These Carrot and Turkey Meatballs for babies, toddlers and kids are very easy to make with 5 ingredients only. The meatballs are simply baked in the oven and are great for freezing!
Why we love this recipe
Introducing meat to your Bubs can sometimes be challenging, but this meatballs recipe is a fun a delicious (and nutritious) way to do so.
The turkey meatballs can be served on their own, as part of a larger meal like with pasta or rice or even be cut into small pieces and integrated into an omelette!
This recipe is great because:
- These meatballs are perfect for baby-led-weaning. They are easy to hold but soft enough to chew on (disclaimer: these should only be served to babies that already have the capacity to chew and swallow).
- They are simply oven baked - no frying involved!
- The recipe requires no breadcrumbs, no oats and no flour. These turkey balls are gluten-free and dairy-free.
- They freeze really well so they are great when meal-prepping.
Only 4 basic ingredients are required to make these baby meatballs: Turkey Mince, Egg, Olive Oil and Carrot. I also added some spices, which is optional.
I used a mix of Garlic Powder, Cumin, Dried Herbs and a little bit of Salt. You can really use any spices you'd like (I personally did not add any salt until my Bub was 1 year old).
- Olive Oil: can be substituted with your choice of cooking oil like Canola Oil or Grape Seed Oil . It will also work with melted Coconut Oil if preferred.
- Egg: I have not tried this recipe with an egg replacer, but it should be easy enough to replace the egg with a flaxseed egg for example.
- Carrot: grated sweet potato is a great substitute. Alternatively, you can discard the carrot all together.
- Cheese: a little bit of finely grated cheese like mozzarella, parmesan or cheddar cheese will add lots of flavours to the turkey meatballs.
- More veggies: do a mix of carrot and sweet potato for example, or add more veggies like finely chopped spinach or grated zucchini (very well drained).
How to make Turkey Meatballs for Baby
- Preheat your oven on 180'C / 350'F. Line a baking tray with baking paper or a baking mat.
- Photo 1: Finely grate a peeled Carrot into a large mixing bowl.
- Photo 2: Add the Egg, Olive Oil and Spice Mix.
- Photo 3: Mix with a whisk or spatula until combined. You should get a rather liquid mixture.
- Photo 4: Add the ground turkey.
- Photo 5: Using a spatula - or more easily your hands), mix the minced turkey into the other ingredients. You should get a thick paste with evenly distributed ingredients.
- Photo 6: With a small scoop (I used a 1,5 tablespoon scoop), pick up a little bit of the mixture.
If using a larger scoop, make sure to adapt the cooking time. Alternatively, simply use a spoon to pick up the mixture and roll it in your hands.
- Photo 7: optionally, roll it in your hands to create a smooth ball. Otherwise, scoop it over the baking tray directly.
- Photo 8: Repeat until all the mixture has been used, then bake for about 18 minutes (a few minutes more for larger meatballs).
If you are planning on freezing part of the batch, I recommend freezing it before baking it for the best texture. See the freezing section below for more information.
- Remove from the oven and leave to cool down. Serve whole (to older babies) or cut in half or quarters.
- Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days.
Tips for success
- Use a fine grated for the carrot to make sure they are fully cooked. Larger pieces of carrots may not have time to cook in the oven, which will make the turkey meatballs harder to chew.
- Try this recipe with Minced Chicken instead of Minced Turkey for a different flavour! You can also swap the carrot for sweet potato.
- Customise these meatballs with your choice of spices, addition of herbs or veggies or even cheese.
- If preferred, the meatballs can be pan-fried or cooked in the air-fryer (I have not tried this myself so you will need to experiment for the right cooking time).
How to freeze meatballs
This recipe yields 24 turkey meatballs - so it is perfect if you are planning on freezing some (I froze half of the batch). I personally prefer to freeze the meatballs when still raw - so that they have the best texture when ready to serve later on. Alternatively, you can bake the whole batch and freeze them once cooked if preferred.
To freeze unbaked meatballs, scoop and roll the turkey mixture as instructed above then place them on a flat tray lined with baking paper. Place the tray in the freezer for about 2 hours - or until fully frozen. You can then transfer them in a freezing bag or freezer friendly container.
When ready to cook, either place them in the oven fully frozen and add 3 to 4 minutes to the baking time, or let them thaw in the fridge for a few hours before baking. Frozen turkey meatballs can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months!
I have personally only made this recipe with egg, but you should easily be able to use an egg replacer like flaxseed egg if needed.
Yes, this recipe will work without the carrot all together. You can also substitute it for grated sweet potato (or regular potato) if preferred - or even do a mix!
Depending on their ages and ability to hold / chew / swallow, these meatballs can be served on their whole on their own, cut into small chunks and / or accompanied with a dipping sauce. They can also be integrated into a larger meal like Pasta (what I did here) or rice!
I have also been using leftover turkey meatballs inside other dishes like omelettes, quiches or frittatas! Simply cut the meatballs into small chunks to integrate into other recipes. Note that cooked meatballs should only be re-heated once.
They can be served straight away, once cooled down. Leftovers can be kept in the fridge for up to 3 days in an air-tight container. They can be re-heated for 30 seconds to 1 minute in the microwave or for a few minutes in the oven. Simply note that reheating them for too long will make the meat drier.
More Lunch and Dinner Ideas
Baby Carrot Turkey Meatballs
- 1 small Carrot
- 1 Egg
- 15 ml (1 tablespoon) Olive Oil
- 1 teaspoon Garlic Powder
- 1/2 teaspoon Cumin Powder
- 1 teaspoon Dried Herbs
- 1/4 teaspoon Fine Salt, optional
- 500 gr (1 lbs) Minced Turkey
- Preheat your oven on 180'c / 350'f. Line a large baking tray with baking paper or a baking mat.
- Peel the carrot and finely grate it into a large mixing bowl.
- Add the Egg, Olive Oil and Spice Mix. Mix with a spatula or whisk until combined.
- Add the minced turkey and mix it into the other ingredients (see note 1).
- With a small scoop (see not 2), pick up a little bit of the mixture and roll it between your hands to get a small ball. Place the balls on the prepared tray.
- Repeat until all the mixture has been used, then bake for about 18 minutes. Leave to cool down before serving. Leftovers can be stored in the fridge in an air-tight container for up to 3 days (see note 3 to freeze).
- Spices: you can really use any spices you'd like in addition or substitution to the ones I used - or not use any spices at all if preferred. I personally did not add any salt until my Bub was 1 year old.
- Olive Oil: can be substituted Canola Oil, Grape Seed Oil or even Coconut Oil.
- You can mix the turkey in using a spatula, but it will be easier to use your hands. This should give you a mixture with more evenly distributed ingredients.
- I used a 1,5 tablespoon ice cream scoop here. If using a larger scoop (or just picking up the mixture with a spoon), make sure to adjust the baking time accordingly.
- I personally like to freeze the meatballs when still raw - so that they have the best texture. To freeze unbaked meatballs, scoop and roll the turkey mixture as instructed above then place them on a flat tray lined with baking paper. Place the tray in the freezer for about 2 hours - or until fully frozen. You can then transfer them in a freezing bag or freezer friendly container. When ready to cook, either place them in the oven fully frozen and add 3 to 4 minutes to the baking time, or let them thaw in the fridge for a few hours before baking. Frozen turkey meatballs can be kept in the freezer for up to 3 months!