Thanksgiving Meatballs (Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs)

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Thanksgiving meatballs combine all of the best flavors of Thanksgiving dinner into one delicious bite. And the best part is you don’t need any leftovers in order to make them, so you can enjoy them all year long!

Thanksgiving Meatballs (Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs)

Every November I see people get excited about what they’re going to do with their Thanksgiving leftovers, and I can’t help but be a little jealous. One of the downsides of not hosting Thanksgiving dinner myself is that once the meal is done, it’s done. I don’t get any leftover turkey or cranberries or green beans to play with (let’s be real, there’s never any leftover stuffing – that’s just as much of a fantasy as unicorns.)

That’s where these meatballs come in. They taste like little bites of Thanksgiving goodness, without the need for any leftovers. In fact, they taste so much like Thanksgiving dinner, that I’m calling them Thanksgiving meatballs. It just feels right.

Thanksgiving Meatballs (Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs)

So, what goes in them? Turkey, obviously. But also cranberries, bread, spinach, and all of the seasonings that you might find in your favorite stuffing. Since Thanksgiving dinner isn’t complete without gravy, there’s some of that, too – a rich, creamy version like you might find on Swedish meatballs.

It’s basically your entire Thanksgiving dinner, in meatball form and ready in under an hour. Now that’s  something to be Thankful for!
Thanksgiving Meatballs (Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs)
There’s no such thing as too many meatball recipes. Try: Tandoori Chicken Meatballs//Pork Meatballs in Enchilada Sauce//Buffalo Chicken Meatballs// Meatball Style Veggie Burgers

Thanksgiving Meatballs (Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs) 1

Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs

5 from 2 votes
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes
Servings: 4


  • 1 slice white bread or 1 dinner roll torn into 1-inch pieces
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 Tablespoons olive oil divided
  • 1 onion minced
  • 2 celery ribs diced small
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 cup fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup fresh spinach chopped
  • 2 Tablespoons pine nuts
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • ¼ cup chicken stock
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy cream


  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the bread and milk. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 Tablespoon of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté the onion and garlic until soft, about 5 minutes. Add the cranberries, spinach, and pine nuts.Cook, sitting occasionally, until the cranberries begin to pop and the spinach is wilted. Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Add the turkey, egg, sautéed vegetables, rosemary and grated cheese to the bowl with the soaked bread. Season with salt and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Form the turkey mixture into 1-inch balls.
  • Add the remaining oil to the skillet. Add the meatballs and cook 8 minutes, or until cooked through, turning to brown on all sides.
  • Remove the meatballs from the pan and whisk in the stock and cream. Bring to a simmer and let cook until reduced by half, about 5 minutes. Return the meatballs to the pan and serve immediately.
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Hi, I'm Lauren!

I'm a certified plant-based cook and enthusiastic omnivore who loves looking for creative ways to make weeknight meals more nutritious. I'm the author of Heathy Eating One Pot Cookbook and Healthy Meal Prep Slow Cooker Cookbook. I also blog at The Busy Foodie. Read more...


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6 thoughts on “Thanksgiving Meatballs (Turkey and Cranberry Meatballs)”

  1. Do you think these would freeze well? I need to make a thanksgiving lunch for 100 people the Tuesday before thanksgiving and thought Thanksgiving meatballs would be a fun thing to try! And huge bonus if I could make a lot the weekend before and freeze them…..

    • You could probably put them and the sauce in after they’re made to keep them warm, but I wouldn’t cook them in there.

5 from 2 votes (2 ratings without comment)

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