Super moist and flavorful chicken meatballs, covered in rich marinara sauce. This is the only meatballs recipe you'll ever need. Guaranteed.
While some chicken meatballs are known for being dry, that is something you won’t have to worry about with this recipe. Below, I'll explain all the tricks and secrets for making The Best Chicken Meatballs Ever. Are you excited? Me too!
There are quite a few tricks that will take your chicken meatballs from "good" to "Oh my God, can I have some more?" Let's start with chicken meat.
It is not a secret that chicken breast is a lot drier than thigh. That's why I strongly suggest buying boneless chicken thighs and processing the meat in the food processor at home. It's really easy, and it does make a difference. Plus you'll use the same food processor to pulse the chicken with the rest of the ingredients, so you won't have to wash it twice; Win-win.
It is also important to saute the onion in butter and olive oil before you add it to the meatballs. Don't rush this process. Use low heat and allow the onion to soften nicely and develop a beautiful golden color. The reason we are cooking the onion like this is to add that special sweet and buttery taste to the meatballs. Another reason for cooking the onion is that if you use raw diced onion in the meatballs, you run the risk of having raw onions in them. Do you want that to happen?
And lastly, the kind of bread you use impacts the softness of the meatballs. Try to make your own breadcrumbs from slightly stale Italian bread for the best results. Other kinds of white bread should work as well, although I always prefer to use an Italian loaf. Mixing the breadcrumbs with milk adds a little extra moisture to the meatballs.
After following all these steps, you are on your way to making THE BEST CHICKEN MEATBALLS EVER.
THE BEST CHICKEN MEATBALLS EVER
- 1 lb. ground chicken thighs or breast (thighs make juicier meatballs)
- 1 medium onion (chopped)
- 2 tbsp butter
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup breadcrumbs
- ½ cup milk
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup chopped parsley
- 2 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1 tsp salt
- ½ tsp pepper
- vegetable oil for frying
- 1 24 oz jar of your favorite Marinara sauce
- In a small mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk and set aside.
- Sauté the onion in butter and olive oil on low heat for about 10-15 minutes, until the onion is soft and starts browning slightly.
- Place the ground chicken in the food processor and add the breadcrumbs, sautéed onion, egg, parsley, garlic, salt and pepper. Pulse this mixture until all the ingredients are evenly combined.
- Put oil in a large skillet over medium heat.
- Scoop ⅛th of a cup of the meatball mixture and roll it into a ball. You may need to wet your hands, because the mixture is sticky. One by one, roll the meatballs and add them to the oil.
- Cook, turning as necessary, until nicely browned all over for about 10 minutes. You don't need the meatballs to cook through completely because you'll cook them in marinara sauce in a later step. (Depending on the size of your skillet, you may need to work in batches. I have a 10-inch skillet and I cooked these meatballs in 2 batches, 12 at a time).
- Once the meatballs are cooked, transfer them onto a plate lined with paper towels to absorb the oil.
- Clean the skillet and put the meatballs back in. Pour the marinara sauce on top. Cover the skillet with a tight lid and cook for an additional 10-15 minutes on low heat.
- Garnish with grated Parmesan cheese or chopped parsley.
Before you go...
Check out these recipes
CABBAGE SAUTEED WITH BEEF
LAMB CHOPS WITH PESTO
PASTA WITH PEAS AND KIELBASA
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What could I use to substitute for breadcrumbs? I'd like to make them without the use of bread. Quinoa? Oats? Any suggestions?
Hi Sherri! I think instant oats should do the job here. Let me know how you enjoyed the meatballs and happy cooking!
Hi Tania. I've never made chicken meatballs but tried them for the 1st time last week. Your recipe looks great. Can I skip the frying pan & just cook them in a pot of sauce for a few hours like I do with beef meatballs? Also, I've never cooked with ground chicken. I'm curious, what is the difference between buying ground chicken as opposed to chicken thighs in the food processor? Thanks! Excited about trying your recipe.
Hi Lisa! Yes, you can skip frying. It will make the meatballs healthier. The reason I use ground chicken thighs, is because dark chicken meat is juicier, but regular ground chicken will work as well. I cannot wait to hear how you like the meatballs, Lisa! Happy cooking!
Any tips on making them ahead of time? Do you think they would freeze well?
Hi Katie! These meatballs should freeze well. Thanks!
These are so yummy! What are the calories for these yummy meatballs?
Thanks, Lisa! I do not provide nutritional info, but you can check the calories by putting the ingredients into online calorie calculator, such as https://www.myfitnesspal.com/. Hope you'll give these a try!
I followed the recipe exactly, except I used ground chicken instead of the thighs. They came out too moist and not sure if they were suppose to. They tasted amazing but they were too moist. Never thought I would say that..lol. I used a cast iron pan. Would that have made a difference?
Hi Amanda! These meatballs are moist and soft, but I am not sure why yours came out too moist. I don't think the cast iron pan is what made a difference. Maybe try using less milk next time, ans it will solve the problem. Thank you for your feedback, friend!
Soak the bread in milk.. then squeeze the milk out.. the add to mixture