Brown Sugar Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs

September 30, 2014Katie
Brown sugar cider glazed turkey meatballs

Can you believe football season is here again?

Cider brown sugar glazed

It’s time to make tailgating, game-day food again! I lovefall, I love gathering with a bunch of friends and everyone bringing some good tail gating food!

Sometimes, however, tailgating food can be awful heavy, and so I am trying to come up with some healthy but flavorful football game snacking foods this season.

Because as much as I love unhealthy game night food, it doesn’t love my hips, thighs or tummy.

And all the women over forth said a resounding AMEN!

I played around with this meatball recipe this weekend, and while healthy, it still tastes great, getting it’s flavor punch from some fresh peppers, garlic and onion and a glaze made with apple cider and brown sugar.

I think it’s a keeper ya’ll.

Glazed turkey meatball recipe

Start out with two pounds of ground turkey meat. I buy the 85-15 for this recipe. You can buy the even leaner cut but I find it’s just too dry.

85-15 ground turkey

I mean it’s game day food right? We don’t have to sacrifice everything for gosh sake!!

Add in 2/3 cup of bread crumbs. I make my own in the food processor in a flash by tossing in two pieces of multi-grain bread and whirring it for about 20 seconds. Instant bread crumbs!

Fresh bread crumbs

You can buy the pre packaged dry bread crumbs, but for moistness sake, I prefer to make my own with fresh. You can do whatever you want though. If you don’t have a food processor or want to mess with it, by all means, used dried!

Toss it into a large bowl with the turkey meat and then get to chopping up one-half of a red pepper and three green onions. You want approximately one-half cup of each. Add them into the bowl. Also add a tablespoon of fresh chopped rosemary and one clove of garlic, some salt and pepper and oh yes, one beaten egg!

Meatball ingredients

See these?


I buy these disposable gloves at my local Sally Beauty Supply store and I keep them under my kitchen sink for when I chop jalapenos or need to dig my hands into a big bowl of raw meat to mix it up.

They come in super handy!

Mix this all up with your hands and then start to roll them into meatballs about the size of a ping pong ball, or maybe just a tad smaller.


Brush an oven-safe large skillet with some olive oil and start placing the meatballs right into it. (You may want to do this BEFORE you get your hands all messy.)

Brush oil on iron skillet


Keep going until the pan is completely full and the little buggers are shoulder to shoulder.

Baked turkey meatballs

Pop them into a 350º oven for twenty minutes.


While those are cooking, let’s get started on the glaze. In a medium-sized pitcher or bowl, whisk together ½ cup apple cider with ¼ cup of brown sugar, two tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of cayenne pepper, you know, just to make it interesting.


Pour this right over the meatballs, turn on a stove burner to medium-high and bring this to a low bubble.

After about ten minutes, the glaze will thicken and begin to look a little sticky. Turn each meatball over and pop them back in the oven for five minutes.

Insert toothpicks and voila!

A healthy game day snack bursting with savory flavor!



Brown Sugar Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Recipe type: appetizer
  • 2 lbs. ground turkey (85-15)
  • 2 slices bread or ⅔ c. bread crumbs (dried or fresh)
  • ½ c. red pepper, chopped finely
  • ½ c. green onion, whites and green, chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic, minced or pressed
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 T. fresh rosemary, chopped or 1 t. dried
  • ½ t. salt
  • ¼ t. pepper
  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 c. apple cider
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • 2 T. apple cider vinegar
  • ¼ t. cayenne pepper
  1. In a large mixing bowl, add turkey.
  2. If using fresh bread, tear bread into pieces and place in food processor. Turn on high for 20 seconds or
  3. until bread crumbs form. Measure ⅔ cup of breadcrumbs and pour into turkey bowl.
  4. Add in remaining ingredients (not glaze ingredients)
  5. Using hands or large spoon, mix well.
  6. Lightly oil large oven proof skillet
  7. Using hands, roll meat mixture into balls the size slightly smaller than a ping pong ball. ontinue to roll
  8. until all meat is gone, placing each one side by side in skillet
  9. Place skillet in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  10. While the meatballs are baking, make the glaze. Dump all ingredients into small pitcher or bowl and
  11. whisk well.
  12. Pour glaze over meatballs in pan over medium high heat and heat until it bubbles.
  13. Allow it to bubble ten minutes then flip each meatball over and heat 5 minutes more.
  14. Remove and insert toothpicks and serve!

Apple Cider Glazed Turkey Meatballs

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