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Make skillet meatballs with quick homemade marinara for an easy Italian feast


Homemade turkey meatballs cooked in a cast-iron skillet and simmered in a simple marinara sauce is the Italian comfort food dish you’ve been craving.

Bonus: It’s so easy to make — just 25 minutes of prep time means this is the perfect weeknight meal.

Lean ground turkey is combined with eggs, fresh breadcrumbs, lots of garlic and herbs for tender meatballs that are then cooked in a cast-iron skillet. I love the flavor cast iron gives food but if you don’t own one use a large pan or even bake them in the oven. And don’t forget the super-easy marinara sauce and plenty of Parmesan cheese on top.

These meatballs are perfect alongside a big green salad, in fresh bread as subs or over your favorite pasta.

Another great thing about this recipe is you can freeze the meatballs and have them ready for a later date.

Smothered Parmesan skillet meatballs in marinara recipe

This hearty homemade meatball recipe uses lean ground turkey simmered in zesty marinara sauce and topped with fresh Parmesan cheese.

Serves 8

Prep time: 25 minutes | Cook time: 30 minutes | Total time: 55 minutes


For the meatballs

  • 1 pound lean ground turkey
  • 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 2 whole eggs
  • 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream or milk
  • 1/2 cup Italian style breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasonings
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the marinara sauce

  • 1 (24 ounce) jar tomato sauce
  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried marjoram
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 tablespoon agave or pure maple syrup

For garnish

  • Freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • Chopped basil


  1. In a mixing bowl, add all of the ingredients for the meatballs and 1 tablespoon of the olive oil.
  2. Using your hands, mix well and form into uniformly-sized meatballs (I used a tablespoon to help keep the meatballs the same size).
  3. Heat the skillet over medium heat and add the remaining 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add the meatballs to the skillet and cook about 12-15 minutes turning the meatballs several times to cook evenly.
  4. To a separate mixing bowl add the ingredients for the marinara sauce and mix well.
  5. Pour the sauce over the top of the meatballs and cover the skillet. Cook covered for 15 minutes and remove from the heat.
  6. Garnish the meatballs with freshly grated Parmesan cheese and chopped basil before serving.
  7. Serve over pasta, in hoagie rolls, or alongside vegetables or a salad.

More meatball recipes

Spicy garlic baked meatballs
Cheese-stuffed meatballs
Vegetarian meatballs with pesto cream sauce

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