It is hard to believe that it has been over 5 years since the last time I visited Turkey. The plan was to go last summer, but life happened and I couldn’t make the trip. I plan on going this summer, but between my work and personal commitments, I still don’t know if I can commit to a few weeks of being away.
As you can imagine, I miss my family, friends, the house that I grew up in, and of course, the food. In the meantime, I am keeping in touch with my loved ones through Skype and the food via a few of my favorite YouTubers from Turkey.
Speaking of YouTubers, I am currently obsessed with Refika’nin Mutfagi. She is a Turkish chef with a cooking show on one of the national channels in Turkey. She also has a YouTube channel with the same name, where she teaches her viewers how to cook all the while (mostly) making some of the classic Turkish recipes that stood the test of time.
Last year, she shared the recipe for this Oven Baked Meatballs and Potatoes with the ingredients found in the US supermarkets, but now I am ready to show you how to make it.
About This Meatball Potato Bake Recipe:
Before I talk about the details of the recipe, I want to be honest and upfront about the fact that this recipe requires some advance preparation. It is by no means difficult to make, but you would have to plan ahead and set aside ample time to make it.
The process of making this recipe has two folds:
First – Prep Your Turkish Meatballs Mixture:
I have already published a whole blog post and a quick video on how to make Turkish Meatballs. Feel free to visit that post to get the recipe and read through my tips and tricks. I recommend prepping the meatball mixture (without rolling the balls) a day in advance and keeping it in the fridge until you are ready to assemble this dish. Doing so will not only help you save on time, but also allow the ingredients to mingle and bring out the flavors in them.
Second – Prep the potatoes (also The Best Potatoes to Use for Baked Meatballs):
After several tries, I found that Yukon Gold potatoes deliver the best results for this recipe. On my first try, I used Russet potatoes. Sadly, even after an hour and half into baking in the oven, they were not cooked. On the other hand, Yukon Gold potatoes delivered a smooth, almost buttery texture that matched beautifully with the meatballs.
Additionally, as you are getting your potatoes, I recommend hand picking them to make sure that they are similar in size. This way, once they are arranged in the baking dish, they will cook evenly and have a uniformed look.
As you are slicing the potatoes, be sure to cut them as equally as possible. I sliced mine in ½-inch thick slices. For the 10-inch baking dish I used, I used 17 slices in the outer section and 4 slices in the middle section. Since I wanted it to look aesthetically pleasing and food photography-worthy, I didn’t use the smaller pieces. Rather, I cut them into small cubes and placed them in a plastic bag to use them for later.
The Toppings and the Tomato Sauce:
Once you assemble the meatball and potatoes, you top them off with sliced fresh tomatoes, minced garlic, and peppers. Next, you drizzle it with ¾ cup of tomato sauce and water mixture. On my first few tries, I used more of this liquid mixture and ended up with the juices at the bottom of my oven. I know that it is tempting to put more liquid in there, but it is important to know that the meatballs will also release their juices as they bake.
The last touch is a few tablespoons of cubed butter. My biggest advice to you is to not skip this step as I think butter is the killer touch that takes this dish to the next level.
How Long Do You Bake Meatballs in the Oven?
Once you have your meatballs and potatoes assembled and topped off with all the goodies, cover it first with parchment paper and then with aluminum foil. Doing so will help bake everything evenly without burning the meatballs and potatoes. After 55 minutes in a preheat 450 F degree oven, remove them to brown the top of the dish in the last 20 minutes.
Now, I know that it takes a long time. And to be honest, one of the reasons why I made this several tries was to find a quicker way to bake this dish. I tried thinner slices of potatoes and meatballs as well as other types of potatoes. However, none of my trials gave me quicker results. In the end, I had to accept the fact that good things take time.
Tips On Making It Ahead and Freezing:
I hope you agree that this is an impressive dish to serve when you are entertaining. If you are planning to serve it to your guests, you can assemble the meatballs and potatoes in advance, cover it tightly with plastic wrap, and keep it in the fridge a day in advance or freeze a week or two before you are ready to serve.
If you choose to freeze, let it thaw overnight in the fridge a day before. On the day of, simply top it with the toppings, drizzle it with the tomato sauce-water mixture, and bake as directed.
Other Dinner Recipes You Might Like:
- Easy Beef Stroganoff
- Stuffed Peppers
- Spaghetti Bolognese recipe
- Beef and Vegetable Soup Recipe
- Thai Beef Salad
- Need more inspiration? Check out all our easy beef recipes
Oven Baked Meatballs and Potatoes
- 1 serving of Turkish Meatballs
- 5-6 medium size Yukon Gold potatoes* washed under called water (no need to peel)
- 2 teaspoon kosher salt divided
- ½ cup cherry tomatoes sliced thinly
- ½ cup peppers sliced thinly
- 3 cloves of garlic minced
- ½ cup of Italian parsley chopped plus more as garnish at the end
- 2 tablespoons butter cut into small cubes
- ½ cup tomato sauce
- ¼ cup water
- Pre-heat the oven to 450 F degrees.
- Prep your Turkish meatballs as directed in the recipe. Roll them into balls. For a 10-inch plate that is 2-inches wide, you will need 21 meatballs.
- Slice each potato into 1/2 -inch thick slices. Season each slice with 1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt.
- Place a slice of potato in the palm of your hand and put a meatball on top. Shape the meatball in a way that will be similar to the size of the potato. Place it on a large plate and continue with the rest of the potato slices and meatballs.
- Arrange the potato slices and meatballs like I did in the video above, starting from the outer corners and ending in the middle. For a 10-inch plate, you should have 17 meatballs+potatoes and 3-4 in the middle.
- Garnish with cherry tomatoes, peppers, garlic, and parsley. Spread cubed butter on top.
- Mix tomato sauce, water, and rest of the salt in a cup. Pour the mixture over the meatballs and potatoes.
- Cover it first with parchment paper and then with aluminum foil. Bake in the preheated oven for 55 minutes. Then remove the parchment paper and aluminum foil and bake for another 20 minutes.
- Sprinkle it with more parsley and serve.
- The dish that I used is an oven-proof 10-inch pie dish that is 2 inches deep.
- Be sure to pick potatoes that are similar in size.
- For freezing instructions please read the blog post.
- The timing listed above doesn’t reflect the time it requires to prep the meatballs.
Do you grill the meatballs or put them in the dish raw?
I put them in the dish while they are still raw. They cook slowly with the potatoes in the oven. Hope this helps.
Thank Aysegul that does help. Sorry to be thick! I’ll let you know how it turns out!
This has made it into the regular rotation at my house. Love to toss them in marinara and put them on a hoagie roll with provolone.
This is music to my ears. Thanks for coming by.
Amazing recipe! My family had seconds so there’s not much for leftovers. I forgot to season the potatoes as others suggested, it would complete the recipe. Thank you for your creative blog, looking forward to trying more recipes. (Especially since we spent part of our honeymoon in Turkey)
This makes me so happy to hear.
Good point in seasoning the potatoes. I just added that to the recipe. Thanks for the suggestion.
Where did you go for your honeymoon in Turkey?
Aysegul, sorry for the late reply, I just sent my friend a copy of this recipe. On our honeymoon we went to Istanbul, Kusadasi & Bodrum then to a few Greek islands, Olympia & Athens. Turkey was amazing. We loved the food, the coffee and the afternoon tea.
Quick question on the recipe, have you ever tried using sweet potatoes?
I am so happy to hear that you enjoyed your time in Turkey and all the food. Thanks for sharing that.
To answer your question: I think you can. It wouldn’t be the traditional way but I don’t see it being an issue. I said that because I have never had sweet potatoes until I moved to the US. They might have it now but back when I was living there I had never seen or cooked with sweet potatoes.
Still, I think sweet potatoes are awesome so I think it would be delicious.
Hope this helps.
You said it was possible to prep the potatoes the night before. Does that include cutting them into slices? How then do you keep them from turning black? If you keep them submerged in water, does it make the potatoes soggy?
Thank you. I am new to this blog, but am finding it intriguing.
You can prep the potatoes from the night before, and as you said, I would recommend submerging them in water and covering them with stretch film until you are ready to use.
However, I would recommend draining the liquid and drying the potato slices on a kitchen towel before you are ready to assemble the dish.
Honestly, I have never tried this method in this particular dish but I have done this in a few other potato recipes before and it didn’t turn out bad.
I hope this helps.
This dish came out amazing! My whole family loved it. I followed other commenters advice and individually seasoned the potatoes and I’m glad I did. I added a little extra seasoning to the top of the dish in addition to the sauce and garnishes as well. I will definitely be making this again!
So happy to hear that Jennifer. I think it is a great idea to individually season all the potatoes.
Thanks for leaving such a helpful review. Cheers!
Oh my!!! I just made this and everyone loves it, especially me! Next time I will specifically season the potatoes themselves, but otherwise this was perfect! So delicious and filling. I ate it with plain yogurt but I want to try both Tahini Yogurt Sauce and Cacik with it, too.
Please keep the Turkish dishes coming! I’ll be working my way through them learning to cook for my soon to be Turkish husband. Your recipes are a big help!
This is music to my ears. This dish is one of those dishes that takes a little bit of time, but the end product is SOO worth it.
So glad to hear that you liked it.
I will be sure to share more Turkish recipes in the next few months.
PS: Congrats on your engagement (and soon, your wedding ?)
My family loved this one, and it’s such a pretty dinner too!
It is a favorite in our house as well. SO happy to hear that your family liked it too. Cheers!
Such a gorgeous presentation!
Glad to hear that you liked it.
I’m so in love with this recipe! Comfort food at its finest!!
So happy to hear that. Thanks Becky.
I love this dish and it’s so pretty it could be served for a special occasion, too!
It sure is, and as a matter of fact, this is my go-to dish when I am entertaining. Thanks Melissa.
Such a gorgeous, delicious dish! I loved the flavors of your Turkish meatballs, too!
Can’t agree more. Thanks Liz.
Your presentation is amazing! I loved this meal.
So glad to hear you liked it Jennifer. Thanks for stopping by.
Hello! I am absolutely loving your site! I have a couple of questions for this recipe as I would like to make it this evening for guests.
What kind of peppers do you mean exactly?
Have you tried the recipe with red potatoes? Its just that is what I have on hand at the moment and was just wondering about what the results would be,
Thanks in advance for any info you can offer,
I am so happy that you like my site. This recipe is a great one and a great crowd pleaser.
I used colorful baby bell peppers. You can see them on the second photo from the top on the left upper corner. You can also use seeded and chopped bell peppers.
Sadly, I have never tried this dish with red potatoes. The only issue that I foresee could be the time of baking. It is hard for me to tell you how long it would take for it to be fully cooked with red potatoes without actually try it with them.
Also as I mentioned in the blog, the size and the thickness of the potatoes being as equal as possible is a very important part of this recipe for even baking.
So here is what I recommend if you go with red potatoes:
– Be sure to select ones that are somewhat equal in diameter and thickness after they are sliced.
– Keep an eye on the potatoes after 45 minutes of baking and check whether they are cooked or not by inserting a knife in a few of them. If the knife easily comes in and out, it should be cooked. If not, let it bake more but know that the timing might be longer or shorter.
I hope this helps. I am always here if I can answer any other questions.
Thanks for getting back to me so quick! I ended up parboiling the red potatoes for a bit. This recipe turned out amazing! I urge anybody who is thinking about making it….. just do it! Its really tasty, you wont be disappointed!
Ohh this is music to my ears Jacquie. Soo happy to hear that it turned out great.
I am glad you parboiled the potatoes. Did it changed the timing? Meaning, did it cook faster?
I need to try it for next time. 🙂
Thanks so much for letting me know.
I kept the timing the same but lowered the oven temperature to 400 instead of 450.
So good to know. Thanks so much for letting me know. Cheers!
Last night I decided to make this recipe for myself and my husband (4 year old is still being a stubborn picky eater). We absolutely loved it. My husband cleaned his plate and I had seconds and finished it off! I followed the recipe to the T and the only substitution I made was substituting the ground beef for ground turkey. I’m sure the beef would have made it even better however we have restricted our red meat intake for the occasional ?. I’ve been searching for a way to incorporate white potatoes back into our meals but other than French fries and mashed potatoes I hadn’t found any good recipes to add them back in a healthy way. This dish is hearty, delicious and definitely will be on our weekly menu!
This is music to my ears Jade. I am so happy that you guys liked it. I also loved the fact that you used ground turkey. I will give it a try next time I make this recipe.
Thanks for taking the time to leave a comment and rate the recipe. ❤️
We made this dish during a recent cool snap in Florida thinking a bit of comfort food was in order. It did not disappoint. We followed the recipe very closely with the exception of the breadcrumbs because we are gluten-free. So our substitution for that was to use plain gluten free canned bread crumbs. This worked fine although it did create a slightly mushy mouthfeel, but we’re sort of used to that difference being GF.
We loved having the video to get an idea of the assembly and wish we had read your helpful notes more closely as we missed the deep dish style of pie plate mentioned there. Our regular pie plate overflowed and as you can imagine, with that hot an oven, the overflow burned a lot. But the oven needed cleaning anyway!
The flavor of the dish was wholesome and comforting but we would probably add some black pepper next time or something to give it a little zip.
Overall definitely a crowd pleaser although we didn’t share it with others cuz we wanted it all for ourselves!
Would you tell me how deep the dish is that you used? It appears to have straight sides, and not be a pie plate in the pictues.
It is 2-inches deep. My dish is a 10-inch oven-proof pie dish.
I hope this helps.