Prior to every Super Bowl Sunday, Ben sits me down and sketches an Xs and Os football strategy refresh. Instead, all I see are toothpicks for Xs and Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs for Os.

Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs (Slow Cooker!) I’ve never claimed to be a football strategy whiz. At the beginning of the game, I mentally note my team’s uniform color and the direction they should be marching down the field, then hope the rest will be intuitive. I cheer when others cheer and scowl when others yell expletives. Occasionally, I forget which direction we are supposed to be going and clap at an inappropriate moment. With a plate of Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs at my disposal, however, I’m immediately forgiven by even the most fervent of fans.

Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs

Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs. Slow cooker friendly!
To make Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs, we start with a tasty combination of tart shredded apple, spicy red onion, and healthy ground chicken. For extra warmth, we add a pinch of cinnamon, garlic for oomph, and panko breadcrumbs for their binder-prowess. It’s a yummy, meaty, tangy-sweet meatball mix.

I know what you are thinking—let’s stuff that juicy apple chicken meatball with extra sharp cheddar cheese. Good, I was thinking that too.
Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs (Slow Cooker)

Each succulent chicken meatball is a mini package of decadent, gooey cheddar ooze. Sharp cheddar bursts in every bite, complementing the apple-y sweetness of the meatballs.

As with any self-respecting meatball, the crowing glory of our Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs is the sauce. Inspired by the flavors of my Apple Butter Cheddar and Turkey Grilled Cheese (a reader favorite recipe), I created a killer 10-second meatball sauce by stirring together two easy ingredients: Musselman’s Apple Butter and barbeque sauce (Sweet Baby Ray’s to be specific). The mellow fruitiness of the apple butter enhances the fresh apple flavor in our meatball mix, and the barbeque sauce adds savoryness and sass. Stir in a pat of butter for richness, and we have a 5-star sauce for minimal effort. Touchdown!

If the prospect of juicy meatballs exploding with cheddar cheese hasn’t convinced you to add Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs to your Super Bowl menu, one final selling point: Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs are slow-cooker friendly. Place the baked meatballs in your slow cooker, pour the apple butter barbeque sauce over the top, and boom! Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs are ready to party.

Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken MeatballsSassy apple chicken meatballs, bathed in a sweet-tangy sauce, exploding with cheddar cheese: whichever team wins on Sunday, Cheese Stuffed Chicken Apple Meatballs are a guaranteed victory. Vegas can keep its odds—my bets are on the balls!

Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs. Slow cooker friendly!

Cheese Stuffed Apple Chicken Meatballs {Slow Cooker}

5 from 1 vote
Juicy baked chicken and apple meatballs stuffed with sharp cheddar and bathed in an apple butter barbeque sauce. These sassy meatballs are a guaranteed hit at any party or game-day celebration and can be adapted to fit your slow cooker too!

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 20 mins
Total: 50 mins

Servings: 16 meatballs

Ingredients
  

  • 1/4 small tart apple grated
  • 1/4 small red onion grated
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic 2 cloves
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 4 ounces extra-sharp cheddar cheese cut into 1/2-inch cubes
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 3/4 cup Musselman’s Apple Butter
  • 1/2 cup homemade barbecue sauce or store-bought prepared sauce

Instructions
 

  • Place rack in the center of your oven and preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with tin foil, then set an ovenproof wire rack on top. Coat rack with nonstick spray. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, stir together apple, red onion, garlic, cinnamon, salt, pepper, egg white, and panko. Add ground chicken and lightly mix with a fork until just combined, being careful not to compact the chicken. Divide the mixture into quarters, then separate each quarter into 4 balls. Press a cube of cheddar into the center of each ball, then close chicken around the cheese to seal it. Arrange meatballs on the prepared baking sheet. Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, until cooked through.
  • To finish the meatballs on the stove: In a large skillet, stir together the apple butter and barbecue sauce. Add butter and stir until melted. Add cooked meatballs to the skillet, with a spoon, gently coat the meatballs in sauce. Place a lid on top of the skillet and reduce heat to low to keep warm.
  • To finish the meatballs in a slow cooker: After step two, place the cooked meatballs in the bottom of a slow cooker. In a small sauce pan over medium low, stir together the butter, apple butter, and barbecue sauce until the butter melts. Pour sauce over the top of the meatballs, toss gently to coat, and keep warm in the slow cooker.

Notes

  • Unbaked meatballs can be prepped up to 1 day in advance. Place formed, unbaked meatballs in an air-tight container lined with plastic wrap, fit the container with a lid, and refrigerate until ready to bake. Baked meatballs can be refrigerated in an air-tight container for up to two days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stove.

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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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52 Comments

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  1. Did you just stuffed meatballs with cheese and glazed them in bbq sauce and apple butter???? DID YOU. I need these in my life, oh please. You’re a total genius Erin!

  2. Hey brain twin, I am totally making a cheese stuffed ball today! Except it doesn’t include the deliciousness that is chicken, apples, red onion and bbq sauce!
    Your hubby sounds like mine, and now, when I get my strategy refresh, I will only be able to focus on are balls.
    That sounded dirty. I’m ok with that.

  3. What an awesome game day treat! The cheese is such a surprise. I’m busy thinking up game day food for Sunday and meatballs definitely need to be on the list.

  4. the football situation in my house looks pretty similar…but as long as I have a good food and drinks, I am good to go. I am pinning this recipe because its happening fairly soon. Never had apple butter, hope you dont unfriend me.

    1. Dixya, I could never do such a thing! Definitely keep an eye out for apple butter next time you’re at the store though. It is super delicious, and I think you would enjoy it very much!

  5. A meatball with gooey cheese is an irresistible combo on its own. But the apple butter/BBQ sauce and slow cooker option is just genius!

  6. Who could resist cheese stuffed meatballs…especially with that sauce!! I may be skipping the game next weekend, but I certainly will not be skipping these meatballs!

  7. Wow! These meatballs look amazing! Love all the melty cheese on the inside. :) I feel like I can follow football fairly well when I’m watching it, but I’m not able to follow the Xs and Os either, haha. But who cares about Xs and Os when you could be eating these meatballs!

  8. I was planning on making my normal turkey or chicken Mediterranean meatballs for the Super Bowl but definitely trying this recipe instead! Just found your blog and have added the Buttermilk Crunch Muffins to the recipes I’ll be trying in February. Looking forward to reading more of your blog!

    1. Kim, I’m so excited you found my blog and said hi! I hope you love both the meatballs and crunch muffins. Those have been two of my fave recipes I’ve made in a while! Enjoy :-)

  9. Hahahaha! I suddenly had to become a little football educated when my six year old started asking me questions. I wish I would have just had one of these meatballs to stick in his mouth :)

  10. Gah, that photo of the meatball with the cheese oozing out…DONE! I’m making these next weekend for sure, regardless of whether that football game is on the tv. or not. :) Love the addition of the apple butter!

  11. I can hold my own in football, but put my in front of a baseball game or hockey and I am clueless! I might be needing these in an emergency sports viewing … yelling for the wrong team calls for some cheese and apples :) Oh, and rich, moist, meaty meatballs! Yum!

  12. I don’t get football either, no matter how many times it is explained to me. My 2 brother-in-law’s played football in high school and college and I went to several of their games, and if you gave me I couldn’t tell you what position they played for 1 million dollars. I just don’t get it! I go to the games for the food. Haha! These meatballs are an insanely good idea. Love the melty cheese in the middle : )

    1. Game Day would neverrrrr be Game Day without the food! I hear the commentators talking about spread offense…and I just think about the spread on the table, LOL

  13. These are definitely a meatball I could enjoy! Just had spaghetti topped with apple chicken sausage–these would have been perfect!

    1. Your dinner sounds totally amazing too!! While we were eating these, we talked about how we need to eat spaghetti and meatballs more often. Thanks for the reminder!

  14. Oh my… these look gorgeous Erin! Anything cheese-stuffed definitely gets my vote, particularly with that gorgeous apple-y glaze. Haha, sport and husbands ;) My husband just bought five NBA DVD’s (one of which is Ultimate Jordan boxed set, SIX HOURS WORTH!!!) so I know what’s going to be screening in our house over the next week! I think I’d better console myself with some of these meatballs! xx

  15. I saw a recipe for chicken meatballs this morning … and it was nothing like yours. Nope nope nope. That recipe was bland and just yuck. It was not stuffed with sharp cheddar. It didn’t have apple in it. And it for sure didn’t have a sauce that is making my mouth water at this very moment. You totally win. And I’m totally making these soon! Pinning for my readers … printing for me! :)
    Maybe if I make these for the Superbowl, people will forgive me for not knowing which was the ball is supposed to be moving. Do they really need to change direction so often??

  16. Oh my gosh, that picture of the melted cheese inside the meatball. Whoooaaa baby! I love apple in savory chicken dishes, but I’ve never used apple butter before. Must try it – these look incredible!

  17. Wow, these are some serious loaded meat balls – love that oozing cheese and apple butter in here! I don’t really understand all the rules of football either but it doesn’t matter as long as there’s awesome food like this around during the game then I’m all set :)

  18. This is pure genius! Love the combinations…pinning now for Sunday. Thanks!! PS. I’ve made your peanut butter cookies 3x in the past week. oops.5 stars

    1. Laura-Ashley I’d be honored for my meatballs to join your Game Day line up and I’m soooo excited that you love those cookies!!! Thanks so much for letting me know :-)

  19. I am SO sorry but I am new to cooking and I don’t understand 2 things: 1) do you cook the ground chicken first or use raw ground chicken? and 2) do you really have to cook these on a wire rack? Or could you just cook them on a cookie sheet? Sorry for the embarrassing questions…I’m learning and sometimes blogs don’t take cooking newbies into account. :P Thanks!

    1. Katie, you have nothing to apologize for at all! Your questions are not silly, and cooking takes practice. Let me see if I can help. The ground chicken is raw and will cook in the oven when the meatballs bake. Generally with any recipe, unless it specifies that the meat should already be cooked, you can assume that it is uncooked. The reason that the wire rack is important is because it elevates the meatballs a little bit. This allows the air to circulate and cook all sides evenly, and it also allows any grease from the meat to drip off and be caught in the pan, instead of having the meatball sit in it. This makes for a tastier meatball all-around. You don’t need a special rack made just for the oven. A metal cooling rack that is typically used for cooling cookies will work perfectly! I hope that helps and that you enjoy these meatballs! They are some of our favorites. Feel free to ask any time you have a cooking question. I’m happy to help!

    1. Hi Sally! Did you see my reply above? You really can use any kind you like, but to be safe, I’d choose something with a crisper texture and lower moisture content, such as a Granny Smith or Fuji.

  20. Hey Erin!
    What are the nutrition facts on these? Serving size, calories, sugar/fat/carb? All that good stuff. I’m a bariatric patient so I have to be a bit on the low-cal side, but these are a perfect size!

    1. Hi Rayne, I began adding nutrition estimates to my recipes in 2016, but unfortunately it’s too time consuming to go back to add it to recipes before that. I’d recommend using an online resource like MyFitnessPal—it’s what I use when calculating new recipes, and it’s free!