I Tried 8 Bags of Frozen Turkey Meatballs and Now These Are the Only Ones I’ll Buy

published Nov 25, 2019
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Credit: Diana Yen

Thanksgiving is just a few days away and that means that most of us have turkey on the brain. Chances are, we’re all going to be up to our eyeballs in turkey (of the leftover variety) by the end of the week, but that didn’t stop me from setting out to discover the best frozen turkey meatballs money could buy.

See, a few months ago, I taste-tested 11 different brands of frozen beef meatballs, and selected my two favorites out of that group (and handed out nine participation ribbons). Readers wrote in, asking about turkey meatballs and, to be honest, I had the same question. So I went back out and picked up eight different brands (from supermarket chains and two specialty stores), and prepared them all to see which of these beauties would be the best. 

Much like their beef counterparts, these meatballs are all fully cooked, which means they can be baked in a conventional oven, heated in the microwave, or added to a sauce and simmered on a stovetop. I opted for the oven method, if only because they all had reasonably similar cooking times, and because that’s how I cooked the beef versions. 

In the previous meatball taste test, I had to down a LOT of meatballs before I hit one that was even remotely enjoyable, but that wasn’t the case with the turkey ones. Seven of the eight were all better-than-average — and surprisingly, the only one that I didn’t want to finish was from an otherwise beloved store brand. All eight had very similar flavor profiles, which ranged from “lightly seasoned with parsley” to “you’ll be tasting parsley for the next six hours.” 

My runner-up meatballs were from one of Publix supermarket’s own brands, Greenwise. Those turkey meatballs are all flame-broiled, which provided some added depth to their flavor, and I loved how they crisped in the oven. Although they’re not a gluten-free food (they contain bread), they are made from antibiotic-free and hormone-free meat. 

My hands-down favorite meatballs? They were actually the ones I cooked first, which is rarely the case. Simek’s Turkey Meatballs are a glorious combination of turkey, Romano and ricotta cheeses, and a pleasing hint of rosemary. Each gluten-free, half-ounce meatball is bite-sized, which makes them a better candidate for, say, a soup or a sauce than it does a sub sandwich, but they’d still make excellent appetizers. (Serve them with a cranberry sauce — yes, even next month after Thanksgiving has passed!) They’re also widely available at Walmart, Target, and mainstream grocery stores.

To recap: If you’re not ready to go cold turkey on turkey by the end of the week, Simek’s Turkey Meatballs are the ones to go for. Sorry, I’m saying turkey a lot! (See, turkey on the brain!)