Sage Turkey Cranberry Meatballs with gravy

Side view of Turkey Cranberry Meatballs with smooth buttery gravy and garnished with dried cranberries and chopped parsley. One meatball is cut in half to show the texture and variety.

5 from 3 reviews

These savory and slightly sweet Turkey Cranberry Meatballs are a festive American take on Swedish Meatballs with gravy! They are gluten-free and dairy-free.

Note that this recipe uses only 11 ingredients in total -- some ingredients are listed twice in different categories.


Units Scale

Turkey Meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened cashew milk
  • 1/4 cup onion, finely minced
  • 2 tablespoons dried cranberries, finely minced

Meatball Spices

  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt


  • 1/4 cup butter (I used dairy-free)
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons tapioca starch
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cashew milk


  • If pan-frying the meatballs: 1-2 tablespoons butter for frying
  • Italian flat-leaf parsley leaves to garnish
  • extra dried cranberries to garnish


  1. Preheat the oven (if baking): If baking the meatballs, Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F (215 degrees C).
  2. Make the meatball mixture: Mix all meatball ingredients and meatball spices together in a medium mixing bowl with your hands, until well-mixed.
    Overhead view of hands making a meatball mixture.
  3. Roll into balls: Roll the meatball mixture into 1-inch balls (or 1 1/2 inch balls if baking -- about the size of a ping-pong ball) and place on a baking sheet.
    Overhead view of raw turkey meatballs on a pan ready to be baked or fried.
  4. If Baking: Bake for 15-20 minutes or until firm when pressed.
  5. If Pan-Frying: Heat a large skillet to medium-high heat. Add a tablespoon of butter and push it around with a spatula to evenly coat the pan. Start by searing the meatballs on the outsides as evenly as possible by browning a new side every 2-3 minutes. I do this in two batches so there is room to roll the meatballs around. Once seared, drop the heat to medium and continue to roll them around every 2-3 minutes to cook through. Cook until the meatballs are firm when pressed and a meat thermometer shows a temperature of 165 degrees F (74 degrees C) in the center of a meatball. When finished cooking, place the meatballs on a clean plate or baking sheet and set aside.
    Note: If you have a hard time reaching this temperature, add a cover and drop the heat to medium-low to allow them to cook through without burning on the outsides. 
    Overhead view of 1-inch turkey meatballs in a skillet, partially cooked.
  6. Make the gravy: Melt coconut butter in a large skillet on medium heat. Add spices and tapioca starch, mixing until smooth (without clumps) with a spatula or whisk. Add broth in ~¼ cup increments and stir briskly or whisk well with each addition to make smooth. Add cashew milk in the same fashion. Bring to a low boil for 3-5 minutes to thicken. Add extra broth as needed to get your desired gravy consistency.
  7. Putting it together: Place the cooked meatballs in gravy. Push them around gently to get them nice and saucy! For a little extra flavor, simmer together for 5 minutes before removing from heat. Garnish with extra dried cranberries and parsley (optional). Then serve and enjoy!
    Overhead view of finished turkey cranberry meatballs in a smooth gravy and garnished with chopped parsley.


Storage: Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.


  • Panko (or gluten-free panko) - instead of instant mashed potato flakes, you can use regular or gluten-free panko in equal amount.
  • Vegetarian - the lean ground turkey can be replaced with a plant-based ground meat substitute to make this recipe vegetarian.

This recipe is naturally gluten-free and dairy-free!


If pan-frying, use a meat thermometer. Not only does cooking the meatballs through to 165 degrees F (75 C) make the meat safe to eat, it also helps to prevent overcooking so the meatballs stay nice and juicy on the inside!

Mind the meatball size. If pan-frying, make 1-inch meatballs. If baking, you can make larger meatballs -- about 1 1/2 inches or the size of a ping pong ball.

Keywords: thanksgiving turkey meatballs, turkey meatballs recipe, turkey sage meatballs