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Chicken Parm Meatballs

Chicken Parm Meatballs

30 MIN

As much as I hate handling raw ground chicken (I mean, does anyone?), I’ll sacrifice for the sake of these quick and easy Chicken Parm Meatballs. Keep things traditional and boil some pasta, or keep things easy and tuck these into small rolls or buns topped with a slice of mozzarella, slider-style. A simple salad or green beans rounds it out.

Dark Meat vs White Meat

I grew up believing the dark meat was really bad for you. As in, I can see your arteries clogging as you nosh on that chicken thigh, Carolyn! Here’s the deal. Once you remove the skin, dark meat (think thighs and legs) are only nominally higher in saturated fat compared with breast meat. A skinless chicken thigh has about 2.5 grams of saturated fat while an equal amount of skinless breast meat contains about 1 gram. Opt for the ground dark meat in this recipe. The extra fat makes a big difference in texture and flavor, and keeps them from drying out.

  • 2/3 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup milk or water
  • 2/3 cup grated parmesan cheese (about 2 ounces)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 lb ground dark meat chicken*
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 24 oz jar marinara sauce
  • Extra grated parmesan to serve

* Feel free to swap in ground white meat chicken. Meatballs will be less tender.


In a large bowl, mix together the first 9 ingredients (breadcrumbs through black pepper). Using your hands, mix in ground chicken until well combined (mixture will be sticky). Shape mix into 12-16 meatballs and set aside. In a 12-inch skillet (with lid), heat olive oil over medium heat (you can get away with less oil, 1 tablespoon, if you use a non-stick pan). Once oil is hot and shimmers, add meatballs in a single layer. Cook them, without moving, for 2 1/2-3 minutes, or until golden brown on one side. Using tongs, flip and cook for 2-3 more minutes on the other side. Use your tongs or spatula to nudge meatballs to ensure they aren’t sticking. Reduce heat to low. With the lid in one hand and pasta sauce in the other, pour the sauce into the pan and quickly cover with lid to minimize splatter. Continue to simmer over medium-low heat for 12-14 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through. Top with extra grated Parmesan. Serve with pasta or garlic bread. Serves 4. 

Make-Ahead Tips

Meatballs can be prepared up to 24 hours in advance. Once cooked, they will keep in fridge for up to 3 days.

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