Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs

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Dinner, Main Course, Appetizer Thai
By Adapted from The Modern Proper Serves: 2-4
Prep Time: 20 Minutes Cooking Time: 30 Minutes Total Time: ~50 Minutes

With deep, savory flavor, Thai Red Curry Turkey Meatballs are seasoned with red curry and fresh herbs, braised in a red curry coconut sauce.


  • Meatballs
  • 2 lbs. Ground Turkey
  • 1/4 cup Diced Yellow Onion
  • 1/3 cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 4 Garlic Cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 tsp. Red Curry Paste
  • 2 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tbsp. Cornstarch
  • 2 tsp. Kosher Salt
  • 2 tbsp. Vegetable Oil
  • Red Curry Sauce
  • 3/4 cup Finely Diced Yellow Onion
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 tbsp. Thai Red Curry Paste
  • 2 (14 oz) cans Coconut Milk
  • 3 tbsp. Lime Juice
  • 1 tbsp. Fish Sauce
  • 1 tbsp. Sugar
  • 1 tsp. Kosher Salt, plus more to taste
  • 1/2 cup Finely Chopped Fresh Basil
  • 1/2 cup Cilantro Leaves
  • Red Chili Flakes, optional




Combine the ground turkey, kosher salt, sugar, cornstarch, garlic, onions, fish sauce, chopped fresh basil and Thai red curry paste in a large bowl. Use your hands to mix the ingredients, to thoroughly combine. Be sure not to over mix, or mash the meat mixture into a paste, this will make the meatballs tough.


Once mixed, use a 1.5-2 tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop the meatballs and place on a lined sheet tray. Once all the balls are made, use your hands to roll each ball into a smooth golfball-sized meatball.


In a large skillet or braiser, heat 2 tablespoons of vegetable oil over medium-high heat. Once the oil is shimmery, add the meatballs to the skillet. Begin turning the meatballs after about 2 minutes. Then keep turning them to evenly brown all sides. As they cook, they will shrink so you can add the rest of the meatballs to the skillet as you go.


When the meatballs are evenly browned (they don't need to get cooked all the way through – they will finish in the sauce), transfer them to a clean sheet pan or plate and set them aside. Turn off the heat under the skillet.

Red Curry Sauce


Return to the skillet we browned the meatballs in and spoon out all but about 1 tablespoon of the oil. Turn the heat up to medium and add the diced onions. Sauté just until the onions soften then add the garlic and sauté for just 30 seconds more. Then add the red curry paste and stir it into the onions.


Once the curry paste is fully mixed into the onions, pour in the two cans of coconut milk. Stir to combine and emulsify the curry paste into the coconut milk. Add the lime juice, fish sauce and sugar to the curry, stir and turn up the heat to bring the curry up to a low boil. Taste the curry sauce and add a pinch of kosher salt if needed.


As the curry sauce is coming up to a boil, add the meatballs to the curry sauce. When you reach the low boil and all the meatballs are back in the skillet, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer and cover the skillet. Let this simmer covered for 15 minutes.


Let the meatballs continue simmering uncovered for about five more minutes, just to reduce the sauce slightly. Stir the sauce and meatballs occasionally. Taste the curry sauce and add more kosher salt as needed. After the uncovered 5 minute simmer, cut the heat. Sprinkle with more chopped fresh basil (sprinkle with red pepper flakes if you like!) and we are ready to serve!


Garnish with cilantro leaves and more red pepper flakes, if desired.