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These baked chicken meatballs are an easy, versatile dinner! Made with ground chicken, Italian chicken sausage, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, and plenty of herbs and spices, the little chicken parm meatballs are packed with flavor. Serve them over pasta, tuck them inside hoagie rolls, or offer them alongside a green salad and garlic bread. Such a quick, family-friendly meal!

Hand eating ground chicken meatballs with a fork

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

These are truly the best baked chicken meatballs! They’re simple to prepare with basic ingredients that you probably already have in your kitchen; they’re hands-off and don’t require babysitting at the stovetop; and they’re delicious on pasta, inside subs, or with a loaf of crusty garlic bread. You can’t beat a new twist on a classic family favorite!

The homemade meatballs taste like a cross between traditional Italian meatballs and a classic Chicken Parm. With chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan cheese, Italian herbs, and marinara sauce, you get Chicken Parm ingredients rolled into little meatball packages. Italian chicken sausage adds tons of great flavor, but you can certainly omit that ingredient and make them with only ground chicken. The recipe is quick, flexible, freezer-friendly, and most importantly…easy!

Overhead shot of a fork in a bowl of chicken parm meatballs

Should you brown meatballs before baking?

Browning or frying meatballs in a skillet adds color, flavor, and a seared texture to the outside — but it’s definitely not necessary. Sometimes we just don’t have the time or energy for that extra step, and baking is also healthier. Since you’re adding these meatballs to a pan of sauce at the end, and since they’re already loaded with so much great flavor, no one will ever know that you took a little shortcut!

Ground chicken mixture in a white bowl.

Ingredients

This is just a quick overview of the ingredients that you’ll need for a batch of oven baked chicken Parmesan meatballs. As always, specific measurements and complete step-by-step instructions are included in the printable recipe box at the bottom of the post.

  • Lean ground chicken: the base of the meatballs. You can substitute with ground turkey, ground beef, or ground pork if you prefer. Ground chicken breast tends to be a bit dry in meatballs, so I prefer a ground chicken with some dark meat (when available). If you only have ground chicken breast, that’s fine! The fat in the sausage will still help to keep the meatballs moist.
  • Ground fresh Italian chicken sausage: gives the meatballs so much more flavor! The fat in the sausage also keeps the meatballs moist and tender. You can substitute with regular pork Italian sausage, turkey Italian sausage, or just omit the sausage altogether and use extra ground chicken.
  • Italian-style bread crumbs: these seasoned bread crumbs act as a binder to hold the meatballs together.
  • Egg: gives the meatballs structure.
  • Milk: combines with the breadcrumbs to create a “panade,” which acts as a binding agent and (more importantly) prevents the meatballs from drying out. The milk activates the starch in the breadcrumbs to form a gel. This behaves similarly to a fat by lubricating the meat’s protein fibers and preventing them from becoming tough.
  • Parmesan cheese: for rich, salty, cheesy flavor in the meatballs.
  • Basil, parsley, and oregano: classic Italian seasoning herbs that give the meatballs great flavor.
  • Salt: enhances the other ingredients in the dish.
  • Garlic powder and pepper: even more flavor!
  • Marinara sauce: make your own pot of sauce or use a jar of high-quality store-bought sauce to coat the baked meatballs for serving.
Raw chicken meatballs on a baking sheet

How to Make Chicken Meatballs

Skip the frozen package of prepared meatballs, because this recipe offers a step-by-step guide and a few helpful tips to show you how to make baked chicken meatballs in the oven from scratch in just minutes. Tender and light on the inside, and touched with subtle notes of Italian herbs, garlic, and Parmesan, the easy meatball recipe comes out perfectly every time. A hearty, cozy, and delicious supper is just minutes away — and it will make you the hero at the family table!

  1. Combine the meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl.
  2. Chill the meat mixture for 1 hour, if time allows. This will make it easier to roll them out.
  3. Roll the meat mixture into 1 ½-inch balls. Arrange on a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper (or spray a rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray).
  4. Bake the meatballs in a 425°F oven for 10-12 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165°F.
  5. While the meatballs bake, warm the marinara sauce on the stovetop.
  6. Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and cook for 2-3 more minutes. This will give the meatballs a chance to absorb some of the flavors from the sauce, bringing the whole dish together!
Side shot of chicken parmesan meatballs served with pasta in a white bowl

What to Do with Italian Chicken Meatballs

These versatile meatballs work well in a variety of dishes. Here are a few easy meal ideas:

What to Serve with Baked Chicken Meatballs

These sides go well with Chicken Parm meatballs:

Overhead shot of a bowl of the best chicken meatball recipe with a side of bread

Make Ahead

You can shape the meatballs, cover loosely with plastic wrap, and store in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours. When you need a quick dinner, just pull them out and pop them into the oven! You can also freeze the raw meatballs to enjoy them at a later date (see the freezing instructions below).

Storage

Leftover baked chicken meatballs will keep in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat on the stovetop over low heat or in the microwave, just until warmed through.

How to Freeze

You can freeze the meatballs before or after cooking. To freeze raw meatballs that you’ll bake later, arrange the raw meatballs on a baking sheet, freeze until solid, and then transfer to a large Ziploc freezer bag. Freezing them on the baking sheet first will prevent the meatballs from sticking together or falling apart. You will need to add a few extra minutes to the total baking time if you’re baking the meatballs directly from the freezer.

To freeze cooked meatballs, bake as instructed in the recipe, cool to room temperature, and then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. When the meatballs are frozen, transfer to a Ziploc freezer bag. The meatballs will last in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Recipe Variations for Ground Chicken Meatballs

  • Double the Recipe. Using 1 lb. of meat yields about 20 meatballs and serve 4-6 people. If you’d like to prepare a larger batch to feed a group or to save leftovers in the freezer for another meal, just double all of the ingredients (using 1 lb. of ground chicken and 1 lb. of sausage).
  • Use other Meats. I prefer the combination of ground chicken and ground Italian chicken sausage because the blend yields meatballs with so much flavor! That said, you can substitute with ground turkey, ground beef, or ground pork; or use a “meatloaf mix” that includes beef, pork, and veal.
  • Instead of using store-bought marinara sauce shown here, you can make your own tomato sauce from scratch (using this recipe or these instructions).
  • Include ½ cup finely-minced or grated fresh onion for moisture and flavor in the meatballs.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes for spicy chicken meatballs.
Overhead shot of hands holding a bowl of pasta with baked chicken meatballs

Tips for the Best Chicken Meatball Recipe

  • Combine the meatball mixture with your hands — not with a wooden spoon. The more gentle you can be, the more light and tender your meatballs will stay. Don’t overmix, or you’ll end up with tough, dense, and dry meatballs.
  • If you have some extra time, chill the meatball mixture for at least 1 hour before shaping. I don’t always do this (it’s not necessary), but it does make the shaping easier if the mixture is more firm.
  • A cookie dough scoop helps form even meatballs that cook in about the same amount of time. Scoop, roll gently in your hands, and then bake!
  • Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil periodically as you’re shaping the meatballs. The oil prevents the meat from sticking to your hands, and also helps the outside of the meatballs brown when they’re in the oven.
Overhead shot of a bowl of baked chicken meatballs with pasta and marinara

More Meatball Recipes to Try

Hand eating ground chicken meatballs with a fork

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 25 minutes
Chilling Time 1 hour
Total: 1 hour 40 minutes
Servings 4 – 6 people (about 20 total meatballs)
Calories 232 kcal
These baked chicken parm meatballs are an easy, versatile dinner! Serve them over pasta, tuck them inside hoagie rolls, or offer them alongside a green salad and garlic bread.

Ingredients
  

FOR THE MEATBALLS:

  • ½ lb. ground chicken (or ground turkey)
  • ½ lb. ground Italian chicken sausage, casings removed (or regular Italian sausage or Italian turkey sausage)
  • ¼ cup Italian-style bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil (or sub with ½ teaspoon dried basil)
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper

FOR SERVING:

  • 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce
  • Optional garnish: chopped fresh parsley or basil; grated Parmesan cheese

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, use your hands or a fork to gently combine all of the meatball ingredients, being careful not to over-mix. If time allows, cover the bowl and chill for about 1 hour (this is optional, but will make the meatballs easier to shape).
  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Use a scoop to shape the meat mixture into 1 ½-inch balls. Tip: rub your hands with a little bit of oil to prevent the meatballs from sticking. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer.
  • While the meatballs are in the oven, warm the marinara sauce in a large skillet over medium heat.
  • Transfer the cooked meatballs to the skillet with the sauce. Cook, stirring occasionally, for about 2-3 more minutes so that the meatballs can absorb the flavors from the sauce.
  • Serve over pasta, in sub rolls, or with rice. Garnish with grated Parmesan and chopped fresh herbs, if desired.

Notes

  • Combine the meatball mixture with your hands — not with a wooden spoon. The more gentle you can be, the more light and tender your meatballs will stay. Don’t overmix, or you’ll end up with tough, dense, and dry meatballs.
  • If you have some extra time, chill the meatball mixture for at least 1 hour before shaping. I don’t always do this (it’s not necessary), but it does make the shaping easier if the mixture is more firm.
  • A cookie dough scoop helps form even meatballs that cook in about the same amount of time. Scoop, roll gently in your hands, and then bake!
  • Coat your hands with a little bit of olive oil periodically as you’re shaping the meatballs. The oil prevents the meat from sticking to your hands, and also helps the outside of the meatballs brown when they’re in the oven.
  • Double the Recipe. Using 1 lb. of meat yields about 20 meatballs. If you’d like to prepare a larger batch to feed a group or to save leftovers in the freezer for another meal, just double all of the ingredients (using 1 lb. of ground chicken and 1 lb. of sausage).
  • Use other Meats. I prefer the combination of ground chicken and ground Italian chicken sausage because the blend yields meatballs with so much flavor! That said, you can substitute with a ground turkey, ground beef, or ground pork, or use a “meatloaf mix” that includes beef, pork, and veal.
  • Instead of using store-bought marinara sauce shown here, you can make your own sauce from scratch (using this recipe or these instructions).
  • Include ½ cup finely-minced or grated fresh onion for moisture and flavor in the meatballs.
  • Add crushed red pepper flakes for spicy chicken meatballs.

Nutrition

Serving: 4meatballsCalories: 232kcalCarbohydrates: 15gProtein: 21gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gPolyunsaturated Fat: 2gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 101mgSodium: 1568mgPotassium: 839mgFiber: 3gSugar: 8gVitamin A: 820IUVitamin C: 24mgCalcium: 122mgIron: 7mg
Keyword: baked chicken meatballs, chicken meatballs, chicken parm meatballs, ground chicken meatballs
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: American, Italian
Author: Blair Lonergan
blair

Hey, I’m Blair!

Welcome to my farmhouse kitchen in the foothills of Virginia’s Blue Ridge Mountains. Inspired by local traditions and seasonal fare, you’ll find plenty of easy, comforting recipes that bring your family together around the table. It’s down-home, country-style cooking!

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