Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

by Amy on 31 May 2012

I set a little cooking goal for myself at the beginning of 2012. I call it my One New Dinner A Week Challenge +, as you may have guessed, it involves making one new dinner each week that i’ve never made before. I’ve successfully made it through 22 weeks (which means that the year is almost halfway over – where did the time go?!) + it has been such a fun project!

I’ve discovered some truly amazing recipes through the challenge, many of which have made repeated appearances on our weeknight dinner menus. And this recipe, which i made last week, will definitely become a staple in our household. While it’s quick + easy to make, it also packs a ton of flavor. The honey-chipotle sauce has a delicious combination of sweet, savory + spicy notes that work wonderfully with the tender, lightly-caramelized meatballs. I served it with garlic + herb couscous + veggies + it was a lovely, healthy weeknight meal. Y’all have to try these – they’re beyond delicious!

Honey-Chipotle Turkey Meatballs

makes about 16 meatballs, adapted from martha stewart


For the meatballs:
1 1/2 pounds ground turkey
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil

For the sauce:
4 tablespoons honey
2- 4 tablespoons chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce (depending on how spicy you want the sauce – I used 4 tablespoons + it packed a spicy punch. For a less-spicy version, use 2 tablespoons.)
2 tablespoons cider vinegar


Preheat oven to 375 F. In a medium bowl, stir the onion, garlic, salt, + black pepper together, then add the turkey to the bowl + use your hands to mix just until combined (do not overmix). Form into 16 meatballs (each will be about the size of a golf ball). In a separate small bowl, stir together the honey, chiles, + vinegar.

Set a large ovenproof skillet over medium heat + add the oil. Once it is shimmering, add the meatballs. Cook until browned on all sides, about 10 minutes.

Move the skillet to the oven + bake the meatballs for 5 minutes. Remove the pan from the oven (remember, the handle will be hot!) + pour the honey/chipotle sauce over the meatballs. Bake for another 5 minutes (swirling the pan at the halfway point), or until the sauce has reduced to glaze the meatballs + the meatballs are cooked through. (Keep an eye on your meatballs in the oven – without eggs or milk-soaked bread for added moisture, they can dry out if overcooked.)

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{ 48 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly May 31, 2012 at 6:57 am

This looks good, and I love to do my own meatballs (that way I know what’s in them)!

2 Kathryn May 31, 2012 at 7:18 am

What a great challenge! We’ve got in such a rut with our week night dinners and this looks like a great dish to change that up.

3 Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray May 31, 2012 at 7:58 am

Ooh, yum! I’ve never tried non-marinara meatballs–and the glaze for these looks really yummy. Plus I’d get to try a new-to-me ingredient with those adobo chiles. :)

4 Carrie @ Bakeaholic Mama May 31, 2012 at 8:04 am

I normally dislike meatballs…. but these look really good!

5 danielle May 31, 2012 at 8:52 am

This sounds delish – I love chipotle anything.

6 Sarah k @ the pajama chef May 31, 2012 at 9:18 am

this sounds awesome! i’ve been making teryaki meatballs this year that we love, but they are super salty. i’ve managed to adjust the recipe some to compensate, but even with low-sodium soy sauce it’s just crazy salty. i’ll give these a go next!

7 amy May 31, 2012 at 9:20 am

you’ll have to let me know what you think of ’em, Sarah – we both loved ’em + ate up every last one!

8 Cassie May 31, 2012 at 9:24 am

These flavors sound perfect for meatballs amy! Love that you used turkey too. Nothing wrong with adding a little health into dinner.

9 Rachel @ Baked by Rachel May 31, 2012 at 9:48 am

What a great challenge – great way to mix things up and keep your meals interesting and fresh.

10 Steph@TheChickpeaChickadee May 31, 2012 at 10:17 am

amy, these look fabulous! My mouth is watering just looking at them. Loved that you used ground turkey.

11 Ashley @ Kitchen Meets Girl May 31, 2012 at 10:20 am

Oh my goodness, these sound wonderful!! And I love, love, LOVE the use of the chilis in adobo–you know we like it spicy! :-) We’ll definitely have to give these a try–I’m always on the lookout for easy and healthy weeknight meals!

12 amy May 31, 2012 at 10:30 am

i think you’ll really love these, ashley + since you’re a spicy lover, the 4 tablespoons of chiles will probably be perfect for you. or, you might even want a bit more!

13 julie @ table for two May 31, 2012 at 10:46 am

these sound so goooooood! i love spicy and sweet. it’s one of those combinations that’s always a winner in my book! the sweet calms down the spice and it rounds it all out! great new recipe, amy!

14 Jeff May 31, 2012 at 11:28 am

Nice use of the ground turkey! The flavours work so well together and I LOVE the chipotle addition, perfect for some smoky spice!

15 Katie B. of HousewifeHowTos.com May 31, 2012 at 11:44 am

LOL, Amy. We both had meatballs on the brain! Yours look delicious, and I love that they use ground turkey. Bet we’ll both have martinis on the brain later, too. Cheers!

16 amy May 31, 2012 at 12:22 pm

proof that great minds think alike … and love meatballs! =)

17 Jackie @ Domestic Fits May 31, 2012 at 1:08 pm

I’m a HUGE fan of chipotle, and I am always looking for new recipes. I’m going to try this for sure :)

18 D @ No Champagne, No Gain May 31, 2012 at 2:15 pm

Omg these sound fantastic! They’re definitely going on my must try list. Added plus that the recipe is adapted from Martha!

19 Renee May 31, 2012 at 2:34 pm

yum! love that they are made with ground turkey. I am always looking for turkey recipes. Not as many out there as chicken or beef. Thanks for sharing this one.

20 Jen @ Juanita's Cocina May 31, 2012 at 5:28 pm

Oh my word. I can’t wait to try these! I’m a meatball expert, by the way. I’ll expertly try anything! 😉

21 angela@spinachtiger May 31, 2012 at 9:21 pm

Amy, I love meatballs, all kinds and these look wonderful. I love your one new meal a week goal.

22 Baker Street June 1, 2012 at 12:15 am

Honey chipotle! Wow! That’s such a wonderful combination, Amy! I must give your recipe a try. :)

23 Terry June 1, 2012 at 1:30 am

The sauce for these sounds super yummy! Pinning.

24 Choc Chip Uru June 1, 2012 at 2:03 am

That is one very hectic pairing my friend – very creative 😀

Choc Chip Uru

25 Rikki June 1, 2012 at 10:09 am

Oh my goodness, as soon as I saw chipotle I came running over here!! These sound so good, perfect for a picnic, I love it. And I love that challenge that you took on in the beginning of this year. Such a great idea [:

26 Megan June 1, 2012 at 10:17 am

That sounds like a great goal! I LOVE the look of these meatballs — they sound amazing :)

27 elizabeth @ chronic venture June 1, 2012 at 10:19 am

so hungry for lunch already. and I want these!

28 CJ at Food Stories June 1, 2012 at 11:06 am

I love the idea of trying a new dinner every week. So glad to see it’s paying off for you … Love today’s pic :-)

29 Catalina @ Cake with Love June 1, 2012 at 12:08 pm

Love the sweet and spicy with savory combo in this recipe!

30 Angie@Angie's Recipes June 1, 2012 at 12:33 pm

They are droolworthy! I gotta try the honey chipotle sauce. Looks so good!

31 Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious June 1, 2012 at 1:01 pm

You have such awesome flavors in this dish! It’s definitely going to be made soon.

32 Blond Duck June 1, 2012 at 9:40 pm

I definitely need to do this challenge. And have some meatballs.

33 Jen Laceda @ Tartine and Apron Strings June 1, 2012 at 11:14 pm

perfect! i just defrosted some ground turkey and was hunting around for some good ideas! good timing! will try this this weekend. i say, great minds think alike! heehee!

34 wendy (the weekend gourmet) June 2, 2012 at 12:53 pm

Yummy! I love turkey meatballs and spicy food, so I’m sure this would be a huge hit at our house!! These would make a really great Mexican torta sandwich!!

35 Marina June 3, 2012 at 1:46 pm

Wow, girl, this looks amazingly tasty!

36 Jessica @ Cajunlicious June 3, 2012 at 3:45 pm

These look amazing amy and I love the flavors you used!

37 Steve @ the black peppercorn June 3, 2012 at 9:14 pm

YUM!!! Just look at those meatballs!

Just wanted to let you know that I nominated you for Excellence in Storytelling over at –

38 Jenn and Seth (@HomeSkilletCook) June 4, 2012 at 9:45 am

yum! i definitely need to try this!

39 Ashley - baker by nature June 4, 2012 at 12:18 pm

I just started making meatballs a Monday night thing – these sound excitingly rich in flavor, trying for sure!!!!

40 Erin @ Texanerin Baking June 4, 2012 at 12:38 pm

I’ve never tried ground turkey. It’s always just seemed kind of strange to me. Like ground chicken… why would anyone want to do that? :) Anyway, these look delicious and that sauce sounds great. I like your new dinner a week challenge. That definitely sounds like something I need to be doing!

41 claire @ the realistic nutritionist June 4, 2012 at 1:29 pm

turkey meatballs are the BEST. I love the addition of chipotle here!

42 Jess June 4, 2012 at 8:35 pm

Sounds like a yummy dinner to try! Sounds sweet and spicy!

43 Megan @ Culinary Chops June 5, 2012 at 12:57 pm

What awesome timing! My mother and I just ate dinner (last night) at an amazing NYC staple, The Meatball Shop. They have a cookbook, so you should definitely check it out! The balls are so freaking delicious, so if you love this recipe, I know you’ll love the book.

I’ve tried to make meatballs at home before, but after my dinner last night + your great post, I think I’m finally going to have to give it a try!

44 amy June 5, 2012 at 1:04 pm

you know i’m a huuuuge meatball lover, so i’ll definitely have to check out the cookbook – thanks for the tip!

45 Baking Serendipity June 5, 2012 at 7:33 pm

Love your 2012 challenge! And the fun twist on meatballs :)

46 Ally Garner June 7, 2012 at 6:48 pm

I’m obsessed with anything honey-chipotle lately. I’ve been craving these honey-chipotle wings we usually make during football season, but haven’t been home in my kitchen long enough to make them. These look (and sound) incredible! So uncomplicated & packed with flavor. Bookmarking!

47 Jackie January 3, 2014 at 1:51 pm

I made these last night and they were delicious!!!! I used 3 tablespoons of the chipotle and it was the perfect amount for me. I like spicey but not too spicey. I followed all other instructions to a tee and it worked out perfectly. Enjoy!

48 amy January 3, 2014 at 3:41 pm

So glad you liked them, Jackie! I love ’em, too – we make them a lot!

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