Learn how to make this incredibly versatile healthy baked chicken meatball recipe with my step-by-step guide. Master this recipe then mix it up with your favorite spices and herbs.
Are chicken meatballs good?
First off, I get it if you’re skeptical. Ground chicken, rather ground white meat, tends to freak people out. BUT, I am here to tell you, as someone who doesn’t love ground meat, I love these chicken meatballs. Why? Where do I begin!
These baked chicken meatballs are:
- Easy to make
3 steps to creating juicy chicken meatballs
- Avoid over mixing, this will create a more tough meatball in the end (although that’s hard to do with this recipe).
- Add fresh flavor. Instead of using spices and dried herbs I opt for fresh, and it’s well worth the extra bit work. Instead of garlic and onion powder I use fresh minced garlic and grated onion. And instead of dried oregano (or Italian seasoning) I use minced fresh oregano. You can, of course, use dried as well.
- Add a panade to the meat mixture, aka add some breadcrumbs and liquid, more on that below!
What is a panade?
Essentially, a panade is a mixture of starch and liquid. You’ll most often find dried bread crumbs, fresh bread crumbs or sandwich bread used in combination with milk, buttermilk or broth.
A panade is generally used in ground meat recipes, such as burgers, meatloaf and meatballs, to add moisture and help keep them from overcooking.
For this healthy baked chicken meatball recipe, use fresh whole-wheat sandwich bread (torn into pieces) and milk. Combine all of the spices and flavorings with the panade prior to adding the chicken. This will help to avoid over mixing the meat and also distributes all of the ingredients more evenly.
How long to bake chicken meatballs at 400-degrees
As a general rule of thumb, cook chicken meatballs for 10 and 20 minutes. The size of your meatballs will be the deciding factor here.
You’ll know your meatballs are done when an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165-degrees.
Here’s a guide for baking time:
- Small chicken meatballs (1 tablespoon) — 12 minutes
- Medium chicken meatballs (2 tablespoons) — 15–20 minutes
- Large chicken meatballs (3 tablespoons) — 25–30 minutes
How to use these baked chicken meatballs
- Serve chicken meatballs in sauce such as alfredo, marinara, pesto, curry and more.
- Serve chicken meatballs in a meatball sub!
- Serve chicken meatballs in tomato sauce over spaghetti.
- Serve chicken meatballs in a teriyaki sauce as an appetizer.
- Use chicken meatballs in a simple broth-based or creamy soup.
- I also like to make these chicken meatballs for meal prep.
- Once baked, I let the meatballs cool on the sheet then transfer to a container with a tight-fitting lid; store in refrigerator. Stored this way, chicken meatballs will last up to 1 week.
Can you freeze baked chicken meatballs?
Yes! You can freeze baked chicken meatballs.
For the best results, once the meatballs have been baked, let them cool completely on the baking sheet.
Transfer baked and cooled meatballs to a clean parchment paper-lined baking sheet and arrange in a single layer, making sure they aren’t touching eachother.
Transfer baking sheet with meatballs to freezer and freeze until solid, at least 6 hours.
Transfer frozen meatballs to a resealable zipper-lock bag (I like to use my reusable bags) and store in freezer.
How to reheat chicken meatballs:
There are a few ways you can reheat chicken meatballs.
- Pop your bag of frozen meatballs in the fridge and let them defrost overnight. Then reheat them in a 350-degree oven until heated through, about 10 minutes.
- Toss frozen meatballs (or thawed) into a pot of simmering sauce.
- Combine meatballs with your choice of sauce in a slow cooker. Simmer on low heat for 1–2 hours, or until heated through.
- Sauté thawed meatballs in a skillet with a splash of olive oil.
- Microwave thawed meatballs for 1–2 minutes.
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Tender, moist and full of flavor, these healthy chicken meatballs are easy to prepare and super versatile, making them ideal for meal prep!
- 2 pieces whole-wheat sandwich bread, torn into pieces
- 3 tablespoons milk
- ⅓ cup shredded Parmesan (Pecorino Romano or Manchego also work well)
- ¼ cup grated onion
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons minced oregano
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 pound lean ground chicken
Heat oven to 400°F with rack set to middle position. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
Mash bread and milk together in a large bowl to combine.
Mix Parmesan, onion, egg, oregano, garlic, oil, salt and pepper into bread mixture.
Add chicken to bread mixture and, using your hands, mix just until combined.
Using a 1 tablespoons measure, form chicken mixture into 1-inch meatballs. Arrange meatballs on prepared sheet spaced 1 inch apart.
Bake meatballs until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted in the center registers 165°F, 10–12 minutes.
Make meatballs dairy free: simply leave out the Parmesan, or use vegan cheese.
Make meatballs gluten-free: use gluten-free sandwich bread.
Flavors: mix it up with different herbs, try using mined fresh rosemary or thyme. Add some classic meatballs spices like fennel seed or ground fennel, red pepper flakes and/or Italian seasoning.
- Serving Size: 5 meatballs
- Calories: 143
- Sugar: 1
- Sodium: 399mg
- Fat: 6.5g
- Saturated Fat: 2g
- Carbohydrates: 6g
- Fiber: 1g
- Protein: 15g
- Cholesterol: 63mg
Keywords: Baked chicken meatballs, healthy chicken meatballs, chicken parm meatballs, ground chicken, meatballs,