Sweet Italian Meatballs

Gluten Free

Ground beef has been hard to find in stores due to COVID-19. Since ground turkey has seemed available in the plenty I thought I would come up with a recipe to use it up and sweet Italian meatballs were born.

Or at least my version using ground turkey or ground beef.

Meatballs seemed like a good idea because of mixing ground Italian sausage into the ground turkey. With a little love and seasoning these Italian meatballs came out to be the best meatballs ever!

These old fashioned Italian meatballs are savory and sweet. The sausage gives amazing flavor, its always great to mix meats for more complexity when making meatballs or meatloaf.

First these Italian meatballs bake in the oven and then this gluten free meatball recipe go into the slow cooker. When your ready for something delicious take the frozen gluten free meatballs out and pop them into the crockpot. Dinner is done!

How do you make Italian meatballs from scratch?

Mixing a beef/turkey with sausage really makes the meatballs Italian meatballs. By mixing meats together you get an old school Italian feel.

What goes good with Italian meatballs?

Make a meatball sub, over spaghetti, rice or cauliflower rice!

Do you need breadcrumbs for meatballs?

Not at all. This recipe uses egg as a binder and fruit to soften the mixture and add a perfect amount of sweet and tart.

What brand of meatballs are gluten free?

There are many gluten free brands but to enjoy clean eating try making your own. You know exactly what is in the recipe and homemade food is always better then prepackaged!

How do you make gluten free meatballs from scratch?

Follow the recipe below for details!

Now I am going to let you in on a little secret…FRUIT! Adding in diced pear or apple will keep your meatballs juicy while adding a hint of sweetness. Dont worry its not overpowering but just enough to give you the perfect flavor!

If you’re interested in learning more about Italian food!

You can easily use ground beef instead of ground turkey if you have it, ground beef is my preference but gotta make due with what we can find sometimes.

Enjoy this recipe! My family certainly did! and if you enjoy it or make it tage @familyfoodfreezer or #familyfoodfreezer!

Sweet Italian Meatballs

Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Servings: 8 Adults
Calories: 374kcal
Author: Hannah Stewart


  • 1 lb Ground Turkey (or Ground Beef)
  • 1 lb Italian Sausage (casings removed)
  • 1 cup yellow onion, diced
  • 1 cup apple, diced
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp pepper
  • 4 cup basil tomato sauce (Optional: Use whatever red pasta sauce you have on hand)



  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • Mix together all ingredients, except tomato sauce, in large bowl. This is the fun part, using your hands and mix until everything is well combined and ready to become meatballs!
  • Form into golf ball sized meatballs. Tip: Keep a bowl of water near you and use to keep your hands wet while you form the meatballs. This helps keep your hands from getting stick and keeps them clean while you form the meatballs.
  • Set rolled meatballs onto parchment covered baking sheet and cook in preheated oven for 15-20 minutes. *if freezing meatballs for a future meal cook meatballs for 10-12 minutes and set aside to cook. Continue on from this point in the freezer directions.
  • During last few minutes of meatball cook time heat tomato sauce on stove-top in saucepan to a simmer.
  • Remove meatballs from oven and let simmer in sauce for 5-10 minutes.
  • All ready! Serve over pasta, rice, or even all on their own! (Optional: garnish with fresh parsley and mozzarella cheese).

Freezer Directions:

  • Once meatballs cook for 10-12 minutes in oven remove and set aside to cool. (Make sure meatballs are cool before placing into labeled gallon freezer bag.)
  • Label gallon freezer bag with recipe name, cooking from frozen directions, and expiration date (three months plus today's date).
  • Place cooled meatballs into gallon bag and pour sauce over meatballs into freezer bag.
  • Remove as much air as possible and seal bag. Freeze for up to three months.

Cooking from Frozen Directions:

  • Thaw overnight in fridge or in the morning in water (meal may not be 100% thawed but that is ok).
  • Dump contents of gallon freezer bag into slow cooker.
  • Cook on low 2-3 hours. Then stir and serve! (Optional: Garnish with fresh parsley and mozzarella cheese).

If you like this gluten free dinner you may also like these easy gluten free recipes!

Comment below and let me know what you thought of this recipe! And don’t forget to subscribe to my blog for the latest recipes!

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