This Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Recipe has both the delicious flavor and texture of classic chicken parm, but in meatball form. That amazing crispy exterior softens after simmering in tomato sauce and is really other worldly.
Plus they have the ultra juicy tender interior of any good chicken meatball recipe. They're delicious, flavor-packed chicken meatballs, breaded and pan-fried, then baked in a simple tomato marinara sauce with just the right amounts of parmesan and mozzarella cheese.
These Chicken Parmesan Meatballs come together all in one skillet, making it an easy dinner recipe you can make any night of the week. But they also seem special, perfect for bringing to a game day party or other event.
Spoon these juicy chicken meatballs over zucchini noodles, polenta, pasta, garlic bread, or risotto. Or serve them with a simple side of vegetables or crunchy salad. (Meatballs and salad is one of my favorite food combinations.)
How to Make Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Though there are several steps involved in making these Chicken Parm Meatballs, you make the entire recipe in one skillet! And there are only 10 required ingredients, plus some optional ones. Finally, they spend their last 30 minutes of cook time in the oven, AKA "hands off time."
The ingredient list for these chicken parm meatballs looks long. However, they're all simple ingredients. You probably already have most of them on hand.
For the Meatball Mixture:
- Ground chicken
- An egg
- Finely grated parmesan cheese. Use pre-grated or use a food processor to grate it yourself.
- Plain breadcrumbs
- Chopped parsley or other fresh herbs
- Freshly ground black pepper
- Kosher salt. I use Diamond Crystal for all my recipes
- Cayenne pepper
- Grated cloves of garlic
- Olive oil, for pan frying
- Optional: pinches of onion powder or garlic powder
- 1 cup of breadcrumbs
For the Sauce
- Canned crushed tomatoes
- Kosher salt (add the salt directly to the can of tomatoes and stir to combine)
- Fresh mozzarella cheese, torn by hand
- Grated parmesan cheese
- Optional: red pepper flakes
See recipe card for exact amounts
Step 1: Combine the breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, and grated garlic in a large bowl. Then, add the chicken and egg and mix again until well incorporated.
Step 2: Next, place a cup of breadcrumbs in a small mixing bowl. Form 2.5-inch balls of the meat mixture, and drop them into the breadcrumb, 3 at a time. Swirl the bowl to fully coat meatballs. Then place them on a plate.
Step 3: Preheat oven to 375 F. Heat oil in a large skillet that is oven safe, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat. (~½ cup or 8 tablespoons)
Step 4: Once hot, place the meatballs in the skillet in a single layer. Flip after 2-3 minutes and fry meatballs for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
Step 5: Turn off the heat, wait 30 seconds, and pour the can of crushed tomatoes and salt directly over the top of the meatballs. (Mix the salt into the can of tomatoes before pouring the tomatoes into the skillet.)
Step 6: Finally, sprinkle the parmesan and torn mozzarella over the top of the sauce and transfer the whole skillet to the oven.
Step 7: Lastly, bake the chicken parm meatballs for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is heated through and cheese starts to bubble along the sides of the skillet. Top with fresh parsley and serve.
Chicken Parm Meatball Top Tips
- Don't over mix the ground chicken meatball mixture. Stop mixing as soon as the meat and seasonings are evenly incorporated.
- If you don't have an oven safe skillet big enough to fry all the balls in an even layer, sear half of the meatballs at a time. Then combine them all and add the tomatoes and cheese. It's OK if they don't bake in an even layer. They just have to sear in an even layer for optimal browning.
- Fresh garlic is best for achieving the best flavor in your meatballs. You can use pinches of garlic and onion powders if you want, but too much of these ingredients can taste overpowering and artificial.
- Use an instant read thermometer to make sure the chicken parmesan meatballs are cooked through after 30 minutes. The internal temperature should read 160F.
- Gluten free: use gluten free breadcrumbs or almond flour as a replacement for regular breadcrumbs.
- Dairy free: Replace all the cheese in this recipe with their dairy free alternatives.
- Use fresh basil instead of parsley if that's all you have. Basil's flavor becomes more muted than parsley after cooking it, but if you only have basil, use it.
- Jarred tomato sauce: You can easily use a jar of your favorite marinara, arabiata, or fra diavolo sauce instead of a can of tomatoes.
Variations on this Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Recipe
- Chicken vodka parmesan meatballs: If you don't want a red sauce, mix the crushed tomatoes and salt with ¼ cup of heavy cream prior to topping the meatballs.
- Extra spicy: Add 2 dried chiles de arbol to the skillet while you fry the meatballs to add spicy flavor to the whole dish.
- You don't have to bread your meatballs, but I recommend it. Breading and frying the meatballs is what makes them taste and feel so similar to actual chicken parmesan.
Leftover Chicken Parm Meatballs
If refrigerating: Allow leftover chicken parmesan meatballs to cool. Then place them in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to a week. To reheat, simply microwave for 1 minute at a time, stirring after each minute until heated through. Or reheat them in a nonstick pan over medium heat.
If freezing: Similarly, allow leftovers to cool. Then, place them in an airtight container or freezer bags. If using a container, press plastic wrap down onto the surface of the meatballs to remove all the air. Then cover with the airtight lid.
To reheat, microwave from frozen for 1-2 minutes at a time until heated through. Or reheat them in a nonstick pan over medium heat.Print
The delicious meatball version of classic chicken parm, this Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Recipe is a crowd favorite.
For the meatball mixture
- 1 pound of Ground chicken
- 1 large egg
- ⅓ cup of finely grated parmesan cheese.
- ⅓ cup of plain breadcrumbs, plus more depending on the moisture in the chicken
- ⅓ cup of chopped parsley or other fresh herbs
- 1 teaspoon of freshly ground black pepper
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 large or 2 small cloves garlic, grated
- ½ cup of olive oil, for pan frying
- 1 cup of plain breadcrumbs
For the sauce
- 1 28-ounce can of crushed tomatoes
- 1 teaspoon of kosher salt (add the salt directly to the can of tomatoes and stir to combine)
- 8 ounces of fresh mozzarella cheese, torn by hand
- ½ cup of grated parmesan cheese
- Optional: red pepper flakes
- Place the breadcrumbs, grated parmesan cheese, parsley, salt, pepper, cayenne, and grated garlic in a large bowl, and stir to combine.Then add the ground meat and egg and mix again until the ingredients are all well mixed.
- Place a cup of breadcrumbs in a small mixing bowl. Use your hands to form 2.5-inch balls of the meat mixture, and drop 3 meatballs in the breadcrumbs at a time. Swirl the bowl around until the meatballs are fully coated in breadcrumbs. Place breaded meatballs on a plate.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Heat olive oil in a large skillet that is oven safe, preferably cast iron, over medium-high heat.
- Once hot, place the meatballs in the skillet in a single layer. Flip after 2-3 minutes and fry meatballs for another 2-3 minutes on the other side.
- Turn off the heat, wait 30 seconds, and pour the can of crushed tomatoes and salt directly over the top of the meatballs. (Mix the salt into the can of tomatoes before pouring the tomatoes into the skillet.)
- Sprinkle the parmesan and torn mozzarella over the top of the sauce and transfer the whole skillet to the oven.
- Bake the meatballs for 30 minutes, or until the sauce is heated through and cheese starts to bubble along the sides of the skillet. Top with fresh parsley and serve.
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