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Baked Chicken Meatballs

Updated: May 24, 2021

These are soft and flavorful meatballs served in a creamy tomato sauce but not the beefy Italian bite you would expect. These chicken meatballs are cheesy and herbal; and make a lovely one-pot meal that you start on the stove but finish in the oven.

These Baked Chicken Meatballs are an easy weekend meal, a perfect Sunday Supper with leftovers to enjoy for a few lunches the following week. With clean hands, the kids can help roll the mixture into golf ball size balls. The sauce ingredients and method are universal, meaning this is a classic recipe for making "gravy" as my Italian friend calls it. You could easily make a double batch and freeze leftovers for later.

Ingredients for the sauce

3 T butter

1/2 onion chopped

3 garlic cloves, minced

2 T tomato paste (I like the individual pouches from Hunts portioned with two tablespoons each)

1 (28 ounces) can whole peeled tomatoes

1 (8 ounces) can tomato sauce

1 t Italian seasoning

1/2 t salt

1/2 t pepper

Ingredients for the meatballs

1 cup panko

1/2 onion, grated

1 t Italian seasoning

1/2 c freshly grated parmesan cheese

1/2 t salt

1/2 t pepper

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 egg, beaten

1 lb ground chicken

3 T olive oil, for sauteing

Before serving

4 ounces mozzarella cheese, shredded

1 bunch fresh basil, chiffonade

2 T freshly grated parmesan cheese

Make the sauce

In a large dutch oven or high sided, oven-proof pan, melt butter over medium-high heat and saute the onion until translucent. Add the minced garlic and stir for 30-60 seconds until fragrant. Make space in the middle and add the tomato paste and stir around until it turns brick red and cooks lightly.

Add the rest of the ingredients to the pot: tomatoes, tomato sauce, and the seasoning. I like to use my pampered chef mix and chop tool with the pinwheel blades to cut up the whole tomatoes in the sauce. Turn the heat to low and occasionally stir for 20-30 minutes.

Make the meatballs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix well with your hands. You should get 12 to 15 meatballs the size of golf balls.

Add the olive oil to a pan and heat to medium-high. Shape meatballs with your hands and add them to the hot pan in batches to lightly brown, turning with a spatula or tongs to sear it gently enough that the meatballs hold together in the sauce.

Move browned meatballs to the dutch oven with the simmering sauce. Once all the meatballs are nestled into the sauce, sprinkle with shredded mozzarella, cover and put in the oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Before serving, sprinkle with basil and parmesan. You will not regret toasting some garlic bread or boiling some pasta to go along with these savory meatballs.

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