Turkey Meatballs with Creamy Gravy

We are far enough out from Thanksgiving to be able to think about turkey and dressing without groaning. Plus we are still close enough to January to still be marginally thinking about fat intake/calorie consumption. If you are glancing back up at the picture and are thinking about that creamy gravy, read on without passing judgement just yet.

I got a bee in my bonnet last week when I went shopping at Costco and bought some things that I don’t normally buy, such as ground turkey. I know that a lot of people use ground turkey frequently, but I have generally shied away from it because of a seeming lack of flavor.

A few days ago as I stood staring at the six pounds of ground turkey awaiting my attention I started getting nervous. Afterall, I had made a commitment to use it and I wasn’t going to let it go to waste. I got as far as thinking about meatballs and then stalled out. I’m used to working with beef and pork for various types of meatballs, but turkey was new waters for me. I opened my spice cabinet and stared at the array of spices for a while. (I did lots of staring that day.) Finally, those voices in my head that are usually babbling incessant streams of non-sense started saying things like, “finely chop an onion…now finely mince some garlic…add some poultry seasoning…”. Holy cow, those voices were actually making sense. I LOVE it when they get their act together. Woohoo!

As a somewhat ironic, nearly comedic side-note, I looked up from my turkey meatballs and watched my backdoor neighbor’s turkeys and chickens marching around in their several acre pasture. Do turkeys have pastures? Is that what you call it? Anyway, the tom turkey was strutting his stuff–tail and wing feathers splayed wide. He does that frequently. All of the hens, both turkeys and chickens, ignored him and went right on with their idle pecking for whatever it is free range chickens and turkeys peck. I looked down at the bowl of ground turkey with which I was working and thought that most likely the ridiculous tom strutting out back would taste much better than the random store-bought turkey hanging out in my mixing bowl. The voices in my head agreed with me.

These meatballs are seasoned with poultry seasoning and smoked paprika, plus a few other standard seasonings. They were so flavorful that my husband thought he was eating beef or pork. They are reminiscent of Thanksgiving and are great served over dressing. To make things super easy I used a poultry flavored dressing/stuffing mix.

Don’t let the creamy looking gravy fool you–it’s actually much lower in calories than you may think because it uses cream cheese instead of cream to give it that luxurious taste and feel. And guess what–you can use low fat or fat free cream cheese. Additionally, if you use a dressing or stuffing mix, leave out the butter and just make the stuffing with the directed amount of liquid. One more thing (I’m not finished yet), the meatballs are baked, not fried. So, as you can see, this is actually a surprisingly low fat meal. Ta-da!

Turkey Meatballs With Dressing
Recipe by Terri @ that’s some good cookin’
Printable Recipe

Makes 24 meatballs.

For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 onion, finely minced (I used a food processor)
  • 2 teaspoons poultry seasoning
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/4 cup soft, fresh breadcrumbs (I processed two pieces of bread in my food processor to make the breadcrumbs.)
  • 1 box poultry flavored dressing or stuffing mix, prepared according to package directions, minus the butter. (I used Stove Top brand.)

For the Gravy

  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 4 ounces (weight) cream cheese (light or fat-free may be used), softened
  • 1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powderย 
  • sprinkle of pepper, to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 350-degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil. Spray foil with non-stick cooking spray. Set aside.
  2. In a medium bowl mix together all of the ingredients for the meatballs until well blended.
  3. Shape the turkey mixture into 24 meatballs and place, spaced evenly, on the baking sheet. Put in oven and bake for approximately 30-40 minutes until cooked through.
  4. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the gravy.
  5. In a large sauce pot, whisk together the chicken stock and the corn starch. Bring to a simmer over medium-high heat. Lower the heat to medium low.
  6. Cut the softened cream cheese into chunks and whisk or stir it well in the broth to break up the cream cheese. There may be tiny lumps of cream cheese. Don’t worry about it. Add the poultry seasoning, smoked paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, and a sprinkle of black pepper. Bring back to a simmer over medium-low heat for about 5 minutes. Taste and adjust seasonings.
  7. Remove the turkey meatballs from the baking pan and put them in the gravy. Stir to coat. Bring back to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Stir as needed.
  8. Serve meatballs over dressing.


  1. says

    Jenna–I thought everybody had cookbook voices in their head. ๐Ÿ˜‰

    Susan–Thank you. The one thing that I discovered through this process is that the turkey requires more seasoning(s) than does beef or pork, particularly if you are using it in place of either of those meats. Ground turkey just doesn’t carry much flavor of its own.

    Julie–I used to get bees in my bonnet all the time. Wish more of them would come back to the hive to get me up and moving. ๐Ÿ˜‰ LOL

  2. says

    Margarita–The cream cheese in the gravy tasted so GOOD! Definite keeper.

    Carol–Yes, definitely funny. Our neighbors keep both chickens and turkeys. I definitely would rather watch the chickens than the turkeys, they have a lot more personality. And that stupid, strutting tom turkey always runs over to the fence when my little grandsons are here and challenges them to a duel. He struts and gobbles and snorts. Yes, snorts. Such an annoying creature. The chickens, however, just beg for food–potato bugs, seeds from overgrown squash, worms, etc.

  3. says

    LOL! Sounds like country entertainment at its finest! Crazy turkey. Reminds me of the snotty cocky popular kids in jr. high . . . but the chickens are really the ones to be friends with, right? ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. says

    Thank you so much for the recipe especially the tip on the cream cheese. I use ground turkey all the time and rarely use ground beef anymore. It does take more seasoning but I like it so much more because it doesn’t sit like lead in your tummy and make you sluggish.

  5. Julie Mendoza says

    Really really delicious! My whole family loved this recipe. I have to say that every single thing I’ve cooked from your blog has been outstanding. I’ve decided I’m going to cook my way through your entire blog. Thank you.

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