These Ground Chicken Meatballs are simmered in an easy marinara and come out extremely tender and flavorful.

Pan full of marinara and chicken meatballs garnished with fresh basil.

Ground Chicken Makes a Damn Good Meatball.

Eating less red meat shouldn’t feel like a punishment, and you certainly don’t have to avoid the meaty recipes you love. Just adapt!

Because anything ground beef or pork can do, ground chicken can do, too. (These chicken burgers are another fine example of that.)

I’m thrilled to share these tricks with you, because seriously, these saucy and nutritious meatballs are a treat!

Your Grocery List.

  • Ground chicken
  • Sea salt and cracked black pepper
  • Onion powder
  • Garlic cloves
  • Fresh thyme
  • Sweet/yellow onion
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Egg
  • Panko breadcrumbs

The Marinara.

Making the marinara from scratch is optional.

If you prefer to keep things super simple and use your favorite jar sauce, go for it. That’s exactly what I do when I’m in a pinch or feeling lazy.

Luckily this marinara is as simple as it is delicious.

Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Olive oil
  • Yellow onion
  • Garlic
  • Crushed tomatoes
  • Sea salt
  • Fresh oregano
  • Fresh basil
  • Bay leaf
  • Red pepper flakes

Here’s the full recipe for the marinara.

Skillet full of meatballs and tomato sauce.

How to Make Chicken Meatballs in Sauce.

  1. If you’re making the sauce, do that first and when done, leave it on a low simmer.
  2. Line a baking sheet with some parchment paper and set it aside. 
  3. Pop all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl blend the mixture until it’s well mixed. Note: The mixture will seem wet and trickier to work with than beef and pork meatballs, but that’s normal.
  4. Wash your hands and lightly oil them with olive oil—this helps form the meatballs much better.
  5. Take a heaping scoop of the mixture, roll it into a ball that’s about 1 x 1 inch, and place the meatball onto the parchment paper. Repeat this until you’re done—there should be about a dozen meatballs.
  6. Place the tray of meatballs into the fridge and let them chill for at least 30 minutes.
  7. When it’s time to cook the meatballs, heat a bit of olive oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan.
  8. Place the meatballs into the pan one by one and let them simmer for about 3-5 minutes, or until golden brown. Flip the meatballs and let them simmer for another 3-5 minutes until the other side is golden in color.
  9. Add the sauce to the pan, covering the meatballs, and let the meatballs simmer on medium-low, covered, for about 30 minutes or until cooked through. You’re looking for an internal temperature of 165º F.
  10. When the meatballs are ready, garnish with chopped fresh basil and serve them with pasta or on fresh hoagies with mozzarella cheese!

Baking sheet covered in parchment with raw chicken meatballs on top.

Pan of chicken meatballs with hand pouring marinara on top.

Equipment You’ll Need:

Recipe Tips + Tricks:

  1. Letting the meatballs chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes is really important. It helps them set and will keep them from falling apart when you’re cooking them.
  2. If you want to bake your ground chicken meatballs, you can skip the step of chilling them in the fridge and just pop them straight into an oven preheated at 400º F. Bake them for 25-30 minutes. They should be golden in color and register an internal temperature of 165º F.
  3. Grating your garlic cloves offers much better flavor distribution than simply mincing them. A microplane is the perfect tool for grating garlic!
  4. If you don’t have panko breadcrumbs, you can use Italian.Pan full of saucy chicken meatballs garnished with basil.

More Easy Chicken Recipes:

Have You Made This Recipe?

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Pan full of saucy chicken meatballs garnished with basil.

Get the Recipe:

Ground Chicken Meatballs in Sauce

These Ground Chicken Meatballs are simmered in an easy marinara and come out extremely tender and flavorful.
5 from 51 votes

Ingredients

  • 1 TBSP Olive oil
  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp cracked black pepper
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 tsp chopped fresh thyme
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1 TBSP Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs

Instructions 

  • If making the homemade marinara sauce, get that done first. When you're done, leave it on a low simmer and move on to the meatballs.
  • Line a baking sheet with parchment paper; set it aside.
  • Put all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl and blend the mixture thoroughly. The meatball mixture will seem wet and tricky to work with, but that's normal.
  • Lightly oil your hands with a bit of olive oil and start forming your meatballs into balls that's measure about 1 x 1 inch, then carefully place the meatballs onto the parchment paper.
  • Put the tray of meatballs into the fridge to set for at least 30 minutes.
  • When it's cook time, heat the olive oil in a cast iron skillet or non-stick pan. Gently place the meatballs into the pan one by one, and let them simmer for about 3-5 minutes or until golden brown.
  • Carefully flip the meatballs with tongs and let them simmer for another 3-5 minutes or until the other side is golden in color.
  • Add the sauce to the pan, covering the meatballs, and simmer on medium-low, covered with a lid, for about 30 minutes or until cooked through to an internal temperature of 165º F.
  • When ready, garnish the meatballs with chopped fresh basil and serve them with pasta or on fresh hoagies with mozzarella or provolone cheese.

Notes

Find my quick and easy marinara sauce here.
*Nutritional info includes sauce.
Serving: 1serving with sauce, Calories: 129kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 2g, Cholesterol: 44mg, Sodium: 363mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 3g