Honey-Lemon Glazed Turkey Meatballs

August 11, 2010
1 Ratings
  • Makes 16 medium meatballs or 32 cocktail size
Author Notes

These meatballs are browned to crisp the outside and then baked with a sweet-tangy, honey-lemon glaze.

I like using ground turkey but it is versatile, use whatever ground meat you desire, then shape them - large size for a dinner or small Hors d' Oeuvre size served with a toothpick; either way they are delicious!

*Recipe inspired by a Martin Yan panko coated, lemon chicken recipe (a favorite of mine), however, I modify a lemon glaze ingredient of his = plum sauce to an apricot preserve.


What You'll Need
  • MEATBALL INGREDIENTS – Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • 1 tablespoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1/3 cup shredded carrot
  • 1/3 cup chopped green onion
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • 2 cloves smashed garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 oz. fresh bread cubes
  • 1/4 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
  • 1 egg white lightly beaten
  • 1 lb. of ground turkey (or a ground meat of your choice)
  • Coconut oil for frying
  • Vermouth to de-glaze
  • Toasted sesame seeds to garnish
  • 6 tablespoons clover honey
  • 2 tablespoons apricot spread
  • Zest from one lemon
  • 1/4 cup fresh squeeze lemon juice plus its pulp
  • Salte to taste
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon water
  1. Preheat oven - 350 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl add the turkey and egg white; set aside.
  3. In the bowl of a food processor, pulse the ginger, carrot, onion, parsley, garlic, red pepper flakes, salt, bread cubes and sesame oil a few times to mince and incorporate. Add to the turkey mixture, toss to combine. Gently shape into 16 medium size balls or 32 cocktail size.
  4. In a 12-14 inch oven proof skillet, heat the coconut oil over medium high heat. Working in batches, if needed, add the meatballs and cook until brown on the bottom, about 2 minutes. Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side. Place the balls on paper towels to soak up some oil, de-glaze the skillet with vermouth and add the meatballs back, place in the preheated oven to bake for 15 minutes.
  5. While the meatballs are in the oven, make the honey-lemon glaze: In a sauce pan, whisk together the honey, apricot spread, lemon zest, juice and pulp its pulp. Salt to your taste. Bring to a boil over medium heat; add ½ tsp. cornstarch dissolved in 1 tablespoon water and cook, stirring until sauce boils and thickens.
  6. After the meatballs have cooked for 15 minutes, pour the honey-lemon glaze over the top, coat all sides. Bake another 15-20 minutes, baste halfway through.
  7. Remove from the oven, baste, garnish with sesame seeds.

See what other Food52ers are saying.

  • Blissful Baker
    Blissful Baker
  • healthierkitchen
  • testkitchenette
  • Sagegreen
  • DigNDine

29 Reviews

Anna November 23, 2015
Making these for Thanksgiving. Any suggestions for making 1 day ahead?
lapadia November 23, 2015
Hi Anna! Happy to hear you are including these meatballs for your Thanksgiving. I love preparing ahead of time.
I’d would:
1. Make the glaze, step 5, a day ahead, cool, refrigerate overnight.
2. Preheat oven. Follow steps 2, 3 & 4 and then cool & refrigerate the meatballs overnight.
3. Next day: take meatballs & glaze out of fridge about ½ hour ahead, bring to room temp.
4. Meanwhile: Preheat the oven. Add some coconut to your oven proof skillet.
5. Start the glaze heating.
6. After the oven has heated to temperature; place the skillet in the oven to heat the pan & coconut oil…about 5 minutes.
7. Add the meatballs to the heated skillet; carefully swish them around, place in the oven for a couple minutes…just to start the heating process. Take back out of oven.
8. Finally, follow step 6 & 7.
Enjoy :)
Anna November 23, 2015
Thank you!
lapadia November 24, 2015
very welcome, Anna...and #4 should say add some coconut oil..oops
Diavac October 15, 2015
Never a big ground turkey fan...always too dry, but these meatballs are fantastic! The lemon was the pop of flavor that made the dish.Thanks
lapadia October 15, 2015
Thanks for your feedback, Diavac, am happy it all worked out for you! :)
Blissful B. March 21, 2011
When I told my husband I was making turkey meatballs, he laughed & said, why? It was fun to see the look on his face when he took his first bite. He said he's never had ground turkey that flavorful. Thank you for this recipe. It's definitely a keeper! Since I was serving it over angelhair pasta, I chose not to thicken the sauce. I just whisked together the syrup ingredients (subbing mango chutney for the plum sauce) & poured it over the meatballs. When the meatballs were cooked, I poured the leftover liquid over the pasta. Voila - dinner served. I'm planning on trying your turkey burger variation next time though, and for that I will thicken the sauce. Do you top the burgers with anything, or are they flavorful enough that all they need is the bun?
lapadia March 21, 2011
Hi BlissfulBaker! I am thrilled you and your husband liked my recipe. Subbing the mango sounds great, really any sweet sauce will do. When we have done the burger variation, I don't make the lemon sauce, we just bbq them and used all the condiments (of choice) we use for a ground beef burger. I also like to put them on my homemade slider buns - recipe onsite. BUT...you gave me a great idea to thicken the sauce and make the burger...I will try that next time and try a coleslaw mix on it...yum! Glad you liked and thanks for your idea :)
lapadia March 2, 2015
Ha...just noticed (finally) my reply, above, should be addressed to Phoenix Helix :) oops.
Blissful B. March 17, 2011
Lemon & ginger are 2 of my favorite flavors, so this is on my list to try. Regarding the sauce, is there enough leftover to flavor the rice, or do you recommend doubling the sauce, or pre-flavoring the rice in another way?
lapadia March 17, 2011
Hi and Happy St. Pat's! There is enough sauce for rice, I recall keeping a small leftover container of it in the refridgerator and having seconds. Enjoy! (ps - I have also made bbq slider-sized burgers with this turkey ingredient combo, and they were gobbled up by everybody, even the people who were skeptical of a turkey burger..who went back for seconds!)
Blissful B. March 17, 2011
Thanks for your quick reply! This will be on the menu soon.
healthierkitchen August 13, 2010
Saved! Looks great.
lapadia August 17, 2010
Thanks healthierkitchen, enjoy!
testkitchenette August 12, 2010
Sounds so delicious!
lapadia August 13, 2010
Delicious is exactly what everyone at the dinner table thought...thanks!
Sagegreen August 12, 2010
lapadia August 13, 2010
Thanks Sagegreen!
DigNDine August 12, 2010
Mmmmmm...sounds delicious! I will have to try this one.
lapadia August 13, 2010
Thanks DigNDine, let me know how you liked it!
Lizthechef August 11, 2010
This has been added to my Meyer lemon recipes is an instant!!
lapadia August 11, 2010
OH! Meyer lemon would be fantastic to use with this glaze. Thanks and enjoy when you make it!
Lizthechef August 11, 2010
whoops - forgot the "thumbs up" - definitely trying this.
aargersi August 11, 2010
I ? lemon too! Yum!!!
lapadia August 11, 2010
What would the world be like without lemon? Thanks aargersi!
dymnyno August 11, 2010
lemon and lamb are a delicious combo...a classic!
lapadia August 11, 2010
Yes, this recipe is excellent with many ground meats!
drbabs August 11, 2010
I love lemon, too--this sounds so interesting!
lapadia August 11, 2010
Thanks, and pretty tasty too!