For me Classic Chicken Meatballs need to be moist, flavorful and not too dense. In these roasted chicken meatballs I keep the ingredients few, just enough to hold the chicken mixture together, and the herbs and spices of parsley, fennel, and celery salt light.
So here we are at the second in my new series for one of my favorite foods – Meatballs! I’ve shared with you my take on the Classic Beef Meatball and here is my Classic Chicken Meatball.
Let’s face it, chicken breast meat on it’s own is never enough to keep a chicken meatball moist. Add in milk soaked bread and often times you get lumps of bread in your meatball. In my opinion thigh meat is best for flavor and fat content. Essential needs for a little ball of roasted meat right? Who wants a hard, dense and flavorless meatball?
So whenever I pick up ground chicken I am sure to read the label. Did you know most markets carry ground chicken and half the product out there is ground chicken thigh meat! It’s the darker blend. You want this! If not ask your butcher if they would grind up a package of chicken thighs. You’d be surprised, most do it no problem.
This recipe is almost the same one I use for my Classic Beef Meatballs in that the ingredients are almost similar with a few modifications other than the use of ground chicken.
These are mixed, rolled and refrigerated for 15 minutes to firm up and then scooped or rolled.
In a oiled baking pan they go to roast until golden brown and firm.
These are so versatile and are great to use with a variety of sauces from Alfredo, pesto and your favorite pasta sauce or if you like it a little spicy, try my Arrabbiata Sauce.
For other meatball recipes, try my Cranberry Turkey Meatballs, Kung Pao Chicken Meatballs , Stuffed Green Chili Meatballs, or these Persian Meatballs with Dried Cherries and Pistachios. Enjoy!
How to Make Classic Chicken Meatballs
- 2 lbs ground chicken (See Note 1)
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup ricotta cheese
- 1/2 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- 1 tbsp celery salt
- 1 tbsp ground fennel
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 tsp black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Coat bottom of a 13x9" roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil, set aside.
- In a large bowl add the ground chicken, eggs, ricotta, breadcrumbs, parsley and seasonings. Mix thoroughly by hand. Cover and refrigerate 15 minutes.
- By hand or scoop, make 24 to 28 meatballs about the size of a golf ball. Stack them tightly in the baking dish so all sides are touching.
- Roast for 25 minutes (internal temp should be 165°F). The chicken meatballs should be firm. Allow to cool 5 minutes before serving. I made these and served over a Pesto Alfredo Fettuccini (pictured).
- Tomato Sauced Version:
- Roast for 20 minutes (internal temp should be 165°F).
- While roasting, heat your favorite spaghetti sauce (or gravy). After the 20 minutes pour spaghetti sauce evenly over meatballs and roast another 10 minutes.
- Serve immediately over your favorite pasta or in a sub sandwich.
- Let's face it, chicken breast meat on it's own is never enough to keep a chicken meatball moist. Add in milk soaked bread and often times you get lumps of bread in your meatball. In my opinion thigh meat is best for flavor and fat content. Essential needs for a little ball of roasted meat right? Who wants a hard, dense and flavorless meatball? So whenever I pick up ground chicken I am sure to read the label. Did you know most markets carry ground chicken and half the product out there is ground chicken thigh meat! It's the darker blend. You want this! If not ask your butcher if they would grind up a package of chicken thighs. You'd be surprised, most do it no problem.
The information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist's advice.
I don’t have ricotta cheese. Would mozzarella or some other cheese work?
Hi Susan! My best substitute thought would be to use cottage cheese.
What sauce do you have on the meatballs in the picture? It looks very iinteresting.
That recipe is coming up soon here on the site. Stay tuned! 🙂
I only chose this recipe because it WASNT a tomato sauced version. Would love to see the pictures recipe.
I am glad you came across it! I hope you give it a try! Did the pictures in the blog post not load for you?
Great recipe! We’ve made these with ground turkey before. I’ll be making them again that way tomorrow. We just got a meat grinder so chicken will happen in the future.
Thanks so much Mara!
Would you do anything differently if you wanted to use ground turkey instead of ground chicken?
Absolutely not Karissa, it’s a great substitute.
These are seriously some of my most favorite meatballs. I’ve made this recipe a few times now and this last time I made them through step 3 (scooping them into balls) then I froze them in a single layer on a baking sheet, tossed them in a ziplock bag and saved them for an easy weeknight meal. Thawed them and followed roasting directions. Still perfect. Thank you for sharing this recipe that I find myself coming back to again and again!
Thank you for sharing this! I love that you froze them! Genius!
These were awesome! Definitely a keeper,
Excellent! Thanks Chris for coming back to let me know.
I am going to try these today!
Go for it Lalita! They’ll be your new favorite!
I have a question about chicken meatballs. Can you use left over rotisserie chicken to form into meatballs after it has been shredded? Using all the other ingredients to form into meatballs, then follow the directions to bake or brown for meatballs. Thanks for your reply.
No I would no recommend using leftover rotisserie cooked chicken Dianne. If you do make it that way, let me know how it turned out.
Have family members with serious dairy allergies. What changes, if any, do you think I would have to make to the recipe if I left out the cheese?
I am not a dietary expert, but you might want to Google “dairy cheese substitutes” and see what recommendations there are for that Mommo.
very good. even though i only had white meat they were very good!! tasty! enjoyable! worth making again. 😊
Excellent Bonnie! Thanks for taking the time to come back and let me know. 🙂
Loving this and your chicken parm meatballs with pine nuts too! We are on a chicken kick and these are a fabulous addition to the recipe box. Making the classic chicken meatballs tonight with a lemony piccata sauce and spaghetti 🙂 Great recipes
Now that sounds like one tasty dinner tonight Licia! Thanks so much. 🙂
Kevin, these meatballs are fabulous! This is the third time I’m making them in 3 weeks. I halved each batch as my ground turkey package was 1 pound. There was nothing left of the first batch serving 4. Having only a few in the freezer from the 2nd batch, I’m cooking again. Now it is just Hubby and I. The only change I made was to add some finely minced onion.
Reading comments like thi smakes my day! Thanks so much for taking the time to come back and let me know. I really appreciate it Mara! 🙂