Easy Chicken Meatballs are a delicious and lighter option for those days when you’re craving an alternative to the classic Italian beef meatball.

A pan of easy chicken meatballs in marinara sauce garnished with fresh basil

With flavors from pancetta onions, garlic, Parmesan cheese and fresh basil, they also just happen to be gluten free!

I love a good beefy meatball, I even love them stuffed with cheese like my cheese stuffed mini meatballs recipe, but I also like to mix-it-up and enjoy these lighter, chicken meatballs. If you are one of those people who can’t tolerate beef, say hello to your new little meatball friends.

Added Flavor

Now we all know chicken does not have a lot of flavor on its own and there is 1 ingredient I like to use to add so much flavor to many Italian dishes, pancetta. I add it to my Bolognese sauce,  Italian Style Meatloaf, and my mini beef meatballs and these chicken meatballs are just the delicious flavor boost they need.

A closeup image of an easy chicken meatball in a pan of marinara sauce

Ground Chicken

When I first wrote this recipe, it was not easy to find ground chicken in the grocery store, so I would grind it up in my food processor and they would turn out great. If you can’t find ground chicken try this method, but don’t over-mix or the meat will be slimy and gummy. A few pulses will do.

How to Make Easy Chicken Meatballs in 4 Easy Steps:

Step by step instructions for making easy chicken meatballs
Meatball Shaping Tip
 
I like to use my ice cream scoop for shaping the meatballs. This way they are perfectly formed and all the same size.
 
Meatballs on a baking sheet

Freezing Meatballs

Making ahead a large batch of these meatballs and freezing some for future use is a great way to have an easy dinner on hand. To freeze uncooked meatballs, line them up on a small baking sheet without touching, make room in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours. This makes it easy to transfer them to a ziptop bag for long-term freezer storage and they won’t stick together.

Serving Suggestion

These easy chicken meatballs are so good when they are served bathed in easy homemade marinara sauce. (see below).  All you have to is  add your favorite pasta, some Parmesan cheese and crusty bread. Delicious dinner, done!

Marinara sauce being poured into a pan

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Yield: 4

Easy Chicken Meatballs

A pan of easy chicken meatballs in marinara sauce garnished with fresh basil

Ground chicken breast is mixed with pancetta, Parmesan and fresh basil for a lighter, gluten-free delicious meatball.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) pancetta, finely diced
  • 4 ounces (113 grams) yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 pound (453 grams) ground chicken breast
  • 2 tablespoons Parmesan cheese, freshly grated
  • 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped
  • Small pinch of salt, (there is salt in the Parmesan)
  • 1/4 tablespoon ground black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375°F/190°C.
  2. To a sauté pan add the oil over medium heat. Add the pancetta and onions and cook until the onions start to soften. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute taking care not to burn the garlic.
  3. Add the tomato paste and stir to combine, cook for 1 minute. Transfer the onion mixture to a bowl and set aside to cool.
  4. To a large bowl add the ground chicken, Parmesan, basil, cooled onion pancetta mix, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until all the ingredients are combined, don't over mix.
  5. Scoop 1 tablespoon of the meat into your hand and roll into a ball, place on a baking sheet. Repeat until all the meat is used (see note for freezing from this point).
  6. Bake the meatballs for 25 minutes or until browned. Do not overcook.

Notes

  • This recipe yields about 12-14 meatballs depending on the size
  • To freeze uncooked meatballs, line them up on a small baking sheet without touching, make room in the freezer and freeze for 2 hours. This makes it easy to transfer them to a ziptop bag for long-term freezer storage and they won't stick together.
  • The recipe calls for a small pinch of salt as the Parmesan contains salt

Nutrition Information

Yield

4

Serving Size

3 meatballs

Amount Per Serving Calories 421Total Fat 32gSaturated Fat 10gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 20gCholesterol 144mgSodium 327mgCarbohydrates 5gFiber 1gSugar 2gProtein 31g