These Easy Chicken Meatballs are a staple in our household. With only five simple ingredients, that add both moisture and maximum flavor to a blank canvas of ground chicken breast, the possibilities are endless to meal preparations. Toss everything together in about five minutes, baked for 15, and they’re done. Keep in the fridge to pull our for salads and bowls throughout the week, or freeze so you can pull them out when you need them.
Easy Chicken Meatballs
It’s no secret I have a thing for meatballs around here. I just went back through our meatball archives, and we have 15 variations of beef, pork, and chicken meatball recipes. And while I do share the love pretty equally between all of them, as a family, we always come back to the chicken meatball most regularly. Here’s why:
- They’re healthy, obviously. Unlike a lot of chicken meatball recipes out there, we use ground chicken breast, which means you can eat as many of these little guys as you want.
- They’re a blank canvas.Dress them up with fresh herbs, make them cheesy by stuffing them with grated parmesan cheese – the possibilities are endless.
- They’re not tied to the season. I don’t know about you, but I really only crave heavier beef or pork meatballs during the cooler months, chicken is lighter, so I feel like it’s appropriate in all seasons, even in the winter as a lighter spaghetti and meatballs replacement.
As you can tell, we’ve prepared them a number of ways over the years, but I thought it was time to share a simple, straightforward version that could be used in any of our recipes, or thrown into your favorite recipe on a whim.
Our version is packed with flavor, infinitely moist, and never dense. Let’s get started.
Ingredients in Easy Chicken Meatballs
Chicken. As we discussed before, we use ground chicken breast. Even though it does have a tendency to dry out, I like to keep things as healthy as possible, and add flavor in other ways. Of course, if all you have on hand is regular ground chicken, you can use that as well. Also, I want to note that I rarely buy pre-ground chicken. I like to grind my own chicken in a food processor, because it has zero fillers in it and makes for a fresher meatball, in my onion.
Onion. I don’t like big pieces of onion in my meatballs, and neither do my kiddos. Instead, I grate the onion on the large side of a grater so the onion practically melts into the chicken meatballs. This is also a great way to add in moisture to the meatballs as well.
Garlic. I go pretty aggressive on the garlic here, you’ll need three large cloves, grated. And again, we don’t want big pieces, we want the garlic to disenigrate into the chicken, so I finely grate it on a microplane. If you don’t have a microplane, mince it as find as you can, and use the back of your knife to smash it into a paste.
Egg. I don’t always add egg to my meatballs, but for this basic recipe, I like the slightly rich element it adds, plus it really binds everything together.
Breadcrumbs. I use plain panko breadcrumbs, this adds a little bit of a lightness to the meatball. If you only have plain bread crumbs, those will work as well.
Salt. For every pound of chicken, you’re going to want one teaspoon of salt. This ensured flavorful, never bland meatballs.
How to Grind Chicken
As I mentioned before, I like to grind my own chicken. A lot of pre-ground chicken comes with added water, salt, and fillers. I like to keep things as simple as possible by grinding whole chicken breasts. Here’s how you do it.
- Cut the chicken breasts into 1-inch pieces.
- Place in the food processor.
- Pulse until it starts to grind. Turn the mixer on a let it do its thing. It should be ground after 1-2 minutes.
- Prepare chicken meatballs as instructed.
Let’s make chicken meatballs
Mix the ingredients. Add the chicken, onion, garlic, egg, panko, and salt together in a medium bowl. Use your hands to quickly and gently combine everything together.
Form the meatballs. Use a small cookie or ice cream scoop to evenly portion out the meatballs. Line them up on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
Roll the meatballs. Lightly dampen hands with cold water. Roll into balls.
Bake. Place in a 400-degree oven and bake for 12-15 minutes until golden browned cooked through. Eat right away or cool and store in an airtight container until ready to use. Alternatively, you Coll completely and freeze.
What to do with Easy Chicken Meatballs
- Toss with your favorite marinara sauce and cooked whole-wheat spaghetti for a lighter take on spaghetti and meatballs. Or, stuff them into hoagies for a healthier meatball sub.
- Throw in our favorite minestrone soup or swap out the chicken in our creamy chicken noodle soup for meatballs.
- Swap out the pork meatballs for chicken meatballs in our Greek Tahini Bowls.
- 1 lb chicken breast or tenderloin
- 1/2 medium onion, grated
- 3 large garlic cloves, grated
- 1 large egg
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- Food processor
- sheet pan
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Cut the chicken into 1-inch pieces. Palce in the food processor. Pulse until the chicken is starting to grind. Leave the mixer on and let the meat grind. It should take about 1-2 minutes.
- Once the meat is ground, remove the blade. Add in the grated onion, grated garlic, egg, panko, and salt. Use hands to gently combine everything together. Do not overmix.
- Use a small cookie or ice cream scoop to form the chicken mixture into 25 meatballs. Place on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Damp hands with cold water. Roll into uniform meatballs. Place in the oven and bake until golden brown and cooked through, about 12-15 minutes.
- Serve right away or cool completely and store in an airtight containter. Freeze for up to two months.