These lightened-up Italian style Chicken Meatballs are made with Parmesan cheese, sauteed peppers, and onions, and baked using a special technique that keeps the meatballs tender and moist.
These Baked Chicken Meatballs are a lighter version of my popular recipe for Italian Meatballs.
In place of ground beef, I use ground chicken breasts. Normally you would think that chicken breast would be the WORST possible meat to use for meatballs, as it is known to dry out easily.
However, with a few tricks and a lot of seasoning, these Chicken Meatballs are JUST as tasty as the original--just significantly lighter on the calorie count.
Secrets to the Best Chicken Meatballs
- Add in sauteed peppers and onions. This adds great flavor and moisture to these chicken meatballs, as ground chicken can be quite bland. However, if you have picky eaters or need to save time on preparation, you may skip this step.
- Bake meatballs in broth. Just like my Classic Italian Meatballs, I use a steaming technique to get moist and tender meatballs. The high-heat of the oven will cause the stock to evaporate as the meatballs bake, but will prevent them from drying out.
How To Make Chicken Meatballs
- Heat olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat.
- Add the peppers and onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
- Mix together all the ingredients except for the chicken until well combined.
- Add the chicken and just combine. Do not over mix, but be sure seasonings are well dispersed.
- Place meatballs on a rimmed baking sheet.
- Pour chicken stock around your meatballs and place them in the oven.
- Bake for 20-25 minutes or until meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
How to Serve
- Serve with homemade tomato sauce or your favorite jarred sauce over pasta or zucchini noodles.
- Serve on a hoagie bun with melted provolone cheese for a Meatball Sub.
How to Make Ground Chicken
Yes, you can purchase ground chicken at your grocery store. It is just so overpriced and so easy to make homemade ground chicken, that I do it at home.
To make freshly ground chicken:
- Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts (or chicken thighs) into chunks
- Place chicken into the food processor.
- Pulse a couple of times, until the meat begins to break down.
- Be careful to not over-process. It should only take 5-6 pulses to make ground chicken at home.
- I like to add -2 ice cubes to keep the meat super cold as it processes.
It is always a great idea to make a double or triple batch of meatballs to keep on hand for the busy nights.
To do this, prepare and bake meatballs as instructed. Allow meatballs to cool fully. Once cooled, place on a cookie sheet and freeze until solid--about 30-60 minutes. Once frozen solid, transfer to a freezer-safe bag for up to 3 months. To reheat frozen meatballs, either drop into simmering sauce for 20 minutes or reheat in an oven at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes or until warmed through.
More Delicious Italian Recipes
- Instant Pot Creamy Italian Pasta
- Easy 5 Ingredient Baked Rotini
- Easy Homemade Lasagna
- 4 Ingredient Tortellini Soup
- Baked Meatballs
Italian Chicken Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup red peppers diced
- ¼ cup onion diced
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 1 cup chicken broth divided
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 tsp oregano
- ¼ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 16 ounces marinara sauce
- Additional Parmesan Cheese grated
- Preheat oven to 450 degrees F and grease a rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
- Heat the olive oil in a nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the peppers and onions and saute for 3-5 minutes or until softened.
- Mix the peppers and onions with the breadcrumbs, cheese, ½ cup chicken broth, egg, garlic, salt, pepper, oregano, and crushed red pepper flakes.
- Add the meat and just combine. Do not over mix, but be sure seasonings are well dispersed.
- Roll meatballs into 1-inch circles and place on the prepared sheet pan.
- Pour reserved chicken broth around meatballs and bake for 25 minutes.
- Heat 2 cups of homemade tomato sauce or your favorite jarred sauce over medium heat in a large skillet and add in the cooked meatballs. Gently toss the meatballs in the sauce and remove from heat. Serve with additional freshly grated Parmesan.