Chipotle, Honey, and Cranberry-Glazed turkey meatballs plated.

Queen bees Jillian and Kim are big fans of recipes that are both savory and sweet. One of their favorite go-to appetizers, especially during the winter holiday season, is cranberry glazed meatballs. Most glazed meatball recipes use canned cranberry sauce, bottled chili sauce, and ketchup, all of which have a lot of added sugar and salt. Homemade cranberry sauce is one of the easiest things to make at home. Add some chipotle pepper and a little bit of honey, and you have an amazing sauce that is flavorful yet healthy.

Add spices to the meatballs rather than the sauce to make sure that every mouthful is full of flavor. This recipe also calls for using quick-cooking gluten-free oatmeal instead of breadcrumbs, which makes this a great gluten-free dish.

Chipotle, Honey, and Cranberry Glazed Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time
50 min
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
1 hr 40 min

Meatball Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground turkey (preferably 93% lean)
  • 1/4 large white onion, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes (1/2 cup)
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup gluten-free quick-cooking oatmeal
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon ancho chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika

Cranberry Orange Sauce Ingredients

  • 1 navel orange
  • 1 pound fresh or frozen cranberries
  • 1 cup water
  • 1/2 cup basswood honey

Chipotle Honey Cranberry Glaze Ingredients

  • 30 ounces Cranberry Orange Sauce
  • 6 chipotle peppers, chopped into 1/4-inch cubes
  • 3 tablespoons adobo sauce (from canned chipotle peppers)
  • 1/4 cup Asheville Bee Charmer Smokin’ Hot Honey

Sauce Instructions

Cut the orange (including the peel) into 8 to 10 pieces. Place the orange pieces in a food processor and pulse until they are finely chopped.

Place the chopped orange, cranberries, and water in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook uncovered for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally until the cranberries begin to burst. Reduce the heat to low, cover the pan, and cook for another 20 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the honey. Let the sauce cool. Serve the sauce immediately or store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks or in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Meatballs and Glaze Instructions

Preheat oven to 400° F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper and set aside.

In a large bowl, mix the turkey, onion, eggs, oatmeal, parsley, garlic, salt, cumin, chili powder, and smoked paprika. Using your hands, mix together until everything is fully incorporated (if you don’t want to touch the raw meat, use some gloves). Do not overmix. Set aside for 10 minutes.

Using a small cookie scoop, form meatballs and place them on the prepared cookie sheet. Bake for 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and set aside.

While the meatballs are cooking, place the Cranberry Orange Sauce, chipotle peppers, adobo sauce, and honey in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook uncovered, stirring occasionally until the sauce is heated through. Remove from the heat and add the meatballs. Using a spatula, gently stir the meatballs into the sauce, so that they are evenly coated.

You can serve the meatballs warm or at room temperature. Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Note: Although this recipe calls for turkey, you can easily substitute beef.