These wonderfully flavorful and well-seasoned chicken meatballs are ready in less than 30 minutes.
You can enjoy them just as they are or dip them in a tasty dipping sauce. They're especially good when freshly prepared, but the leftovers are excellent too.
My mother-in-law introduced me to these tasty meatballs. With the exception of turkey meatballs, I almost always make mine with beef (these spicy meatballs are wonderful). But when I tasted her recipe, I was hooked!
Admittedly, chicken meatballs tend to have a milder flavor than beef ones, although in this recipe they are very well seasoned.
But they make up for that with their wonderfully tender and fluffy texture. And making them is as easy as can be - they're ready in less than 30 minutes.
You'll only need a few simple ingredients to make these tasty meatballs. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below. Here's an overview of what you'll need:
- Ground chicken: I highly recommend using ground chicken thighs and not chicken breast. Chicken breast is too dry.
- Mayonnaise: Adds creaminess to the meatballs and helps prevent them from becoming too dry.
- To season: Kosher salt, black pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, ground cumin, and smoked paprika.
- Olive oil: Used for frying the meatballs.
Making these chicken meatballs is easy! Scroll down to the recipe card for detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps:
You start by mixing the ingredients (all of them except for the oil) and forming the mixture into 16 meatballs.
Next, brown them in olive oil on all sides for about 5 minutes. Then add some water to the pan, cover it, and finish cooking them until they are cooked through. This should take about 3 more minutes.
I have a couple of tips for you for ensuring this recipe is a success:
- The ground chicken mixture will be fairly sticky, so it's helpful to use moistened hands when forming the meatballs.
- When portioning the meatballs out, I use a cookie scoop to ensure they are all about the same size.
Frequently asked questions
There's no need for that. The meatballs do not come apart at all, so there's no need for fillers and binders.
Yes. You can arrange them on a rimmed parchment-lined baking sheet (make sure the parchment can withstand a high oven temperature or use nonstick foil), spray them with olive oil, and bake them for about 20 minutes in a 400°F oven.
However, keep in mind that they won't brown much in the oven, so while they'll be very tasty, they won't look as good as pan-fried meatballs.
Meatballs turn out tough when you overwork the mixture. It's best to handle them as lightly as you can, both when mixing the ingredients and when forming the meatballs.
Here are a few ideas for you to try if you're feeling adventurous:
- You can replace the mayonnaise with Dijon mustard. I love this creamy French mustard and think it will add great flavor to these meatballs.
- Use a tablespoon of minced garlic instead of garlic powder. I tend to use the powder because that's what I always have on hand.
- Add ¼ cup of minced fresh herbs such as parsley or cilantro.
- Use chili powder instead of smoked paprika.
- Add a teaspoon of dried oregano or dried thyme.
- Add ¼ teaspoon of cayenne pepper to make them spicy.
Sometimes I serve these meatballs as a party appetizer, and then I serve them with a dipping sauce, as shown in the pictures. You can use any store-bought sauce that you like. The sauce pictured is by Rao's.
You can also make your own dipping sauce. Simply mix ½ cup of sour cream with 1 tablespoon of hot pepper sauce and 1 tablespoon of soy sauce (or a gluten-free alternative).
You can keep the leftovers in the fridge, in a sealed container, for up to 4 days. They actually keep well and taste great. Gently reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
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- 1 lb. ground chicken thighs (93% lean; ground chicken breast is too lean)
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise (I use avocado oil mayonnaise)
- 1 teaspoon Diamond Crystal kosher salt (or ½ teaspoon fine sea salt)
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 4 tablespoons olive oil for frying*
- In a medium bowl, mix together all the ingredients except for the oil.
- Using a 1.5-tablespoon cookie scoop, the same one you would use for cookies, scoop out even portions of the mixture into a plate. I usually end up with 16 meatballs.
- With wet hands for easier handling, shape each portion into a round meatball.
- Heat the olive oil in a very large (12-inch) lidded skillet over medium-high heat until the oil shimmers and becomes fragrant, about 2 minutes.
- Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook them uncovered, turning frequently, until golden brown, about 5 minutes. Lower the heat to medium if needed.
- Add ¼ cup of water to the bottom of the skillet. Cover it with the lid and cook until the meatballs are cooked through (their internal temperature should be 165° F), about 3 more minutes.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet to a serving plate using a slotted spoon. Serve immediately.