Spicy Meatballs

These gluten-free and dairy-free apple jalapeño meatballs in an apple cider glaze are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy! And did I mention they're ready in less than 30 minutes? What more could you want in a gluten-free appetizer?

A bowl of apple meatballs with cilantro on top with apples and pickled jalapeño peppers on the table.

I’m always looking for ways to up my appetizer game. Lately, I love incorporating fruits into my recipes with jalapeño because it just creates this delightful juxtaposition of sweet and spicy and all things good.
As you know I have a slight obsession with LA MORENA® jalapeños and peppers – they have a variety of products, but my favorites are the LA MORENA® Whole Jalapeños (7oz & 28oz) and LA MORENA® Sliced Jalapeños (28oz). I found my LA MORENA® jalapeños at my local Jewel-Osco in Chicago. Using these jalapeños just give my appetizers the slight kick that they need!

 Apples and jalapeños in a meatball was kind of a no brainer for me. While it may sound a little odd to combine jalapeño and apple… I promise you it’s not! It’s so delicious you’ll be wondering why you hadn’t tried it sooner.
You can make these little meatballs without the apple cider glaze but I Think the apple cider glaze provides a perfect sweet balance to these spicy meatballs. I also love the texture that the crunchy apple gives the meatballs, too!
I suggest using a crispy and tart kind of apple – like granny smith or honey crisp apples (which is what I used), instead of a softer variety, as they’ll get mushy.
A bowl of apple jalapeño meatballs topped with cilantro and with toothpicks in them.
I also love how quickly these meatballs come together. They just take a quick bake in the oven, and you can get your apple cider glaze ready while they bake. Start to finish, these meatballs are ready in less than 30 minutes, how great is that? I went with a really simple glaze here for the meatballs. While I was tempted to add more flavors like tamari sauce or garlic or onion, sometimes simple is best. I really didn’t want the glaze competing with the flavors of the LA MORENA® Whole Jalapeños in the meatballs. They’re pickled with carrots, vinegar, soybean oil, garlic and salt, which just add so much more flavor. I love using them more than fresh jalapeños in my recipes for that reason alone! You can rediscover more recipes and flavors with LA MORENA®!
A hand holding a toothpick inserted into an apple jalapeño meatball.

More Gluten-Free Apple Recipes You’ll Fall For!

Apple Jalapeño Meatballs

These gluten-free and dairy-free apple jalapeño meatballs in an apple cider glaze are the perfect combination of sweet and spicy! And did I mention they're ready in less than 30 minutes? What more could you want in a gluten-free appetizer?
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 24 appetizer meatballs
Calories: 44kcal
Author: Megan


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground turkey
  • 1-2 LA MORENA® Whole Jalapeños (from a 7 oz. jar, chopped finely)
  • 1 cup grated or chopped apple (about 1/2 large honey crisp apple)
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp olive oil or avocado oil
  • 2 tbsp coconut flour or almond flour
  • 1 tbsp chopped fresh cilantro

For the Glaze:

  • 1 cup apple cider
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • pinch of salt


  • Preheat oven to 400F. Line two baking sheets with aluminum foil and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, chopped LA MORENA® Whole Jalapeños, chopped apple, black pepper, salt, oil, coconut flour and cilantro. Mix until combined.
  • Roll meat into about 24 tablespoon sized balls and place on baking sheets.
  • Bake at 400F for 13-18 minutes, until meatballs are cooked through and reach an internal temperature of 165F. Start checking at about 12 minutes as oven times may vary.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, make the glaze. Add 1 cup of apple cider to a medium sauce pan. While the cider is still cold, whisk in the cornstarch (if you add it while hot, it will clump together). Add in the maple syrup and salt. Bring to a boil and let cook for a few minutes, until it starts to thicken. Then reduce heat and cook an additional 5 minutes. Remove from heat.
  • When the meatballs are done, remove from the oven and then toss in the apple cider glaze. Top with fresh cilantro for serving if you wish.


Calories: 44kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 10mg | Sodium: 59mg | Potassium: 73mg | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 15IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 2mg | Iron: 0.2mg
Tried this Recipe? Tag me Today!Mention @ADashofMegnut or tag #adashofmegnut!

A bowl of apple jalapeño appetizer meatballs with toothpicks in them.

about megan

I’m Megan

A gluten-free food blogger from Chicago and lover of all things food, showing you gluten-free can be easy and delicious, too. Let’s make gluten-free stress free together! Read more…

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  1. What a nice dish love the idea of using apples in the meatballs combining with the jalapeños very nice appetizer. Thanks for your participation on this shop ~ client

    1. Thanks Adriana!

  2. Judy Wilburn says:

    Can you use breadcrumbs instead. Some people are allergic to coconut and nuts.

    1. Hi Judy – I’m gluten-free so coconut flour is what I use, but breadcrumbs should work just fine. Enjoy!