Chipotle-Cranberry-Glazed Turkey Meatballs


Meatballs are paired with a sweet-spicy cranberry sauce for this appetizer ideal for parties.

Chipotle Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs
Photo: Photo: Jennifer Causey / Food stylist Ali Ramee
Active Time:
45 mins
Total Time:
1 hr 5 mins

Cookbook author Carrie Schloss is a big fan of recipes that are both savory and sweet, and says these cranberry-glazed meatballs are one of her favorite go-to appetizers, especially during the winter holiday season. The chipotle pepper and honey added to this cranberry sauce gives it gentle notes of heat and sweetness. She also makes sure the meatballs are well-seasoned with cumin, ancho chile powder and smoked paprika, so that every bite is full of flavor. Using quick-cooking gluten-free oatmeal in the meatballs instead of breadcrumbs makes this a great gluten-free appetizer. If you like, use ground beef or pork instead of turkey to make these meatballs.


Turkey Meatballs

  • 2 pounds lean ground turkey

  • ½ cup finely chopped white onion (from 1 medium [9-ounce] onion)

  • ½ cup uncooked gluten-free quick-cooking oats

  • ½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley

  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt

  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin

  • 1 teaspoon ancho chile powder

  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

  • 2 large eggs

  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic

Cranberry-Orange Sauce

  • 1 medium-size (9-ounce) navel orange

  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries

  • 1 cup water

  • ½ cup Basswood (or Linden) honey

Chipotle-Cranberry Glaze

  • 3 cups Cranberry-Orange Sauce

  • 6 canned chipotle chiles (from 2 [7-ounce] cans chipotle chile in adobo sauce), chopped into 1/4-inch cubes (about 1/4 cup)

  • ¼ cup hot honey (such as Asheville Bee Charmer Smokin' Hot Honey)

  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from 1 [7-ounce] can canned chipotle chile in adobo sauce)


Prepare the Turkey Meatballs:

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside. Place turkey, onion, oats, parsley, salt, cumin, chile powder, smoked paprika, eggs, and garlic in a large bowl. Using your hands, stir together just until everything is fully incorporated (do not overmix). Set aside at room temperature for 10 minutes (meatballs will hold their shape better). Form 40 meatballs using a small cookie scoop (about 2 tablespoons), and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake in preheated oven until firm and a thermometer inserted into thickest portion of meatballs registers at least 165°F, about 20 minutes. Remove from oven, and set aside.

While meatballs bake, prepare the Cranberry-Orange Sauce:

  1. Cut orange (including peel) into 8 to 10 pieces. Place orange pieces in a food processor, and pulse until finely chopped, about 10 pulses. Place chopped orange, cranberries, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until cranberries begin to burst, about 10 minutes. Reduce heat to low; cover pan, and cook, stirring occasionally, until thickened, about 20 minutes. Remove pan from heat, and stir in honey. Let cool at room temperature until ready to use. Cranberry-Orange Sauce may be served immediately or stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in freezer for up to 6 months.

  2. Prepare the Chipotle-Cranberry Glaze: Place Cranberry-Orange Sauce, chipotle chiles, hot honey, and adobo sauce in a large saucepan over medium-high. Cook, uncovered, stirring occasionally, until glaze is heated through, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat, and add meatballs, gently stirring until evenly coated using a spatula. Serve warm or at room temperature. Leftovers may be stored in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 4 days or in freezer for up to 3 months.

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