven
  • Easy to make ahead

Be sure to also try my Classic Spaghetti and Meatballs and Pork Quinoa Meatballs recipes.

Ingredients you’ll need

Here’s everything you need to make these turkey zucchini meatballs (full recipe at the end of this article):

turkey zucchini meatball ingredients

How to make turkey zucchini meatballs

  1. Combine ingredients. Add ground turkey, shredded zucchini, breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese and seasonings in a large bowl. Use your hands to work the ingredients just till they come together. Be careful not to overwork the mixture or your meatballs will be tough.
  2. Shape into meatballs. Use a large spoon or cookie scoop to portion meatball mixture into even-sized meatballs and use your hands to roll them into a ball.
  3. Chill. Place meatballs on a baking sheet pan lined with parchment paper and chill in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes.
  4. Brown in skillet. Add butter or olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add chilled meatballs and brown on 2-3 sides for a few minutes on each side.
  5. Cook in marinara. Add your favorite marinara sauce to the skillet, reduce heat to medium low, and cover. Let meatballs finish cooking for about 5-10 minutes until cooked all the way through (thermometer reaches 165°F), stirring occasionally.
  6. Serve. Serve as you like, such as with cooked pasta. Enjoy!
mixing turkey zucchini meatball mixture in bowl
shaping meatballs and browning in pan
turkey zucchini meatballs in skillet

Tips for making the best meatballs

  • I’ve used ground turkey, but this meatballs recipe can also be made with ground chicken or ground pork with similar results.
  • I prefer panko breadcrumbs, but any kind of plain breadcrumbs will work. Use gluten-freebreadcrumbs to make these meatballs gluten-free.
  • There is no need to squeeze off excess moisture from the zucchini, it will be absorbed by the breadcrumbs.
  • Use your favorite store-bought marinara or tomato sauce for this recipe. You can also make your own easy marinara sauce.
  • To cook these meatballs in the oven, place chilled meatballs in a greased casserole dish and brown in the oven at 425°F for 10 minutes, then cover meatballs with marinara sauce and bake at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes more until cooked all the way through.
  • I like to garnish this dish with parmesan cheese and chopped fresh basil.
  • Reserve a little pasta cooking water to thin out the marinara sauce if needed.
  • Meatballs freeze really well! Freeze them in a single layer on a lined sheet pan, then transfer them to a ziplock bag, squeeze out any excess air and store them in the freezer for several months. No need to thaw before cooking in marinara sauce.
  • This recipe is great for meal prep! Cooked turkey zucchini meatballs can be stored in the fridge for up to a week, or in the freezer for a few months or more. Thaw in the fridge if frozen and reheat in the microwave or in a skillet over low heat.

Meatball FAQs

Why are my meatballs tough, rubbery and/or dry?

Because turkey is so lean (not very much fat) it can turn out tough or rubbery if the meat is worked too much when combining ingredients and forming meatballs. Do not over-mix. Also, don’t over-cook! I like to use a digital thermometer to know exactly when the internal temp reaches 165°F.

How do you keep meatballs round?

Meatballs cooked in skillet will be a bit flat where they come into contact with the pan. If you want meatballs that are rounder, brown and cook in the oven.

How do you keep meatballs from falling apart?

Chilling the meatballs in the fridge (or freezing completely) before cooking helps them hold their shape as they cook.

How can you tell meatballs are cooked?

To test whether meatballs are done, cut one open to make sure there is no pink in the middle, or use a digital thermometer to test that internal temperature is 165°F.

What can you eat meatballs with besides pasta?

You can serve these meatballs with slices of French or artisan bread, zucchini noodles, and/or a big side salad.

More easy meals for any night of the week

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This recipe was originally published August 2016 in partnership with Go Bold with Butter.

5 from 2 reviews

Turkey Zucchini Meatballs

Servings: 12 meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Chill Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 10 minutes
Turkey zucchini meatballs are a great way to sneak extra veggies into your meal and use up all that summer zucchini!


  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1 cup shredded zucchini
  • ¾ cup bread crumbs (I prefer panko breadcrumbs)
  • cup shredded parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 3 tablespoons butter or olive oil
  • 1 quart marinara sauce
  • Additional parmesan cheese , for garnish (optional)
  • Chopped fresh basil , for garnish (optional)


  • In a large bowl, combine the ground turkey, zucchini, bread crumbs, Parmesan cheese, salt, pepper and onion powder. Use a spoon or cookie scoop to form mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs.
  • Place on a pan lined with parchment paper and chill in the fridge for 30 minutes.
  • Set a large skillet over medium high heat and add butter or olive oil. Add meatballs and brown on a few sides for a few minutes on each side.
  • Add marinara sauce to the skillet, covering the meatballs completely, and cover pan with a lid. Reduce temperature to medium low and cook until meatballs are done (thermometer should read 165°F), lifting lid and stirring sauce and meatballs occasionally.
  • Serve meatballs over pasta, or as desired. Add optional garnishes of more parmesan cheese and fresh basil.



  • This recipe can also be made with ground chicken or pork.
  • To cook these meatballs in the oven, place chilled meatballs in a greased casserole dish and brown in the oven at 425°F for 10 minutes, then cover meatballs with marinara sauce and bake at 350°F for about 10-15 minutes more until cooked all the way through.
  • If marinara sauce thickens too much while cooking the meatballs, thin it out with a little water. Use reserved pasta water if serving this dish with pasta.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge for up to 1 week.
Calories: 135kcal, Carbohydrates: 11g, Protein: 12g, Fat: 5g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 30mg, Sodium: 763mg, Potassium: 417mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 4g, Vitamin A: 481IU, Vitamin C: 7mg, Calcium: 63mg, Iron: 2mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
Author: Annalise Sandberg
Have you tried this recipe?I’d love to hear about it! Leave a rating and review below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram @completelydelicious with #completelydelicious.

Disclosure: This recipe was made with Real® Butter in partnership with the American Butter Institute. Thank you for supporting partnerships with brands and campaigns I believe in, which make it easier for me to bring you new and creative content. All opinions are always my own. To see all of the recipes I have created for Go Bold with Butter, click here.