This chicken parmesan meatballs recipe is a creative twist on chicken parm that your family is going to devour! It's cheesy, satisfying, and straightforward to make.
Got ground chicken to use up? Try my Chicken and Spinach Meatballs after this.
Why you'll love it
I have yet to meet someone that didn't love a plate of my Classic Chicken Parmesan, so I decided to do a fun spin on it with this tasty meatball recipe, chicken parm style. We've got all the usual irresistible Italian-inspired flavors combined with the affordability of tender ground chicken. This dish has everything going for it!
I'm all for any meal with marinara sauce and golden, melty cheese. It's a delicious, tried and true combo that's family friendly and undeniably comforting (much like in my Easiest Baked Meatballs). We're not using any fancy ingredients here, but the results are spectacular in these cheesy ground chicken meatballs.
What you'll need
- Ground chicken - it's light, lean, and protein packed
- Egg - to help bind everything
- Breadcrumbs - we're using panko, which are Japanese-style breadcrumbs that are less dense than the regular variety
- Parmesan cheese - for that classic chicken parm taste. We're also using it right in the meatballs to add even more flavor.
- Italian seasoning - this perfect dried herb blend is so versatile in many of my recipes, and it comes in a single convenient jar
- Garlic powder and onion powder - two aromatic pantry staples to amp up the savory taste along with salt & pepper
- Olive oil - for frying the meatballs
- Marinara sauce - since it plays a starring role, grab a jar you really enjoy the taste of. I like Mezzetta. Rao's and DeLallo are great options too.
- Mozzarella cheese - the best melting cheese to top it all off with
- Ground chicken can be a bit wet and sticky, so it's best to take your time making these. A little patience goes a long way. You can put a little olive oil on your hands to help keep the mixture from sticking to them as you're forming the meatballs.
- It's important to add enough salt to these to bring out all the wonderful flavors.
Can I make it ahead?
- Sort of! For food safety reasons, the chicken meatballs need to be fully cooked first.
- If you want to make the meatballs ahead, I recommend transferring the skillet to the oven after searing them until they're cooked through to 165F. That'll be about 5-10 minutes at 375F.
- After that, store them in the fridge for a few days or freezer up to 3 months until needed, and thaw before proceeding with the rest of the recipe.
How to make chicken parmesan meatballs
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Preheat the oven. In a large prep bowl, add the meatball ingredients. Gently combine with your hands, taking care to not overwork the mixture. It'll be quite a bit sticky. Form into approximately 1" thick meatballs, and place on parchment paper for easy cleanup.
In an oven safe skillet, working in two batches, fry the meatballs until browned. Transfer to a plate. Drain any excess grease, but don't wipe the pan. After letting it cool a bit, pour in the marinara sauce. Return the meatballs to the skillet.
Sprinkle on the other half of the parmesan, and then top with the mozzarella. Transfer to the oven, and bake to finish cooking the meatballs through. Broil to brown the cheese if desired, and serve right away!
Tools for this recipe
- I used this grater for the parmesan cheese.
- My trusty oven proof skillet makes it effortless for these meatballs to go from the stovetop straight into the oven.
- These kitchen tongs are useful for turning the meatballs as they're frying.
Substitutions and variations
- You could swap the ground chicken for ground turkey if you like.
- Our kitchen used a jar of marinara sauce for convenience, but you're welcome to use Homemade Marinara Sauce. Just make sure to cook enough to make the quantity required in this recipe.
- Swapping regular breadcrumbs if you can't find panko is fine.
Leftovers and storage
- For any leftovers of these meatballs, store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Reheat over a low heat on the stove until warmed through, or microwave in short increments.
- I don't recommend freezing leftovers since the texture of the cheese will change.
What to serve with chicken parmesan meatballs
- The obvious choice is using pasta for making spaghetti and meatballs, but it's awesome with a number of other side dishes. Try making it a meal with Mashed Potatoes or even rice to change it up.
- For a punch of freshness, top with fresh basil and serve with a side salad as well. Go all out and make a big Caesar salad with my 10-minute, no blender Caesar Dressing, or use this Olive Garden Dressing from scratch.
- I love a big slice of my Extra Cheesy Garlic Bread with this one.
Talk to me in the comments below if the post didn't answer your questions, or leave me a review! I'd love to hear if you made these chicken parmesan meatballs. You can also tag me #saltandlavender on Instagram.
Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese divided
- 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- Pepper to taste
- 2 tablespoons olive oil for frying
- 1 (24 ounce) jar marinara sauce
- 2 cups mozzarella cheese
- Preheat your oven to 375F and move the rack to the top third of the oven.
- To a prep bowl, add the meatball ingredients (chicken, egg, panko, half of the parmesan, Italian seasoning, garlic powder, onion powder, salt & pepper). With your hands, mix everything together well, but don't overwork the mixture. The mixture will be quite wet. Form 1" meatballs (it'll make around 20 or so). Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for easy clean-up.
- Add the olive oil to an oven-safe skillet and heat it up for a few minutes over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in 2 batches until they're browned all over (about 5 min/batch). I use tongs to turn them quickly and easily. They will brown quite fast, so turn them often. If needed, add another splash of olive oil to the skillet for the second batch. Transfer meatballs to a plate once they're browned.
- If there's a lot of excess oil in the skillet, drain it, but leave the browned pieces (don't wipe out the pan). Take the skillet off the heat for a couple of minutes to let it cool a bit so the marinara sauce doesn't splatter everywhere when you add it in.
- Pour the marinara sauce into the skillet, and then add the meatballs back (spread them around the skillet fairly evenly). Sprinkle the remaining parmesan cheese and the mozzarella over top.
- Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake for 15 minutes to finish cooking the meatballs, and then broil if desired to brown the cheese (watch it carefully so it doesn't burn).
- Meatballs will cook at a different rate depending on how big/small you make them, so I recommend using an instant read meat thermometer if in doubt. Chicken meatballs are safe when they're 165F in the middle.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.
As with every recipe I have tried by this creator, this recipe is OUTSTANDING. It comes together fast and easy. I. Love the flavors of traditional chicken parm, but I do not like the texture of a breaded chicken breast in sauce (it gets mushy in my opinion). However, these meatballs remedy that texture issue. You get all the wonderful flavors without texture (and mess). Absolutely DELICIOUS!
Thank you so much, Alice!! 😀
Renee Tedder says
Love this recipe - and several others on your site. It has given me new dishes each week rather than our same old favorites. Question - can you make the meatballs and then freeze without cooking?
I'm thrilled to hear that, Renee!! 😀 I think you should be able to freeze them uncooked. Just be sure to freeze them ASAP after making them, and then cook them through thoroughly once thawed.
Gina Schatzan says
This was pretty simple to make, and it tasted very good! Everyone loved it! One daughter said she likes it better than regular meatballs. It's definitely a keeper!
That's wonderful to hear!! 😀 Thanks for your 5-star review, Gina!
Leslie Rochkind says
This was so easy and delicious! And trust me, if I’m saying it, it’s facts! I thought maybe because it was ground chicken, it might be dry, but nope, it wasn’t. I served it with a side of spaghetti and everyone - including my very picky New Jersey husband - loved it!
I'm thrilled it was a hit, Leslie!! Thank you so much for taking the time to write me a review. 😀
Could I bake the meatballs on a sheet pan instead of frying them stovetop?
You could, but they will be a bit less flavorful without those yummy browned bits. Also, it makes it overall a bit more effort, but if you prefer to bake them, I think it'll be fine. 🙂