Sweet, spicy, sticky, and absolutely delicious--these sweet chili turkey meatballs make the perfect appetizer for the big game. Even better, you can whip up this appetizer in under 30 minutes from start to finish.
This is a post sponsored by Domino® Golden Sugar. All reviews and opinions expressed in this post are based on my personal view.
Sweet chili turkey meatballs are the surprise hit you need to bring to your next party. As someone who loves any occasion to eat a bunch of appetizers as a full meal, these sweet and spicy meatballs are my new favorite party food to eat.
They are also my new favorite party food to make because this whole recipe comes together in under 30 minutes. Don’t let that sticky and delicious glaze fool you, these 1oz sweet chili turkey meatballs are only 1 WW SP for those that follow the blue and purple plan.
I am an appetizer connoisseur. I can eat apps for every meal and be totally okay with that. I’ve even been known to make party food like my buffalo chicken dip and call it meal prep. You should see me at cocktail hours during a wedding because I’m the worst person to have a conversation with. I will 100% stop a story mid sentence to go get a new hors d'oeuvre as they are being passed around, and I will definitely not be making any eye contact for the full hour because I am on the hunt for tiny food on skewers.
This appetizer is the type of appetizer I’d be on the hunt for at a wedding happy hour. These sweet chili turkey meatballs are a perfect bite of sweet and spicy. They satisfy my want for something like chicken wings without the price of ordering or mess of frying at home.
The flavor of this is a combo of sweet and spicy that your guests will love. You get the sweetness right away, but that heat comes up at the end. It is not an overpowering heat or lingering heat--somewhere between mild and hot wings. If you like extra heat, give this sauce another heaping tablespoon of sambal oelek. If you want a sweeter sauce, add another ¼ cup of Domino® Golden Sugar.
Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili sauce is a surprisingly simple recipe to make. In the past, it would have been a little more difficult to find staple Asian ingredients like rice vinegar and sambal oelek, but most supermarkets do carry these ingredients in an Asian food aisle.
You may actually see bottled sweet chili sauce that you could be tempted to pick up, but fresh is way better (coming from someone who had two bottles in his pantry) because you can use simple ingredients and customize your sweet heat ratio.
Speaking of heat, let’s talk sambal oelek. Sambal oelek is an Indonesan chili paste that lovers of heat and spice should keep in their kitchens at all times. I like Sriracha, but I’m not in love with it the same way I love sambal oelek. Sambal oelek does not have as strong of a vinegar taste and it is way less acidic than sriracha.
The sugar I’m using in this recipe is Domino® Golden Sugar. I first tried this new Domino® Golden Sugar when it first came out over the summer, and it has been the sugar I’ve used exclusively since; it is a less processed sugar that is a cup for cup sugar. It cooks just like white sugar, but I do like the fact that my kids are eating less processed foods. Looking for a sweet dessert using Domino® Golden Sugar? You need to try my Golden Peach Cobbler--it’s amazing.
How to Make Turkey Meatballs
Turkey meatballs make a great appetizer because of how simple they come together. With a few pantry staples and lean ground turkey, you can feed a crowd. This recipe makes 20 1oz meatballs which are a perfect size (about the size of a ping pong ball) for appetizers.
For this recipe, you are going to mix your turkey, bread crumbs, eggs, and seasoning in a large bowl and portion them out into 1oz servings. I love using a mini ice cream scooper to do this so I can have even meatballs; for the sake of science, I did double and weigh my turkey mixture and it came to 20.2 oz total which is pretty darn close to exactly 1oz servings. After I scoop out 20 meatballs, I wet my hands and roll the meatballs to get them perfectly rounded.
Once you are ready to bake, spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and cook the meatballs for about 12-15 minutes. While the meatballs bake, you can assemble the sauce with time to spare. Are you a person who likes to have everything done ahead of time? Me too. You can make the sauce and meatballs ahead of time.
Homemade Sweet Chili Sauce
Sweet chili sauce comes together surprisingly fast. To make life easier, I recommend that you cook the sauce in a pot big enough to hold all 40 meatballs. You could toss the meatballs in a separate large bowl, but why dirty another dish when company is coming over?
Combine the Domino® Golden Sugar, sambal oelek, rice vinegar, water, and tamari in a pot and bring to a light boil. Whisk the mixture as it cooks so it doesn’t burn, but this will begin boiling in about 3 minutes depending on your stove. Once the sauce is boiling and your house is smelling fantastic, turn the burner on low. Mix the cornstarch and water to form a slurry and pour that right in.
You’ll see that the mix will immediately begin to thicken and get a glossy finish. Bring the sauce back up to a light boil while whisking and remove when it is thickened and coating your whisk/spoon. Remove from heat until your meatballs are done.
Toss and serve
Once your meatballs are done in the oven, throw them directly into the sauce. Put the sauce pot on a low heat and toss the meatballs until coated. Serve sweet chili turkey meatballs on a platter with toothpicks and top with sesame seeds and sliced scallions for extra fanciness.
Turkey meatballs not your jam? This sauce is great with so many things: popcorn chicken, chicken wings, frozen beef meatballs, spring rolls, fried wontons, cream cheese rangoons. You can even pour the sauce directly over a block of cream cheese and serve with crackers. I’ve made this recipe a few times while recipe testing and I’ve been dipping anything I could in this.
Sweet Chili Sauce
- 3 tbsp. sugar
- 1/2 tbsp. sambal oelek
- 2 tbsp. rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup + 1 tbsp. water
- 1/2 tbsp. tamari (or soy sauce or coconut aminos)
- 2 tsp. cornstarch
Plain Jane Meatballs
- 1 lb. 99% lean ground turkey
- 3 tbsp. panko bread crumbs
- 1 tsp. dried parsley
- 1 tsp. garlic powder
- 1 tsp. onion powder
- 1 egg
- 1/2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- 1/2 tsp. black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Combine all turkey meatball ingredients. Portion out 20 1oz. Meatballs using a mini ice cream scoop or scale.
- Spray a baking sheet with preferred cooking spray and place meatballs on baking sheet. Cook meatballs for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through.
- While meatballs are cooking, assemble sauce.
- Combine sugar, sambal oelek, rice vinegar, 1/4 c water, and tamari in a pot and bring to a low boil while stirring.
- When the sauce begins to boil, combine cornstarch with 2 tbsp of water to make a slurry. Add slurry to the sauce.
- The sauce will begin to thicken and get glossy. Bring sauce back up to a boil while mixing and remove from heat when the sauce is thick and coating the spoon/whisk.
- Once meatballs are fully cooked, toss meatballs directly in the sauce.
- Top sweet chili turkey meatballs with sesame seeds and thinly sliced scallions. Serve with toothpicks.
Notes: For more spice, add another tbsp of sambal oelek. For added sweetness, add another 2 tbsp. of Domino® Golden Sugar and 2 tbsp. of water or orange juice. Cook sauce for another minute to thicken and serve.
Serving Size:5 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 265Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 560mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 0gSugar: 10gProtein: 23g