by Olena

Thai Turkey Meatballs in 30 Minutes

by Olena

Thai Turkey Meatballs Recipe with zucchini, ground turkey, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce and no breadcrumbs. Rave reviews from EVERYONE! |

Today is super awesome Thai turkey meatballs day. They are full of your favourite Thai flavours like curry paste, fish sauce, ginger, basil, green onions and coconut milk. Both, the sauce and the meat.

Meatballs don’t have to be smothered in tomato sauce like slow cooker porcupine meatballs, nor do they have to be simmered for hours. They can have your favourite Thai flavours, be cooked in a skillet, within 30 – 40 minutes. Healthy dinner can be ready that fast.

Meatballs do not have to contain eggs, bread or breadcrumbs. I found with zucchini turkey burger that shredded zucchini makes any ground meat juicier.


How to Make Thai Turkey Meatballs

Thai Turkey Meatballs Recipe with zucchini, ground turkey, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce and no breadcrumbs. Rave reviews from EVERYONE! |

Thai Turkey Meatballs Recipe with zucchini, ground turkey, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce and no breadcrumbs. Rave reviews from EVERYONE! |

Use any meat you have on hand. We cook a lot of game meat, so I used venison for this recipe. But because I realize most people are “normal” and do not hunt, I’m giving you an option to use turkey, beef or buffalo.

You don’t even need to cook the meatballs through. Just until brown on all sides.

Thai Turkey Meatballs Recipe with zucchini, ground turkey, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce and no breadcrumbs. Rave reviews from EVERYONE! |

Then you add the sauce.

Very simple sauce: coconut milk, tomato paste, curry paste and fish sauce. Add as many hot pepper flakes as you like. Kaffir lime leaves are optional, but give the sauce a nice sweet touch. You can find them dried, in any asian store or online (they last forever).

Thai Turkey Meatballs Recipe with zucchini, ground turkey, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce and no breadcrumbs. Rave reviews from EVERYONE! |

We served these turkey zucchini meatballs with organic short grain brown rice. You can easily get away with whole wheat spaghetti or even quinoa. And if by any chance, you are a lover of all things Thai and salmon, try my Google winning Thai salmon.


Thai Turkey Meatballs in 30 Minutes

5 from 2 reviews

Thai Turkey Meatballs Recipe with zucchini, ground turkey, coconut milk, red curry paste, fish sauce and no breadcrumbs. Rave reviews from EVERYONE!

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 12 minutes
  • Cook Time: 18 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 28 meatballs


For Meatballs:

For the Sauce:


  1. In a medium bowl, combine Meatball ingredients and mix with your hands thoroughly. Make 28 meatballs by spooning heaping 1 tbsp of mixture and rolling between your hands. Lay on a cutting board or plate. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together Sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. Preheat large ceramic non-stick skillet on medium-high heat and spray with cooking spray. Add meatballs and cook until brown or for 2-3 minutes, turning a few times. No need to cook the meatballs through.
  4. Add the sauce, reduce heat to medium and simmer for 15 minutes, uncovered. Serve warm with brown rice or brown rice noodles. Add garnish like fresh cilantro and green onions.

Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.

Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.


*You can buy kaffir lime leaves in any Asian store or online. They are sold dried and last forever in a sealed container.

 Did you make this recipe? Please give it a star rating in the comments.


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125 comments on “Thai Turkey Meatballs in 30 Minutes

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  1. The recipe is easy and delicious, one of my favorites. I live in Calif. so am able to get all the ingredients easily and not have to make substitutions.

  2. Thanks so much for the recipe! Have made it a could of times now and is so yummy! I also add some more veggies to the meatballs such as shredded mushrooms and broccoli 🙂

  3. The Thai meatballs are great. Didn’t use turkey mince but pork and veal. The sauce is very tasty over fish or vegetables. I am taking recipe camping to use over various meats and just rice. I use powdered coconut milk to ensure there is no waste as I’m only cooking for 2.

  4. Hey Olena! This is gonna sound stupid XD How do you keep your meatballs from burning in the pan? This has become one of my favorite meals to make! But I’ve taken to cooking the meatballs up in the oven first (to get them to hold together and avoid burning/sticking to the pan), THEN browning them, THEN letting them simmer in the sauce to finish cooking. I know I must be missing something fairly simple here. Thanks!

    1. Not stupid at all. I use non-stick pan, ceramic like this one is the best. Then you can use cooking spray and meatballs will be easy to turn without breaking or burning. If you are using a cast iron pan then I recommend to use a tablespoon or two of oil for frying. It should help you to eliminate many steps.:)

  5. I’ve made these a couple of times and they are delicious. I’m going to make them tomorrow to serve with spaghetti squash and papaya salad.

    1. Glad to hear! Papaya salad sounds amazing! I can eat papaya non stop. Exactly what I do in Mexico. They run out of papaya in a restaurant because of me.

  6. Just made your Clean Thai Turkey Zucchini Meatballs, and they are superb. Flavorful and healthful. Can’t beat that! I was a bit concerned when I read the reviewer who wrote that these were bland, but when I saw the ingredient list, I couldn’t help but wonder what he left out. Thanks for a great recipe!

  7. I’m excited to try these tonight! Can I substitute almond milk for coconut milk? We have so much of it on hand that my kids drink and I didn’t know if I had to out and get the other too?

    1. Hi Nicole. Unfortunately that wouldn’t work. I know what you mean but you need to go and buy a can of light coconut milk. Canned and carton coconut (almond) milk are 2 different things. Canned one is thick and carton one is made with water.

  8. Does the fish sauce give the meatballs a fishy taste? I don’t eat fish or any seafood but I really want to try this recipe. I was concerned about omitting the fish sauce from your comment saying the meatballs won’t be the same.

  9. I just made this recipe for Thai Turkey Meatballs and it was really tasty. The prep takes some time but it was worth it.

    1. Oh, yay, Alaina. I can’t believe how popular this recipe is…I remember whipping it up o na dreary rainy winter day and thinking pictures are not OK and recipe not sure what people will think of such a twist LOL

  10. Just tried this recipe today- so easy! And more importantly – it’s sooo good! I put it over quinoa in a bowl – perfect! And the house smells amazing 🙂

  11. Great recipe! Was very surprised how well the zucchini minded all of the ingredients together. I substituted the green onions for sweet onions just because of personal preference. I was a little bit thrown off that there is no salt to be added to the dish, so i definitely had to add to both the sauce and the meatballs. Overall great dish!

    1. Hi Magda. Awesome! Salt is definitely a personal taste. I find fish sauce is salty enough but we do not eat a lot of salt so our tastebuds are different.

  12. Shocked… First of all that they stayed together with no eggs or breadcrumbs. And second that my daughter who eats nothing (and I mean nothing) had seconds. She has literally never had seconds in her life. Then she said,”Can you make them again because I loved them.” Haha, I almost started crying. These were the best meatballs I have ever had. I can’t believe they were so healthy and tasted like that. Just followed you on Pinterest, and am looking forward to more of your recipes. Thanks!!!!!

  13. Hello! I’m going to make these tonight. Just wondered if I can use unsweetened almond milk in sub of the coconut milk? Thanks!

    1. Hi Amy. No. And you have to use canned coconut milk not from the carton. Those are two very different things. Good you have a day to run to the store.

  14. Hi! Do you think it is alright to skip the fish sauce? I am doing a Whole30 and the only fish sauce that I can find without sugar is only available online (and expensive)…. but I really had my hopes on making these meatballs!

    1. Hi Andrea. Meatballs won’t be the same without the fish sauce. I just checked the label and considering sugar is listed last and nutritional info states 0g sugar I bet you will consume a ridiculous few grains of sugar.

  15. When you use venison, do you use straight venison, or venison mixed with pork? I have pure ground venison and would love to use it as is in this recipe but don’t want it to be too dry. Thanks!

    1. I use pure venison because I simply do not have any other ground organic meat most times. They were great anyways because of the rich sauce. But I see how with pork they will be more moist. That extra fat. I wish I found organic pork…

  16. can’t wait to try this recipe!!! I love Thai food & it’s rich & spicy flavors… fyi..most of my family & friends hunt!!! so it’s very normal….
    I can’t wait to try this recipe!! love meatball’s & absolutely love Thai food, sounds amazing!! FYI… Hunting is very normal….Most of my family & friends hunt… just saying!!!

  17. found these on Pinterest and made them for dinner tonight. Served over Cauliflower Rice. They were fantastic! Very flavorful, and my sauce was quite spicy – I think it is really dependent on the Red Curry paste that you use. I added about a teaspoon of brown sugar to the sauce and lime zest, since I could not find Kaffir Lime leaves. Forget to put the cilantro on top at the end, but it was still wonderful!

  18. Saw this recipe on Pinterest, made them today, so nice! Meatballs were nice and moist and flavoursome, served with brown and wild rice. Can’t wait for the leftovers tomorrow.

  19. Saw this recipe on Pinterest – just tried it for the first time tonight and it was delicious!! Served it over rice. Thank you very much for something different than I usually make and yet soo yummy. My husband loved it and said when he was finished he could definitely eat that a couple times a week. 🙂

  20. Looks good and will like to try it, but on a sidenote: being that half my family hunts and I know many others that do so as well, I can assure you thet are just as normal as anyone else…

  21. Olena, I have made these almost weekly since I first tried the recipe. They are amazing. I use turkey and even though turkey can be dry the zucchini keeps it moist. The last time I made them I added one piece of Lemon Grass I smashed up a bit to release the oils, to the sauce while it simmered. They are so good, I make a huge batch so I can take some to work for lunch the next day.

    1. Awesome! Lemon gras is a great addition. In fact, all Thai food should be made with it. I omitted it because not all stores carry and and many people don’t have it on hand often. Like me.:) Glad everyone is enjoying these!:)

  22. I prepared this dish for my family. I had to be careful of the spice because they are young but other than that this was amazing. My son wanted 2nds and 3rds I was shocked but we have to leave some for tomorrow. I will definitely pass this on in my cooking group. Amazing, Magnificent, and Delicious.

  23. I am curious how eating meat is “clean” . Eating meat is the oppposite of clean eating. I feel a lot cleaner since going vegan. Sauce looks good though. May try veganizing this.

  24. These are awesome and have made it into our regular dinner rotation! I have 4 young kids who are all picky eaters and they all scarfed it down. Some even had seconds (unheard of). So thank you! We’ve found that we like them better with ground beef and a little extra salt, but other than that perfection.

  25. I made these today and they taste amazing!! I stirred a little bit of apricot jam into the sauce to sweeten it a bit for my little one and picky husband! About three tablespoons and it is AMAZING!!

  26. I made these last night and follow the recipe, except for the lime leaves, and they are delicious! If I were to make these again, I wouldnt use fish sauce, bc I’m really not a fan of anything fishy. Though, I only used it in the meat and not the sauce and i dont really taste it, I just know its there. Thanks for the recipe!

  27. Hi Olena, I have these on the menu for next week and I am really looking forward to trying them, just curious if there is anything I can substitute for the kaffir leaves. I have never used them before and I don’t know what they taste like or if there is anything similar to them in flavor. Thanks!

  28. Hi!!
    Firstly… thank you so much for sharing this recipe – the flavours in these meatballs are to die for – A+++ !
    Secondly… I’m on a mostly Paleo diet and when I came to the bit about serving with brown rice or brown rice noodles, ass I could picture was a saucepan full of delicious sauce, and meatballs in search of a comfy bed on which to be served – this wouldn’t be the end of the world, as I do eat rice occasionally, but… at this point I was hungry and didn’t feel like waiting around for rice to cook. I’d originally planned to make a side dish of Paleo mayo-free coleslaw but didn’t feel much like putting the effort into preparing that..
    Staring at the pan full of sauce and the lonely meatballs, knowing I need to get some veg into me somehow, I contemplated making cabbage & broccoli ‘rice’, as you would typically do with cauliflower as a substitute for grains in Paleo meals… I thought it’d be a great way to soak up that tasty sauce, add some veg, and create a nice bed for the meatballs… Asian flavours and cabbage go nicely gogether – so why not!?
    Anyways, I don’t usually step outside my comfort bubble of following the recipe to the T… BUT I DID IT… I INNOVATED!! Put the cabbage & broccoli through the food processor, removed the meatballs from the saucepan and added the ‘rice’ to soak up the sauce and cook for a few minutes…
    Boy am I glad I did – turned out to be a fabulous accompaniment for this dish.. and so I just had do share 🙂

  29. I tried this tonight and the flavor is great! However, I had some trouble with the meatballs sticking to my stainless frying pan as I was putting them in, even though I sprayed with cooking oil. Should I have used a non-stick pan or did I just not have the heat turned up high enough? I’ve only ever baked meatballs before.

    1. Hi Stevie. Use non-stick skillet next time. I have 2 stainless steel pans but never use them for same reason – almost everything sticks to them.

  30. These were yum! How rude of the one commenter who said they were terrible. Why even say that? Some people. Did you add any salt to this recipe? I’ve been trying to cut a lot of salt out but felt like the meatballs maybe needed a little salt in the mix? I’m a salt freak so maybe not. Please let me know!

    1. Hi Kelly. Salt is very personal thing, I would say. I didn’t add any extra salt. I have been off any processed foods for quite a while now so my tastebuds are very clean and sensitive LOL. But feel free to adjust it. I have a friend and she loves salt like you. She adds salt to all my food although nobody else at the table does.:) P.S. I suspect someone just doesn’t like Thai food period, hence the comment.:)

  31. Delicious! I didn’t have any ginger in the house but followed the rest if the recipe and service with steamed brocolli and basmati rice. Even my picky eater husband enjoyed it. Great recipe!

  32. I made this recipe tonight, and it turned out amazing! I served it with bean thread noodles. This will be a new regular for us. Thank you so much!

  33. To replace meatballs for Vegan-izing this recipe, I can HIGHLY recommend lentils. We make a YUMMY lentil loaf for meatloaf and I am AMAZED at how much the lentils remind me of ground beef. (we are not vegan, and we eat meat and even my husband liked the lentil loaf) Use a good lentil loaf recipe to mix up a lentil mixture and then form into balls and fry. YUM!

  34. These were incredible! Even my 11 y/o son loved them. We did not do the zucchini because my kids don’t like sneaky veggies and we could not find fish sauce. Still they were fabulous!

    1. Did you avoid rice because you’re Paleo??? I added grated cabbage and broccoli into the pan of sauce after the meatballs were finished cooking and then used this as a bed for the meatballs as you would rice – was wicked!

  35. Thanks for mentioning that you used venison! I’m always looking for recipes that would be great with the 50 pounds of ground venison in my freezer! Definitely putting this on the menu next week! 🙂

  36. I’m a mexican 80 years old lady and love to surprise my daughter,husbandand two grandchildren when they come to visit me! I will make them and taste to be sure
    they will enjoy them. THANKS. !!

  37. This was DELICIOUS! Sharing with all my friends. My one yr old ate 4 meatballs and my super picky 4 yr old ate them too (after a 15 minute stare-down with the meatball because she was convinced she wouldn’t like it). This is a keeper!

  38. I found you via pinterest and made this recipe last night over some brown rice minus the chili flakes. It was delicious. The husband and 5 year old approved as well. thanks for the great recipe!

  39. Just made these. They were great, but a little salty. We may try anchovies paste instead of fish sauce next time, since that’s the only possible source of salt in here, but this recipe was an absolute hit!

  40. I made these for the first time 5 mins ago, and they are the best meatballs ever! I didn’t use any of the spicy ingredients because I don’t care for spicy food, however it still came out great!
    Thanks !

    1. Oh yay! Awesome! I had no doubt but after some reviews of not even dogs liking these… They must be not Thai food lovers. 🙂

  41. Made this last night and it was a hit! Even my very picky 7 yr old liked it. My husband and I are not big on fish sauce, so I omitted that and added salt and it was still very flavorful. I also used the regular coconut milk. Great recipe and thanks for sharing!! I’ll definitely be making this again.

  42. I followed this recipe to the tee and it was the most tasteless meal I have ever eaten…like a dry meatloaf with no flavor. Even our dogs wouldn’t eat the meatballs…wouldn’t make again. Just my (and my family’s opinion). Sorry!

    1. Sorry to hear about your experience, Gretchen. Everyone has different taste and taste buds. So no worries. Maybe it was too spicy for the dogs?

  43. I just made these tonight and they were amazing! Thank you for such a delicious recipe! I want to make these for a friend who just had a baby…if I make it ahead of time would I cook it all the way through then freeze? And when I take it to my friend would I just tell her to reheat on the stir top? Thanks again for a great recipe!

    1. Yes, you got it. Cook it all the way and freeze. She can defrost it on a counter and warm up in microwave. Or defrost in a pot. Or defrost in microwave. Anything. They freeze well. Glad you enjoyed!!!

  44. Made this for the super picky husband tonight who requested a week of “healthy things that don’t taste like cardboard” – success! I didn’t use the lime leaves but going to add them in to the leftover tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe 🙂

    1. Hey, Meg. You are so welcome. Tell your husband:”Good news, honey. There are many clean recipes that taste like real yummy food”.:)

  45. Olena~ Thanks for posting this delicious recipe. I tried it the other night and it was a hit with both me and my husband. I added a little bit of sriracha chili sauce on top and it added a nice extra kick (we like things spicy down here in Texas!) The meatballs were extremely moist just as promised 🙂 We had to run a quick errand right after I finished dish so I just left it on the stovetop until we returned. A friend needed to come over and borrow something from our house so we just left our house open so he could run in and grab it while we were gone. He confessed that as he came into the house, he could smell this amazing aroma coming from the kitchen. He couldn’t resist and helped himself to a couple of meatballs while we were gone! He confessed the next day when we saw him again 🙂 I was honored that I executed the recipe and pleased not only my family but someone else as well. Thanks again for the quick and delicious dinner recipe.

    1. Oh, Holly. Thank you for your story. Means I should keep cooking.:) Means a world to me! Sriracha is awesome! I try to keep the spiciness down because of kids. I have the same neighbour – we feed each other.:)

      1. Hi, I was wondering about the zucchini, Am I supposed to
        steam it first and then drain water. Wasn’t sure what you meant by squeezed out. Also, Do you think it is too spicy for kids? My kids like a kick but not too spicy. Let me know if you think anything should be substituted.


        1. Hi Jen. No steaming required. Grate raw zucchini and squeeze out as much liquid as you can. These are great for kids. My kids loved these and their taste buds are similar to your kids’. Not too spicy. Enjoy!

  46. Hi ! I did this dish yesterday. It was one of de best meatballs I had. I replaced the coconut milk with passata+essentiel coconut oil (we don’t have this milk in light version in Brussels); green curry past, fish sauce, soja sauce, salt, red peper and a half lemon juice. I ate it with konjac noodles. It was easy, fast, tasty, delicious. The meatballs I had were made with beef, cilantro, onions, no zuccini. Conclusion: one of the BEST. DISH. EVER.