Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

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All of the satisfying flavors of the Italian classic, only in meatball form! These easy chicken parmesan meatballs are sure to become a family favorite!

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs | lifemadesimplebakes.com

I’m not sure about you, but when the weather starts to cool off, I crave comfort food. I’m talking warm and cozy dishes that involve way too many carbs and a whole lot of cheese. I decided to take a classic dish and turn it into a slightly healthier one. Instead of using chicken breasts, I went with ground chicken, which was the perfect choice for these saucy, flavorful meatballs!

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs | lifemadesimplebakes.com

If you’ve glanced at the recipe below you may be wondering why there are so many ingredients involved. FLAVOR. No one wants to eat bland meatballs. There’s just not enough sauce in the world to mask a under-seasoned meatball. You may also notice that spinach is listed. Weird? Maybe. However, with two little kiddos I tend sneak in extra veggies anywhere I can, as long as they are undetectable. Grated zucchini or carrot would also work well too.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Making the meatballs is quite simple. You’ll want to soak the breadcrumbs in the egg and marinara so that they become soft. Then you’ll add everything else and mix it up with your hands. Be sure not to overmix or you’ll end up with tough, dense meatballs, which can easily happen.

Use a standard size cookie scoop to portion out the meat. It makes the shaping process quick and relatively mess-free. Heat a large oven-safe skillet (I used my Le Creuset buffet casserole which was the perfect size + had a lid for the oven portion of this recipe) over medium heat and once the oil is hot, add the meatballs and cook until golden brown on each side. It’s important to use a non-stick skillet or one that has non-stick properties like the enameled cast iron skillet pictured above. You definitely don’t want your meatballs to stick!

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs | lifemadesimplebakes.com

Once the meatballs are browned, add your marinara, top with cheese and then cover with a lid. Transfer to the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is nice and melty and the sauce is bubbly.

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs | lifemadesimplebakes.com

You can serve these meatballs on top of pasta, in roasted spaghetti squash, or on subs! No matter how you serve them, they’re going to be a huge crowd pleaser!

Chicken Parmesan Meatballs

All of the satisfying flavors of the Italian classic, only in meatball form! These easy chicken parmesan meatballs are sure to become a family favorite!

Ingredients:

For the meatballs:

  • 1/4 c. marinara sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 c. panko or regular breadcrumbs
  • 1 – 1 1/4 lb. ground chicken
  • 3/4 c. parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped spinach (optional)
  • 1/4 c. finely chopped onion
  • 4 cloves minced garlic
  • 2 tsp. Italian seasoning
  • 1 tsp. coarse kosher sea salt*
  • 1 tsp. dried basil (or 2 tsp. fresh)
  • 1 tsp. dried parsley (or 2 tsp. fresh)
  • 1/2 tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp. olive oil

For the topping:

  • 1 1/4 c. marinara sauce
  • 4 oz. mozzarella cheese, sliced or grated
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)
  • shaved parmesan cheese (optional)

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a medium mixing bowl whisk together the egg and marinara. Add the breadcrumbs and combine. Let sit for 5 minutes or until the breadcrumbs are a moist.
  3. Add the ground chicken, parmesan, spinach, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, salt, basil, parsley and pepper. Using your hands, gently mix the ingredients, being careful not to overwork it. Shape meat mixture into balls, approximately 1½ inches in size (a #40 scoop or a standard size cookie scoop works well for this).
  4. In a large skillet set over medium heat, add olive oil. When oil is shiny and hot, add the meatballs. Brown the meatballs on all sides, rotating every 2-3 minutes or so.
  5. Top with marinara, then with cheese. Cover with a lid (or bake uncovered) and place in the oven to bake for 10-15 minutes or until the cheese is melty and the sauce is bubbling.
  6. Remove and garnish with freshly chopped parsley and shaved parmesan, if desired. Serve with pasta, spaghetti squash or on subs.

* Cut back to 3/4 tsp. if you’re using a saltier parmesan.

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