Packed with flavor, baked, and then brushed with a lemony garlic herb butter for even more flavor, these chicken meatballs are lighter-tasting than many meatball recipes. No need to pre-cook, and you can easily freeze them before or after baking. Enjoy them with your favorite pasta, zucchini noodles, or all on their own!
- 2 pounds (907g) ground chicken (I usually use 94% lean)
- 1 large egg
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) olive oil
- 1 teaspoon worcestershire sauce
- 3/4 cup (84g) breadcrumbs*
- 1/2 cup (50g) grated parmesan cheese*
- 2–3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
Lemon Garlic Herb Butter Sauce
- 1/4 cup (56g; 4 Tbsp) unsalted butter
- 2 Tablespoons (30ml) fresh lemon juice
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
- 1 teaspoon chopped fresh thyme leaves
- 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh oregano leaves
- pinch of salt
- optional for serving: crushed red pepper flakes
- Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or spray with nonstick spray. Set aside.
- With a large spoon or spatula, mix together all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
- Scoop a portion of the mixture, about 2 Tablespoons (30–35g) in size, roll into a ball with your hands, and place on the prepared baking sheet. Repeat with remaining mixture. You should have around 35 meatballs.
- Bake for 20 minutes, or until cooked through. Insert an instant-read thermometer to check for doneness; the meatballs are fully cooked when an instant-read thermometer reads the internal temperature as 165°F (74°C).
- Make the sauce: Place the butter and lemon juice in a small saucepan over medium heat and cook until the butter is fully melted. Add the minced garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until fragrant (about 1 minute—don’t let the garlic brown). Remove from heat and stir in the chopped fresh herbs. Brush or spoon the buttery sauce onto the meatballs when they come out of the oven. You will have some extra for serving. If desired, sprinkle meatballs with crushed red pepper flakes.
- Serve warm meatballs with remaining herb butter sauce, over your choice of pasta or zucchini noodles.
- Store leftovers covered tightly in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.
- Make Ahead Instructions: To make ahead, you can complete steps 2 & 3, then cover the unbaked chicken meatballs tightly and refrigerate for up to 1 day before baking.
- Freezing & Reheating Instructions: You have 2 choices here: (1) you can bake the meatballs and then freeze them or (2) freeze the meatballs raw. To freeze after baking, let the meatballs cool completely, then place in a freezer-friendly container and freeze up to 2 months. To freeze before baking, form meatballs, then space apart on a lined plate or baking tray and freeze for 1–2 hours or until they’ve “set” and will no longer stick together. Place in a freezer-friendly container and freeze up to 2 months. To reheat either, preheat oven to 400°F (204°C). Bake frozen fully cooked meatballs for 15–18 minutes. Bake frozen raw meatballs for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F (74°C).
- Special Tools (affiliate links): Instant-Read Thermometer | Basting Brush | Spiralizer (to make zucchini noodles)
- Ground Turkey or Beef: You can substitute ground turkey or beef for the chicken.
- Breadcrumbs: You can use panko, regular, whole wheat, Italian seasoned, or gluten free.
- Parmesan Cheese: Feel free to skip the cheese (it does give a lot of flavor, though!), or replace with another shredded or crumbled cheese of your choice. Give the shredded or crumbled cheese a quick chop before using.
- Herbs: You can replace any of the fresh herbs with dried, if desired. General rule of thumb is to cut the amount in half; so 1 teaspoon of fresh oregano = 1/2 teaspoon dried.
- Zucchini Noodles: If you’d like to make the zucchini noodles as pictured, here is how I cook them: Add a splash of olive oil to a skillet, followed by the zucchini noodles. Cook over medium heat for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat and carefully drain off most of the liquid, if any has accumulated. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Serve with the meatballs and a little of the sauce.
Keywords: baked meatballs