Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

These Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs are juicy and delicious. The addition of grated apple makes them extra tender while apple cider and maple glaze adds tons of flavour and a lovely caramelization.

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Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

Hello everyone! Happy – I am sorry to say that – Monday. I hope this did not sound rude haha. But even if you’re not happy about Monday, I bet you will be excited about this recipe. Because who does not love meatballs, right? Also, who does not love meatballs with a seasonal twist?

Indeed, I have a feeling that I’m developing a new obsession. Meatballs. Besides these Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs and these Lavender Barbeque Sauce Meatballs, I have some other ideas I will be sharing soon. But I believe I won’t need to apologize for this. Because, again, show me a person who has something against some good meatballs.

Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

That’s a relatively simple and not too time-consuming recipe. As noted, there’s a grated apple combined with ground turkey. It does not give any significant flavour, but it makes the meatballs juicy and tender. Since turkey meat is delicate, it also can be quite bland. Thus, it’s important to season the meat well. Here I used garlic and onion powder, smoked paprika, chipotle powder, ginger, and lots of dried herbs.

But the main flavour comes from the glaze. The combination of tart apple cider and maple syrup is phenomenal. This recipes asks for a lot of apple cider, but the sauce isn’t watery. While it cooks, it significantly thickens up and turns into a luscious glaze. Lightly sweet. Lightly tart. And with a subtle apple flavour. Fresh thyme for an extra aroma. That’s so good my friends!

Polenta (Cornmeal) Instead of Bread

As the thickener, I used uncooked instant polenta (cornmeal) – I am just not a huge fan of bread or bread crumbs. However, you can use bread crumbs in place of it. By the way, when making meatballs, always mix the wet ingredients with the spices first and then quickly combine with the ground meat. This will ensure the spices being distributed nicely, so you won’t overmix the meat. Otherwise, your meatballs can turn dense.

This recipe yields roughly 40 small-medium meatballs. That’s quite a lot. Although I am positive you can handle this, you can still make a half of the batch. On the other hand, you shouldn’t :) After all, that can be an excellent dish for your Thanksgiving celebration. Cannot believe it’s Thanksgiving next week in Canada, though.

I hope you like these Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs, and you will try this recipe soon. If you make it, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share you photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen. 


Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs
Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: Main


Prep time


Cooking time



These Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs are juicy and delicious. The addition of grated apple makes them extra tender while apple cider and maple glaze adds tons of flavour and a lovely caramelization.


  • Meatballs:
  • about 2 lb. ground lean turkey

  • 1 medium apple (about 160 gr.), cored and grated

  • 1 egg

  • 1/2 tbsp. salt

  • 1/2 tbsp. garlic and onion powder (not salt), each

  • 1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

  • 1/4 tsp. ground ginger

  • 2/3 tbsp. dried or 1 tbsp. fresh thyme

  • 2-3 tbsp. uncooked instant polenta (cornmeal)

  • 2-3 tbsp. of oil, for frying

  • Glaze:
  • about 600 ml. apple cider, preferably tart

  • 1/3 cup maple syrup

  • Fresh thyme (optional), for garnish


  • In a small bowl combine the egg with herbs and spices, and whisk until well combined.
  • If your grated apple is very juicy, lightly squeeze it to remove the excess of juice. Do not discard all the juices – the grated apple still should be moist when added to the turkey mixture.
  • Place the ground turkey in a large bowl along with the grated apple and polenta. Add the egg mixture and mix with your hands or wooden spoon until evenly blender. Do not overmix as the meatballs could turn dense – about 30 seconds should be enough.
  • Thanks to apple juices, the consistency of the mixture could be slightly sticky which is fine as long as you are able to shape it into meatballs (Use a bowl of water for your hands – that will help.) If you still think it’s hard to shape the meatballs, add a little bit (about 1/2 tbsp.) of instant p[polenta more and quickly mix to combine.
  • Shape the mixture into meatballs (~ 1 inch or as desired). Depending on the size, you should get about 40 meatballs.
  • Heat the oil in a pan cook the meatballs over high medium heat, in few batches, moving them, until nicely seared from all sides, for about 5 minutes per batch. Remove and transfer to a plate and cook with the remaining.
  • In a meantime in a large pan combine the apple cider and maple syrup over high medium heat. Let it cook for about 7-10 minutes to significantly thicken up, stirring occasionally.
  • Once the glaze has thickened up, transfer the meatballs to the pan. Depending on how much of the glaze you will have by that moment, you might not be able to cover the meatballs fully. So using a wooden spoon, stir the meatballs occasionally so they cooked in the glaze for some time.
  • Cover and simmer, stirring , for about 12-15 minutes or until the meatballs are nicely glazed and cooked through (15 minutes would be for a tall pan where meatballs are arranged in 3-5 layers. If you managed to have 2 layers of meatballs, 12 minutes should be more than enough.)
  • Enjoy with a salad, vegetables or carbs of your choice!

30 thoughts on “Apple Maple Turkey Meatballs

  1. Michelle says:

    These turkey meatballs look so flavourful and delicious! Using maple syrup for a glaze is genius! Gonna try this soon since we’ve always got ground turkey in the freezer :)

  2. Valentina says:

    Wow! The seasonal twist is fall perfection. I remember your use of polenta from lavender recipe and think it’s fantastic (especially for those who have to be gluten-free). Really a beautiful recipe. :-) ~Valentina

  3. Shannon says:

    Oh my goodness yum! What a great idea to add apple. I can definitely see how that would make these meatballs extra tender and juicy. And the glaze sounds divine! I definitely need to try using polenta instead of breadcrumbs. These meatballs are just full of amazing components and flavor!

  4. Marissa says:

    First of all these meatballs look absolutely mouthwatering, Ben! What a great idea to add polenta instead of bread and love the added natural sweetness of apples!

  5. David @ Spiced says:

    What a fun idea! I like the way you used apples in these meatballs to add moisture and a bit of acidity. There’s nothing worse than a dry meatball! (Well, there are worse things…but you know what I mean.) This sounds like an excellent (and easy) meal!
    David @ Spiced recently posted…Lasagna BologneseMy Profile

  6. Raymund says:

    I think I am the few people who likes Mondays ?
    Waking up on a Monday, thats a different story but the rest of the day, its fine with me.
    BTW that glaze alone that shines on that meatballs is enough to make me drool!

  7. Kim Lange says:

    These sound so divine! I’m salivating and love the flavor combos going on here with the turkey meatballs! We eat ground turkey all the time, so I’m going to have to give these a go!

  8. Holly says:

    These meatballs are a perfect seasonal dish. Apple and maple addition to the meatballs sounds delicious and homey in the season right now. I like the idea of using polenta instead of bread. Clever!

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