Recipe: Game Day Turkey Cheddar Meatballs

turkey meatballs with cheddar - tailgate snack
He drinks a Whiskey drink, he drinks a Vodka drink // He drinks a Lager drink, he drinks a Cider drink // He sings the songs that remind him of the good times // He sings the songs that remind him of the best times

Oh yes, I went there. I just started this post with lyrics to “Tubthumping.”  But it’s honestly all I could think of as I bought a pack of Stella Artois’ new hard apple Cidre. You see, when I was growing up the 90s and heard “Tubthumping,” I never understood why cider was mixed in with those other drinks, not realizing that such a thing as hard cider even existed! It wasn’t until much, much later in life — like, I think right after college, when I wanted to expand my horizons beyond beer and cheap wine — that I ever tasted my first hard cider. And can I tell you something? I really didn’t love it.

So when Stella Artois asked me if I’d be willing to try their new Cidre, I wasn’t sure what to expect. But I can unequivocally say that they’ve changed my mind about hard ciders. Drinking Stella’s Cidre is like drinking apple juice. Wonderful, refreshing, adult apple juice. That you have to be careful with. Lest you drink three and not realize what you’ve done.

Stella’s hard Cidre is really crisp and zippy, and tastes very apple-y — the flavor reminded me of a cold apple cider, and enjoying a few last weekend made me strangely excited for fall and football and tailgating. So much so that I was inspired to put together a little snack that’d be perfect as a party appetizer, but could easily double as a dish at a game day party or tailgate. A classic pairing with apple is cheddar and mustard, so I thought I’d try making some meatballs with herbs from our garden and sharp cheddar cheese mixed in. A little mustard on the side, and hello delicious Cidre snack. To lighten things up, instead of using beef or pork, I used white ground turkey meat. I guarantee you can totally pull these off — here’s what you do: 

game day appetizer - turkey meatballs with cheese

Herbed Turkey Cheddar Meatballs with Dijon

1 lb ground white turkey meat
1 egg
2 tbsp plain dried breadcrumbs
1 small sprig of rosemary, leaves stripped and minced
1 tsp tightly packed minced thyme leaves
1 tbsp minced flat leaf parsley
2 cloves of garlic, peeled and minced
1 tbsp dijon mustard
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 tsp of sea or kosher salt
10 grinds of freshly ground black pepper
3-3.5oz sharp cheddar cheese, finely cubed (I cut off the end of a large block of cheese, then diced)
OPTIONAL: extra cheddar slices, 1″x1″ pieces, thinly sliced; dijon mustard for serving

Preheat your oven to 350º. In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients except for the extra thin slices of cheddar, if using. Mix well with your hands until all the ingredients are well combined and incorporated.

Grab a baking sheet and line with aluminum foil (this will make for easy clean up!). With your hands, begin shaping meatballs by rolling the meat mixture together into a ball shape. You want the meatballs to be about one and a half times the size of a golf ball, but if you want them bigger or smaller for your party, go for it! There’s no right or wrong here — you mostly just want to ensure the meatballs are all the same size. Place the balls on the lined baking sheet. If you’re making ones that are a little bigger than a golf ball, you should have about 12 total.

If you’re using the cheddar, top each ball with a piece of cheddar. This will create a ridiculously good cheesy crust over the meatballs! If you’re planning on bringing these to a tailgate, bake without the cheese, then add it on once you’re at your destination and finish cooking there (you could set them on a tray over a grill, or in a small portable oven).

Bake in the oven for 30-35 minutes, until the cheese is golden brown and melted. Serve with a side of dijon mustard — and, if you want to send things really over the top, some warm applesauce as well. Hello, fall!

I served mine as a game day snack over the weekend, alongside Stella’s Cidre, and both Joe and I were in heaven!



It’s Cidre, not Cider.

The Full Disclosure: For writing this post, compensation was provided by Stella Artois via Glam Media. The opinions expressed herein are those of the author and are not indicative of the opinions or positions of Stella Artois. Images taken by Victoria McGinley for vmac+cheese.


  1. 9.5.13
    Becca said:

    A perfect recipe + pairing for fall. I have to try this–I know my husband will love it. Thanks for sharing!

  2. 9.5.13

    I’m not really a beer person, but I’m all about ciders. Sounds like their apple cider is delicious! And that picture of the turkey meatballs made my stomach growl. Definitely trying both of these this fall.

  3. 9.5.13
    Ashley said:

    aaaaand cue this song being stuck in my head all day!

    • 9.5.13
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Oh noooo…sorry about that! Ha!

  4. 9.5.13

    Yummy! Those look so good!

  5. 9.5.13
    chelsie said:

    yum – this is definitely something the boy would love! bookmarking it :) thanks victoria!

  6. 9.5.13

    I’ve heard great things about the Stella Cidre (although I thought it was spelled the normal way, haha). I’ll have to give it a try!

  7. 9.5.13
    Alecia said:

    I love a good cider – will have to try this.

    xx Alecia

  8. 9.5.13
    Ginet said:

    I will add this to next week’s dinner menu. Looks delish! Thanks… but no thanks to getting the song in my head. Hah!


  9. 9.5.13
    Alexa said:

    Oh this looks like such a good pairing. Those meatballs look so delicious Victoria!

  10. 9.5.13

    What a perfect pairing! Would love to make these for a fall dinner with my hubby.

  11. 9.5.13

    Oh my, those look good! A perfect pairing for sure!

  12. 9.5.13
    RG said:

    Victoria, thank you for being so honest and transparent with your sponsored posts. I really appreciate that you 1) create posts that are still relevant to your readers and 2) provide honest disclosure. Most bloggers I know do not do that.

    (And I’m excited to try the cidre.)

    • 9.6.13
      Victoria McGinley said:

      Thanks so much for the feedback, RG! :)

  13. 9.6.13
    Casie said:

    haha! you have me at “tubthumping”

  14. 9.6.13
    Gloria said:

    This looks like the perfect meal to go with a nice cold cider :-) I usually buy Woodchuck, but I’ll have to give this one a try!

  15. 9.13.13
    Ceri said:

    hehe – love that cider has finally caught on in the US (although Stella marketing it “cidre” is slightly amusing):)

    Enjoy! it’s lovely on a hot summer day with ice as well! xx

  16. 9.13.13
    viv said:

    I just printed this recipe bc I’m so making these this wknd!

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