These gluten free turkey meatballs with cranberry glaze are a pretty, festive appetizer for Thanksgiving or Christmas. Super tasty, too!
I wanted the taste of the holidays, just in bite form.
See, it was the holiday season, I had a Facebook feed full of all the wonderful treats my friends - and other bloggers - were planning for their meals and parties, etc.
I was elbows deep in developing New Year Eve recipes for my first blog - not gluten free, not keto, just a bunch of tasty food that I would have to watch my husband enjoy.
Anyway, that’s how my Keto Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze recipe was born!
This version is gluten free, and absolutely tastes of the holidays. Between the turkey, the walnuts, the herbs, and the cranberries, it’s like the flavour of half a Thanksgiving dinner, in one bite!
... only this version has plenty of delicious sugar involved, and no worries about the sauce crystallizing!
This recipe was designed as a fancy appetizer, but can also be served as a main. We’ve used it as a cheaper, easier alternative to a full turkey dinner.
This year - as I’m developing camping suitable recipes for our new RV Blog - we’ll be making a version over a camp fire, to see how that works!
All around, a fantastic recipe. Hope you love it as much as we do!
This recipe uses really simple ingredients that should be easy to find in almost any grocery store - if you don’t already have them on hand.
A few notes for you:
You can use fresh or frozen cranberries in this recipe.
I’ll generally use fresh berries when they’re in season, but this festive cranberry meatballs recipe is WAY too tasty to restrict to just that short season!
When using frozen, I’ll usually just toss them in without thawing, and let them thaw in the cooking process.
If you defrost them before using, be sure to use the berries AND all of the juice that comes off them.
While this recipe was originally designed as a Thanksgiving meatballs recipe - and used turkey for that, obviously - it works just as well with ground chicken.
You could probably even use it woth ground pork, or a mixture of ground pork and ground poultry.
I think ground beef would overpower the flavour profile, though.
This recipe was originally designed to use Chopped Walnuts, as that’s usually my go-to for using with cranberries.
You’ll want to finely chop your walnuts BEFORE measuring. They take the place of using a flour or bread crumbs in this meatball recipe, as well as adding flavour.
So, you want them chopped fairly small.
If you’re not into walnuts, you can substitute Chopped Pecans - another great option when working with seasonal cranberry recipes.
Rounding out this recipe, you will need
... but I really don’t have anything to add, as far as these ingredients go. Pretty straightforward!
How to Make Gluten-Free Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze
The full recipe is in the recipe card at the end of this post, here is a pictorial walk through:
Measure cranberries, water, sugar, and vinegar into a pot.
Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer until all of the cranberries have burst and a sauce is starting to form - don’t let it get too thick, though.
Remove from heat
Mix ground turkey together with the walnuts, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.
Form turkey mixture into meatballs, placing into a nonstick pan along with the olive oil.
Cook meatballs over medium-high until browned all around - they don’t have to be cooked all the way through.
Continue cooking until sauce thickens and meatballs are cooked all the way through.
Once cooled almost to room temp, leftover meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
More Gluten-Free Holiday Recipes!
Looking for something festive - for the whole family? Here are some great gluten-free recipes perfect for your holiday table!
Cranberry Jello Salad
Gluten Free Candy Cane Cookies
Gluten Free Fruitcake Cookies
Gluten-Free Gingerbread Cookies
Gluten Free Maple Pumpkin Pie
Gluten-Free Pumpkin Spice Mini Doughnuts
Gluten Free Paska [Easter Bread]
Gluten-Free Sauerkraut Buns [Pyrizhky]
Gluten Free Stuffing Recipe
Honey Roasted Carrots & Parsnips
Pumpkin Cheese Ball - Classier Version
Pumpkin Cheese Ball - Trashier Version
Sweet Potato Souffle
Need holiday foods that are gluten free AND low carb? Here are a few more ideas, from my low carb blog:
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Turkey Meatballs with Cranberry Glaze
- Fine mesh sieve
- 12 oz Fresh or frozen cranberries
- ¾ cup Water
- 1 cup Granulated Sugar
- 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 2 lbs Lean ground turkey
- ½ cup Finely chopped walnuts
- 2 teaspoon Dried Parsley
- 1 teaspoon Dried Sage or finely chopped dried rosemary
- 1 teaspoon Garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon Onion powder
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1 teaspoon Pepper
- 2 tablespoon Olive Oil
- Measure cranberries, water, sugar, and vinegar into a pot.
- Bring mixture to a boil over medium-high heat. Once boiling, turn heat down to medium-low and allow to simmer until all of the cranberries have burst and a sauce is starting to form - don’t let it get too thick, though.
- Remove from heat
- Press cranberry mixture through a fine metal sieve. Discard solids that couldn’t be scraped through the sieve. Season strained pulp with salt and pepper - to taste. Set aside.
- Mix ground turkey together with the walnuts, herbs, spices, salt, and pepper.
- Form turkey mixture into meatballs, placing into a nonstick pan along with the olive oil.
- Cook meatballs over medium-high until browned all around - they don’t have to be cooked all the way through.
- Add cranberry glaze to the pan, stir well to coat.
- Continue cooking until sauce thickens and meatballs are cooked all the way through.
- Serve hot.