Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

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A fun twist on two classic Italian dishes -- CHICKEN PARMESAN MEATBALLS. Delicious and sure to be a hit! via chelseasmessyapron.com

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are a fun twist on a classic. Tender, well-seasoned chicken meatballs are cooked and served in a delicious homemade marinara sauce. Enjoy over cooked pasta, garnished with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.

Serve these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs alongside a simple salad such as this Cucumber Salad or this Caprese Salad.

 

Overhead image of Chicken Parmesan Meatballs on a bed of pasta.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

Chicken Parmesan and homemade meatballs are two of my all-time favorite meals. So why not blend the two together into some unforgettable Chicken Parmesan Meatballs? Truly, one of the best dinners ever, it’s certainly one of my favorites! 

Just like when I mashed up chicken Parm and stuffed shells to get these Chicken Parmesan Stuffed Shells, this meal was also born of the desire to have two of my favorite meals in one. While this recipe is a little more involved than a lot of the 30-minute recipes on this site, the effort is well worth it. These meatballs are succulent, moist, and loaded with good Italian flavors. The sauce is hearty and delicious and the perfect coating for the meatballs.

Process shots-- combining the meatball ingredients; stuffing with mozzarella cheese; forming balls; rolling in flour; sautéing.

Chicken Parmesan Meatball notes

  • Don’t overwork the meat mixture. Once the ingredients are incorporated into the ground chicken, stop mixing.
  • Keep the ingredients cold. The colder the ingredients (especially the ground chicken), the easier these meatballs are to roll and shape.
  • Roll small, even-sized meatballs. In order for these Chicken Parmesan Meatballs to cook through in time and evenly, you want to be sure they’re all roughly the same size. This recipe makes about 30-32 meatballs that are about 1 and 1/4 inches wide
  • Use a meat thermometer. The meatballs need to be cooked to 160 degrees F (carryover heat takes them to 165 degrees F). Since cooking time will vary due to several factors, I always recommend using a digital meat thermometer to remove any guesswork on your end.
    • Undercooked chicken meatballs aren’t safe to consume and overcooked meatballs will be dry and flavorless.

QUICK TIP

Use a mini cookie scoop, if you have one, to make the process of rolling balls easier. The meat is a bit wetter/stickier than typical beef meatballs.

Process shots-- images of the marinara sauce being made; meatballs being added and cooked in it.

Homemade marinara sauce notes

  • Good tomatoes make all the difference in this sauce. I highly recommend San Marzano® or Muir Glen® fire-roasted crushed tomatoes in this recipe. 
  • Lower quality canned tomatoes have the tendency to be acidic. If needed, add a teaspoon or two of sugar to the marinara to counteract any bite.
  • There is a good amount of olive oil in the marinara (1/4 cup), but it makes the sauce incredibly rich and is the perfect coating for the Chicken Parmesan Meatballs. Use a good-quality, extra-virgin olive oil for best flavor; a current favorite of mine is Cobram Estate® Extra Virgin Olive Oil (not sponsored).
  • If you’re concerned about heat, leave out the red pepper flakes. On the flip side, if you’d like more heat, increase the amount added to the sauce.
  • Make the marinara sauce your own. The recipe I’ve shared is simple but delicious. If you’d like to jazz it up more, go for it! Add any fresh or dried Italian herbs you’d like. 

Up-close overhead image of the Chicken Parmesan Meatballs.

Quick tips

  • Salt the pasta water. Make sure the spaghetti is well-salted as it cooks since salting is the only chance you have to season the actual pasta. Read about how to properly salt your pasta water here. As a general rule of thumb, I add 1 teaspoon salt to 4 cups of water.
  • Use a microplane. I recommend grating the Parmesan cheese on a microplane; this gives it a great texture and allows it to disperse well throughout the meat. It also melts finer on the finished meatballs.

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Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

5 from 5 votes
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are a fun twist on a classic. Tender, well-seasoned chicken meatballs are cooked and served in a delicious homemade marinara sauce. Enjoy over cooked pasta, garnished with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.
Print Recipe

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

5 from 5 votes
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs are a fun twist on a classic. Tender, well-seasoned chicken meatballs are cooked and served in a delicious homemade marinara sauce. Enjoy over cooked pasta, garnished with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese.
Course Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword chicken parmesan meatballs
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 909kcal
Cost $6.72

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs (See Note 1)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley
  • 1/2 teaspoon EACH: dried oregano and onion powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic minced, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes divided
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked pepper
  • 20 mozzarella pearls
  • 1/2 cup white flour
  • 1/2 cup olive oil divided
  • 1 can (28 ounces) fire-roasted crushed tomatoes
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • Fresh basil
  • Optional: freshly grated Parmesan cheese and fresh basil
  • Serve with: cooked spaghetti

Instructions

  • CHICKEN MEATBALLS: (See Note 2) In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, panko, grated Parmesan cheese, egg, dried parsley, dried oregano, onion powder, 1 teaspoon minced garlic, and 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes. Add about 1 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon cracked pepper (or to taste). Knead the ingredients together until evenly combined. Do not overmix; stop as soon as ingredients are combined. Cover tightly and refrigerate this mixture while working on preparing the mozzarella cheese pearls.
  • STUFF MEATBALLS: Slice the mozzarella pearls in half. Form the ground chicken mixture into meatballs and insert half of a mozzarella pearl into each meatball. Make sure the meat completely covers the mozzarella.
  • ROLL MEATBALLS IN FLOUR: Add the flour to a shallow bowl. Dredge each meatball in the flour. Tap off the excess flour and set the meatballs onto a plate. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • SEAR MEATBALLS: Grab a very large oven-safe nonstick skillet and add in 1/4 cup of the olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering and hot, add in half of the meatballs. Sauté for 3-4 minutes, turning occasionally, until the meatballs are browned on the outsides, but not cooked through. Remove to a plate.
  • BAKE MEATBALLS: Repeat with the remaining meatballs adding extra olive oil if needed. Return the rest of the meatballs back into the skillet. Place the skillet in the oven and bake 5-10 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked through (160 degrees F). I check the meatballs with an oven thermometer at 5 minutes and cook longer as needed.
  • SAUCE: Meanwhile, in another large skillet, heat the remaining 1/4 cup olive oil. Once the oil is shimmering, add in the remaining 1 teaspoon garlic. Stir the garlic for 1 minute and then add in the can of crushed tomatoes. Add 1 cup of water to the can of crushed tomatoes, slosh it around to get all the rest of the tomatoes and add that liquid to the skillet. Add about 1 teaspoon salt, freshly cracked pepper (or to taste), remaining 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes, Italian seasoning, and a sprig of basil.
  • PASTA: Simmer the sauce until the meatballs are finished cooking in the oven. Meanwhile, cook the pasta according to package directions (don't forget to generously salt the pasta water!) and drain.
  • ASSEMBLE: When the meatballs are cooked through, transfer to the marinara sauce and toss to coat. Serve marinara with meatballs over the cooked pasta. Top with fresh basil and freshly grated Parmesan cheese to taste. Season with any additional salt, pepper, and/or red pepper flakes to taste. Enjoy hot!

Recipe Notes

Note 1: Panko bread crumbs are similar to regular bread crumbs, but they create a much crunchier result. Here’s an article to explain it further. Panko is usually found next to the traditional bread crumbs in the bakery section, or in the Asian food aisle of the grocery store.
Note 2: The colder this meatball mix, the easier it is to roll meatballs. These meatballs are a bit wetter than typical beef meatballs which helps ensure they're ultra moist. If they are too hard to roll, refrigerate for 10-15 minutes and try again. I typically keep most of the meat mixture in the fridge and roll out 5-10 at a time.
Nutritional information does not include pasta.

Nutrition Facts

Calories: 909kcal | Carbohydrates: 19g | Protein: 54g | Fat: 71g | Saturated Fat: 19g | Cholesterol: 203mg | Sodium: 446mg | Potassium: 652mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 239IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 686mg | Iron: 3mg

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Recipe Rating




10 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was so tasty – my boyfriend and I loved it. Now that I’ve made it once it will only go so much quicker. So amazing!

  2. 5 stars
    I just made this, and my hubby and I both loved it. Only change I made was to bake the meatballs in the sauce, after browning them, rather than bake them by themselves. Soooo good!!

  3. 5 stars
    Hi Chelsea! I made these for a family dinner in November, and they were a HUGE hit!! I am hosting a holiday cocktail party tomorrow and I plan to make these as an appetizer with my homemade marinara AND pesto sauces for dipping. My question is, do you have any make-ahead tips? I am trying not to lose my mind this weekend and am trying to simplify where I can. Can I make these through the flour/ stove top part, or should I just roll them tonight and then flour/ stove/ oven tomorrow? OR, can I do all of it tonight and then what is your tip for re-heating tomorrow? Your help is appreciate because, as you can tell, I’m stressing!

    1. Hey Angela! SO happy you’ve enjoyed them 🙂 I’d recommend making them up until the point of dredging them in flour, cover tightly, and refrigerate overnight. Then cook through right before enjoying for the party! Best of luck <3

  4. 5 stars
    I made these as a an appetizer for a wine tasting group last night. They were delicious, but I expected the mozzarella inside to be gooeier. It may have been because I put them in the crockpot to keep them warm for an hour or so before serving. Also, 1 lb. of ground chicken only yielded 21 meatballs for me. They were a little bigger, but I needed to cover the mozzarella completely. Still fantastic. Thank you, we will be making these again!

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