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There’s something about a great meatball that is just so satisfying.  These turkey meatballs remind me of Sunday dinners at my Grandmother’s house when I was a kid. It has taken me a long time to make a gluten-free version that is just as moist and tasty as the ones I remember eating before I went gluten-free – you know, the ones made with regular breadcrumbs. Sure, it’s easy to make them with no breadcrumbs at all, but sometimes they come out a little too dense and springy, instead of moist and tender.



I found a great tip in the How Can It Be Gluten Free Cookbook by America’s Test Kitchen, where they used potato flakes in meatballs to give better results than using gluten-free breadcrumbs. Gave it a try, and bingo!  Fantastic gluten and dairy-free meatballs.  See, gluten free bread just doesnt act the same way in your recipes like regular wheat bread does. The milk and breadcrumbs mixed together are supposed to help a meatball stay moist and tender. GF bread doesnt do that for us, too much rice flour and starches. Read more about about potato flakes and how to use them.

The recipe below is made with ground turkey and I added some shredded carrot and zucchini. You will never know the veggies are in there.  I wanted a way to add more veggies into this meal and the carrot and zucchini end up adding more moisture to the meatball too. So it is a win win!

I make my meatballs on the smaller side because I love using them as a snack during the week when I don’t have time to throw together a full meal. Sometimes I grab one out of the fridge and eat it cold. Or I heat a couple up and dip them in marinara sauce. You can make them larger than what is in the instructions below, just increase the cooking time.

Watch these gluten-free turkey meatballs being made

If you want to see this recipe in action instead of reading it, check out my online course, The Art of Gluten Free Cooking. These meatballs are just one of the recipes that are demonstrated live in the course. You will truly become a master at gluten free cooking with all the great content in this course.

all the raw ingredients in bowls for gluten free turkey meatballs

I hope you make this recipe at home and enjoy it as much as I do. Remember to double the recipe so you have extra for snacks the next day, or even throw some in the freezer for an easy dinner another time. And please share your feedback and pics with me by tagging me in your pictures @holisticchefs on instagram.

Enjoy this recipe!



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gluten free turkey Meatballs

Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs (No Breadcrumbs!)

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  • Author: Andrea Sprague
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 35 minutes
  • Total Time: 55 minutes
  • Yield: 24 1" meatballs 1x


These are not your typical gluten-free meatballs. With the help of potato flakes, these stay moist and tender, unlike the dense, springy effect that most gluten-free breadcrumbs give. Perfect as a snack, or as a part of a meal.



2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil

¼ medium onion chopped fine, about ½ cup

2 medium garlic cloves, minced, about 2 tsp

1 large egg

3 tablespoons milk (regular dairy or unsweetened almond milk)

2 tablespoons plain potato flakes

1 tablespoon tomato paste

1 tablespoon minced parsley

1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves

1 teaspoon dried oregano

¼ teaspoon garlic powder

½ cup grated zucchini, smallest grate

¼ cup grated carrot, smallest grate

1 pound ground turkey thigh

2 teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon ground pepper


  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees, line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper if needed and spray with a little oil.
  2. Place a medium sauté pan over medium-high heat, add the oil and when hot (oil should move quickly when tilted), add the onions and cook until softened, stirring occasionally, about 3 to 4 minutes. Add the garlic and stir, another 30 seconds. Remove from heat and let cool.
  3. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg and milk. Stir in the potato flakes, tomato paste, parsley, thyme, oregano, garlic powder and cooled onion mixture.
  4. Place the grated zucchini in a paper towel and squeeze over a bowl or the sink to remove as much moisture as possible.
  5. Add the squeezed zucchini to the egg mixture bowl along with the carrots, ground turkey, salt and pepper. Mix well until all ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the turkey.
  6. Shape into 1 to 2 inch balls and place on prepare baking sheet, place in oven for 30 minutes.
  7. Remove from oven and I usually cut into one of the meatballs to peek inside just to make sure it is fully cooked, no longer pink. Also, I just want to hurry up and eat one!


**You can also pan fry the meatballs, which gives them a really nice color, better texture and I think, a better flavor. Do this by heating the same sauté pan you used for the onions, add a little olive oil, place over medium high heat and cook the meatballs in batches, turning every minute or so to brown all the sides. Place on baking sheet and bake for 20 minutes to finish cooking them through.

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