With just four simple and affordable ingredients, you can make tender Baked Chicken Meatballs to share with the kids. Bonus: You can tuck a veggie into the mix, and they are perfect to batch-cook and stash in the freezer!

baked chicken meatballs on cookie sheet.

Baked Chicken Meatballs

Meatballs are one of the foods I grew up eating regularly and turn to as easy comfort food. I like all kinds of healthy meatballs (and my kids do, too!), and these basic but delicious chicken meatballs are often in our meal plan. They use super simple ingredients, are easy to mix together, and are a wonderfully easy-to-eat texture for little kids.

I love to double this recipe and stash half of them into the freezer for a future meal. Cook once, eat twice, my friends!

(You may also like my Pesto Meatballs, which is a variation on this recipe with zucchini and pesto.)

My kids are big fans of these meatballs since they’re packed with flavor AND they’re easy to eat. With super simple and healthy ingredients, these are a favorite that I like just as much as they do. These are also a great prep food since they work well as a freezer meal and taste just as good once they’re warmed up again.

(You may also like Baked Chicken Nuggets, Turkey Baby Meatballs, and Lamb Meatballs.)

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Ingredients You Need

To make this recipe, you’ll need these ingredients on hand and ready to go.

Ingredients for baked chicken meatballs on countertop.
  • Ground chicken: Look for ground chicken near the other cuts of chicken in your supermarket. It’s really easy to make chicken meatballs when you start with it already ground.
  • Italian-flavored bread crumbs: This adds nice flavor without any extra work. I use regular-style bread crumbs here, not Panko, for a texture I prefer.
  • Grated Parmesan: This style of Parmesan typically has the most flavor, so I prefer to use it here. You can use shredded Parmesan if that’s what you have.
  • Egg: I use an egg to help bind the meatballs and add moisture. If you need to make these egg-free, omit it and add a splash of milk instead.
  • Carrots: Shredded carrots are optional as the recipe works well without them, but they are an easy way to add a veggie to this recipe.

Step-by-Step Instructions

I’m breaking down the steps to make these chicken meatballs here so you know what to expect, but be sure to scroll down to the bottom of the page for the full recipe including the amounts and the timing.

how to make baked chicken meatballs in grid of images.
  1. Shred carrots into a medium bowl.
  2. Add the rest of the ingredients.
  3. Mix together the ingredients with clean hands.
  4. Using a tablespoon, roll together 2-tablespoon meatballs and place on baking sheet, evenly spread apart. Bake until golden brown, and serve or store!

TIP: You can make a double batch and freeze half for later.

baked chicken meatballs in storage container.

Freezer-Friendly Chicken Meatballs

These Baked Chicken Meatballs freeze well. Let cool fully, store in a freezer bag, and freeze them for up to 6 months. You can warm them in tomato sauce or heat them individually in the microwave in 15-second increments until warmed through.

TIP: Either thaw the Baked Chicken Meatballs in the fridge, simmer them in tomato sauce to warm, or microwave them in 15 to 30-second increments.

Easy Meal-Prep Meatballs

I love making these meatballs to have on hand to meal prep lunch for myself and for my toddler, especially the version with the carrots. I dice them up and store them in the fridge in a heat-safe container, then warm just briefly before serving to him. You could also pack them in a thermos to send to day care as an easy hot lunch idea.

baked chicken meatballs on cookie sheet.

Best Tips for Success

  • Add ½ cup shredded carrots (I prefer the thinner texture from grating them at home with a box grater) to the mix of the Baked Chicken Meatball batter to add a veggie.
  • You can use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.
  • Double the recipe to make more meatballs at once.
  • Use 1 tablespoon mixture to make mini meatballs and bake for closer to 18-20 minutes.
  • Serve with Easy Marinara Sauce, Spinach Pesto, Cauliflower Cheese Sauce, Hidden Veggie Pasta Sauce, Cauliflower Alfredo, or a side of ketchup or any other favorite dip.
  • Dice for older babies or younger toddlers as needed.
  • Let them cool fully, and you can freeze in a freezer bag for up to 6 months.
  • Thaw overnight in the fridge, simmer in tomato sauce to warm, or warm in 15 to 30-second increments in the microwave.

I’d love to hear your feedback on this recipe if you try it so please comment below!

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baked chicken meatballs on cookie sheet.

4-Ingredient Baked Chicken Meatballs

With just four simple and affordable ingredients, you can make tender Baked Chicken Meatballs to share with the kids. Bonus: You can tuck a veggie into the mix, and they are perfect to batch-cook and stash in the freezer!
5 from 144 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 24 minutes
Total Time 34 minutes
Cuisine Italian
Course Dinner
Calories 157kcal
Servings 8 (Makes 16 meatballs)

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • cup Italian-flavored bread crumbs
  • ½ cup shredded carrots (optional)
  • ½ cup shredded Parmesan
  • 1 egg
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Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F and line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Coat with nonstick spray.
  • In a medium bowl, mix the ingredients together with clean hands. Use a tablespoon measuring spoon to measure out 2-tablespoon-size meatballs. Roll into balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 24-26 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
  • (You can also make them smaller as 1-tablespoon balls and bake for 20-22 minutes.)
  • Serve warm or set aside to cool and freeze.

Notes

  • Let them cool fully and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. Or freeze in a freezer bag for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge, simmer in tomato sauce to warm, or warm in 15 to 30-second increments in the microwave.
  • Use store-bought ground chicken to make this easy.
  • I prefer the thinner texture from grating a whole carrot on a box grater.
  • Serve with Marinara Sauce, Pesto, Cheese Sauce or a side of ketchup or any other favorite dip.
  • Dice for older babies or younger toddlers as needed.
  • Gluten-free: Use gluten-free bread crumbs if needed.
  • Dairy-free: Use vegan Parmesan cheese.
  • Egg-free: Omit the egg and add 1 tablespoon milk.

Nutrition

Serving: 2meatballs, Calories: 157kcal, Carbohydrates: 8g, Protein: 14g, Fat: 7g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 3g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 74mg, Sodium: 292mg, Potassium: 335mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 100IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 101mg, Iron: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Rate in the comments and tag @yummytoddlerfood on IG!

This post was first published August 2020.

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5 from 144 votes (102 ratings without comment)

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Added another teaspoon or so of Italian seasoning and some dried minced onion that I had and even my husband said they were good. We used turkey because it was less expensive at the store this week. My 2.5 year old enjoyed them with ketchup.

  2. 5 stars
    Wow this was super easy to make and turned out great! I will definitely be making this again and trying it out with a different mix of veggies. I recently discovered you on instagram not long ago and love your posts. They help make me feel more inspired (and less lost) as to what simple yet nutritious meals I can feed my young kids, as an average home cook haha.

  3. 5 stars
    Does it have to be shredded parm, not grated? I usually only have grated on hand! (In your recipe it states shredded)

    I’ve made this once before and they were a little bland bc I subbed shredded mozzarella cheese instead of shredded parm! I’m assuming the parm will make it so much better. We’ve loved making your recipes!

    1. Grated Parmesan is great, enjoy! (And it should be more flavorful with that type of cheese.)

  4. 5 stars
    This was a total hit with everyone in my family. Paired with spaghetti and green beans or broccoli. I loved that I had everything on hand.

  5. Can these be eaten cold? Like thaw them over night to put in the lunch box the next day? Our preschool doesn’t reheat food.

  6. 5 stars
    How are these muffins this good? They were so soft and moist, and I absolutely loved the texture. I made them for my 4 year old who also loved them. Then, I ended up eating 5 the same day I baked them 😂. And for the first time, I didn’t feel bad about it. Thank you for sharing this recipe! Love all of your recipes!

  7. 5 stars
    These meatballs are soooo yummy and easy. I substitute the carrot for pumpkin, as my kids actually like and eat a lot of carrot. But don’t like pumpkin, so it’s great to hide it in these yummy meatballs.

  8. 5 stars
    Have you tried this with any other low sodium cheeses like ricotta or something else? Parm is a bit too high sodium for babies…

  9. 5 stars
    Another winner Amy! I made these using finely grated broccoli stem and zucchini (both tightly squeezed) and they were delicious. Our whole family is grateful for you and your recipes. Thank you

  10. 5 stars
    This is the first recipe that I’ve tried of yours and It won’t be the last. My super picky toddler grandson actually ate these plain and with pasta sauce. The entire family enjoyed them!

  11. You really should be using a Mini Muffin\Cupcake pan to cook your meatballs on. Leaves your meatballs nice and round, Though I haven’t tried the recipe as of yet looks good..

    1. It’s harder to wash than a tray and isn’t necessary, but if you prefer it that way, of course do it!

  12. 5 stars
    This super easy and tasty chicken meatball recipe has been a game changer and life saver. So easy to prepare with a side of vegetables, in a pasta sauce and also loved by the whole family. Plus, I get to sneak in more that one vegetable so it’s a keeper in my household.

  13. 5 stars
    Our toddler really loved them with tomato/pasta sauce. I included carrots in the recipe and since he is allergic to eggs, subbed in roughly 1/3 cup of unsweetened applesauce. Worked out great!

  14. 5 stars
    One of our fave go-to recipes from you. Perfect quick meal for the toddler topped with tomato sauce. I’ve been adding chopped broccoli to the mix too. And I always sneak a few for myself because they are so tasty.

  15. Hello! I haven’t tried this recipe but really want to for my kids! Would you by chance have the temp and cook time if using an air fryer?

  16. 5 stars
    Looks great! We’re going to try this tonight. I’m wondering if these are also okay to serve cold. We haven’t used a thermos for school yet, but I use ice packs, so we can keep things cold.

  17. 5 stars
    Absolutely beautiful!
    I made mine into patties as my toddler isn’t into ball shaped foods (lol I know).
    I used plain breadcrumbs and seasoned with my own spices because I couldn’t find Italian breadcrumbs (Australian).
    These are super fantastic. If you made these in advance and made them into a pattie shape they would be great as a chicken burger too !

  18. 5 stars
    Such an amazing recipe! THANK YOU for making cooking easy, simple and NOT overwhelming! I’ve made this with both chicken and ground beef, and I added onions for a little extra taste. Deeeeelicious!

  19. 5 stars
    my 16mo at these right up! she’s allergic to milk & egg, so i substituted egg for non dairy milk & left out the cheese. thanks for the recipe!

  20. 5 stars
    These are amazing! My 14 month old loves meatballs so I decided to give these a try. They are incredible and so easy to make! Will definitely double the batch next time to have extra in the freezer! Thanks Amy!

  21. 5 stars
    This is a simple recipe that I keep coming back to because it pleases everyone in my family! I have a chicken lover and a meatball lover, and they both love this recipe. Thank you!

  22. Need them dairy free? Use vegan Parmesan which cost twice as much as the regular stuff. Need them egg free? Use dairy. Need them egg free and dairy free, sorry you’re sol.

    1. You can use plain nondairy milk. I do actually try hard to make most of my recipes adaptable for more families, but it’s really impossible to make every one work for every kid since no kiddo is the same.

    2. Hi Lindsay, my son has an egg allergy too. I feel your frustration. I typically substitute Bob’s red mill egg substitute in all recipes that call for egg. That works really well for me. I’ve also read that nutritional yeast can be a go substitute for parmesan. Hope this helps! Erin

  23. 5 stars
    Super easy and SO SO GOOD! My son is 22 months old and asked for more. I’ve been looking for easy, toddler friendly recipes and so grateful I stumbled across this on Instagram. I may even try using beef next time. Thank you!

  24. 5 stars
    I just made this today and made a bunch of changes! Ground turkey was on sale, so I used that. We had lots of leftover cheese- Mexican blend and pizza blend, so did a mix. Added a carrot, egg, and Italian bread crumbs as called for. These were AWESOME. Such an easy and versatile recipe. Will definitely make again (differently for fun).

  25. Has anyone tried shredded zucchini? I know I’d need to squeeze out the liquid. Just wondering if anyone has had success with zucchini added. Thanks!

    1. Yes! I just did since that’s what I had on hand. I did squeeze all the extra water out & probably used 3/4 cup since zucchini is more water than carrot. They were delish!

  26. 5 stars
    These meatballs are a favorite in our house! They’re easy to make and my husband, toddler and four year old love them.

  27. 5 stars
    I make these a couple times a month and freeze them for a quick dinner or lunch. They are really good and my toddler likes them a lot. I use plain breadcrumbs but then add salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder and dried basil and oregano. I also baked them on parchment paper. These come out really good and they even make a quick dinner for myself. Thanks for the recipe

  28. 5 stars
    Another amazing recipe! We had this last night (with the addition of shredded carrots per your insta story) and the whole family loved them! I trust your recipes so much that I doubled the batch without trying them first and I’m so glad I did since I have another batch ready to go in the freezer now. Thanks for all you do!

  29. Can’t wait to make these! What texture is the breadcrumb you used? Does it matter? I have plain panko bread and also plain breadcrumbs, the latter being almost like flour. How much italian seasoning if using plain flavour breadcrumbs?

    1. I would use the regular breadcrumbs. If using plain breadcrumbs, I would add 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning I think!

      1. Thanks for sharing this. As I was thinking the same thing as we only have the plain bread crumbs too. I’ll be making this soon for our little family of four (9 month old and 5 yr old).

  30. 5 stars
    Seriously the best meatballs I have had!! I changed the recipe a little cause my son is allergic to eggs. I used 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, and mixed turkey and pork ground meat together. I used both parmeson and mozzarella cheese. I also added salt and pepper for extra seasoning. Will definitely be making these often. Thank you for such great recipes!

    1. I think you should be able to—if they don’t seem to be holding together well enough to roll into balls, I’d add 1 tablespoon milk to see if that helps.

  31. 5 stars
    Big hit! My 17 month old has very few teeth (four front, one molar), and he did great with these meatballs! I used ground turkey and added shredded carrot, and they turned out great! Very happy that I made enough to freeze some, but I’ll definitely be making more. Thank you for sharing!

  32. 5 stars
    I made these for my 13 month old. I just cut them into small pieces and tossed in some tomato sauce. She loved them so much and had 3! Very easy to make and easy to serve.

  33. Could you omit the cheese altogether? My husband can’t have dairy so we’re avoiding it with our daughter for a longer period than usual.

    1. I haven’t made them without the cheese but I think they’d hold together okay. You may want to add a little salt to compensate for the loss of that flavor though.

  34. I’m making my second batch of these! The first batch I used ground turkey with cheddar. This time I’m adding a little bit of onion! So simple, yet so delicious. Thank you!

    1. I think that should work! Ground chicken tends to be very moist, so with turkey you may need a little less breadcrumbs but it should be close to the same.