Lemony Turkey Meatball and Rice Skillet

I have to say, one of my favorite things about this recipe isn’t just that it all cooks together in one skillet (which definitely puts it high up on my favorites list). What makes this lemony turkey meatball and rice skillet so amazing is the combination of substance and freshness that combine to make one amazing meal. It’s safe to say, this has become one of my favorites for all of these reasons but mainly because it’s good food made simply and well.

The process for making turkey meatballs isn’t much different than our usual recipe with ground beef. Gound turkey stands up to the savory seasonings as well as the citrusy crispness that comes with both lemon juice and lemon zest. I’m still using breadcrumbs, an egg, onion, parsley, and thyme as I would with ground beef. These are all mixed together and then rolled into meatballs, and I typically measure one heaping tablespoon for each meatball.

The meatballs are cooked in the skillet until nicely browned all around. I sideline the meatballs for a few minutes so I can start to cook the rice in the same skillet. I want all of that flavor at the bottom of the skillet as it will help to season the dish.

I toast the rice briefly in the skillet, then add my reserved onion and garlic. Once fragrant, about a minute later, I’ll add the chicken broth, lemon juice, lemon zest, and the Parmesan cheese, all of which will help to flavor the rice.

Ok, once the rice mixture has come to a boil, I get the meatballs back into the game.

A few minutes more and the dish is ready to be served! I just love a good one-skillet meal, especially when I’ve got recipes like this on deck. My family absolutely loves this lemony turkey meatball and rice skillet and I love that it’s so easy to make (and easy to eat!).

Lemony Turkey Meatball and Rice Skillet

45 minutes to prepare serves 4


  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs or rolled oats
  • 1 1/4 lbs ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup onion, grated and divided
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped, plus more for serving
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • Zest and juice from one lemon
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups long-grain white rice
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 1/4 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan cheese, grated


  1. To a large bowl, add breadcrumbs or oats, turkey, 2/3 of the grated onion, egg, parsley, thyme, 1/2 of the lemon zest, salt and pepper. Using your hands, mix until thoroughly combined.
  2. Divide into 20 equal portions (about 1 heaping tablespoon) and roll into balls. Refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  3. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, cook meatballs until well browned all over, 5-7 minutes. Remove to a paper towel lined plate.
  4. Add rice to skillet and cook, stirring frequently, for just 1 minute. Add garlic and remaining grated onion and cook until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Add broth, lemon juice, and remaining lemon zest and bring to a boil.
  5. Return meatballs to skillet, cover, and reduce heat to low. Cook until rice is tender and meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
  6. Remove from heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Sprinkle with remaining Parmesan and some fresh parsley. Serve and enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Cook's Country.

Whizzco for LPE