Friday, June 20, 2014

Recipe for Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs (Can be Low-Carb and Gluten-Free)

Yes, these Sriracha-Sesame Meatballs really were cooked on the grill!

Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs found on

(For Phase One Fridays I feature Phase One Recipes from the past that have been my personal favorites, and these Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs are something I've been making for a few years now.  You could also cook the meatballs on top of the stove, or right on the grill grates as well if you don't have a grill pan like mine.  This recipe was not originally Phase One, but I discovered you could make the meatballs with almond meal for a phase one version.)

I'm known as the queen of cooking gadgets among my friends, and a few years ago I got a new stainless steel grill grid pan from Sur La Table that really got me excited.  It's flatter than the grill pan I use to cook vegetables, with holes that are small enough to make it perfect for cooking lots of interesting things on top of the grill.  It was definitely this pan that got me thinking about cooking these Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs on the grill.  I'm always looking for interesting ways to cook ground turkey, and these Sriracha-sesame flavored meatballs were a big hit with several people I tried the recipe on.

I found the recipe for Sriracha Turkey Meatballs at Life's Ambrosia and the first time I tried the recipe I fried the meatballs and then baked them, just as Deseree did, so if you're not up for grilling your meatballs, follow that link and use her instructions.  The second time I made this I increased the ingredients because I wanted more meatballs!  My version makes about 20 good-sized meatballs, and they disappeared very quickly!  Whether you grill the meatballs or use the fry-then-bake method, if you like Sriracha Sauce, I'm guessing you'll love these spicy meatballs.

I love this lean ground turkey from Foster Farms, which has only 7% fat, and I buy it at Costco in packages like this which are about 1 1/2 pounds.  I wouldn't use ground turkey breast, which I think would be too dry for this recipe.

I used the chopping bowl of my Immersion Blender to finely chop the garlic, ginger, and green onions, but you could chop them by hand if you don't have a mini-chopper.

Mix together the ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs or almond meal, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, chopped green onions, sesame seeds, Sriracha Sauce, and salt.

I used a 2 T sized scoop to scoop out the meat, then rolled them with my hands to make 20 meatballs (about the size of a large lime.)

Here's a close-up of the stainless steel grill grid pan from Sur La Table that I used. (I bought the pan myself and Sur la Table is not paying me to mention it here.  In fact, they probably don't even know I'm alive!)  I did find a similar Weber Professional-Grade Grill Pan at

Here's my meatballs starting to cook on the pre-heated grill grid pan, but you can see from the photo that you could easily sit your meatballs right on the grill grate if you wanted to.

I turned the meatballs about every 5-7 minutes until they were nicely browned on all sides.

Here they're getting a little more done.  I was enjoying being outside with a big glass of my favorite summer drink while they cooked.

Total cooking time for me was about 30 minutes, but if you're cooking them right on top of the grill grates I think they'd cook a bit faster.

Grilled Sriracha-Sesame Turkey Meatballs
(Makes about 20 medium-sized meatballs; recipe adapted from Sriracha Turkey Meatballs at Life's Ambrosia.)

1 T finely minced garlic
1 T finely minced fresh ginger root
3 green onions, sliced and then finely chopped
1 1/2 lb. ground turkey (use turkey with less than 10% fat for South Beach Diet)
1 egg, beaten
1/2 cup whole wheat bread crumbs (you can make your own from 100% whole wheat bread, or use almond meal for lower-carb and gluten-free Phase One version)
1 1/2 T sesame seeds (I used toasted sesame seeds from the Asian market)
2-3 T Sriracha Sauce (I used 3 T, which I thought was pretty spicy but just right)
1 tsp. sea salt
additional sliced green onions and sesame seeds for garnishing finished meatballs (optional)

Preheat the grill to medium-high.  If you're going to cook meatballs right on the grill, spray with non-stick grill spray or oil the grates with a towel dipped into oil before you heat the grill.

Finely chop the garlic, ginger, and green onions.  I used the mini-chopper attachment of my immersion blender to do this, but you can also chop them by hand.

Put the ground turkey, egg, bread crumbs or almond meal, chopped garlic, chopped ginger, chopped green onions, sesame seeds, Sriracha Sauce, and salt into a bowl and combine gently with your hands until all ingredients are well distributed into the meat.  Then form meatballs with your hands.  (I used a 2 T scoop to scoop out 2 heaping tablespoons of meat and then rolled them in my hands to make balls.  The mixture is fairly soft.)

If you're using a grill grid pan like I did, spray it with non-stick spray or oil and put it on top of the grill to pre-heat for 5 minutes before you put the meatballs on.  (I put them on with my fingers but switched to tongs when the meatballs got hot.)  

Grill meatballs until they are cooked through, turning every 5-7 minutes until all sides are nicely browned.  Total cooking time will be about 30 minutes, or slightly less if you're cooking the meatballs directly on the grill.  Serve hot, garnished with some sliced green onions and sesame seeds if desired.

These kept well in the refrigerator overnight and were delicious just reheated a minute or so in the microwave.

South Beach Suggestions: 
If you use lean ground turkey and 100% whole wheat breadcrumbs, these meatballs are a good choice for phase 2 or 3 of the South Beach Diet.  If made with almond meal you can eat them for Phase One. I'd cook something like World's Easiest Grilled Vegetables or Spicy Grilled Eggplant to share the grill with the meatballs.  (If you're looking for another phase one turkey meatball, I recommend these Phase One Turkey Meatballs with Romano Cheese and Herbs.)

Nutritional Information?
I chose the South Beach Diet to manage my weight partly so I wouldn't have to count calories, carbs, points, or fat grams, but if you want nutritional information for a recipe, I recommend entering the recipe into Calorie Count, which will calculate it for you.

More Tasty Ideas for Ground Turkey:
(Recipes from other blogs not always South Beach Diet friendly; check ingredients.)

Grilled Middle Eastern Turkey Burgers from Kalyn's Kitchen

Greek Turkey Burgers with Yogurt and Feta Cheese from The Perfect Pantry

Thai-Inspired Turkey Mini-Meatball Lettuce Wraps from Kalyn's Kitchen

New Mexican Stew with Ground Turkey + Green Chiles from Gluten Free Goddess

Asian Lettuce Cups (or wraps) with Spicy Ground Turkey Filling from Kalyn's Kitchen

Ground Turkey Thai Laab from Use Real Butter
(Want even more recipes? I find these recipes from other blogs using Food Blog Search.)

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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and Kalyn's Kitchen earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!
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Posts may include links to my affiliate account at, and this blog earns a few cents on the dollar if readers purchase the items I recommend, so thanks for supporting my blog when you shop at Amazon!


  1. I would have never thought to grill meatballs! And I think I see one of those pans in my future!

  2. Deborah, I'm imagining all kinds of things I can cook on that pan; love it! They have 3 sizes and I got the middle sized one.

  3. What a neat pan! I may have to go check that out. I love a good meatball, but would have never thought to make them on the grill.

  4. Mary, love the pan, and love making the meatballs on the grill; no mess!

  5. Those look great. I think I'll make them this weekend, but serve them up on a sub roll as a meatball sammie. Maybe top with more sriracha or something. Thanks for the inspiration!

  6. Mike, I do think they'd make a great meatball sub (and more Sriracha is always good!)

  7. Grilled meatballs? Ingenious! I have a pan (not as nice as yours) that might work and I'm absolutely going to try this. Love the idea of smoky/crispy exteriors.

  8. These look so amazing. In fact, I'll be making them tonight, even though we have tons of leftovers to eat up lol. I'm assuming I'd be able to freeze them? Also, I dont have a grill..only a George Forman grill, would that be ok. Thanks for sharing this awesome recipe :D

  9. Lydia, any pan that sits on the grill will work fine, but I do love my new one!

    Tiffany, the meatballs are pretty soft so for the George Foreman Grill I would probably cook them with the lid open. Just turn a few times like I did on the grill.

  10. Becca, we were writing comments at the same time. Bring those cute boys for a visit and I'll make them for you!

  11. What a neat pan, although I'm not sure I'd want to scrub it (I'm a lazy dishwashwer!). My kids would love these spicy meatballs - definitely going to give these a try. I think they would make a nice make-ahead meal for when school starts.

  12. They look great. That pan is pretty awesome!

  13. With holes that small, the possibilities are endless! I love all of the flavor you've infused into these!

  14. Jeanette, I sprayed the pan and it wasn't bad; just put it in the dishwasher! I do think the pan has a lot of possibilities. The spicy flavors of these really appealed to me.

  15. They also sell disposable mesh pans for the grill, for those people who aren't into the clean up.

    These meatballs are one of the best things I've seen in a while, I'd like to try them with ground chicken.

  16. Cant wait to try this! Do you think this recipe would work as turkey burgers?

  17. Great use of the grill pan... I find whatever I would use on a skewer can just as easily be cooked up in these pans.

  18. Sorry I have been a little slow to respond; I'm cleaning out my dad's house with my siblings for the next couple of days so I'm pretty distracted from the blog.

    I haven't seen the disposable mesh pans for the grill. Sounds interesting.

    I think this would be great for turkey burgers.

    Dave, I am loving my grill pans.

  19. Oooo yummy. I SO need a grill pan and I have a bottle of Siracha languishing in the fridge.


  20. The grill pan is great, but you can definitely make these without it.

  21. These look amazing! I love the idea of a grilled meatball, and it's awesome that you use turkey- way healthier. Can't wait to try these!


  22. Miriam, thanks. Hope you will try them. I know they're going to be a regular feature on the menu here.

  23. These are absolutely heavenly, especially for my heat-loving husband. Thank you for a great new addition to our repertoire! Here are my modifications:
    Doubled the recipe
    Used 2 lbs ground beef (grass-fed) and 1 lb ground turkey
    Replaced the bread crumbs with almond flour (we're avoiding gluten, sometimes)
    Used a little Thai basil in the mix because we had it
    Cooked them on a grill pan on the stovetop.
    As I said, they were just wonderful. We ate them with cilantro-peanut slaw and quinoa. Thanks again!

  24. Emily I like the sound of your version, especially the Thai basil. I'm especially glad to know it worked well with almond flour.

  25. I am making these very soon - I am a Sriracha addict, with no intentions of ever quitting the habit! Love, love, love it!

    I usually bake my meatballs in the oven, but grilling is even better - no mess!

    THanks, Kalyn!

  26. Sally, I intend to keep feeding my own Sriracha addiction too. Hope you enjoy the meatballs!

  27. Ooh, love this idea for a summer cook-out. Meatballs and Sriracha together is like music to my ears.

  28. Could you do this in the oven? For summer, this is great, but I could see these being a great appetizer for a fall dinner party, etc...

  29. The original recipe fried the meatballs until they were brown and then baked for 20 minutes; I'd do that if you're not grilling them. There is a link to those instructions in the post.

  30. I've found that almond flour makes really soft, delicious meatballs and they hold together pretty well! I forgot to mention that I made mine kind of big and the outsides blackened during cooking on the grill pan - and the black parts were the BEST.

  31. Emily, meatballs with almond flour just went on my "must try" list! Thanks for the info.

  32. I actually made these,and they were fabulous. Two things I did different,I had no fresh ginger,so I used my powder ginger,and 2ndly I used my grill fry pan to cook on the stove. I loved them,and my new fav hot sauce (sriracha)which I had never tried before. DH does not like turkey meatballs,but guess who went in for seconds..;o)Thanks Kalyn,this was a winner for us.

  33. So glad the recipe was a winner!

  34. Kalyn, these sound fantastic - right up our alley! Now that it's fall I'll have to try them out for a football party sometime soon.

  35. Could i use this recipe in the oven? what would the settings be and where would i place the meatballs?

  36. Francesca, here's a recipe for Baked Swedish Meatballs that might give you some ideas. The Swedish Meatballs are made with pork and beef and they are a bit smaller, so I might reduce the temperature a little and cook them for a slightly shorter time for these turkey meatballs. (Can't say for sure as I haven't tried it in the oven.)

  37. This recipe is amazing! I cook these guys in the oven (350 degrees; about 20 minutes) and freeze large batches of them. They freeze beautifully and I know that I always have something yummy/healthy in the freezer for a quick meal :)

  38. Hillary, so glad you've been enjoying them so much!

  39. A friend reminded me recently that I'd sent them this recipe. They made theirs with beef. I am vegetarian and decided to try them with chickpeas. I processed two cans of chickpeas in the food processor and kept the rest of the recipe as is, except I forgot to put in the breadcrumbs. I baked them in a 350° oven on a slipat-lined baking sheet for about 35 minutes. They were excellent! My heat-loving boyfriend enjoyed them. My friends who made them enjoyed that they come together so easily, and I couldn't agree more.

  40. Very interesting idea to make it with chickpeas, and I'm betting I would like it!

  41. I just made these for dinner tonight but I used ground chicken thighs and added 1/2T of cherry smoked poblano powder I made. I also made a sauce to top them with using a cup of sour cream, the juice of one lime, and 1T of sriracha. My wife and son were impressed!

  42. Wade, I think your version sounds great!

  43. Hi Kalyn! Ive made these meatballs a lot, everybody loves them.
    I go t the idea to use this recipe to make turkey burgers. cooked them on the grill and served them on whole wheat buns with sliced tomato, onion, and some spinach. best turkey burgers ever!

  44. I absolutely love the idea of using this mixture to make burgers; thanks for sharing!

  45. I work for SurLaTab. Your recipes are great. I know that grill pan. I do not grill so I use a Scan Pan grilling pan. It works very well. You are awesome. I am eating healthier
    meals and your blog certainly promotes that. I need to loose weight and have type 2 diabetes which is under control. Losing weight is very hard for me. I love to cook and eat. My portion control is the problem. I am so happy I found you. Keep the good work.
    Ina Hill
    Faithful follower

  46. Ina good luck on the weight loss, I hope you can figure out a plan that works for you!

  47. Wow these meatballs look great. I need a hoagie roll with these. Idon't have access to a grill right now but I'm going to try thee in the oven!

  48. Thanks Bill, hope you enjoy! And I love the name of your blog.

  49. We have a nut allergy in the house, so anything almond is out. But I did recently buy a bag of garbanzo bean flour. Do you think I would be able to substitute that at the same amount?

  50. Jenn if you can, I would just use breadcrumbs if you can't use the almond meal. I'm not sure how garbanzo flour would work, but I'm skeptical; it's pretty fine and kind of stick compared to almond meal.

  51. I love these and have made them seceral times as hubby likes too, I bake in the oven and they still turn out awesome!

  52. Barb, thanks for sharing that. I love the idea of baking them!

  53. I would love to make these and freeze some for quick meals - would you suggest freezing them fully cooked - or when raw?

    1. I'd freeze after they're cooked. Maybe cook a little shorter time since they will cook more when you reheat. Hope you enjoy!


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