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Moist, tasty enough to enjoy all on their own (or with your favorite tomato or marinara sauce), and stuffed with a sneaky serving of spinach, these healthy Baked Chicken Meatballs are basic, done better.

Plate of baked chicken meatballs

Why You’ll Love These Italian Chicken Meatballs

  • Italian-Style Meatballs, But: Chicken! Made with lean ground chicken, whole wheat breadcrumbs, and fresh green spinach, this baked chicken meatball recipe is simply the BEST! They offer old-school Italian flavor, done new-school fast.
  • Quick and Easy. These tender, juicy meatballs require less than 15 minutes to prep and they’re cooked entirely in the oven—which means no greasy mess on the stovetop.
  • Family-Friendly. Like these Baked Turkey Meatballs, baked chicken meatballs will please grownups and kids alike (including your pickiest toddlers). They taste GREAT!
  • So Many Serving Options. They’re not just for pasta! Make a batch for a perfect, crowd-pleasing appetizer (perhaps alongside some Mozzarella Sticks) or a double batch to freeze for a lightning-fast dinner tonight or any night of the week. Goes great as the main dish to these instant pot mashed potatoes!
Baking dish with juicy chicken meatballs

5 Star Review

“These are AMAZING! Super easy to make and I had all of the ingredients in the house already! This one deserves more than 5 stars!”

— Christine —

How to Make Chicken Meatballs

The Ingredients

  • Ground Chicken. I like 93% lean here. It has just enough fat content to keep these healthy chicken meatballs moist and juicy.
  • Whole Wheat Panko Breadcrumbs. To bind the baked chicken meatballs together. You can use regular panko if you prefer.
  • Parmesan. Richness. Saltiness. Italian flair. A small handful goes a long way.
  • Egg. No tough or dry chicken meatballs here! Egg not only binds the meatballs together but also adds moisture and fat to soften and tenderize them.
  • Spices. To keep these Italian chicken meatballs quick and easy, instead of mincing garlic and sautéing onions, I used onion powder, garlic powder, and Italian seasoning right from my spice cupboard.
  • Tomato Paste. Provides super-concentrated flavor for these Italian baked chicken meatballs (and this equally healthy Turkey Bolognese).
  • Fresh Spinach. If you do not have fresh spinach, sautéed kale would also work nicely in these healthy chicken meatballs. Some readers have also made this chicken meatball recipe with frozen spinach by thawing and draining it thoroughly before adding it to the recipe.

Dietary Notes

For gluten-free chicken meatballs, try swapping the whole wheat breadcrumbs for coarsely ground gluten free rolled oats.

For chicken meatballs without breadcrumbs, swap chicken for turkey in these Whole30 Meatballs (this same recipe also qualifies as Paleo Chicken meatballs).

The Directions

Beaten egg in bowl to bind chicken meatballs
  1. Make the Binder. Beat the egg in a large bowl, then add the remaining ingredients, reserving 1 tablespoon of olive oil and tomato paste.
Chicken meatball mixture in glas sbowl
  1. Combine. Gently mix everything until combined. Don’t overwork the meat!
Chicken meatballs in baking dish before cooking
  1. Shape. Form into meatballs and arrange in the baking dish.
Brushing sauce on chicken meatballs before baking
  1. Finish. Whisk together the remaining oil and paste. Brush over the top of the chicken meatballs. Bake chicken meatballs at 400 degrees F for 18 to 22 minutes, until cooked through, and serve as desired. ENJOY!

What to Serve with Chicken Meatballs

Closeup of chicken meatballs in baking dish

Recipe Tips

  • Grate Your Own Cheese. PLEASE buy a block of Parm and grate it yourself. The green can will not do this simple chicken meatball recipe justice (or this Pesto Pasta).
  • Don’t Skip the Cheese. Cheese is important for this recipe because it flavors the chicken meatballs and helps them hold their shape. If you’re looking for meatballs without cheese, try these Cranberry Turkey Meatballs or Whole30 Meatballs.
  • Reheat With Care. If you’re baking meatballs directly from frozen, make sure they are in a baking dish that can be put in the oven with frozen food inside. Some baking dishes, particularly glass, will break if placed in a hot oven with cold food inside.
  • Know When They’re Done. Chicken meatballs are fully cooked when evenly brown, firm to the touch, and register an internal temperature of 160 degrees F.
  • Air Fryer Option. Check out my Air Fryer Meatballs recipe as a good starting point if you want to try making chicken meatballs in the air fryer.
Dipping chicken meatball in marinara sauce

Baked Chicken Meatballs

4.86 from 215 votes
The BEST healthy baked chicken meatballs with spinach. Made in the oven, serve these easy chicken meatballs with pasta, zoodles, or sandwich rolls.

Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 18 minutes
Total: 35 minutes

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 Parmesan cheese finely grated
  • 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 flat-leaf parsley finely chopped
  • 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach lightly packed

For Serving:

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

Instructions
 

  • Place a rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13-inch baking dish or rimmed baking sheet with nonstick cooking 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, fresh 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, mix until well combined, being careful not to compact the meat.
  • Shape the mixture into 12 meatballs and arrange them in the prepared baking dish, 1-inch apart, so they do not touch.
  • Whisk together the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and 1 tablespoon of tomato paste in a small bowl. 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!

Video

Notes

  • TO STORE: Store cooked and cooled leftovers in an airtight storage container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  • TO REHEAT: Warm leftover refrigerated meatballs in a 350-degree F oven until heated through and steaming. IF reheating frozen meatballs, 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).
  • TO FREEZE: After the meatballs have fully baked, let them cool completely. Then arrange on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze until the meatballs are firm; about 1 to 2 hours. Transfer the frozen chicken meatballs to a ziptop bag. Squish out as much air as possible and seal. You can also freeze the meatballs uncooked, following the same steps above. Frozen cooked or uncooked meatballs may be stored for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatball (without pasta or additional sauce)Calories: 107kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 9gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 50mgPotassium: 283mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 770IUVitamin C: 4mgCalcium: 54mgIron: 1mg

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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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278 Comments

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  1. This was absolutely delicious! It paired perfectly with regular pasta (for my husband) and zucchini noodles (for me)! I will add this to my regular meals!

  2. SO good! Easy to make, the tomato paste & evoo “topping” made such an awesome crust. Will definitely make these a weekly regular!5 stars

    1. Hi Leigh! I’ve only tested this recipe with panko so it would be hard for me to say for sure what the amount would be. I do have a similar meatball recipe that uses almond flour that might help: https://www.wellplated.com/whole30-meatballs/ Enjoy!

  3. This was fantastic. I made noodles from Pasta Grammar’s “A Day in Dasa” and home made sauce (crushed tomatoes, 2 cloves garlic and basil). My wife loved the meatballs… what a great meal with healthy ingredients!5 stars

  4. These meatballs are amazing and I am so glad I found this recipe. I always triple the batch because whenever my adult children are around they are eating them and are always taking some to go. They freeze great, go good with just about anything, and are just a perfect bite eating them on their own!5 stars

  5. OMG! These are fabulous little bites of awesomeness!!!! I am in love with these meatballs. Hubby approved this chicken meatballs! Served it with zucchini noodles and a salad for a super healthy and filling meal.5 stars

  6. Just wanted to let you know that these meatballs are a game changer in my house. My kids LOVED these meatballs. As a single mom of 2, the fact that these have simple ingredients I always have in hand and can be thrown together in less than 30 minutes is a winner! Thank you, Erin!5 stars

  7. These are one of our favorites now! You know it’s a success when your picky husband and toddler love them! So easy and so delicious! I paired them with some whole wheat penne, garlic marinara, and fresh grated parmesan. Healthy comfort food is amazing. Thanks for this recipe!5 stars

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