Chicken Meatballs with Tomato-Balsamic Glaze

4.5 stars based on 2 votes

Chicken meatballs 6

These light and elegant meatballs topped with a tangy and sweet tomato-balsamic glaze are made with ground chicken, which is a great alternative to ground beef and so much more flavorful than ground turkey. I typically serve them as a main course with buttered noodles and a vegetable but you can also serve them as an hors d’oeuvre — just make them smaller and spear with toothpicks.

Chicken Meatballs with Tomato-Balsamic Glaze

Servings: Makes 14 meatballs (or 28 hors d'oeuvres size meatballs)
Total Time: 45 Minutes

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken (preferably Purdue, not extra lean all breast meat)
  • 1/2 cup grated Pecorino Romano cheese
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs

For the Glaze

  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/2 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/2 teaspoon sugar

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 325°F.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the egg, parsley, tomato paste, garlic, milk, salt and pepper. Mix well with a wire whisk, making sure the tomato paste is completely dissolved.
  3. Add the ground chicken, grated cheese and breadcrumbs. Use your hand to mix the ingredients together; it will be somewhat wet. Form medium size balls (I think it's easiest to use a 3-tablespoon ice cream scooper with a wire scraper) and place onto an ungreased baking sheet or very large baking dish.
  4. Make the glaze by combining all of the ingredients in a small bowl. Brush evenly over the meatballs. Bake for about 30 minutes, or until an instant read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball registers 160 degrees. Remove from the oven and serve.

Reviews & Comments

  • 4 stars

    I agree that these chicken meatballs are very yummy! I’m already thinking of when I can make them as hors d’oeuvre at a party.

    One thing I did different was to use grated dill-infused Havarti instead of P-R cheese, given that I didn’t have the latter on hand, and the Havarti was a great substitute. I also agree that the glaze recipe could easily be doubled. Next time I will do so, to ensure that I have plenty to put on the meatballs prior to baking, and I will divide half of it before contaminating the glaze so that I can apply some glaze a second time, once they are removed from the oven.

    Thanks for another lovely recipe, Jenn.

    - Jenn on October 23, 2014 Reply
  • Can this recipe work with ground turkey as my husband is not a fan of ground chicken?

    - Linda Oliksowycz on July 14, 2014 Reply
  • 5 stars

    I love these! I make them dairy free so I use a little water instead of milk and eliminate the cheese (I use kosher meat that’s already a bit saltier).

    I also double the glaze as it is so yummy!

    - Eliana on July 2, 2014 Reply
  • Made these for a quick Saturday lunch. They are outstanding. Great ingredients and directions. A keeper recipe. Thank you for adding another recipe to my tool belt!

    - Maureen S. on March 29, 2014 Reply
  • These meatballs are incredible–so much flavour. My husband keeps asking me to make them!! Thanks Jennifer for sharing this recipe….

    - carol on January 30, 2014 Reply
  • I didn’t love this recipe…at first! I only covered half of the meatballs with the sauce because my balsamic vinegar was getting a little skunky! I had hoped the meatballs would be a hit with everyone, but the picky eater didn’t like it (he opposes green flecks in his food) and our daughter wasn’t blown away with it (bummer because both kids have enjoyed the other recipes I’ve made from the site). My wife and I enjoyed the glazed version. Turns out the skunky balsamic wasn’t such an issue when cooked.

    I took the plain meatballs to lunch the next day and had it with spaghetti sauce and penne: HELLO! It was delicious and amazing and I can’t wait to make these again! I actually think both kids will enjoy that. The only change I would make would be to add a bit more garlic.

    * I saw that you have another meatball recipe. I’ll try that one also but I really enjoyed these!

    - Mo on November 14, 2013 Reply
  • I made this two months ago, and I didn’t have that many to serve for dinner because I ate most of them while I was waiting for my sides to finish. I plan to make a double batch next time.

    - Melinda on November 10, 2013 Reply
  • I just made these tonight for tomorrow night’s dinner. Only things I changed were that I made six times the amount of sauce, as I plan to serve the meatballs with wide egg noodles and wanted some extra sauce for them. I made the sauce for basting the meatballs as per your recipe, but put the leftover sauce into a saucepan with some red wine, chicken broth, cream, crushed red pepper flakes, crumbled gorganzola, and freshly chopped basil from my garden. This is an excellent recipe for leaner meatballs… they are AMAZING! The sauce just needed a bit more uummph for me if serving over pasta. I love your recipes and blogs!! Keep up the great work! :-)

    - Rebecca on August 21, 2013 Reply
    • Hi Rebecca, thanks for sharing your modifications. The sauce you made sounds delicious!

      - Jenn on August 21, 2013 Reply
  • Jenn– my daughters (Alexis and Abbe) told me about your beautiful blog– been cooking for 45 years and I’m amazed that I’m still picking up helpful tips from your simple explanations about the “how’s and whys” of each recipe and your responses to each question asked.
    The chicken meatballs are outstanding, even though I didn’t have fresh parsley or garlic( had to use freeze dried) on hand. Very moist and flavorful. And yes– double the glaze– it’s so good.
    Can’t wait to start on another recipe — thanks.

    - Judi Berlin on July 3, 2013 Reply
    • That is so nice to hear, Judi. Thank you! I’m a big fan of your daughters, and your grandchildren too :)

      - Jenn on July 3, 2013 Reply
  • Made these last night for a pool-side dinner with friends in our community. I did double the amount of glaze. They were such a hit….folks kept going back for more! I even had two friends ask for the recipe, which I am giving them along with your website address. Told them everything I have tried from your website has just been delish!

    - Patricia Brady on June 27, 2013 Reply
    • Thank you, Patricia!

      - Jenn on June 27, 2013 Reply
  • These are delicious with pasta and sauce, but i also made the mixture into a meat loaf. None of the family are big meat loaf lovers, but we all loved this. Served with creamy garlic mashed potatoes and a couple of vegetable sides, it was so comforting on a cold Canadian winter night. Thanks Jenn!

    - marjory on March 21, 2013 Reply
  • These were awesome. Next time I will make more glaze though — can’t get too much of that.
    I used a small scoop the size for making melon balls and got 50 that were perfect appetizer size.
    Your recipes have been fantastic! I haven’t had one that’s failed yet or that we didn’t like.

    - Jill on March 16, 2013 Reply
    • So nice to hear, Jill. Glad you enjoyed!

      - Jenn on March 16, 2013 Reply
  • The chicken tomato-balsamic glazed meatballs were fabulous. Everyone enjoyed them a lot, as they were flavorful and moist for a chicken meatball. I followed the recipe to the dime, but the next time I make these, I will make extra glaze and top the cooked meatballs after they come out of the oven for extra tangy sauce on the finished product. Overall a great appitizer, thanks Jennifer :)

    - Nancy Schneeloch on March 14, 2013 Reply
  • Have made this many times for my family and friends. Always a hit. I leave off the tomato glaze and serve beside Jennifer’s macaroni and cheese recipe.

    - Jennifer Marcus on March 13, 2013 Reply
  • I’m always on the look out for a good, easy weeknight meal. We really enjoyed these. I double the glaze.

    - Amy on March 12, 2013 Reply
  • I made these for a super bowl party as an appetizer. I found them a tad dry and really needed a sauce to serve with them (I used my own homemade BBQ rather than the balsamic glaze and served extra on the side). I used mixed thigh and breast meat (bought some roasters on sale and boned them all) which I ground in a food processor. I have a party coming up and will likely try again but add about 1/4 cup panade made of panko and buttermilk to add a bit of moisture.

    - Winston on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • We love this recipe except that we don’t include the balsamic in the glaze because my child is not a fan of vinegar. It still tastes amazing! We usually just serve the meatballs with pasta and tomato sauce and garlic bread.

    - Catherine on March 9, 2013 Reply
  • Can’t wait to try this recipe. They look and sound soooo good? Thank you for all your wonderful recipes. :-)

    - Val on October 3, 2012 Reply
  • Any SUBSTITUTE for the bread crumbs. I am avoiding WHEAT and am looking for something to use instead of wheat products.

    - Diana on September 9, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Diana, Wheat-free bread crumbs should work fine.

      - Jenn on September 9, 2012 Reply
  • looking forward to your great reciepes
    Thanks

    - shelly on September 8, 2012 Reply
  • I made these tonight for dinner and they were absolutely delicious! I didn’t change anything except I made some more sauce for the meatballs. Great recipe!

    - Katelyn on July 24, 2012 Reply
  • This recipe is great for a party. The ladies appreciated the lightness of the chicken and the men just loved the taste.

    - Gayle Snyder on June 24, 2012 Reply
  • My husband made a face when I stood in the kitchen making these. Afterwards, he asked for seconds!

    - jenee williams on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I can’t wait to try these for dinner this week. I’m going to serve a cold quinoa salad with mango and mint along side it. Thanks for finding creative ways even with old standbys like ground chicken.

    - Rachel on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • I thought these were wonderful. I served them as an appetizer at a get-together I hosted at my home last weekend. They were a definite hit. I did add 1/4 teaspoon of pepper flakes because I tend to like things a bit spicy and so do my friends.

    - Vicki Reyes on June 20, 2012 Reply
  • Yumm! I love these chicken meatballs. I serve mine with marinated roasted peppers and it is so good.

    - mindy t on May 18, 2012 Reply
  • These are delicious and the glaze really distinguishes these from other meatballs.

    - Claire on May 15, 2012 Reply
  • I made this tonight for the first time and liked it. I’ve never seen 1/2 T. but found it is 1 1/2 tsp. The Pecorino Romano was expensive but I wanted to use what the recipe called for so bought it. I read it is a salty cheese so used 1/4 tsp of salt instead of 1/2 tsp. Also I forgot to get fresh parsley so used 1T plus 1 tsp. of dried. Otherwise I followed the recipe. Next time I would make more sauce and add a bit more on the meatballs. I cooked 30 minutes and they were over 160 degrees but still moist and good.

    - Marsha in FL on April 5, 2012 Reply
  • Hi made these and they were delish!! Was wondering how they would be if you made a patty and put on the grill??

    - Melody on March 20, 2012 Reply
    • Hi Melody, So glad you enjoyed the meatballs. Unfortunately, I don’t think they’d hold up on the grill b/c the mixture is very wet.

      - Jenn on March 20, 2012 Reply
  • What a clever twist on the classic meatball. Nomnom!

    - Ellen on March 6, 2012 Reply
  • Yummo!! The balsamic glaze was a clever move…The meatballs got a lot of “oomph” from it. I always wonder what to do with my huge bottle of balsamic vinegar other than making salad dressing and you just gave me a wonderful idea.

    - Elena V on March 5, 2012 Reply
  • Just made – fantastic!

    - Heidi on March 4, 2012 Reply
  • This has become one of my go-to recipes for a weeknight meal that I can make ahead (I make and shape the meatballs earlier in the day) and pop in the oven right before serving. My husband and toddler love these meatballs as much as I do. I’ve made these meatballs with ground turkey in the past when that’s all I had in the freezer, and they’re definitely better with ground chicken, so do search out the ground chicken if you can. Otherwise, I make the recipe exactly as written, and the flavor is outstanding. Thanks for another great recipe, Jennifer!

    - Allie on March 3, 2012 Reply
  • I try not to eat a lot of red meat, so these are a great looking, delicious alternative!

    - Stefani on March 3, 2012 Reply
  • I cannot wait to try these! I am always on the lookout for a new meatball recipe, but from the looks of these, I will be full before dinner is even served. ;-)

    - Cheryl Newton on March 2, 2012 Reply
  • Looking forward to making these meatballs. My husband has to limit his beef intake and I think he will enjoy this alternative.

    - Linda on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I made these for a group potluck after finding this link on foodgawker.com. Amazing!

    - Megan on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • could you also cook these on the stove? or oven is best?

    - Eliana on March 1, 2012 Reply
    • Eliana, Oven is best.

      - Jenn on March 1, 2012 Reply
  • I find ground turkey to be so much nicer than chicken, but these look great!

    - Lindsay Dianne on October 20, 2011 Reply
  • My family was so impressed, everyone asked for the recipe!

    - ClubPenguinCheats on June 24, 2011 Reply
  • Just had to come back 2 years later and say that I am still making this recipe. I’ve made it with chicken, turkey, and my favorite PORK!!

    - Rachel on February 20, 2011 Reply
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    - Retro Jordans on June 23, 2010 Reply
  • Just made these for Father’s day – WOW. My family was so impressed, everyone asked for the recipe!

    Thanks for sharing, I highly recommend fellow readers make these!

    - Katherine on June 20, 2010 Reply
  • my husband can’t have beef so i’m always looking for alternatives…what a great recipe. the whole family gobbled these up…tons of flavor and really delicious. definitely a keeper…thanks!

    - Anonymous on March 1, 2010 Reply
  • I made the chicken meatballs the past two nights. They were soooo good. I did a better job the second night. I used a little less cheese. I paired them with the brussels sprouts, which were equally good. My husband said it’s the best thing I ever made. Thanks for all your great recipes!!

    - R.C. on January 29, 2010 Reply
  • Michelle – You can omit the cheese and substitute chicken stock or water for the milk.

    - Jenn on January 26, 2010 Reply
  • Great recipe–thanks! We have made it twice and used both chicken and turkey. Both were great.

    - Jen on January 15, 2010 Reply
  • I love this recipe idea. I don’t mix dairy with meat, so do you have some ideas for a good substitute for the milk and cheese?

    - Michelle W. on December 28, 2009 Reply
  • Made these for dinner last night, and I thought they were fantastic! I’ve already forwarded the recipe to some friends. Keep the fabulous recipes coming, I’m loving them!

    - Alison on December 28, 2009 Reply
  • Danna – I believe you can, but I would first ask your butcher if he would do it for you. Good luck!

    - Jenn on December 10, 2009 Reply
  • I can’t get ground chicken where I live… could you put chicken breasts in the food processor?

    - Danna on December 10, 2009 Reply
    • You may want to use chicken thighs in stead of breast meat—they have more flavor. I grind them with the steel blade in my food processor often!

      - Sheila on June 28, 2013 Reply
  • my husband can’t have beef so i’m always looking for alternatives…what a great recipe. the whole family gobbled these up…tons of flavor and really delicious. definitely a keeper…thanks!

    - Nancy on December 9, 2009 Reply
  • Made these for dinner and they were AMAZING! Seriously, ate seven of them!I paired them with an herb salad w/balsamic dressing, bottle of wine…it was truly perfect. And very easy to make!

    - J.R. on December 8, 2009 Reply
  • wow! I must try these!

    - the domestic mama on December 6, 2009 Reply
  • Memoira – I find that the texture of ground chicken is different from that of ground turkey. Cooked ground chicken can be rubbery, so this recipe calls for a fair amount of milk and breadcrumbs to counteract that. I suppose it wouldn’t be bad with turkey, but this recipe is really made for chicken. Hope you enjoy!

    - Jenn on December 6, 2009 Reply
  • Oh my God, these look delicious. And I love the pics!!

    - Susan on December 6, 2009 Reply
  • Yummy! These look great; I’m bookmarking this one. What’s the reason ground turkey can’t be used? Just curious…

    - Memoria on December 5, 2009 Reply

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