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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 in a skillet.

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

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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. Ground turkey, basil, red curry paste and coconut milk
ground turkey, basil, red curry paste and garlic in a large glass bowl
Thai turkey meatballs on a baking sheet
Browned Thai turkey meatballs browned 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.
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

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: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  45 min
  • Calories: 349



  • 2 pounds ground turkey
  • ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh basil leaves
  • 2 green onions, white and green parts, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon red curry paste
  • 2 tablespoons vegetable oil

Red Curry Sauce

  • ¾ cup finely diced yellow onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 2 (14-ounce) cans full-fat coconut milk, shaken
  • 3 tablespoons fresh lime juice (from 2 limes)
  • 1 tablespoon fish sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
  • ½ cup thinly sliced fresh basil leaves, plus more for garnish
  • Cooked rice or roasted vegetables, for serving
  • Fresh cilantro leaves, for garnish (optional)


  1. Make the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine the turkey, basil, green onions, garlic, fish sauce, cornstarch, sugar, kosher salt, and curry paste. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball–size meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each) and set on a plate. You should have about 20 meatballs.

  2. Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is glistening, working in batches, add

  3. the meatballs in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until the meatballs are just browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn them carefully and cook to brown the opposite side, about 3 minutes. Transfer the meatballs back to the plate.

  4. Make the sauce. Drain off all but 1 tablespoon oil from the skillet and place over medium heat. Add the onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, about 1 more minute. Stir in the curry paste. Add the coconut milk and stir vigorously until the paste and milk are fully incorporated and the sauce is smooth. Add the lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, and fine salt. Taste and add more salt as needed.

  5. Increase the heat to high and bring to a boil, then return the meatballs to the sauce, discarding any collected juices. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.

  6. Remove the skillet from the heat and stir in the fresh basil. Serve over rice or vegetables, garnished with basil and cilantro, if desired.

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.

  • Tarah Martinez

    Instead of cornstarch for the meatballs could I use breadcrumbs?

    Sure! For 2 pounds of turkey you can use up to 1/2 cup bread crumbs. If you do, I would personally add 1-2 eggs as well.

  • Carole

    Could you use all the same ingredients for the turkey but just cook it up scrambled and not make the turkey into meatballs?

    Sure that would probably work fine.

  • Lisa Shroder

    Can you freeze and reheat?

    Yes! Hope you enjoy Lisa.

  • Aman

    I only have 1lb of turkey; could I reduce some of the ingredients such as the cans of coconut milk to 1?

    Sure, feel free to half the ingredients.

  • 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!

  • Charli

    Amazing, the flavors are so yummy! Ground turkey has never tasted better. This recipe is a keeper.

    Thanks Charli, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Charli

    Amazing flavors! So yummy. This recipe is a keeper.

    Thanks Charli, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Sarita Alston

    Absolutely beyond delicious! Just make it you won’t be disappointed!

    Thanks Sarita, we are so happy you loved it!

  • Amy Platt

    So good! Followed recipe exactly, with the exception of using one lb. of chicken and one lb. of turkey. It was phenomenal! Served over rice and roasted vegetables. The sauce is mild and delicious. Will definitely make again.

    Thanks Amy, so happy you love it!

  • Heidi

    I love this recipe so much! Delicious and easy to follow recipe. Thanks for sharing!

    Thanks Heidi! We are so happy you loved it!