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The Best Chicken Meatball Recipe with Homemade Marinara


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This tender and juicy chicken meatball recipe is foolproof. I actually prefer these over most beef meatballs because of how tender they are. The homemade marinara is so simple and delicious you will never buy spaghetti sauce again!

This Chicken Meatball Recipe with homemade marinara was inspired by some of the best meatballs I’ve ever had at a Restaurant called Pitfire Pizza. A few years ago they changed their recipe and completely ruined what were once the best meatballs ever, so I decided to experiment with making my own at home.

So what makes a great chicken meatball?

There is one common factor that makes a great meatball and that is how tenderized the meatball is. Have you ever tried a meatball and it basically tasted like ground hamburger meat? A good meatball should never taste like a hamburger. I’m extremely picky about my meatballs and one of the reasons I love this Chicken Meatball Recipe is because ground chicken is already very tenderized.

Chicken meatballs are pretty much foolproof. Pure beef meatballs need much more handling to become tenderized which is why you often find people mix them with veal or pork. They also need a little fat to stay moist which is why ground chicken is preferred over turkey which is too dry. To balance this we use olive oil and a secret ingredient, milk!




Chicken Meatball Recipe Ingredients:

  • Ground Chicken
  • 2% Milk
  • Olive Oil
  • Fresh Oregano (you can use ground oregano or Italian seasoning as well but fresh oregano is the best)
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Fresh Grated Parmesan Cheese
  • Egg
  • Garlic Salt
  • Salt & Pepper

Making this Chicken Meatball recipe is incredibly easy. Simply combine all the ingredients into a large bowl and combine well using your hands. I then use an ice cream scooper to get them all to be about the same size. You can then add them to a pan or baking sheet and bake them for 35 minutes at 400 degrees. This recipe also works very well in an Instant Pot. For the Instant Pot, you’ll make the marinara recipe first on the saute setting and then pressure cook the meatballs in the marinara sauce for 15 minutes.




Homemade Marinara Sauce Recipe

I’ve been making homemade marinara for as long as I can remember. You can, of course, use your favorite store-bought marinara sauce, but it is incredibly easy to make yourself and the flavors are so much better.  All you need to make your own marinara at home is a large can of whole peeled tomatoes, tomato paste, garlic, sweet onions, basil, salt, and pepper.

First, you will want to remove all of the tomatoes from the can, squeeze out the juice and reserve all of the juice in a separate bowl. Then you’ll dice the whole tomatoes and set them aside. Next heat up your pan on medium-high heat and once heated add about a tablespoon of olive oil, sliced garlic, and chopped onions. Saute for about 3 minutes and then add your chopped basil. Continue sauteing for another minute and then add your diced tomatoes.




Finally, mix in the tomato paste with the tomato juice and add that to the pan with salt and pepper to taste. That’s it, it is so simple. If you’re making this recipe with the Instant Pot you can make the marinara on the saute setting, then place your meatballs in the sauce, and set to pressure cook for 15 minutes. If you are baking your meatballs you can pour your marinara over the top, add some mozzarella cheese or burrata, and place back in the oven on broil until the cheese melts.

I highly recommend enjoying these meatballs with whole wheat pasta. I use both the whole wheat pasta from Trader Joes as well as the “O Organics” brand which I get at Pavillions or Albertsons. I promise you can not taste the difference but you will see the difference in your waistline! These kinds of pasta add a whopping 4g-6g of fiber and 7g-10g of protein. They are also low on the glycemic index. Switching to unrefined carbs has allowed me to eat all the foods I love without ever worrying about gaining wait from them.


Chicken Meatball Recipe with Homemade Marinara Sauce

This tender and juicy chicken meatball recipe is foolproof. I actually prefer these over most beef meatballs because of how tender they are. The homemade marinara is so simple and delicious you will never buy spaghetti sauce again!
Sondra Barker
5 from 23 votes
Prep Time 35 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Servings 5 serving
Calories 297 kcal


Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1 whole egg
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • .5 cup parmesan cheese freshly grated
  • ½ cups breadcrumbs Italian or Panko
  • 1 tbs 2% Milk
  • 1 tsp garlic salt or 2 cloves fresh finely chopped garlic and an additional 1/2 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp salt pink himalayan
  • ½ tsp pepper

Homemade Marinara Sauce

  • 28 oz peeled whole tomatoes 1 large can
  • ¼ cup sweet onions finely chopped
  • 1 tbs tomato paste
  • 3 whole garlic cloves sliced
  • ¼ cup basil fresh and chopped
  • 1 tbs olive oil
  • 1 tsp salt pink himalayan


Chicken Meatballs (Baking)

  • Pre-heat oven to 400 degrees and add all ingredients into a large bowl.
    Blend well with your hands until all ingredients are well combined. Then, using an ice cream scooper, shape portions into round balls and place in a pyrex baking pan.
    Bake at 400 degrees for 35 minutes

Marinara Sauce

  • Drain whole tomatoes into a bowl, squeezing access juice from each tomato. Then dice the tomatoes and set aside.
    Heat a large pan on medium to high heat. Once heated add 1 tbs of olive oil and saute the onions and garlic for about 2-3 minutes.
    Next, add your chopped basil and continue sauteing for an additional minute and then add your diced tomatoes.
    Finally, mix the tomato paste to your strained tomato juice, mix well, and add to the pan. Simmer on low heat for an additional minute.
    *If you are baking your meatballs, poor over top of your meatballs in the baking dish, add fresh mozzarella or burrata, and set on broil until the cheese has melted.

Instant Pot

  • If you are cooking using the Instant Pot you will begin by turning on the saute feature. Then follow all the Marinara Recipe instructions.
    Then you will place the uncooked chicken meatballs into the Instant Pot so they are covered by the sauce. Turn off the saute feature and set the pressure cooking feature for 15 minutes. Quick-release the steam.
    You can then transfer to a baking dish or cast iron if you would like to add some fresh burrata or mozzarella and broil it until melted. If not you can serve it right away over your preferred pasta.


How to Enjoy Your Chicken Meatballs
I personally always prefer whole wheat pasta since it is high in both fiber and protein. This is also a popular dish to enjoy with grilled Italian Bread. Recently, I've also scene this dish served over polenta.
If you decide to add Mozzarella or Burrata, it will add about 75 additional calories per serving. You can instead add some fresh grated parmesan cheese on top which would only be about 30-50 calories.
Adding whole wheat pasta will add an additional 180 calories, as will fresh bread. Whole wheat pasta will have much better health benefits and is lower on the glycemic index. I use both the whole wheat pastas at Trader Joes as well as the "O Organics" brand and you absolutely cannot tell the difference. 


Serving: 3meatballs with sauce | Calories: 297kcal | Carbohydrates: 16g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 1711mg | Potassium: 844mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 376IU | Vitamin C: 16mg | Calcium: 199mg | Iron: 3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

If you prefer beef meatballs, be sure to also check out our Beef Meatball Recipe for the Instant Pot.

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I created this site for purveyor of exceptional eats and escapes; our team is always on a journey to find the perfect bites in the most wonderful places.

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