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Mini Barbecue Meatballs

Mini meatballs with BBQ glaze
Casey Barber
Cook Time:
25 mins
Prep Time:
20 mins
84 mini meatballs

Chef notes

These mini meatballs might just become the star of your next holiday party. They're bite-sized and perfect for serving with festive cocktails. They’re made with equal parts of ground beef and ground dark turkey meat; the latter means that they’re a little lighter but still plenty tender and flavorful, thanks to the dark poultry meat. An entire cup of cheddar cheese is folded into the meat, along with Italian-style breadcrumbs; when you add these ingredients, be careful not to overmix in order to keep the meatballs light. A couple tablespoons of Worcestershire sauce brings a sweet-sour edge that complements the glaze.

And yes, let’s talk about that sticky-sweet glaze. You’ll want to slurp it up on its own, but it really does take these beef and turkey meatballs to the next level. It’s a ketchup-based sauce that’s amped up with soy sauce for a salty, umami-rich edge plus light brown sugar, onion powder, garlic powder, smoked paprika and cayenne pepper. It comes together in a snap and can be prepped as the meatballs bake in the oven. 

That’s the other thing that we love about this recipe. Rather than pan-frying the meatballs, which can lead to oil splatters all over your stovetop, these are oven baked with no oil at all. Not only is this a healthier way to cook meatballs, but it’s so much easier. 

Make it ahead: The meatballs can be made up to 2 days in advance. Cool the meatballs to room temperature on the baking sheet, then transfer to a lidded container or sealable bag and refrigerate. Reheat in a 300-degree oven and toss with the glaze before serving.

The glaze can be made up to 1 week in advance. Refrigerate in a lidded container and re-warm in a saucepan before tossing with the reheated meatballs.

Swap Option: Use freshly grated Parmesan in place of cheddar cheese for Italian-style meatballs.


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground dark meat turkey
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
BBQ glaze
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 teaspoons light brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
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Make the meatballs:


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.


In a large bowl, add the beef, turkey, cheese, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, pepper and salt and, using your hands, mix until well combined.


Roll small pieces of the mixture into 1-inch meatballs between the palms of your hands and place on the baking sheet. The meatballs can be closely spaced, but make sure they are not touching.


Bake for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are deeply browned. Serve immediately with the glaze or follow the make-ahead instructions below to safely store.

Make the glaze:

Combine all ingredients in a medium saucepan over low heat. Bring to a simmer and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring frequently.

Toss the meatballs in the glaze until evenly coated, then serve immediately.