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Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce

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


Turkey meatballs in a creamy red curry sauce topped with red pepper flakes and fresh cilantro.

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: 349



  • 2 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/3 cup finely chopped fresh basil
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, finely chopped
  • 2 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 tsp red curry paste (preferably Mae Ploy brand)
  • 2 Tbsp sugar
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tsp kosher salt
  • 2 Tbsp vegetable oil

Curry Sauce

  • 3/4 cup finely diced sweet or yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 Tbsp Thai red curry paste (preferably Mae Ploy brand)
  • 2 (14 oz) cans coconut milk or coconut cream (not cream of coconut or lite coconut milk)
  • 3 Tbsp lime juice, from 2 limes
  • 1 Tbsp fish sauce
  • 1 Tbsp sugar
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup thinly sliced fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
  • chili flakes, (optional)


  1. Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, using your hands or in the base of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix the ground turkey, 1/3 cup basil, garlic, green onions, fish sauce, curry paste, sugar, cornstarch, salt until fully incorporated.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat, until glistening. Scoop the meatballs out into golf ball size portions, 2 tablespoons each, about 30 total, onto a baking sheet or plate.

  3. Using your hands, gently roll the meatballs and place them into the oil. Cook the meatballs in batches until browned on all sides, they do not have to be cooked all the way through. Once browned, place the meatballs on a plate.

  4. Make the red curry sauce: Drain off all but 1 tablespoon oil from the meatball pan. Still over medium heat, add the onions and until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 minute longer. Add the curry paste and break it up as much as possible with a whisk or wooden spoon. Add the coconut milk and stir or whisk until paste and cream are fully incorporated and curry sauce is smooth. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar and salt, stir again to combine.

  5. Bring to a boil over high heat before adding all the meatballs back in, submerging them into the curry sauce. Turn heat to low. Simmer, covered until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through in the center, with a temperature of 165°F on an instant read thermometer, about 20 minutes.

  6. Season the sauce to taste with more salt if needed. Add the fresh basil and stir to combine.

  7. Serve the curry meatballs on their own, alongside cooked rice or over roasted vegetables. Sprinkle with cilantro and crushed red pepper flakes for additional heat.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories349
  • Protein26 g
  • Carbohydrates11 g
  • Total Fat22 g
  • Dietary Fiber0 g
  • Cholesterol78 mg
  • sodium706 mg
  • Total Sugars8 g

Turkey Meatballs in a Creamy Red Curry Sauce

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Corry

    Does this freeze well? I’d like to make a large batch and freeze 1/2.
    Thank you.

    Yes, it will freeze great, hope you enjoy!

  • Beth

    Can I reduce the amount of sugar?

    We haven't tried it this way but it will probably be fine. Hope you enjoy Beth!

  • Annie

    Do you really need two cans of coconut milk? It’s expensive and when I made the Thai red curry salmon the sauce was delicious but soupy. I just wonder if I could get away with one can?

    Only using one can will change the flavor profile of everything you're adding, you're welcome to try but we definitely recommend 2 cans.

  • Mavis Rossen

    I have all the ingredients except for the paste. Could I mix Curry powder with water?

    Unfortunately that would be a pretty different result.

  • Tracy R

    I see the nutritional info per serving listed, but not how much is in one serving. About how much sauce and meatballs are in one serving?

    We will be working on getting yield on our recipes but for now we don't have that information. It serves 8 so a serving would be an eight of the meatballs that you make.

  • Sarah Dunlap

    I am shocked how well this turned out! We love a high protein dinner but ground turkey always has a distinct flavor. We served with sweet potatoes, red bell peppers and green beans over rice and it was a hit!

    Thanks Sarah, happy you loved it!

  • Heidi Nielsen

    Excellent dish! Whole family loved it.

    Thanks heidi!

  • Kathy Lynn


    Thanks Kathy!

  • Kathy Lynn


    Thanks so much Kathy!

  • Catherine

    This was absolutely delicious! Easy to make, clear instructions, versatile ingredients, and makes the whole house smell delicious. Our one note after making it would be to possibly add cornstarch/ thickener to the broth towards the end, as the sauce turns out a little thin. Otherwise, incredible - we ate over white rice and roasted veggies!

    Thanks Catherine, we are so happy that you loved this! Curry is on the thinner side as far as sauces go but definitely feel free to add corn starch if you'd like it to be thicker.