Italian Chicken Meatballs

These Italian chicken meatballs are so versatile - they can be served on their own with a dipping sauce, or used in so many different recipes. Lighter in texture and calories than beef meatballs, chicken meatballs are great with pasta, noodles, mashed potatoes and in sandwiches.

Now Let’s Get Cooking
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Ingredients for meatballs in a glass bowl on a counter with parmesan cheese, a pepper grinder, some parsley and spices near by.

Easy Chicken Meatballs

You can make meatballs as easy or as complicated as you like. Me? I like easy. These Italian chicken meatballs have just the right number of ingredients to make them interesting and tasty without going too far or getting too complicated. Sometimes, I start my meatball-making adventures by sautéing the minced onion and garlic first before adding it to the ground meat and other ingredients. This time, I wanted to keep it on the simple side so I skipped that step, added the onion raw and left out the garlic. If you’re a big garlic fan, you could add a little garlic powder, but I don’t recommend adding raw garlic… unless you really like garlic!

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Hands mixing ingredients together in a glass bowl.

Homemade Meatballs = Handmade Meatballs

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again… the best tools you have in your kitchen are your hands. This is especially true when it comes to making meatballs. There’s not a lot that can go wrong when you’re making meatballs, but one common problem is making them too tough. Meatballs become dry and tough if you mix the ingredients or pack them together too hard, with too much force. In order to mix the ingredients together the best way possible without over-mixing, use your hands. Yes, it’s messy and sticky, but you’re cooking, you’re in this!

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Chicken meatballs on a sheet pan with an ice cream scoop resting on the side.

How to Make Uniform Meatballs

Uniformity is important in cooking. It’s important because foods that are uniform in size cook uniformly. To help make meatballs uniform in size, scoop portions of the meatball mixture with a small ice cream scoop. Then roll each portion into a ball. A hugely helpful tip when rolling meatballs is to wet your hands first. This might seem counterintuitive, but the meatball mixture will have a much harder time sticking to your wet hands than it would to your dry hands. In addition, the meatballs will have a smoother texture if you roll them with wet hands. You’re welcome.

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Chicken meatballs in a saute pan with a pair of tongs resting on the side.

How to Cook Meatballs – Stovetop, Oven and Air-Fryer

There are a few ways to cook meatballs. In this recipe, start the meatballs on the stovetop in a little oil, rolling them around to get them brown on all sides. Then, transfer the skillet or sauté pan to a 375ºF oven to finish cooking the meatballs through. You could instead opt to use your air fryer to cook these meatballs. Depending on the size of your air fryer, you will probably have to cook the meatballs in batches. Air-fry at 380ºF for 10 to 12 minutes. Another method of cooking the meatballs is to place them on a baking sheet and bake them at 375ºF – 400ºF until they are fully cooked – about 20 to 30 minutes depending on their size. The advantage to the latter method is that the meatballs are more likely to remain round. Because these meatballs in particular are made with ground chicken, you’ll find they are more likely to flatten a little as they cook, but think of it as a special safety precaution so the balls don’t roll off your plate. Again, you’re welcome. 

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A white bowl of Italian chicken meatballs surrounded with a green napkin.

What to Serve with Meatballs

These Italian Chicken meatballs, when well seasoned so they are full of flavor, when they are gently packed so they are not tough, and when cooked until they are just cooked through so they are not dry, are a delight. You can serve them all on their own with a dipping sauce or two and some toothpicks and watch them disappear. The dip could be as simple as bottled sweet Thai chili sauce or you could mix some honey and mustard together with a dash or two of Worcestershire sauce. You could also make a cheese sauce or marinara sauce and serve either sauce warm with the meatballs. Meatballs can also be a part of another recipe or a component of a meal, like these Italian Chicken Meatball Grinders or this one-pot Pressure Cooker Spaghetti and Meatball dinner. You might think about making a double batch and keeping some on hand in the freezer. 

Because these meatballs are made of chicken instead of beef, they are a little lighter in texture and calories. That said, and because I know someone will ask, yes you can swap out the chicken for beef and make this your go-to meatball recipe. You’re welcome. 😉

Italian Chicken Meatballs

  • Prep Time: 25 m
  • Cook Time: 20 m
  • Total Time: 45 m
  • Servings:
    6
    Makes 18 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 ½ pounds ground chicken or beef
  • cup minced onion
  • ¾ cup seasoned panko breadcrumbs
  • 2/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Instructions

  1. Combine the all the ingredients in a large bowl. Mix all the ingredients together with your hands until everything is just combined – careful not to over-mix. Roll the mixture into 18 (2-inch) meatballs.

  2. Pre-heat the oven to 375°F.

  3. Pre-heat a large oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat. Add a little olive oil to the pan and brown the meatballs on all sides. Finish cooking the meatballs in your favorite marinara sauce OR transfer the skillet to a 375ºF oven for 10 to 15 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through.

  4. Serve as part of another recipe or simply on their own with a dipping sauce.

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Comments (1)Post a Reply


  1. These are fabulous! For a special little surprise I add some mozzarella to the middle of each meatball. Simply flatten the meat mixture place some shredded mozzarella ontop of the meat and roll it into a ball again. Cook as directed. EASY CHICKEN PARMIGIANA

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