Chicken Meatballs with Marinara

5 from 57 votes

This Baked Chicken Meatballs recipe is juicy, tender, and full of garlicky flavor - a delicious addition to pasta and sides for a rounded dinner!

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These Baked Chicken Meatballs are so good, easy-to-make dish that’s perfect for a family meal any day of the week. They are lightly browned and full of cheesy flavor. Pair your chicken meatballs with your favorite pasta and sauce for a complete dinner that everyone will love.

Plate of parmesan baked chicken meatballs with a side of marinara sauce for dipping.

Table of Contents

  1. Recipe at a glance
  2. Ingredients you’ll need to make chicken meatballs
  3. Popular substitutions & additions
  4. How to make this chicken meatball recipe
  5. Tips for making the best chicken meatballs
  6. How to store & reheat chicken meatballs
  7. Frequently asked questions
  8. More similar dinner recipes:
  9. Baked Chicken Meatballs Recipe
  10. Original Stovetop Method with Marinara Sauce

What really sets these Chicken Meatballs baked in the oven apart for me is their irresistible combination of garlic and Italian herbs. They’re not just juicy, they have a rich, hearty, and garlicky flavor that outshines even what I’ve tasted in top-notch restaurants. That’s exactly why I love making them at home! My little secret? Mixing some grated Parmesan cheese into the ground chicken. But shhh, let’s keep that between us!

OH MY GOSH!! Best meatballs ever!! We will definitely be having these more often! Thank you!!
Mary Smith

Recipe at a glance

Cuisine Inspiration: Italian
Primary Cooking Method: Stovetop
Dietary Info: Low-carb and Gluten-Free (with gluten-free breadcrumbs)
Key Flavor: Meaty, savory and garlicky
Skill Level: Easy

Summary

  • Simple Ingredients, Big Flavor: This chicken meatball recipe proves that you don’t need a long list of complicated ingredients to create a flavorful meal. Simple pantry staples come together to create a dish that’s bursting with classic Italian flavors!
  • Perfect for Meal Prep: These chicken meatballs are not just delicious – they’re also incredibly convenient. Make a batch at the start of the week and enjoy them in various meals, from spaghetti dinners to meatball subs!
  • Kid-Friendly Favorite: Struggling to get the little ones to try new foods? These meatballs are a surefire hit with kids. Their familiar shape and not-overpowering taste make them a mealtime winner for all ages.
  • Quick Weeknight Solution: If you’re short on time, these chicken meatballs come together quickly. Dinner will be served in less than 35 minutes while they bake in the oven and pair with other sides.

Ingredients you’ll need to make chicken meatballs

Ingredients for recipe in individual bowls before prepping: parmesan, breadcrumbs, ground chicken, egg, garlic, and spices.
  • Ground Chicken: I like to use ground chicken thighs for these meatballs because they end up juicier. But if you want a leaner alternative, you can use ground chicken breasts. 
  • Herbs & Garlic: Garlic, oregano, and dried parsley come together to infuse these easy baked chicken meatballs with classic Italian flavors.
  • Paprika: Provides a slight sweetness and color.
  • Parmesan Cheese: This is my secret! It’s a wonderful addition, especially for those who love Chicken Parmesan, like me. It adds a savory depth and also helps bind the meatballs.
  • Breadcrumbs: Crucial for the meatballs’ texture. Gluten-free breadcrumbs are a great alternative for those avoiding gluten.
  • Egg: The primary binder that holds the meatballs together.
  • Olive Oil: Ideal for cooking the meatballs, but you can use any neutral oil you have on hand.
  • Salt and Pepper: Essential for seasoning. Adjust according to your taste.
  • Switch up the protein. If ground chicken isn’t your thing or you’re just looking for a change, ground turkey, or beef make fantastic alternatives.
  • Go dairy-free. For those avoiding dairy, swap the Parmesan cheese with nutritional yeast. It offers a similar cheesy flavor with the added benefit of being plant-based.
  • Replace regular breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs can give a lighter, crunchier texture to your chicken meatballs. Also, if you want to make this recipe paleo-friendly, you can use almond meal instead of breadcrumbs.

How to make this chicken meatball recipe

To make these chicken meatballs, you’ll basically mix together all the ingredients in a bowl until it’s sticky and well blended. That includes ground chicken, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, an egg, garlic and herbs/spices. You can vary the spices you use, but I like the mix of oregano, parsley and paprika, which gives them a great color after cooked.

2 image collage making recipe before and after mixing.

Next, form the mixture into small 1-2 inch balls and place them on a sheet pan. Bake the chicken meatballs for about 15 minutes, flipping halfway through to evenly brown.

2 image collage cooking recipe on a parchment lined baking sheet before and after baking.

Tips for making the best chicken meatballs

  • If you can’t find ground chicken, you can make it using a food processor. Simply place the chicken breast or chicken thighs in the food processor until it’s ground. Then add the remaining ingredients to the food processor and pulse lightly just to combine.
  • Use your hands to combine the chicken mixture. It’s tempting to use a spoon, but your hands will mix the ingredients much more efficiently without over-mixing the ingredients.
  • Use wet hands (with water or oil) to form the mixture into meatballs. This makes it much easier to handle the mixture without your hands becoming a sticky mess!

How to store & reheat chicken meatballs

After cooling to room temperature, store the chicken meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator.

How long will chicken meatballs last in the fridge? Chicken meatballs leftovers will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.

Can I freeze chicken meatballs? You can! To freeze them before cooking, lay the formed balls on a flat baking dish in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When frozen, place them in an airtight bag. They can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight and cook per instructions.

To freeze them after cooking, simply store them in an airtight bag after they’ve cooled. They can also be frozen for up to 2 months. To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and re-warm for a few minutes in a skillet when ready to eat.

Fork dipping a chicken meatball into marinara sauce with more meatballs on the plate.

Frequently asked questions

How can I ensure my meatballs don’t fall apart while cooking?

Make sure your mixture isn’t too wet and that you’ve mixed it enough so that the ingredients are well combined. Refrigerating the meatballs for about 30 minutes before cooking can also help them hold their shape better.

How can I tell when the meatballs are cooked through?

The meatballs are done when they are no longer pink in the middle. The safest way to check is by using a meat thermometer,  they should reach an internal temperature of 165°F.

More similar dinner recipes:

A few chicken meatballs with parmesan on a plate with one cut in half to show inside texture, marinara on plate with meatballs.

I’m all in for these juicy, tender and flavorful chicken meatballs! It’s a great way to switch up pasta night by serving it with something that’s high in protein and satiating. It also makes for a beautiful presentation when garnished with fresh herbs during a special family dinner. And the best part is that you don’t need any fancy ingredients or equipment to make them!

If you’ve tried this feel good Baked Chicken Meatballs recipe or any other recipe on FeelGoodFoodie, then don’t forget to rate the recipe and leave me a comment below! I would love to hear about your experience making it. And if you snapped some shots of it, share it with me on Instagram so I can repost on my stories!

This chicken meatballs recipe was originally published on December 23, 2019. The recipe has been updated to focus jut on the meatballs and baking them instead of cooking on the stove with marinara. If you liked the originally recipe, you can find it in the recipe card! This post has also been updated with new photography and step by step collages to better help make the recipe.

Baked Chicken Meatballs

This Baked Chicken Meatballs recipe is juicy, tender, and full of garlicky flavor – a delicious addition to pasta and sides for a rounded dinner!
5 from 57 votes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 264
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients
  

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400ºF. Line a small baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, oregano, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Using wet hands (with either water or olive oil), combine everything until the mixture is well blended.
  • Using a medium spring-loaded cookie scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons of the chicken mixture, roll into a ball and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining mixture and it should yield about 15 meatballs.
  • Spray with cooking spray, and bake in the preheated oven for 15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Enjoy with marinara, if desired.

Notes

Storage: Store any leftovers in an airtight container. They will last about 3-4 days in the fridge.
Freezing Instructions: You can also freeze the chicken meatballs before or after cooking them.
  • To freeze them prior to cooking, lay the the formed balls on a flat baking dish in the freezer for at least 4 hours. When frozen, place them in an airtight bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight and cook per instructions.
  • To freeze them after cooking, simply store them in an airtight bag after they’ve cooled. To re-heat, thaw in the fridge overnight and re-warm for a few minutes on a skillet, in the oven, or air frying.
Substitutes: For best results, follow the recipe as is. However here are some common substitutes that would work well in this recipe.
  • Instead of ground chicken, you can use ground turkey, ground beef or sausage.
  • Swap the breadcrumbs with panko breadcrumbs or almond flour for a lower-carb option.

Original Stovetop Method with Marinara Sauce

Ingredients
1 pound ground chicken
¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
¼ cup breadcrumbs
1 large eggs
2 garlic cloves minced
½ teaspoon oregano
½ teaspoon dried parsley
¼ teaspoon paprika
Salt and pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 jar (26-ounce) marinara sauce

Instructions

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, grated Parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, oregano, parsley, paprika, salt and pepper.
  • Using wet hands (with either water or olive oil), combine everything until the mixture is well blended. Form the mixture into small 1-2 inch meatballs. It will yield about 12-15 balls.
  • Heat the olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium heat. Transfer the meatballs to the pan and cook for 2-3 minutes per side, until they get lightly browned, but not fully cooked
  • Pour the marinara sauce over the chicken meatballs, reduce the heat to low, and simmer uncovered for 12-15 minutes, turning the meatballs around once.
  • Toss in cooked spaghetti and serve with fresh basil, if desired.

Nutrition

Serving: 4meatballs, Calories: 264kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 13g, Saturated Fat: 4g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 5g, Trans Fat: 0.1g, Cholesterol: 149mg, Sodium: 585mg, Potassium: 666mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 251IU, Vitamin C: 0.5mg, Calcium: 102mg, Iron: 2mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate. It will vary based on cooking method and specific ingredients used.

Cuisine Italian
Course: Main Course

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Comments

  1. OH MY GOSH!! Best meatballs ever!! We will definitely be having these more often! Thank you!!

  2. I found this recipe a couple years ago and absolutely love it! It is easy to make and put over some pasta.

  3. I made these exactly as indicated in the recipe with the exception of another 1/2jar of marinara sauce. They were perfect! We had them with spaghettini the first time and then as meatball subs (with toasted buns, Parmesan and mozzarella) the next day. So good! I wouldn’t chance a thing.

  4. Would these do well as an appetizer in a crockpot with marinara sauce? How long could they simmer on low in the crockpot?

  5. I enjoyed this recipe. My first voyage into cooking with ground chicken and will definitely do it again. I prefer a bit of spice and I accidentally left tge garlic out of the meatballs, but added red pepper flakes, sautéed onions and a couple sliced jalapenos. I added all the garlic to the sauce and made Ronzoni Veggie noodles. It was a hit with us and the kids. Definitely a keeper recipe. Thank you!