If a year ago you’d told me I’d choose a recipe as seemingly basic as Baked Chicken Meatballs to close out the year, I would have wondered what else you questioned about my creativity, flair for the dramatic, and all-around ability to do something that hasn’t been done 55 million times before. WELL. That was before I tasted said chicken meatballs. The flavor, texture, and good-for-you factor that’s rolled into each one of these juicy bites is anything but elemental.

Healthy Baked Italian Chicken Meatballs with Spinach. Easy oven method for chicken meatballs that are juicy and packed with flavor. Pin it on Pinterest!

Moist, tasty enough to enjoy all on their own (yes, tomato sauce is great, but you’ll love them even without), and packing a sneaky serving of spinach, these healthy baked chicken meatballs are basic, done better.

They offer the old-school Italian flavor you’re after, done new-school fast. These chicken meatballs require less than 15 minutes to prep, and they are good for you too. If you’re looking for a back-pocket meatball recipe, this is the one.

And even if you aren’t looking for a back-pocket meatball recipe, hold on to this one anyway.

Baked chicken meatballs are the kind of thing you’re going to crave all of January. The weather is cold, and we need the food equivalent of a woolly sweater.

Hold on to this recipe after January too. They’re quick and easy, healthy, and beloved by grownups and kids alike. This is the kind of recipe we need more of all month, every month.

Just don’t hold on to the meatballs literally in your back pocket. That would be an unnecessary loss of baked Italian chicken meatballs, clean pants, and laundry detergent.

Easy Baked Chicken Meatballs. Made with chicken, whole wheat panko, and spinach!

About This Baked Chicken Meatball Recipe

Here’s how we roll, healthy Italian chicken meatball style!

The Ingredients

  • Ground Chicken. I like 93% lean here. You can also swap ground turkey if you prefer (check out these Baked Turkey Meatballs!).
  • Whole Wheat Panko Breadcrumbs. To bind the meatballs. I like whole wheat over white breadcrumbs here because whole wheat = extra fiber without any extra effort.
    • If you’re looking for a recipe for chicken meatballs without breadcrumbs, swap chicken for turkey in my Whole30 meatballs (this recipe qualifies as Paleo chicken meatballs too).
  • Parmesan. Richness. Saltiness. Italian flair. A small handful goes a long way. PLEASE buy it freshly ground or grind it yourself. The green can does not cut it in this simple meatball recipe.
  • Spices. To keep the meatballs quick and easy, in lieu of mincing garlic and sautéing onions, I used onion and garlic powder, along with Italian seasoning. Dynamite and done!
  • Tomato Paste. Another win for super concentrated flavor, measured quickly by the spoonful.
  • Fresh Spinach. Finely chopped fresh spinach gives the meatballs flecks of color, sneaks in a few extra veggies, and even helps make them moist.

The Directions

  1. Lightly coat a baking dish with nonstick spray.
  2. Beat the egg in the bottom in a bowl, then add everything but the spinach.
  3. Chop the spinach, then add it to the bowl. Mix ingredients until combined, being careful not to compact the meat. Shape the mixture into meatballs and add to the baking dish.
  4. Whisk together the remaining oil and paste. Brush over the top of the meatballs.
  5. Bake 18 to 22 minutes at 400 degrees F, until cooked through. Serve hot, and ENJOY!

Baked Chicken Meatballs. These easy Italian-spiced meatballs will be a dinner hit!

What to Serve with Chicken Meatballs

  • Pasta. We most often have our baked chicken meatballs in tomato sauce, which is Ben’s favorite. I like them with a mix of whole wheat spaghetti noodles.
  • Spaghetti Squash. For a low-carb option, serve them stuffed inside fluffed spaghetti squash with additional tomato sauce. This Crockpot Spaghetti Squash is especially convenient.
  • Pizza. You can also put those baby-size meatballs on a pizza! If you do, I highly recommend this weeknight-friendly homemade whole wheat pizza crust.

Or, stick a toothpick in the center of each baked chicken meatball, place them on a plate, and serve as an easy appetizer.

How To Freeze Healthy Chicken Meatballs

For the most convenience, I recommend freezing the meatballs after they are fully baked.

  • Let the baked meatballs cool, then arrange them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Put the baking sheet in your freezer (if it looks like mine, you’ll need to clear some space first).
  • Let freeze until the meatballs harden, 1 to 2 hours.
  • Transfer the frozen meatballs to a ziptop bag. Squish out as much air as possible and seal.
  • Freeze the meatballs for up to 3 months.

You can also freeze the meatballs uncooked, following the same steps above.

Baked Chicken Meatballs with Italian spices. Serve with pasta, zoodles, or as meatball subs!

How to Store and Reheat Baked Chicken Meatballs

  • To Store. Store cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • To Reheat: Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (if the meatballs are fully cooked) OR 400 degrees (if they are not fully cooked). Arrange the meatballs in a baking dish coated with nonstick spray. Then, bake directly from frozen until hot, 20 to 30 minutes for cooked meatballs or 25 to 30 minutes for uncooked meatballs (uncooked meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F).
    • Ensure that you are using metal dish or a baking dish that is able to be put in the oven with frozen food inside. (Some baking dishes will break if placed in a hot oven with cold food inside.)

 

Baked Chicken Meatballs: basic never tasted so brilliant!

Baked chicken meatballs on a black plate

Baked Chicken Meatballs

4.97 from 32 votes
Healthy Baked Chicken Meatballs with Spinach. Easy oven method for Italian chicken meatballs that are juicy and packed with flavor!

Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 18 mins
Total: 35 mins

Servings: 12 meatballs

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 pound ground chicken I like 93% lean
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil divided
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste divided
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped flat-leaf parsley
  • 2 1/2 cups lightly packed fresh spinach

For serving:

  • Tomato sauce
  • Cooked whole wheat pasta, zucchini, or other vegetable noodles
  • Buns for sandwiches for sandwiches
  • Toothpicks to serve as an appetizer

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9x13-inch baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray.
  • Beat the egg in the bottom of a large bowl. Add the chicken, breadcrumbs, Parmesan, 1 tablespoon olive oil, oregano, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, red pepper flakes, parsley, and 1 tablespoon tomato paste.
  • Finely chop the spinach so that it is in small bits, then add it to the bowl. With a fork or your hands (I’m all about the hands here), mix until well combined, being careful not to compact the meat. Shape the mixture into 12 meatballs and arrange in the prepared baking dish so that they do not touch.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and 1 tablespoon tomato paste. It won’t be perfectly smooth but will bake up just fine. Brush over the top of the meatballs.
  • Bake the meatballs in the upper third of the oven for 18 to 22 minutes, until cooked through. Serve hot with pasta, zucchini noodles, inside a hoagie bun, or any way you choose!

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatballCalories: 100kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 10gFat: 5gCholesterol: 46mgFiber: 1g

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Erin Clarke

Hi, I'm Erin Clarke, and I'm fearlessly dedicated to making healthy food that's affordable, easy-to-make, and best of all DELISH. I'm the author and recipe developer here at wellplated.com and of The Well Plated Cookbook. I adore both sweets and veggies, and I am on a mission to save you time and dishes. WELCOME!

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81 Comments

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    1. Hi Sana, unfortunately, the egg helps bind these meatballs together, so I can’t recommend a swap here. You could experiment by using a flax egg instead. If you decide to try it, I’d love to hear how it goes!

  1. My husband found this recipe. We had some ground chicken we needed to use up and wanted to try something new…and simple. I’m no chef but I rarely cook from recipes..and when I do…I find a few different recipes that incorporate all the things I want to use and combine them in my head and that’s what I follow. I’m not typically a fan of chicken meatballs; when I have a choice, I prefer red-meat everything. So when my husband found this recipe, I didn’t care to insert myself or my preferences. Why bother… if I didn’t like it, I’d just make a salad. Ha! We didn’t have parmesan so I suggested gruyere and I did help chop up the ingredients and basted them with the paste/oil to get them in the oven quicker but that was the most I wanted to contribute to something I didn’t want association with. Then these delightful balls of savory goodness came out of the oven… Hold me back! AMAZING flavor and while I can think of things I might add, they sure don’t need it and any additions would just ruin the simplicity. These are perfect just as they are and I’m tempted to make batches upon batches for rough days when I want to bury myself in blankets and comfort food and hide from the world. They’re that good! This recipe is a keeper!5 stars

  2. These were so yummy and so easy, I made them twice in one week! I made them with marinara and butternut squash noodles. Erin thank you for this recipe! I’m in love with it and kind of obsessed with everything you make.

    Keep the recipes coming, thank you!5 stars

  3. Hi! I tried the chicken meat balls today!! They were delicious!! Didn’t have spinach, but I put lots of parsley and green scallions! These meat balls came out so good! I have never tasted such tasty meatballs in my life!!!5 stars

  4. Hi Erin, these chicken balls are perfect for a aperitif accompanied with nice wine and friends. I have made them twice now and will do so again tomorrow with friends coming over for lunch – the only change to your recipe is that I saute the onion, garlic and add fresh chilli to give it a punch.

    The tomato paste brushed over just prior to baking – is excellent !

    Thank you very much from the Yaroomba, on the Sunshine Coast, Queensland, Australia5 stars

  5. These meatballs are the best!!! I followed the recipe almost exactly. I did not add the red pepper flakes as I just can’t handle heat in food. I have a baked grouping in the freezer now and I am heading back to the store as skinless, boneless chicken breasts are on sale this week (I grind my own meat). This recipe is truly delightful. You won’t be disappointed making these! Thank you, Erin.5 stars

  6. Fantastic!
    I substituted parmesan for cheddar, and the pepper flakes for paprika. Because I didnt have them. It was still so good! 100% recommend!

    The 2nd time i made them, i forgot the tomato olive oil coating. It was still fantastic!!!5 stars

  7. This recipe was simply fantastic. Made a double batch and froze in small serving packages, since I live alone. Have made meatball sandwiches, served with different pastas and used as a snack while watching a game. Thank you for all the recipes you have created.5 stars

  8. Hi, my husband loves these meatballs. I cook for his dad and my husband always says, no, don’t send these over haha.
    Thanks for this recipe!5 stars

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