Baked Chicken Meatballs (Freezer-Friendly)

Made with ground chicken and just a handful of simple pantry ingredients, these healthy baked chicken meatballs are quick, easy, and delicious. They’re the perfect addition to any meal, whether you want to pour on some pesto, dip ’em in marinara, or bathe them in barbecue sauce. With this recipe, you’ll have plenty to pop in the freezer for a quick dinner on a busy night.

Overhead photo of baked chicken meatballs on a sheet pan with red marinara sauce

My daughter is currently going through a “me no like meat” phase. Ground meat, shredded meat, even these delicious little baked chicken meatballs get pushed away and, every time, I die a little inside. 

I’m fine with it though because, the rest of us? We can’t. get. enough. In the last few weeks these baked chicken meatballs have been transformed into several different meals: spaghetti and meatballs with marinara, chicken meatball pesto pasta, buffalo chicken wraps, cheesy meatball subs, even Mediterranean-inspired gyros.

What I love most about these chicken meatballs, aside from their versatility and yum factor in any number of sauces, is having a stash ready and waiting in the freezer for those nights. You know, those night you forget you’re in charge, have a completely empty fridge, or could just. care. less.

Because friend, we all have those nights.

And for that reason, I designed this recipe to feed a crowd or leave you with plenty to freeze. Either way, you’re going to want extras! 

Ingredients in Baked Chicken Meatballs

These easy baked chicken meatballs have just a handful of simple ingredients.

  • Ground chicken: For juicer, more tender meatballs I recommend using ground chicken that contains at least 5-8% fat (95-92% lean)  
  • Eggs
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Use gluten-free Panko for GF meatballs!
  • Grated parmesan: Store-bought is great as long as it’s fresh (i.e. not in a canister you grab off the shelf in the pasta aisle)
  • Grated onion: Adds subtle flavor and moisture without chunks of onion
  • Olive oil: Gives the meatballs a boost of healthy fats and keeps the meatballs moist
  • Onion & garlic powder
  • Salt & pepper
closeup photo of a bitten chicken meatball on a fork dipped in tomato sauce

Best Sauces for Chicken Meatballs

These chicken meatballs are a delicious vehicle for any of your favorite sauces. 

Marinara sauce

Jarred or homemade, you can’t go wrong with any tomato-based sauce. Serve over pasta or pop them into a bun and top with some melty mozzarella for a yummy meatball sub.

Pesto

Pair them with pesto to get in some extra leafy greens and healthy fats! Try some of our favorites, like this Easy Pea Pesto or Kale Parsley Pesto!

Buffalo Sauce

I like to bathe these little meatballs in buffalo sauce and dunk them in a little bleu cheese or ranch dressing.

BBQ Sauce

Sweet and tangy barbecue chicken meatballs are always a crowd-pleaser and game day favorite!

Tzatziki

For an easy, Mediterranean-inspired meal or appetizer, serve these meatballs with some homemade tzatziki sauce for dipping, along with some fresh olives, feta cheese, and marinated artichokes!

Serving Ideas 

These little meatballs are delicious any which way. Here are some of my favorite serving ideas!

Pasta

Pop open some jarred tomato sauce or pull a jar of this homemade pesto from the freezer.

Spaghetti squash or zucchini noodles

For a lower-carb, veggie-packed meal that still feels like pasta, put these meatballs and your favorite pasta sauce over roasted spaghetti squash or sauteed zoodles.

Sauteed or roasted veggies

If veggie noodles aren’t your thing, these meatballs are also delicious tossed into a bowl with some sauteed or roasted veggies and your sauce of choice. Zucchini, summer squash, butternut squash, spinach, broccoli, and cauliflower are some of our favorites.

Bread

Craving a meatball sub? Pop a few into a mini sub roll and top with marinara and melty mozzarella for a quick and easy hoagie. Or fold a few into a piece of naan topped with tzatziki, baby greens, and some pickled onions for a more Mediterannean-inspired meal.

Fresh veggies

If you’re serving these as an appetizer or lunchbox protein, cut up some carrots, celery, and bell peppers to munch on alongside.

How to Freeze Chicken Meatballs 

It’s best to freeze chicken meatballs before baking. This prevents them from becoming overcooked when reheating from frozen.

To freeze, arrange uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment or wax paper. Put the baking sheet in your freezer and chill just until the meatballs become firm, about 1 to 2 hours.

Transfer the frozen meatballs to an airtight freezer container, pressing out as much air as possible when sealing. I love both the half-gallon and stand-up Stasher bags which are made from food-safe silicone and are reusable.

For best taste and texture, cook your frozen chicken meatballs within 3 months.

Overhead closeup of baked chicken meatballs on a sheet pan with red marinara sauce
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Recipe

Baked Chicken Meatballs (Freezer-Friendly)

Made with ground chicken and a few simple pantry ingredients, these healthy baked chicken meatballs are easy and delicious. Freezer-friendly & easily gluten-free!

  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Makes:
    36 meatballs 1x
  • Prep Time:
    15 minutes
  • Total Time:
    35 minutes
  • Makes:
    36 meatballs 1x
  • Ingredients

    • 2 pounds ground chicken (92-95% lean; see notes)
    • 2 eggs
    • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
    • 1 cup fresh grated parmesan (see notes)
    • 2/3 cup grated yellow onion (about 1 small)
    • ¼ cup olive oil, plus 1-2 teaspoons for brushing
    • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
    • 1 teaspoon onion powder
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • Freshly ground black pepper to taste

    Instructions

    1. Prep the oven and baking pan. Preheat the oven to 400°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper, or lightly grease a plain baking sheet with cooking spray.
    2. Mix ingredients together. Combine all ingredients in a medium bowl and gently mix with your hands just until incorporated. Be sure not to overmix or the meatballs will become tough. 
    3. Form the meatballs. Using about 2 tablespoons of mixture per meatball, gently roll into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet. 
    4. Bake and/or freeze.
      To bake: Bake at 400°F for 15 minutes, or 20-25 minutes if frozen. Increase temperature to 500°F and lightly brush meatballs with olive oil. Bake for another 3-5 minutes or until meatballs are golden brown and cooked through (internal temperature of at least 165°F.)
      To freeze: Place uncooked meatballs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and pop into the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once firm, transfer meatballs to an airtight freezer bag or container.
    5. Serve with your favorite dipping sauce. Remove chicken meatballs from the oven and serve immediately with your favorite sauce — marinara, pesto, honey mustard, buffalo. Enjoy alone, over pasta or alongside your favorite veggies. Cooked chicken meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

    Notes

    Favorite Equipment

    Ingredient Notes

      • Ground chicken: For juicer, more tender meatballs I recommend using ground chicken that contains at least 5-8% fat (95-92% lean).  
      • Parmesan cheese: Save time with fresh, pre-grated Parmesan (usually found in the fresh cheese section). 
      • For gluten-free chicken meatballs: Use gluten-free Panko instead of traditional Panko breadcrumbs

    Ingredient Prep

    • Grate the onion and Parmesan cheese
    • Pre-measure and combine dry ingredients into one bowl (Parmesan cheese, Panko, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper); store in the fridge for up to 5 days

    Little Helpers

    Involving little ones can decrease picky eating and increase appetite and willingness to try new foods. Here are a few ways they can help: 

    • Toddlers: Measure the ingredients; mix ingredients together with their hands; help roll mixture into balls 
    • Little Kids: All of the above, plus they can help grate the onion (let them do the crying this time!)
    • Big Kids: All of the above! 

    Leftovers

    Store leftover chicken meatballs in an airtight food storage bag or container in the fridge for up to 5 days. To reheat, microwave meatballs for 30-60 seconds, or submerge in sauce, cover, and heat on the stovetop over medium-low heat until warmed through. 

    Nutrition Notes

    Nutrition information calculated using 92% lean ground chicken (8% fat)

    Nutrition

    • Serving Size: 3 meatballs

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    Overhead photo of baked chicken meatballs on a sheet pan with a bowl of tomato sauce with title text overlay

    Author: Elle Penner M.P.H., R.D.

    I'm Elle, Registered Dietitian and minimalism-obsessed mama with a thing for simplifying, particularly when it comes to clutter, calendars, and family meals. Favorite things include carbs, cooking, kid-free workouts, and high-waisted yoga pants.

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