22 Quick and Easy Recipes in 30 Minutes (or less) + 5 Chef Secrets To Make You A Better Cook!

Chicken Meatballs with Tomato-Balsamic Glaze

Tested & Perfected Recipes

This post may contain affiliate links. Read my full disclosure policy.

Winner, winner meatball dinner! Quick, easy, and irresistibly tasty, these baked chicken meatballs with a tangy glaze make the perfect fuss-free family supper.

Chicken Meatballs

If you’re looking for an alternative to traditional meatballs or turkey meatballs in marinara sauce, these light and elegant chicken meatballs fit the bill. I love them with mashed potatoes, puréed cauliflower, polenta, or buttered noodles for a quick and easy weeknight meal. They also make a delicious appetizer—just make them smaller and spear them with toothpicks.

“I made a triple recipe of these for a family dinner…Everyone loved them, especially my younger grandsons.”

Barbara F.

What You’ll Need To Make Chicken Meatballs With Tomato-Balsamic Glaze


When purchasing ground chicken, stay away from extra-lean all breast meat; if the meat is too lean, the meatballs will come out dry and lacking in flavor.

Tomato paste can be purchased in a small can or tube. While I use canned here, the tubed variety is more practical because you can use just what you need and store it in the fridge until you need it again. To preserve canned tomato paste longer, freeze it in tablespoon-sized portions (use an ice cube tray or put tablespoon-sized portions on a cookie sheet). Once frozen, transfer these portions into a freezer-safe plastic bag for future use.

The recipe calls for pecorino Romano cheese, a hard Italian sheep milk cheese. It is similar to Parmigiano Reggiano, in that both cheeses have salty, umami-rich flavors, but pecorino Romano is saltier, tangier, and stronger in flavor.

Step-by-Step Instructions

To begin, combine the egg, parsley, tomato paste, garlic, milk, salt and pepper in a large bowl.

how to make chicken meatballs

Mix well with a wire whisk, making sure the tomato paste is completely dissolved.

whisking ingredients

Add the ground chicken, grated cheese and breadcrumbs.

adding ground chicken

Use your hand to mix the ingredients together; it will be somewhat wet.

how to make chicken meatballs

Using wet hands, form medium-sized balls and place into an ungreased 9-x-13-in baking dish.

in baking dish

Next, make the glaze by combining the tomato paste, olive oil, balsamic vinegar and sugar in a small bowl.

how to make chicken meatballs

Whisk to combine.

how to make chicken meatballs

Brush the glaze evenly over the meatballs.

how to make chicken meatballs

Bake for about 30 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball registers 160°F. Remove from the oven and serve.

how to make chicken meatballs

You May Also Like

Chicken Meatballs with Tomato-Balsamic Glaze

Winner, winner meatball dinner! Quick, easy, and irresistibly tasty, these baked chicken meatballs with a tangy glaze make the perfect fuss-free family supper.

Servings: Makes 12 meatballs (or 24 appetizer-sized meatballs)
Total Time: 45 Minutes


For the Meatballs

  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons freshly chopped parsley
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • ¼ cup milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken (preferably Purdue, not extra lean all breast meat)
  • ½ cup grated pecorino Romano cheese
  • ¼ cup plus 2 tablespoons Italian seasoned bread crumbs

For the Glaze

  • 1½ tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1½ tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
  • ¾ teaspoon sugar


  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-sized balls and place into an ungreased 9-x-13-in 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°F. Remove from the oven and serve.
  5. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked meatballs can be frozen, with their glaze, for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve, thaw them in the fridge and then reheat them, tightly covered with foil, in a 300°F oven, until hot in the center.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Serving size: 1 meatball
  • Calories: 119
  • Fat: 7 g
  • Saturated fat: 2 g
  • Carbohydrates: 4 g
  • Sugar: 1 g
  • Fiber: 0 g
  • Protein: 10 g
  • Sodium: 161 mg
  • Cholesterol: 54 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

See more recipes:


  • Jenn, if all I can find is ground breasts and I grind my own, what should I use…breast. thighs or a combo? Would I still use one pound of meat or a little more? Last question, can i sub Panko?

    • — Carol Winkelman
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, I’d use a combination of breast and thigh meat and I’d stick to a pound. And, yes, panko should be fine. Enjoy!

  • I am unclear about your instructions for freezing; do I defrost first or go directly from freezer to oven? Thank you.

    • Hi Andi, Sorry it’s not clear – you should thaw them first. I will add that to the freezer-friendly instructions. Hope that helps!

  • Jenn,
    These chicken meatballs are extraordinary with your BBQ sauce (half of ingredients for sauce) from your turkey meatloaf recipe. Simply delicious with egg noodles and vegetable side.

    • Great idea!!!

      🙏 Thank you !!!😊

      • — Lisa on May 21, 2022
      • Reply
  • Made the meatballs ..so tasty … we loved them.
    With Dutch potatoes with sour cream and spinach ..from my garden… and a glass of Chardonnay

  • I plan to make this for my family and am bringing to another family for the first time. I see in your new cookbook there is similar recipe (with pancetta)- which version do you suggest for my first time?

    • They’re both good, but I’d probably go with the pancetta as it gives an additional punch of flavor. Hope you all enjoy!

  • We are always excited when this comes up in our food rotation, and honestly something has to be really really good to make it into the rotation. We have to double the recipe to have leftovers and even the leftovers go fast. Thank you Jen for sharing such an amazing recipe.

  • Can I prepare the meatballs the night before and then put into the oven the next day. Perhaps using the glaze right before they go in the oven?

    • Sure, Michelle, that’s fine. Hope you enjoy!

      • Made these meatballs tonight as my husband has had some health issues and not eating much and thought he might enjoy them. Well I certainly guessed right as he actually ate the best meal in many weeks. They were so moist and delicious. Love all your recipes & I recommend them to my daughter for her family. Thanks Jenn.

        • — Jackie on October 29, 2022
        • Reply
  • These were excellent! My only regret is that I haven’t made these sooner for my family. I served the meatballs paired with your string beans and shallot recipe. Another one of our favorite sides!

  • Thanks once again, Jenn, for a delicious recipe! After sampling the first few meatballs, I have put the rest in the freezer for family visits. I really appreciate that many of your recipes can be made ahead! I know everyone will be happy with these yummy meatballs!!
    FYI — No one had any Purdue chicken & I searched at several stores but was unable to find ground chicken thighs of any brand! I requested that the butchers grind up the packaged thighs that they had for sale but they said they aren’t allowed to grind it because of cross-contamination. One of the butchers offered to take a package of thighs & put it through his tenderizing/cubing machine several times, but the unhappy result was mashed-up meat full of tendons etc. that was impossible to use. I managed to free up a small amount of actual thigh meat from that process, but had to add it to the regular lean ground chicken (breast?) meat that was available. After all that, however, the result was amazing!
    I have a question about the Tomato Balsamic Sauce. I made double to have extra for dipping, & I prepared it exactly as you direct in your recipe, but the sauce seems much thicker than what is shown on your website. I used extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, & canned tomato paste, & sugar. It’s very thick, not at all pour-able, mounding & almost standing up on its own, & it is somehow separating from the oil. I even tried whirling it in the blender. Do you have any suggestions on how to remedy this situation? Should I use tomato sauce instead of tomato paste? And if we want less tart flavor, for the children’s sake, would you recommend adding some cream or using more sugar or less balsamic vinegar, or ???
    Thanks again for being such a ready help in time of need !!

    • Hi Toni, Glad you like the meatballs, Regarding the sauce, the texture that you’re describing is really just the nature of the glaze. It’s thick by design so that it will stick to the meatballs and not really intended for dipping. That said, you could try thinning it out with a little bit of water. That will serve to thin it and also temper the flavor a little bit. Hope that helps!

  • Can I use the beef turkey meatballs I made and froze last week …or will that combo alter the taste too much? If so I will get ground chicken!

    • If you already have meatballs, made, I’d go for it. Please LMK what you think!

  • Delicious!!

  • Yum, yum, yum! Only sub I made was for dried parsley and didn’t have it on hand. The rest are pantry staples. These came together in all of 5 minutes (frozen garlic cubes to the rescue!). Served with whole wheat pasta and roasted zucchini. Chicken meatballs can be dry but the combo of milk and bread crumbs made these moist (even though I slightly over cooked!). Great for an easy week night meal.

  • Best ever chicken meatballs!! My daughter made these twice – they were that awesome. She served them over a bed of baked spaghetti squash. Thank you for ALL the fantastic, easy and super delicious recipes!

    • Fantastic! They were a little wet for me so I added more breadcrumbs. So delicious, great texture, loved the tomato/balsamic combo but it was just the right amount of sauce so that my picky kiddos (ages 2, 4, 6, 8) still loved them. As in asking for more meatballs after dessert loved them! Served with buttered egg noodles and broccoli- so easy. Thank you Jenn for making our family dinners so delicious 😋

  • I haven’t eaten beef for 30+ years. I’ve often made turkey and chicken meatballs but found them rather too firm and not as flavorful since I add a lot of breadcrumbs. These were more tender and had a very appetizing flavor. I have often added applesauce to my meatloaf to create a juicy loaf but not to meatballs because they lose their shape; too loose. I think I will try to add a small amount to the next batch, though. Applesauce makes for super juicy product when cooking with meat that’s doesn’t have much fat.

  • These were very, very good. The local grocery store does not sell ground chicken, so I substituted ground turkey. I only wish that I had made a pasta side to go with it. It seemed to be missing that.

  • We love these meatballs! They are quick, easy, and delicious!

  • These were amazing. My husband is so skeptical of ground chicken and anything that is not ground beef. He loved these and complimented me! He even ate 3 tonight for dinner. I followed the recipe exactly – except I used almond milk as I am lactose intolerant.
    These were easy to make. I made them earlier in the day and glazed them right before I cooked them.
    A real hit.

    • Very good! I made a regular and a vegan version adding in 3 c. chopped spinach and 3 chopped green onions. We decided we would omit the glaze next time. I served with spaghetti noodles, marinara sauce and green beans. For vegan version I used oatmeal for bread crumbs, almond milk for regular milk, flax egg for regular egg, no cheese, 1 tsp. Italian seasoning, 3 c. chopped spinach, 3 chopped green onion plus all the additional ingredients used in the recipe. Enjoyed by all.

  • These meatballs are delicious and easy to make – I love that they are made with chicken instead of ground beef. I didn’t make any substitutions – they are excellent as is! And I have shared this recipe with multiple friends.

  • Perfect consistency to the meatballs. Not dried out, just perfect.

  • The only meatballs i make! Delicious and easy. Great served with noodles.

  • These were excellent! I would make again in a flash!! Very easy and quick to make. A simple dinner served with garden salad, mashed potatoes and green beans.

  • I made these meatballs and they were delicious! I would also like to try them with a glaze of chili sauce.

  • This is a great light alternative to the regular ground beef meatballs that are the standard for my family. I love that they are baked instead of fried, it makes it very hands-off. The balsamic glaze is a winner. I like to make these the night before, form the balls with an ice cream scoop so they are the same size and cover with plastic wrap. It then makes dinner a snap the next night. My family likes these with rice and snow peas. I think homemade bread crumbs make a big difference too, I always take leftover bread and grind it up in my food processor and accumulate the crumbs in the freezer.

  • These were delicious and super easy. I served them on a bed of mashed potatoes.

  • These meatballs are terrific! They were my first experience with ground chicken, and they were flavorful, juicy and tender. Thanks for the consistently great recipes!

  • These are delicious and have helped me with my weight loss!! I’m loving ground chicken now.

  • These meatballs are simple and delicious. The ingredients were all things I had in my kitchen and I love how quickly they came together. Don’t skip the glaze! It makes the dish. They are part of our regular rotation served with egg noodles and broccoli or a big green salad.

    • Oops, I just realized I forgot to give stars. It is a 5 star for me.

  • I’m not sure if I purchased ground breast meat or not but these were kind of mild. Next time I will add a little red pepper flakes or cayenne.

  • This recipe caught my eye! I’ve been looking for a recipe that was a healthy version of beef meatballs. I made this recipe and my husband loved it so much, that I am going to make it again for Super Bowl! I loved the glaze which has a touch of garlic and the glaze is a perfect tangy flavor!!!

  • Made these last night. My hub really enjoyed these especially for being made with chicken. He said to keep the recipe. So easy to make too for a week night dinner.

  • I made these meatballs twice now and they are FABULOUS !! the sauce is absolutely perfect on top and they come out tender and nicely browned all around. My family loved them – I printed the recipe and it’s now in my “keeper” recipe binder! Look forward to making these for many years to come

    • — Brenda Cathrall
    • Reply
  • Can’t tell you how much I love this recipe! I double everything and freeze it to enjoy future deliciousness 🙂

  • These were super easy, and the glaze made them both tasty and a little different. I’m already planning to make them again!

  • I usually make this as your reciple indicates and they always come out delish!
    However we were invited to a party (before covid) and I just didn’t know what to make.
    I decided to do meatballs — but no time to do them the usual way.
    So I improvised. I bought premade flame broiled Swedish size meatballs, made quadrupled the amount of sauce, stirred the meatballs to make sure they were all covered, and just let them heat in the crock pot. They were a huge hit! One lady told me this recipe was a keeper!!!
    I think this glaze would be terrific on pork chops too — going to try that next.

    • — Patricia A, Brady
    • Reply
  • We love chicken meatballs, and we love balsamic vinegar. These hit the spot, they were healthy, moist, and full of flavor.

    They went perfect with your suggestion of the mashed potatoes with parmesan, which were also a flavor bomb. Thank you!

    • — Karen L. Calanchini
    • Reply
  • Jenn,

    I can not wait to try this recipe, I am doing keto right now and think this will be perfect for a lunch or dinner. I have made your chicken marsala, & beef tenderloin with the red wine reduction sauce for a dinner party that I gave and everyone raved about the meal. They know that I am a big fan of trying new recipes and asking all my family & friend for there review. It never fails your recipes are always a keeper in my recipe box! I have made the chicken so many times because everyone always request it it has become a family favorite.

  • This is by far the best recipe I have found for chicken meatballs!! I have made them multiple times….and have even made just the meatballs and thrown them in my homemade tomato sauce!

  • I’ve made these many times– my kids love them!

  • We loved this. I made as directed with the exception of doubling the garlic as we love garlic. The meatballs are so tender and the glaze is so easy. Served with roasted broccoli and orzo. There are just 2 of us but I made a double batch and froze the meat mixture in serving portions in vacuum bags. Easy dinners to pull out of the freezer on busy days. These will also work nicely with mild sauce and pasta. Thank you for another great recipe.

  • You really need to read the importance of eating organic for well being and the planet. Also Perdue is the epitome of animal cruelty.

  • These meatballs are a family favorite! I have made them to eat by themselves with a salad or in a pasta dish. Delicious!

    • — jackie tuckerman
    • Reply
  • Hi Jenn,

    I noticed you recommend Perdue chicken for this recipe, but I can’t find it in my area. What fat percentage would you recommend if I subbed turkey? Thanks so much!

    • Hi Sarah, While I really like Perdue ground chicken, if your store carries another brand, it’s fine to use that. That said, if you want to use turkey, I’d recommend 93/7. Hope that helps and that you enjoy! 🙂

      • Thanks Jenn! Love all your recipes and your cookbook is divine. I plan to make these tomorrow – can’t wait! 🙂

  • My husband told me that this recipe is a keeper. Accidentally put too much balsamic vinegar in it but it did not change the outcome.The hardest part was finding ground chicken!

  • Delicious! Our picky toddlers gobbled this up and got thirds. But I will admit I put more breadcrumbs than the recipe called for because it was a bit watery.

  • Can I substitute ground parmesan for the pecorino romano?

    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

  • Can you suggest a way to make this recipe without milk?
    Would chicken broth work?
    And every recipe of yours that I try is always delicious and successful…

    • Yes low-sodium chicken broth would be a good option.

  • How do I make these dairy free? Can I use almond milk instead, and eliminate cheese?

    • Yes, I think both of those tweaks would work. Please LMK how they turn out!

  • I’ve made these meatballs a few times now, but with ground turkey and they are truly wonderful. I don’t usually make the balsamic glaze and instead have plopped them in homemade marinara sauce for spaghetti and meatballs or meatball subs. I’ve tossed them in pasta with veggies and a garlic butter sauce, and have eaten them right right from the oven. They are so yummy. I have to admit, I don’t miss the meat version. Great recipe.

  • Hi Jenn! Will anything bad happen if I use a silicone whisk instead of a wire one? (Sorry if this is a silly question!! I’m an amateur and after some other really silly mistakes on other cooking adventures, I just wanna be extra careful…)

    • Not a silly question! Sure, a silicone whisk is perfectly fine to use. Hope you enjoy!

  • I thought these were really great, and quick too. Thanks for a wonderful recipe.

Add a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.