No more dry chicken meatballs! These are moist and juicy, baked in only 20 minutes, and are just as delicious made ahead.
Lunch, dinner, an appetizer…it’s hard to think of a time where chicken meatballs aren’t the perfect idea. I used to believe that chicken meatballs took a long time to make, only to yield little dry balls of blandness. This recipe will turn chicken meatballs skeptics to #1 fans! If you’re still unsure whether you’ll like these little guys, here’s 5 reasons to love them.
Why These Chicken Meatballs Are the Best!
- Fast and easy. Throw all of your ingredients in a bowl, form your meatballs, and bake them…all in 35 minutes!
- Juicy and delicious. No more dry chicken meatballs. No more flavorless chicken meatballs.
- No mess…just baked. Keep that frying pan clean (as well as the walls and the countertops!). These chicken meatballs go right in the oven…no mess, no stress.
- Versatile. Chicken meatballs aren’t just a perfect pairing with Homemade Tomato Sauce or in Penne Alla Vodka. Here are other serving suggestions you’ll love!
- Make ahead perfection. Chicken meatballs keep so well in the fridge, reheating them as needed.
How to Make Chicken Meatballs
Full instructions in the recipe card; this is just an outline!
Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Grate & add.
Use the fine setting of a cheese grater to grate yellow onion into a medium bowl. Add all other ingredients (ground chicken, Italian cheese blend, panko, garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning, tomato paste, egg, and salt and pepper).
Use your hands to gently mix together ingredients, until they’re well combined but not over-mixed. Over mixing will create tough meatballs.
Form ¼ cup-sized meatballs and place meatballs on a greased baking sheet.
Bake for 17-21 minutes, until meatballs are lightly golden and they reach an internal temperature of at least 170 degrees. It’s okay if the meatballs are quite a bit higher than that.
Serve and enjoy!
Ingredients for Chicken Meatballs
- Ground chicken – regular, not extra lean, ground chicken is the best option for juicy meatballs. Usually regular ground chicken won’t say exactly what percentage fat is in the meat, but if it does, look for 92-96% lean ground chicken.
- Italian cheese blend – finely shredded works best! You can find Italian cheese blend in the grocery store right next to the other shredded cheeses!
- Panko breadcrumbs – panko breadcrumbs are more similar to homemade breadcrumbs. They create a better meatball than regular breadcrumbs!
- Yellow onion – I use the fine setting of a cheese grater to grate a small yellow onion and use it to flavor and moisten the meatballs.
- Garlic – garlic for flavor…duh!
- Extra virgin olive oil – a dash of olive oil moistens the meatballs.
- Italian seasoning – dried Italian seasoning adds the perfect blend of herbs to your meatballs. If you don’t have the blend, you can use dried oregano, basil, parsley, or even finely chopped fresh herbs.
- Tomato paste – a small amount of tomato paste adds a depth of flavor to your meatballs, without yielding a “tomato” taste.
- Large egg – an egg binds your meatballs together.
There’s SO many ways to enjoy chicken meatballs. Here’s just a few serving ideas:
- Alone. Yes alone! You really don’t need anything else.
- With Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce
- Substitute regular chicken for chicken meatballs in Chicken Penne Alla Vodka.
- With pita or Homemade Wheat Naan, and different spreads like Homemade Muhammara & Tzatziki
- With a sprinkle of Italian Gremolata (Gremolada)
- With pasta and Avocado Pesto
- As an appetizer, with a toothpick, a piece of cooked pasta and a spoonful of tomato sauce
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
Yes you can, but chicken yields the juiciest, most tender result! If you do use turkey, make sure it isn’t extra lean.
Absolutely. Chicken meatballs are so delicious right out of the oven or made ahead!
Store chicken meatballs in an airtight container (once they’ve cooled) in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Chicken meatballs reheat so well! Simply place them in a microwave-safe bowl covered with plastic wrap and microwave in increments of 30 seconds until hot. Or wrap them in foil and reheat them in a 350-degree oven for 10-20 minutes until hot! You can also simmer them in a pot with tomato sauce until hot.
You can absolutely freeze chicken meatballs! If you’re freezing raw meatballs, let them freeze right on a baking sheet first, then remove the frozen balls and place them in a freezer safe bag. Thaw them in the fridge before baking as directed. Cooked meatballs can be frozen too, by layering them between parchment paper. To use, simmer in sauce until hot! Enjoy frozen meatballs within 3 months.
Yes absolutely. Or triple!
More Chicken Recipes You’ll Love!
- Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Pasta with Chicken
- Easy Curried Chicken Salad
- Bruschetta Chicken
- Perfect Chicken Penne Alla Vodka
- How to Bake Juicy Chicken Breast
- Dad’s Chicken Saltimbocca
- 1 pound ground chicken regular not extra lean for juiciest meatballs
- ½ cup Italian cheese blend finely shredded works best
- ⅓ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 small yellow onion peeled
- 2 large garlic cloves minced
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 ½ teaspoons Italian seasoning
- 1 teaspoon tomato paste
- 1 large egg
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a large baking sheet.
- Use the fine setting of a cheese grater to grate yellow onion into a medium bowl. Leave both the onion and its juices in the bowl. Add all other ingredients (ground chicken, Italian cheese blend, panko, garlic, olive oil, Italian seasoning, tomato paste, egg, and salt and pepper).
- Use your hands (best method) or two large spoons to gently mix together ingredients, until they’re well combined but not over-mixed. Over mixing will create tough meatballs.
- Form ¼ cup-sized meatballs and place meatballs about an inch apart on the greased baking sheet.
- Bake for 17-21 minutes, until meatballs are lightly golden and they reach an internal temperature of at least 170°F. It’s okay if the meatballs are quite a bit higher than that; they won’t be dry!
- Serve whatever way you’d like, or with your favorite bottled tomato sauce or Easy Homemade Tomato Sauce.
- Yes, you can form chicken meatballs up to 24 hours in advance.
- You can get an Italian cheese blend right in the grocery store next to the other shredded cheeses!
- You can change the size of your meatballs, but this will change the cooking time!