It’s starting to feel like fall already, isn’t it? I know some of you in Colorado and Calgary have already gotten some snow and I can’t help but feel a tinsy bit jealous.
These skillet baked chicken parmesan meatballs rank right up there with some of the best meals we like to make this time of year. Eggplant parm is definitely one of those meals so it’s not surprising to me that we loved these meatballs as much as we did.
I made these chicken parmesan meatballs last year for grilled sandwiches (stellar!) but loved that Annie browned then baked them in some sauce. My stomach has been growling for them since I saw her version and I had to follow suit.
So we heated up some of our marinara sauce, plunked the browned meatballs in the sauce, smothered them in mozzarella cheese and baked them off until the cheese was splotchy-brown and the meatballs were baked through.
We soaked up the sauce with hunks of fresh ciabatta bread and enjoyed the chicken parmesan meatballs dripping with hot, stringy mozzarella on their own. No pasta was needed here; it’s a full cozy comfort meal on its own!
These chicken parm baked meatballs were also one of the first finger foods that Riley loved to eat. I started making them for her when she was around 10 months old and she all but devoured them! These meatballs were the perfect toddler finger food!
She ate them without the sauce and mozzarella cheese while Kyle and I indulged in the meal as it’s written in my recipe below.
And because the meatballs freeze really well, I made big batches of them and froze them in zip-top bags. This allowed me to have something quick and homemade that I could easily heat up for her dinners during those crazy 35 minutes we had between getting home in the evenings from work/daycare and bath time.
For the chicken parmesan meatballs:
- ¼ cup dried breadcrumbs
- 3 tbsp grated onion
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp chopped fresh basil
- ½ cup parmesan cheese
- ¾ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp black pepper
- 2 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- pinch of red pepper flakes
- 1 lb ground chicken (see note below)
- 2 tbsp olive oil
For baking and serving:
- 12 oz marinara sauce, homemade or store-bought
- 6 oz mozzarella cheese
- 2 tbsp parmesan cheese
- Fresh basil or parsley, chopped (optional)
- Warm crusty bread, like:
- Cheesy garlic pull-apart bread
- Preheat oven to 400° F.
- Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and with a fork, stir lightly until well-combined. Using a medium cookie or ice cream scoop, portion out the meatball mixture into 2-inch meatballs, shaping each into a ball with your hands - lightly damp hands help to prevent sticking.
- Heat the oil in a large skillet and brown the meatballs on all sides. Add the sauce to the pan, divide the cheeses between the meatballs, topping each with a fair amount of cheese.
- Bake for 15 minutes. Turn the broiler on for an extra minute to lightly brown the cheese. Sprinkle the meatballs with some chopped basil or parsley, if desired. Serve straight from the pan on small plates with bread on the side or over a bed of pasta, quinoa, or zucchini spirals.
If you can only find ground chicken in a 1 ¼ or 1 ½ lb package, use the full amount and don't adjust the amounts of the other ingredients - the end result will still be excellent and you'll end up with more meatballs, which is never a bad thing!
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