Skillet turkey meatballs and rice is a quick and simple dinner that is delicious & hearty. Healthy turkey meatballs are combined with brown rice and parmesan cheese for a dinner your whole family will absolutely love.
Because you all have been enjoying the recipe I recently shared for healthy turkey meatballs, here’s a great way to incorporate them for a quick dinner.
This recipe for turkey meatballs and rice is simple to throw together, and even easier to clean up since it’s all made in one pan. I hope your family enjoys this dish as much as mine does.
Why this meatballs & rice recipe works
- Simple and affordable ingredients that are kitchen staples
- Made all in one pan, for simple prep and even easier clean up.
- Nourishing, nutritious ingredients including whole grain brown rice and lean ground turkey. Parmesan cheese is added at the end for more flavor and protein.
- Great for meal prep because it reheats perfectly and tastes just as flavorful the following day(s).
Simple, nutritious ingredients
The ingredients list for this healthy turkey meatball recipe is minimal. All you’ll need to make these skillet meatballs are:
- Pre-made ground turkey meatballs – recipe is included in the recipe card, but please visit the actual recipe for additional cooking tips and to learn how to bake or pan fry the meatballs.
- Long grain brown rice – brown rice does require extra liquid and cooking time than white rice. Please follow recipe directions and listed to ensure proper texture and tenderness.
- Onions and garlic – diced and minced to add delicious flavor
- Lemon juice – adds a freshness and bit of zing to the dish. Feel free to omit if you don’t have on hand, but it does taste great included.
- Chicken stock – while water can be substituted, the dish has a lot more flavor when chicken broth is used.
- Parmesan cheese is stirred in at the end for that rich flavor and bonus, it adds a bit more protein!
You will need to begin by assembling the ground turkey meatballs. They are super simple to make and require adding everything to a bowl.
Roll meatballs into 1.5″ spheres, each weighting about 6 ounces. Place meatballs on a parchment lined baking sheet and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes to firm up. This is an important step to ensure they stay formed when sautéing in the pan.
Making the skillet meatballs and rice
Heat a skillet over medium heat and add about 2 tablespoons of olive oil or canola oil. Remove the meatballs from the fridge and sauté them in batches. Cook them for about 5-8 minutes per side, being careful when flipping them. A thin fish type spatula works well.
When nicely browned (but not fully cooked), remove them from the pan. Set aside on a plate.
Add brown rice, garlic and diced onions to the skillet and sauté for about 3-5 minutes, stirring frequently. Slowly add chicken broth and lemon juice.
Bring the mixture to a gentle boil, and cover. Reduce the heat and simmer for about 20 minutes.
Remove the lid and add par-cooked meatballs back to the pan. Nestle them in between the rice and then cover with a lid. It will take about 20-25 more minutes to finish cooking the rice and meatballs.
When rice is tender and fully cooked, and meatballs reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit, the dish is complete! Stir in parmesan cheese and sprinkle with some fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!
An important note about cooking brown rice
I have recipe tested this dish with different brands of rice, and have noticed some rice requires a bit more cooking time. This is especially true with higher quality organic brown rice.
If after 20-25 minutes, the brown rice is still undercooked, simply add about ¼-1/2 cup more liquid and cook for an additional 10 minutes or so.
Can I use white rice instead of brown rice?
Yes, you certainly can, however it will require different cooking times and liquid. White rice cooks much quicker than brown rice and calls for a different rice to liquid ratio. Use 2 cups of broth and cook for about 25 total minutes.
Expert tips for making meatballs and rice
- If you’re in a time crunch, you could use store-bought frozen meatballs instead of making your own. Thaw and add in the same order as directed.
- I used my homemade turkey meatballs in this skillet dinner recipe, but your favorite ground beef or lamb meatballs can also be used.
- Enjoy these skillet meatballs with rice as is, or serve with a simple side salad or steamed veggie.
- Lemon is added to the skillet with the rice and broth to give this dish a brightness. You can adjust the lemon juice you add to the rice based on how much (or little) some people in your family enjoy lemon flavor.
Storing and reheating leftovers
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-5 days. You can also divide up this dish into meal-prep containers for a yummy lunch. I love using these meal-pre containers.
To reheat, simply microwave on high for 60-90 seconds, till warmed through.
I hope you enjoy this rice and turkey meatballs recipe and add it to your meal plan rotation! Please consider leaving a 5 star review if you enjoyed it!
Other one-pan dinner recipes you’ll love:
- Instant Pot Chicken Meatballs and Rice
- Ground Beef Picadillo with Cauliflower Rice
- One-Pot Italian Sausage Pasta
- One-Pan Roasted Chicken, Rice, and Veggies
- Sweet Potato Vegetarian Chili
Skillet Turkey Meatballs and Rice
- 1 batch healthy turkey meatballs
- 2 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 cup long grain brown rice rinsed
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup diced onions
- 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 3 cups chicken stock
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese grated
Healthy Turkey Meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 scallions thinly sliced, white & light green parts only
- 2 tablespoon parsley finely chopped
- 2 teaspoon lemon zest
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Assemble the healthy turkey meatballs and refrigerate for at least 15 minutes.1 pound ground turkey, ⅓ cup panko bread crumbs, 1 large egg, 2 scallions, 2 tablespoon parsley, 2 teaspoon lemon zest, 2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon black pepper
- Remove from refrigerator and heat 2 tablespoons of extra virgin olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add meatballs to pan and saute for 5-7 minutes, turning on all sides to evenly brown but not cook through.2 tablespoon olive oil, 1 batch healthy turkey meatballs
- Remove meatballs from pan and set on a paper towel lined plate.
- Heat empty skillet on medium heat, adding a swig of oil if needed, and add rice, cooking for a minute or two just until translucent. Add scallions or onions and garlic and cook for about another minute. Stir in broth and lemon juice and bring to a slow boil.1 cup long grain brown rice, 3 garlic cloves, ¼ cup diced onions, 1-2 tablespoons lemon juice, 3 cups chicken stock
- Reduce heat to low and cover & simmer for 20 minutes. Remove lid and add meatballs to pan. Cover and cook for another 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed and rice is tender.
- Sprinkle with parmesan cheese, and fresh parsley and/or scallion greens if desired.¼ cup parmesan cheese