Crispy on the outside, flavorful throughout, and juicy on the inside. This recipe is perfect as an appetizer to any party or gathering, but also as a main dish served with spaghetti noodles or spaghetti squash. Easy to make and guaranteed to be a favorite in your home!
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/4 cup white onion, (finely chopped)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tsp minced garlic, (2 cloves)
- 1 tsp Italian seasoning
- 1/4 tsp black pepper, (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 tsp salt, (more or less to taste)
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan cheese
- 3 cups marinara sauce, (your favorite brand)
- 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
- 1.5 cups plain panko breadcrumbs
- 2-3 tbsp olive oil
- grated parmesan cheese
- freshly chopped basil
1Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
2Combine all ingredients for meatballs into a large mixing bowl and mix to combine. Form into 16 meatballs. To a shallow dish, add the panko breadcrumbs and roll each meatball to thoroughly coat. It helps to press gently, but keep rolled in the palm of your hand.** See Notes below.
3Place a nonstick skillet or oven-safe pan over medium heat with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Once the pan is hot and the oil is heated, add the meatballs in two separate batches to ensure each side can be browned thoroughly. 3-4 minutes per side. You want the outsides to be just a light brown and crisp. The meatballs will continue cooking in the oven. Remove to plate and cover to keep warm.
4Using a paper towel, carefully wipe out the breadcrumbs that have fallen during cooking. Try to save the olive oil. Add 1 additional tablespoon of olive oil (if needed) and cook remaining meatballs. Once browned on both sides, remove skillet from heat and the meatballs to the plate.
5To the skillet, add the marinara sauce and then meatballs. To make the meatballs extra crisp – spritz lightly with nonstick cooking spray to each meatball (optional). Place into the oven to bake for 15 minutes. Remove from oven, cover with mozzarella cheese and place back into the oven to bake for an additional 5-6 minutes, or until the cheese has melted. Be sure the internal temperature of the meatballs has reached 165 degrees F.
6Garnish with parmesan cheese and basil. Serve with sliced bread (for dipping), your favorite pasta, or spaghetti squash.
If you do not have an oven-safe skillet or pan, use a regular pan on the stove and transfer to a baking dish.
**Ground chicken consistency varies. If it feels too soft to form a ball, combine 1/2 cup of the panko breadcrumbs into the initial meatball mixture. The initial mixture will be softer than normal meatballs, but once in the pan, they will firm up. If you’re having trouble keeping a consistent ball form – add the 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs.