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Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Calories: 501
Turkey meatballs in a creamy red curry sauce topped with red pepper flakes and fresh cilantro.

Herby, garlicky Thai meatballs simmered in a creamy red curry sauce are the “fusion” flavor bomb you didn’t know you needed.

Red Curry Paste x 2

You all know that we crush hard on red curry paste, but this recipe is kind of next level, even for us. With a generous amount of spicy, fragrant curry paste in both the Thai meatballs and the red curry sauce that they simmer in, these Thai turkey meatballs deliver all of those herby, vivacious Thai flavors you love in a major way. What is it that makes red curry paste so delicious? Well, the ingredients actually vary quite a bit brand-to-brand (we always use the Mae Ploy brand—not sponsored! We’re just loyal fans) but typically red curry paste at least includes:

  • Chilis. Dried or fresh chilis—different cooks use different combinations of different varietals, but red curry paste is nothing without chili pepper heat.
  • Herbs and spices! Think classic, deeply fragrant Southeast Asian flavors—coriander, lemongrass, galangal, kaffir lime.
  • Fish sauce or shrimp paste. While it’s easy to find vegan brands that don’t have this added fish-y element (if you need a vegan red curry paste, try the Thai and True brand) our favorite brands include shrimp paste. It adds a wonderful saltiness.
turkey meatballs in a red curry sauce topped with fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes

Meatballs for Dinner? Appetizers? Superbowl Snacks? Try All of the Above!

Thai red curry turkey meatballs are the perfect all-occasion nibble. Cut the recipe in half to make a simple dinner for a small family, or feed a crowd by doubling it. Plus! Our Thai meatball recipe is totally dairy-free, grain-free, and egg-free, which makes it a great meal to serve when you aren't certain of everyone's dietary restrictions. The red curry sauce is so silky-smooth, thick, and flavorful, and wonderfully comforting on a cold winter evening. And while it does have red curry paste in it—which is inevitably a little spicy—you can control the amount and tailor it the littles in your life. If you’ve got a spice-averse kid, just dial back the red curry paste a bit. Spice-lovers can always add hot sauce to their servings.

ingredients for thai curry meatballs in small bowls
ingredients for thai turkey meatballs in a large glass bowl
thai turkey meatballs on a baking sheet
thai turkey meatballs browned in a large white skillet
garlic, and curry pasted browned in a large white skillet
coconut milk with curry paste in a large white skillet
turkey meatballs in a red curry sauce in a large white skillet
turkey meatballs in a red curry sauce topped with fresh cilantro in a large white skillet

How To Make Thai Meatballs (and the Creamiest Red Curry Sauce, Ever.)

Garlicky and spiced, these Thai turkey meatballs would be good in ANYTHING. And this insanely rich red curry sauce would be good ON anything. Together, they’re a take-no-prisoners combination that’ll please any crowd you serve them to. Here’s how to make them:

  1. Begin by making the meatballs, just as you would any other meatball! Combine the ingredients, roll the Thai meatballs, and brown the meatballs in a skillet (but don’t cook them all the way through.)
  2. Whip up the red curry sauce, using the same large skillet you browned the meatballs in.
  3. Simmer the meatballs in the curry sauce until they’re cooked through.
  4. Serve! Serve it over rice if you’d like it to be a main course, or you can serve it the same way you’d serve Swedish meatballs as an appetizer or party snack, with toothpicks for nibbling.
turkey meatballs in a creamy red curry sauce over white rice in a white bowl topped with fresh cilantro and red pepper flakes

Tools You’ll Need:

red curry turkey meatballs in a coconut curry sauce over white rice in a bowl


Red curry paste makes everything better—are you on board yet?

Not Your Grandma’s Meatballs

We love spaghetti and meatballs as much as the next person, but it’s fun to mix it up now and again, right? Snap a photo of your turkey Thai meatballs in red curry sauce and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce

  • Serves: 8
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 45 min
  • Calories: 501



  • 2 lbs Ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup Finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 tbsp Fish sauce (such as nam pla or nuoc nam)
  • 1 tsp Red curry paste (preferably mae ploy brand)
  • 2 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp Coarse kosher salt
  • 2 tbsp Canola oil

Curry Sauce

  • 3/4 cup Onions, finely diced
  • 4 Garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp Thai red curry paste (preferably mae ploy brand)
  • 2 14 oz cans full fat coconut milk or cream (we like trader joe's brand or any authentic brand found at an asian market)
  • 3 tbsp Lime juice
  • 1 tbsp Fish sauce
  • 1 tbsp Sugar
  • 1 tsp Salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Fresh basil, thinly sliced (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro leaves, (optional)
  • Chili flakes, (optional)


  1. To make the Thai meatballs, mix all meatball ingredients (leave out canola oil) together until fully incorporated. If available use a stand mixer set on medium speed with the flat beater attachment. Heat oil in a large skillet or frying pan over medium heat. Using a cookie scoop or tablespoon scoop meatballs out in 2 tbsp portions. Using your hands, gently roll and place the meatball in the oil. Brown the meatballs in batches of 10 on all sides, but do not cook all the way through. Place meatballs on a plate and set aside.
  2. To make the red curry sauce, drain off all but 1 tbsp oil from the pan. Add the onions and sauté until soft, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and sauté 2 minutes longer. Add the Thai red curry paste and break it up as much as possible followed by the coconut milk and stir or whisk until paste and cream are fully incorporated and curry sauce is smooth. When your red curry sauce base is smooth, add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and salt if using. Bring to a boil and add all the meatballs back into the Thai red curry sauce. Turn heat to a simmer, cover the pan with a lid. Simmer meatballs for 20 minutes until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through the center. Add fresh basil and stir to combine.
  3. Serve over your choice of rice or roasted veggies, with cilantro and crushed red pepper flakes for additional heat.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories 501
  • Protein 33 g
  • Carbohydrates 13 g
  • Total Fat 36 g
  • Dietary Fiber 0 g
  • Cholesterol 116 mg
  • sodium 1639 mg
  • Added Sugars 7 g

Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Ria

    The knife is a bread knife if I'm correct? Can you also add more tools like teaspoons, measuring cups etc.

    Oops! That link should be to a chef's knife, not a serrated knife. Thank you for catching that!

  • Erin

    I made this yesterday, and it was delicious - restaurant-quality! I followed the recipe almost exactly with two substitutions: soy sauce instead of fish sauce, tapioca starch instead of cornstarch. I even bought that specific brand of Thai red curry paste, and your recommendation was spot on. It had such a nice, slow-burning spiciness. I would definitely make this again, although it did end up taking me about two hours instead of one. Maybe next time will be quicker since I'll have already gone through the steps once.

    So glad you loved it! Timing is one of the things that we are trying to be more mindful of getting right. It may be that it takes longer than the stated 1 hour. I'll have to retest it again.

  • Chanel Green

    Can full fat coconut milk be used if I can’t find the coconut cream?

    Yes totally!

  • Friesen

    Such amazing flavor!

    Thank you Friesen!

  • Fran Salman

    Absolutely delicious. I slightly increased the amount to serve 10 people for dinner. Very easy to put together and a crowd pleaser. In addition, this is a two-pot dinner—easy clean up. I can't wait to make it again. The ground turkey seems to hold together better than ground beef.

    So glad to hear you loved it Fran! Thanks for trying it out!

  • Andrea Camp

    I had to stop, mid-chew to come and comment on this. It is absolutely amazing. I tasted the sauce while plating the food for my family, and thought about offering them something else and saving this for hubby and I. Lol Then I made my plate, bit into the meatball....and here I am. Hubby even said, "This is pretty GOOD." I only made half the recipe, thinking my little ones wouldn't be able to eat it. I was wrong. This is a keeper! I served it with creamy mashed gold potatoes, roasted zucchini, grape tomatoes, and purple onion, and garlic bread. I told myself that I would come back to recipes that I love and make sure the author/blogger knows it. 5 stars.

    "mid-chew" 😂 Well, you've made our day! thank you so much!!

  • Justin

    Made this with frozen meatballs I wanted to use but I am so excited to make the complete recipe. It was delicious, the curry sauce was amazing. I also didn't have the basil and can only imagine how much that will improve the whole taste.

    So glad it was a hit! Excited to hear how it goes next time!!

  • Tim Stevens

    I reduced the recipe in half to serve 3 people and it was perfect. I used the Instant Pot, which helped with cleanup and cooked the meatballs to perfection with ~2 minutes each side. Such a great meal, my audience of two raved about it, thanks Modern Proper!!

    Yay. So happy to hear this!