Trader Joe’s Turkey Cranberry Meatballs Review

Trader Joe's Turkey Cranberry Meatballs

We’ve been really enjoying the Trader Joe’s seasonal line of frozen foods lately. There are so many great items to choose from, such as the Cheesy Spaghetti Squash Casserole and the Butternut Squash Mac & Cheese. So now, as we move from autumn into winter, we’re moving into the winter seasonal items. Today we’re checking out the Trader Joe’s Turkey Cranberry Meatballs.

Meatballs probably aren’t the first thing that comes to mind when you think of the holidays, but turkey and cranberry are right on target. So these meatballs put a nontraditional spin on two very traditional holiday items.

There are microwave instructions on the package, but we opted for the oven instead. We simply preheated our oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit, then stuck the meatballs on a cookie sheet and popped them into the oven for about 35 minutes. We did not thaw the meatballs beforehand — if you do choose to thaw these before cooking, you’ll reduce the cook time substantially.

While these are cooking, they smell like a full Thanksgiving dinner. You might be tempted to take them out early because the smell is too much for any Thanksgiving enthusiast to bear. There will definitely be tummies growling in your kitchen!

The package may look kind of small, but it actually contains a pretty hefty amount of meatballs. We were expecting maybe a dozen meatballs inside, yet our package had almost double that — there were 23 meatballs in our bag. Oh, but don’t expect them to have cute little sticks poking out of them, as shown on the front of the bag. You could always add some, of course, but you won’t find any sticks in this package.

Trader Joe's Turkey Cranberry Meatballs

Another major departure from the package’s image is the fact that these don’t have any sort of glaze on them. We don’t know what that glaze is in the picture on the package, but it looks mighty tasty. In comparison, these are actually pretty dry — though they’re not quite a finger food as they have a tacky, sticky surface to them. Pair these with a stack of napkins.

We actually think these would be great with some sort of sauce, but we’re struggling to come up with the perfect match for these. The Trader Joe’s website suggests turkey gravy, but we’re thinking of something a bit sweeter. Perhaps a sweet cranberry glaze or even a maple syrup.

The main flavor here is the turkey, of course, yet there are sweet undertones to every bite due to the cranberries. These are both sweet and savory, combining two complementary flavors in a way that’s just right for a holiday party.

These also pack a little bit of “mock stuffing” inside, which the Trader Joe’s website refers to as “a stuffing-inspired breadcrumb mix that includes chopped celery, onion, and classic stuffing herbs like rosemary, sage, and thyme.” We actually didn’t taste any of these things very strongly, though we definitely smelled the onion and the herb blend while these were in the oven. It’s just that the turkey flavor and the cranberry undertones sort of steal the show here.

The package claims to contain about five servings, and a serving is four meatballs (our package was one meatball shy of six servings). A single serving contains 160 calories (80 from fat) and 390 mg of sodium. Now, unless you’re eating these as the a to a much larger meal (which is quite possible during the holiday season), we think it’s perfectly reasonable to eat eight meatballs at a time. That boosts these numbers to 320 calories (160 from fat) and 780 mg of sodium. That’s a little high, but it’s the holidays so why not?

Trader Joe’s Turkey Cranberry Meatballs are perfect for any holiday get-together. Be careful if you’re entertaining a large group, however, as one bag is probably not enough. And if you bring these to a holiday potluck, prepare to be treated like a potluck rock star.

To learn more about the nutrition content or ingredients in these Trader Joe’s seasonal meatballs, check out our package scan below.

Trader Joe's Turkey Cranberry Meatballs