I can't believe it's taken me 28 years of life to come up with the idea of making Chicken and Apple Meatballs. I LOVE chicken meatballs, possibly even more than regular meatballs. But Apple Chicken Meatballs?? Now we're talking. Pair these sweet, nutty, cheesy meatballs with spiced mashed sweet potatoes, and you have autumn on a plate. Did I mention you bake them?
What are Apple Chicken Meatballs?
In short, they're a delightful combination of sweet, savory, nutty, and moist ground chicken meatballs.
The meatballs get their sweetness from sautéed apples and onions. This sweetness pairs so well with the savoriness of grated ginger and cheddar cheese. A little nutty bite comes from diced walnuts. And finally, they stay so moist inside due to using just enough breadcrumbs to hold them together without drying them out.
How to make the meatballs and sweet potatoes
- Bake the sweet potatoes for 60-90 minutes, depending on their size.
- While potatoes cook, make the meatball mixture and form them into 2 inch balls
- Bake meatballs for 15 minutes
- Use a fork to mash the sweet potatoes with butter, maple syrup and a few spices
- Serve the meatballs over the mashed sweet potatoes and dig in
Why you should bake your Apple Chicken Meatballs
Traditional meatballs call for frying. But I'm here to tell you that baking meatballs is the superior method. I've come to significantly prefer baked meatballs over fried meatballs for two reasons:
- Baking is so much easier. Frying is a long, hands-on process.
- Meatballs cook more gently in the oven, making them more tender and juicy. They won't be brown all over, but will still develop caramelization on their bottom side.
The Spiced Sweet Potatoes
These chicken and apple meatballs pair beautifully with sweet and spicy mashed sweet potatoes. These potatoes are so much tastier than most mashed sweet potatoes because of all the layers of flavor involved.
For instance, maple syrup enhances the natural sweetness of the potatoes. Butter makes them silky. And a combination of warm and hot spices make them more complex. They're downright addictive.
Equipment needed to make Chicken Apple Meatballs
If you only buy one thing on this list, make it a chef's knife (If you don't already own one) You can replace almost every knife in your kitchen with a solid 8" chef's knife. Please stop slicing and dicing food with a pairing knife. You're going to slice through your finger.
The Case for Fish Spatulas
You might be thinking to yourself, "Why would I need a fish spatula to make meatballs and mashed potatoes?" Well, I have an answer. Its thin, sturdy structure makes it ideal for removing pretty much anything from a baking sheet. A regular spatula may break the meatballs and leave parts stuck to the pan.
Oh how I love mixing bowls. They should be fairly lightweight, easy to remove one bowl from the rest of the stack. When making the apple chicken meatballs, you'll want a medium-large bowl to prevent the chicken mixture from spilling over while you're mixing.
Good Sheet Pans
In my opinion, good sheet pans prevent sticking while still allowing food to brown as it roasts. On a good sheet pan the meatballs will develop color, AKA flavor, on their bottom side.
If you like these Chicken and Apple Meatballs, you'll love my Sheet Pan Glazed Meatloaf with Caramelized Onions. These two recipes share a similar sweet and savory profile, they both contain apples, and are incredibly juicy ground meat-based recipes.Print
These incredibly comforting, sweet and savory, autumn-ready spin on chicken meatballs are so easy to make and so tasty to eat.
For the Chicken Apple Meatballs
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 egg
- 1 tb olive oil
- ½ of a yellow onion, diced
- ½ of a Granny Smith apple, peeled and diced
- 1 tsp soy sauce
- 2 oz cheddar cheese, freshly grated
- ½ c fine breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup parsley, chopped
- ¼ cup walnuts, finely diced
- 1 1-inch piece of ginger, grated
- 1 Tsp salt
- Freshly cracked black pepper and cayenne to taste
For the Mashed Sweet Potatoes
- 2 large or 3 medium sweet potatoes
- 2 Tb butter
- 2Tb maple syrup
- ½ tsp each: cinnamon, coriander, cumin, and nutmeg
- Salt and cayenne to taste.
- Preheat oven to 400F and bake the sweet potatoes until a knife easily cuts to the center without resistance. This may make 60-75 minutes, depending on their size, so allow them to cook for 30 minutes before starting the meatballs.
- In a small sauté pan, heat 1 Tb olive oil and add the onion, apple, and a pinch of salt. Sauté for ~5-7 minutes, or until they begin to soften. then deglaze the pan with soy sauce and remove the pan from heat to cool.
- Prepare a baking sheet lightly greased with olive oil.
- In a large bowl add the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, parsley, walnuts, ginger, salt, pepper, cayenne, and the cooked onion/apple mixture. Use your hands to combine.
- Form into 2-inch balls and place on the baking sheet. If making 2-inch balls, the recipe will make about 14-16 meatballs. Bake on 400F for 15 minutes. (If they stick a little, use a fish spatula to remove them from the baking sheet)
- When the sweet potatoes are finished cooking, peel them and place the flesh in a bowl. Add the butter, maple syrup, and spices. Mash with a fork. Serve with meatballs and an extra drizzle of maple syrup.
Keywords: apple chicken meatballs, chicken apple meatballs, chicken and apple meatballs