Around here, I am always in need of a quick, simple weeknight meal. Thankfully, meatballs are lovingly embraced by 2 out of 3 of my kiddos (honestly, that’s good enough for me…), so they make an appearance almost weekly on our menu rotation. What I love so much about these chicken meatballs is that, well… they really are easy. When I say 5 minutes prep time, I mean it. For working parents, that is GOLD.
Ingredients for chicken meatballs
The recipe for my chicken meatballs is the same standard one I use for all of my meatballs with simple additions of sun-dried tomatoes and Worcestershire – so delish!
- ground chicken (totally fine to substitute turkey or other ground meat)
- 1 egg per lb of meat
- freshly grated parmesan or pecorino cheese, whichever I happen to have on hand at the moment
- breadcrumbs (there’s a time and a place for panko breadcrumbs, and meatballs ain’t one of ’em)
- kosher salt + black pepper
- sun-dried tomato pesto
- Worcestershire sauce
While the meatballs are cooking (more on that below), make this super simple sauce. I use 1 (32 oz) jar of Rao’s marinara sauce — it’s my absolute favorite jarred red sauce. Heat sauce in a large pan until simmering. Next, add a big scoop of mascarpone cheese. Seriously creamy, seriously addictive! But also, if you’ve been following me for a while you know that I add mascarpone cheese to just about everything. Sorry, not sorry.
Baked chicken meatballs? Pan-fried? NOPE – broiled!
How to cook: don’t hate me for veering from the traditional here, but my favorite way to make meatballs is to broil them. Combine ingredients in a large bowl, mix gently, form into 1 ½” – 2″ balls, then broil on high for ~12 minutes. (Beef meatballs are done in 10 minutes!) This is how I make literally all meatballs in my house. Beyond simple, and the clean up is practically non-existent. I’m telling you guys, this is the easiest way to make homemade meatballs, bar none.
We recommend the Thermapen MK4 to check for doneness on all meats!
What To Serve With Chicken Meatballs
Obviously pasta is a great choice. Who’s gonna say no to spaghetti and meatballs? I also love to serve these with homemade zucchini noodles, or zoodles. You will hardly miss the carbs, promise!
In the winter I serve meatballs over warm creamy polenta. These are also perfect as is in a large bowl with an extra helping of marinara and a generous sprinkling of parmesan. Don’t forget the crusty baguette to sop up all that glorious sauce!
Can chicken meatballs be frozen?
Hell to the yes! I am never, ever, EVER without meatballs in my freezer. These are honestly one of the most freezer-friendly foods out there. Once cooked, allow meatballs to cool completely, then store in an airtight bag until needed.
When ready to heat, just pull out however many meatballs you’d like and either defrost overnight in fridge or heat in a microwave until defrosted, usually about 1-2 minutes on high.
Personally, I love to reheat refrigerated meatballs by slicing them in half and pan searing cut-side down in a nonstick pan with a little olive oil. They get SO crispy, which I absolutely love!
Why I love this recipe so much
No brainer: these easy chicken meatballs are healthy, quick, comforting, and so flavorful! I love the intense flavor that the sun-dried tomato pesto adds; it’s both super garlicy and yet vibrant! I think if I had an Italian grandmother, she’d be proud of me for this weeknight staple.
Serious question: why haven’t you made these yet?!
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For more simple weeknight meals, check out the following recipes:
Easy Chicken Meatballs
- 1 ½ lbs ground chicken or turkey
- 1 large egg beaten
- ½ cup grated parmesan or pecorino plus more for serving
- ½ cup seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 tsp sun-dried tomato pesto OR chopped sun-dried tomatoes
- 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 32 oz jar of marinara, or about 3 cups of homemade sauce
- ½ cup mascarpone cheese
- ¼ cup fresh basil leaves ripped or finely sliced
- 1 lb pasta cooked
To make meatballs:
- Combine all ingredients except ground chicken in a large mixing bowl, then whisk to combine.
- Add ground chicken then mix until just fully incorporated.
- Line a standard rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper, then divide mixture into meatballs about 1 ½” – 2″ in size. Should yield approximately 16 meatballs. Place on baking sheet then broil on high for 12 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 F.
- Pour marinara in a large pan and heat over medium-high heat until simmering. Add mascarpone cheese and stir until well mixed.
- When meatballs are cooked, add to sauce and toss to coat. Garnish with fresh basil and grated parmesan. Serve over pasta.