French Onion Meatballs

White plate with pasta, creamy beef sauce and meatballs

One of our favorite classic soups to enjoy each winter is a Traditional French Onion Soup. Craving something warm and cozy? You’ve come to the right place. We decided to turn our winter favorite into a classic pasta dish with meatballs and sauce. The meatballs are so juicy and paired with this French onion sauce, that I would like to say is more of a gravy. This is not the age old debate of sauce verse gravy, honestly, this is more of a beautiful onion gravy. Check out the recipe below and try it for yourself!

Wooden board with two plates of pasta and French onion meatballs

Inspiration behind this dish

As we mentioned above, Traditional French Onion Soup gives us a warm cozy feeling. We wanted this feeling but in a heartier meal. We initially thought of making the soup into a sauce because of how much we love the flavor. Next was tackling how to make it hearty. Meatballs immediately came to mind. Our ultimate comfort food meal is our Chicken Parmesan Meatball Sub and that’s when we knew; MEATBALLS! The sauce reminds me of snuggling up in a blanket or sitting into a warm bubbly bath. The flavors of the onions become sweet while still providing you with just the perfect amount of zing to make your mouth water. Everything you want in one dish!

Tools to create these meatballs

Deep Sauce Pan or Dutch Oven: To make your French Onion Meatballs you will need a deep sauce pan or our preferred dutch oven since everything besides the pasta cooks in this dish.

Cookie Scoop: This is optional, but we like using a cookie scoop to make out meatballs so we get the same size each time.

Spaghetti with creamy beef sauce and French onion meatballs

Ingredients in this recipe

Ground Turkey: We prefer a leaner meat to make these meatballs since we don’t drain any of the grease. If you want to make the meatballs with ground beef, fry the meatballs first, drain the grease and then re-add butter back to the pan. We have had mixed results with it so we prefer the ground turkey.

Fats: Butter and Olive Oil. These two fats combined provide a creamy, velvet like flavor to the sauce. We always use salted butter and extra virgin olive oil.

Veggies: Red Onions and Garlic. Red onion is obviously included in a French Onion recipe. Make sure to read the instructions because the meatballs require chopped onions while the sauce calls for long slices.

Herbs and Seasonings: Thyme, Beef Bullion, Salt, and Pepper. Thyme is the key here. It really brings our a calm herb flavor to the sauce and meatballs, while the beef bullion adds the extra oomph to the meatballs since ground turkey has a limited flavor naturally.

Liquids: Beef Broth, Marsala, and Worcestershire. Many people use port wine to make French Onion Soup, we use it in our soup recipe but thought it might be too over powering in a sauce. Instead the mixture of marsala and Worcestershire hit the mark needed for this dish!

Linguine: Our preferred noodle is usually a linguine or fettuccine because they are wider and tend to hold sauce better. But really any type of pasta can be used for this recipe.

Flour: A small amount of flour and water mixed together will help to thicken the brown sauce to your likening.

Gruyere Cheese: What kind of French Onion dish would this be without the star of the show, gruyere! Grated or shredded will do and then sprinkled on top of the hot sauce at the end.

Close up shot of pasta with sauce, meatballs, and cheese

Step by step to recreate this dish

To make this recipe first start with chopping and slicing all the onions so you can get the crying part over it. Once that is done, wipe your tears away and get started mincing the garlic and combining your meatball ingredients. Make small to medium sized meatballs and set aside. Typically this recipe will make about 9-10 meatballs.

Bring a large sauce pan or dutch oven to medium heat and add the butter and olive oil. Once melted, add your meatballs and begin to sear. Rotate the meatballs so they are seared on each side. Around this time is usually perfect to turn the pasta water on, make sure to salt the water well. Cook the pasta al dente.

Now that your meatballs are about half way cooked through, toss in your sliced onions, garlic, thyme, and salt. Let the onions cook down in the butter and oil with the lid on for about 10 minutes. Once the onions have started to caramelize, add the marsala wine, Worcestershire, and beef broth. Sprinkle in the pepper and stir.

After the sauce is heated, reduce to a simmer and let cook 5 minutes with the lid off. Mix in the flour and water mixture slowly to help thicken the sauce. We like ours thick but if you prefer a thinner sauce feel free to opt out of the flour. Serve the French Onion Meatballs and sauce over the pasta and garnish with shredded gruyere cheese!

From our kitchen to yours, cheers!

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White plate with pasta, creamy beef sauce and meatballs

French Onion Meatballs

Course Main Course
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings 4 people


French Onion Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • ¼ red onion chopped finely
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp worcestershire
  • 2 thyme
  • 1 cube beef bullion
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp pepper


  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 3 tbsp olive oil
  • ½ red onion sliced in long thin strips
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tbsp salt
  • 3 thyme sprigs
  • 2 tbsp marsala wine
  • 4 tbsp worcestershire
  • 1 ½ cups beef broth
  • 1 tbsp pepper
  • ¾ tbsp flour mixed with water to thicken sauce, if you like thinner, feel free to opt out


  • 1 lb linguine
  • gruyere cheese grated or shredded


  • First slice and chop your onions and garlic. Combine all meatball ingredients together in a bowl and create meatballs, this typically makes 9-10 meatballs depending on size.
  • In a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat add the butter and olive oil. Once melted add your meatballs and begin to sear.
  • Bring a pot of water to a boil with salt. Add pasta and cook till al dente.
  • Sear your meatballs on each side, once seared add the onions and garlic from the sauce ingredients list as well as the thyme and salt. Mix carefully, put a lid on the pan and let cook for about 5-10 minutes or until the onions are caramelized.
  • Slowly pour in the marsala wine, worcestershire, beef broth, and sprinkle the pepper and stir. Bring this to a simmer and lower the heat. Let cook with the lid off for 5 minutes
  • If you prefer a thicker sauce like us, in a small bowl combine flour and water and slowly stir into the sauce to thicken. Do a small amount at first to ensure you don't over thicken your sauce.
  • Once the sauce is ready, add pasta to the bowl, pour in your sauce and meatballs and shred some gruyere cheese on top and enjoy!

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