Easy Chicken Meatballs
Easy Chicken Meatballs are a delicious and lighter option for those days when you’re craving an alternative to the classic Italian beef meatball. With delicious flavor additions of pancetta, Parmesan and fresh basil, these meatballs are baked not fried.
These flavorful meatballs are made without breadcrumbs, making them gluten-free and they also have no egg making them allergy friendly.
Chicken or Beef Meatballs
I do love a good beefy meatball, I even love them stuffed with cheese like my Cheese Stuffed Mini Meatballsrecipe, 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.
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 – Polpettone, and these chicken meatballs are just the delicious flavor boost they need.
Ground Chicken Meatballs
When I first wrote this recipe back in 2018, 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:
This recipe yields about 12-14 ice cream scoop-size meatballs.
Meatball Shaping Tip
The mix for the meatballs is quite wet and sticky. I like to use my ice cream scoop for shaping the meatballs. It is also best to wet your hands so they don’t stick when you shape them, this way they are perfectly formed and all the same size.
I find that baking them, rather than frying keeps their shape. It is due to the moisture in the meatball, the hot oil makes it escape and this makes them fall apart. Baking is a gentler heat method. You can also cook them right in the tomato sauce, but they will not brown.
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 Baked Chicken Meatballs
Did you know that the Italians don’t serve their meatballs mixed with pasta? Meatballs are served on their own in sauce the ‘secondi’ (second) course with other dishes. I like them with my easy homemade marinara sauce. (see below). After baking, I put them in the pan of sauce and they help flavor the sauce. You can also put them in a baking dish, cover and keep warm in the oven until ready to serve.