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Baked Chicken Meatballs in a Rich Tomato Sauce

June 26, 2019 (Last Updated: July 30, 2019)

Juicy and delicious Baked Chicken Meatballs made with garlic, basil and tarragon then baked in a super easy and flavorful tomato sauce. I love to serve these meatballs with creamy polenta and crusty bread for mopping up the best bits!

An overhead shot of baked chicken meatballs in a casserole dish

Here they are, incredibly delicious and comforting chicken meatballs baked in the simplest tomato sauce. These are so perfect for a weekend dinner with the family just choose your favourite sides and enjoy!

Chicken meatballs are much lighter than beef but taste just as good and by using the perfect mix of meats you can be sure they’ll be just as juicy too!

The Best Chicken to Use

If you want you can use ground chicken to make these meatballs but I prefer to use a mixture of chicken breasts and chicken thighs that I blitz in the food processor (see step by step photos or the video below to see how I do it).

The reason is that thigh meat is fattier and juicier than breast meat and it’ll give you moist, juicy and incredibly delicious meatballs because let’s face it there’s nothing worse than a hard dry meatball in a bland tomato sauce!

I’ve tried this recipe using only thigh meat but the texture wasn’t right at all BUT adding in chicken breasts gives them the best texture whilst still keeping all the delicious flavour!

How to Make Baked Chicken Meatballs – Step By Step

Add chicken breasts and thighs to a food processor and blitz to a course minced texture (photos 1 & 2). You can also use ground chicken and skip this step.

Add the chicken to a large mixing bowl with breadcrumbs, egg, tarragon, parmesan and sea salt. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined (photos 3 & 4).

Roll the chicken mixture into balls using a heaped tbsp for even measure. Make sure to roll the balls until there are no cracks and have a shine to them. *See tips section for help of forming meatballs.

Step by step photos for making chicken meatballs from scratch

Preheat the oven to 180C/350F. Add olive oil to a pan/skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides then set aside. You might need to do this in batches (photos 5 & 6).

Keep the skillet on the heat and add the chopped garlic, saute for 1 minutes until fragrant then add the red wine. Reduce by half then add the tomato paste and mix to combine (photos 7 & 8).

Add the chopped tomatoes and water and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce into a baking dish big enough to hold all meatballs and top with the meatballs (photos 9 -11).

Step by step photos for making baked chicken meatballs in tomato sauce

Bake the meatballs for 25 minutes until the sauce is a rich red colour, bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through. Garnish with basil and parmesan and serve with you favorite sides (photo 12).

Serving Suggestions

For me, I love nothing more than smooth and creamy polenta (slow cook polenta not the instant stuff) and crusty bread to mop up all of the sauce but you could also serve these chicken meatballs with potatoes (mashed or roasted), any veggies you like (grilled or roasted) or pasta. 

A close up of baked chicken meatballs in a baking dish with basil and parmesan on top

Top Tips for Making Perfect Chicken Meatballs

  • If you don’t want to blitz the chicken in a food processor then ground chicken will work just fine just go for the same weight of ground meat.
  • You can add different herbs and spices to the sauce or meatball mixture to change it up.
  • When shaping the meatballs use wet hands to stop the meat sticking to you then roll them in the palms of your hands until there are no or very few cracks and the meatball takes on a shine.
  • Use the highest quality tomatoes you can get your hands on for making the tomato sauce for best flavor and results. Cheaper brands won’t taste nice and will give you a watery and bland sauce.
  • Leftover meatballs can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days then reheat either on the stove or in the oven until piping hot all the way through. You may need to add a splash of water to the sauce if it has thickened or add them to a fresh sauce.
  • You can also freeze these meatballs in suitable containers.

More Meatball Recipes You Might Like:

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Watch How to Make it

Step By Step Photos AboveMost of our recipes come with step by step photos, helpful tips and tricks to make it perfectly first time and even video!
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5 from 1 vote

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Juicy and delicious Baked Chicken Meatballs made with garlic, basil and tarragon then baked in a super easy and flavorful tomato sauce. I love to serve these meatballs with creamy polenta and crusty bread for mopping up the best bits!

Course Main Course
Cuisine Modern Italian
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 40 minutes
Total Time 55 minutes
Servings 4 servings
Calories 385
Author Emily Kemp

Ingredients

For the Chicken Meatballs

  • 1.6 lbs (750g) Chicken I use half chicken breasts and half thighs* see notes
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup (60g) breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp fresh tarragon finely chopped
  • 1 tbsp parmesan freshly grated
  • Salt and pepper

For the Tomato Sauce

Instructions

  • Add chicken breasts and thighs to a food processor and blitz to a course minced texture. You can also use ground chicken and skip this step.
  • Add the chicken to a large mixing bowl with breadcrumbs, egg, tarragon, parmesan and sea salt. Mix everything together until thoroughly combined.
  • Roll the chicken mixture into balls using a heaped tbsp for even measure. Make sure to roll the balls until there are no cracks and have a shine to them. *See tips section for help of forming meatballs.
  • Preheat the oven to 180C/350F.
  • Add olive oil to a pan/skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides then set aside. You might need to do this in batches.
  • Keep the skillet on the heat and add the chopped garlic, saute for 1 minutes until fragrant then add the red wine. Reduce by half then add the tomato paste and mix to combine.
  • Add the chopped tomatoes and water and reduce the sauce for 10 minutes. Pour the sauce into a baking dish big enough to hold all meatballs and top with the meatballs.
  • Bake the meatballs for 25 minutes until the sauce is a rich red colour, bubbling and the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Garnish with basil and parmesan and serve with you favorite sides.

Notes

Top Tips for Making Perfect Chicken Meatballs

  • If you don't want to blitz the chicken in a food processor then ground chicken will work just fine just go for the same weight of ground meat.
  • You can add different herbs and spices to the sauce or meatball mixture to change it up.
  • When shaping the meatballs use wet hands to stop the meat sticking to you then roll them in the palms of your hands until there are no or very few cracks and the meatball takes on a shine.
  •  
  • Use the highest quality tomatoes you can get your hands on for making the tomato sauce for best flavor and results. Cheaper brands won't taste nice and will give you a watery and bland sauce.
  • Leftover meatballs can be stored in the fridge for 2-3 days then reheat either on the stove or in the oven until piping hot all the way through. You may need to add a splash of water to the sauce if it has thickened or add them to a fresh sauce.
  • You can also freeze these meatballs in suitable containers.

Nutrition

Calories: 385kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 17g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 109mg | Sodium: 596mg | Potassium: 690mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 7g | Vitamin A: 500IU | Vitamin C: 20.1mg | Calcium: 148mg | Iron: 4.6mg
Helpful Info for All Recipes
  • I always use extra virgin olive oil in all of my recipes unless stated otherwise
  • When I use canned or jarred tomatoes of any kind I always use this brand for the best results and flavour
  • All vegetables are medium sized unless stated otherwise
  • All recipes are tested and developed using a fan oven
  • Read more about how the nutritional information is calculated here
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1 Comment

  • Reply
    Angela
    June 26, 2019 at 8:12 pm

    Mmm Mmm mouthwatering meatballs! This makes me so hungry just watching the video! Chicken and tarragon is such a good combo.. Cannot wait to make this! Ingredients added to shopping list now!! Another delicious delight! Thank you!

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