Baked Italian Chicken Meatballs

Apr 23, 2024 · By Bethany Kramer
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Learn how to make baked Italian chicken meatballs! These tender and juicy meatballs have all the flavors of an Italian meatball but instead replace beef with ground chicken. They’re simply delicious and flavorful from using freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil and oregano for brightness!

A skillet pan with red marinara sauce and baked Italian chicken meatballs in it. The pan of meatballs is displayed on a wooden background with fresh basil leaves garnishing the dish and placed around the pan along with a light gray napkin and shredded cheese.

Meatballs are a favorite in our house! We can’t get enough of them, from our secret ingredient Italian meatballs to my family’s favorite chicken parmesan meatballs. So, I thought I would make a classic Italian chicken meatball that you can replace in any recipe that calls for regular Italian meatballs!

And take my word for it. These are not your average chicken meatballs, which can be flavorless and rubbery. These are baked in the oven rather than browned on the stovetop, so there is no need for extra oils or frying, and they come out perfectly cooked! We also use fresh herbs for bright flavor and plenty of freshly grated cheese to keep them moist.

Swap these meatballs with any of your favorite recipes; I promise everyone will love them!

Ingredients

Ingredients for Italian chicken meatballs arranged on a tan board. Some of the ingredients are displayed on a small wooden cutting board for decoration.

See the recipe card below for the complete list of ingredients and measurements.

The meat – you’ll need ground chicken for the main protein of the meatballs.
Breadcrumbs help give the meatballs structure. Without some support from the breadcrumbs, they would go a little flat. Learn how to make breadcrumbs yourself. It’s so easy, and you can use whatever bread you like! Or use your favorite plain store-bought breadcrumbs.
Parmigiano Reggiano adds moisture, tenderness, and lots of rich flavor to the meatballs! For best results, I recommend using freshly grated.
Egg – this is used to bind the ingredients together and for the meatball to hold its shape.
Garlic – for flavor! Fresh cloves are best, but you can also use garlic powder for a less intense garlic flavor.
Fresh basil and oregano – for bright herb flavor!
Salt & pepper – to draw out the flavors of all the ingredients!

How to Make Italian Chicken Meatballs

  1. 1

    Mix the meatball ingredients. Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix thoroughly together using your hands or a spoon.

  2. 2

    Shape and roll into meatballs. Portion the mixture out into about 2 inch balls, then gentle roll in between your hands until smooth. I like to use a smaller ice cream/cookie scoop to measure the meatballs exactly.

A collage of two images showing how to make Italian chicken meatballs. The first image, step one, is a clear glass bowl filled with all the meatball ingredients before being mixed. The second image, step two, is a ice cream scoop with meatball mixture in eat being held over the clear bowl with the mixed meatball ingredients.
  1. 4

    Arrange on a grease pan. As your forming the meatballs, place them on a sheet pan that’s been sprayed with oil or lined with parchment paper.

  2. 4

    Bake the meatballs. Then bake the meatballs at 400F for 20 minutes. Then serve!

A collage of two images showing how to bake chicken meatballs. The first image, step three, is raw meatballs arranged in lines on a sheet pan. The second image, step four, are the meatballs baked after being in the oven.

Tips for Meatball Success

Use your hands to mix – my mom always taught me to mix meatballs with my hands, not a spoon or mixing device. This keeps the meatball mixture lighter, not dense, and is the most efficient way to incorporate ingredients thoroughly!

Use a cookie or ice cream scoop for perfect meatball measurements – this is how I always do it! A cookie scoop is the fastest way to form meatballs, and it perfectly portions the meat mixture. So everything is evenly sized, making the baking part even more successful!

Quality ingredients make all the difference – in any recipe, but especially anything Italian, quality ingredients yield the best results. Use good-quality ground chicken, Italian parmesan, and homemade breadcrumb with fresh herbs – your results will be perfect!

Recipe Variations

Change up the herbs. A popular herb for meatballs is also Italian parsley, you can use this in addition to the fresh basil and oregano or instead of one of them.

A swap for Parmigianno Reggiano. Even though freshly grated Parmigianno is my top choice for flavoring meatballs, you can also use pecorino romano too.

Instead of ground chicken. You can use ground turkey instead of chicken.

Make it gluten-free. Learn how to make homemade breadcrumbs on our website, and use your favorite gluten-free bread to make this recipe gluten-free. You can also use store-bought gluten-free breadcrumbs.

Add some spice. If you like a little heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes to the mixture.

What to Serve These Meatballs With

Marinara – of course, meatballs and marinara are the ultimate combo. We love to serve these with our San Marzano tomato sauce, fresh tomato sauce, or this spicy arrabbiata sauce. If we don’t have time to make a homemade sauce, we love using Victoria or Raos!

Spaghetti (or any pasta!) – Meatballs and spaghetti are a classic duo! But you could also serve this with any of your favorite pasta shapes.

Meatball sub – instead of Italian meatballs, make your meatball sub with these chicken meatballs.

With zucchini or eggplant recipes – instead of pasta, I love to serve this alongside a zucchini or eggplant dish to lighten things up. Serve that as protein with our eggplant rollatini or zucchini lasagna!

A close up of Italian chicken meatballs in red tomato sauce. The meatball in the center of the photo is cut in half so you can see inside the cooked meatball. A fresh basil leaf is displayed in the top corner as a garnish.

More Italian Meatballs to Try

Classic Italian Meatballs – are the perfect meatballs if you want a classic and authentic Italian meatball made with beef and pork. We also use a secret ingredient that makes them incredibly tender!

Chicken Piccata Meatballs – for a fun twist on our Lemon Chicken Piccata, but made in meatball form! They’re tender, tangy, and served in a delicious lemony caper sauce.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs with Zucchini – are most similar to these Italian chicken meatballs but instead, they are made with zucchini for some added nutrients and moisture and are served with melty cheese and sauce, just like our chicken parmesan!

Baked Italian Chicken Meatballs

Learn how to make baked Italian chicken meatballs! These tender and juicy meatballs have all the flavors of an Italian meatball but instead replace beef with ground chicken. They're simply delicious and flavorful from using freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano and fresh basil and oregano for brightness!
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes
Serves 16 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 3 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 Tablespoons fresh basil, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon fresh oregano, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  • Preheat your oven to 400F.
  • Mix the meatball ingredients: Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl, and use your hands to thoroughly mix all the components together.
  • Roll them into meatballs: prepare a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, or brushed with oil, and portion the mixture into 1 1/2-sized balls – I like to use a cookie scoop for this step. (This would also equal around 2 Tablespoons if you don't have a cookie scoop). Once portioned roll them out between your palms until they're smooth balls, then place on the baking sheet and repeat until finished.
  • Bake: Once the meatballs are formed, bake them in the oven for 20 minutes. Then serve with sauce and enjoy!

Notes

Leftovers can be refrigerated for up to 5 days. To freeze them, bake the meatballs then let them cool and freeze in ziplock freezer bags! When ready to reheat, thaw for an hour at room temperature, then let them simmer in marinara until hot in the center (test with a fork to know if they’re still frozen).
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Italian
Keyword baked chicken meatballs, Italian chicken meatballs
Freezer Friendly Yes

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatball | Calories: 79kcal | Carbohydrates: 3.4g | Protein: 7.1g | Fat: 4.1g | Saturated Fat: 1.5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.6g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1.5g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 39.7mg | Sodium: 203.3mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 0.2g | Vitamin A: 2IU | Vitamin C: 0mg

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