My easy chicken meatballs are exactly what they claim to be. They can be assembled and cooked in a jiffy; no special ingredients and techniques required. Everyone loves meatballs – as finger food with cocktails or wrapped in a tortilla with salsa, or bunged between slices of bread, or slathered with marinara nestled within reams of spaghetti; there are so many ways to eat them.
It’s all about the mince
A good chicken meatball must be moist and juicy. Dry, chewy meat is the downfall of even the best-flavoured meatball. Typically, breast meat is less fatty and can very easily become dry and overcooked. It also lacks the taste of thigh meat. That’s why these easy chicken meatballs must be made out of ground chicken thighs. I never use store-bought chicken mince for this recipe because I can’t be sure of the type of meat in it. You can request your butcher to mince chicken thighs for you or like me, make your own. All it takes is but a couple of minutes in a food processor to whizz roughly chopped-up thigh meat into velvety ground chicken.
Fry or bake?
I make my easy chicken meatballs in a paniyaaram pan; a pan with walnut-sized grooves just the right size for meatballs, (see in the video below). But if you don’t have one, don’t worry, these meatballs can be shallow fried in a regular pan. You can also choose to bake them on a sheet pan or in a muffin tin in the oven. Since chicken cooks quickly and is less fatty than red meat, I fry them, usually in olive oil. They take about 10 minutes and come out crisp on the outside while remaining succulent within. Remember to lightly drizzle them with olive oil or spray them with cooking spray, if you choose to bake them.
Pack in the flavour
This recipe, like many others on this site, is flexible.The basic version of easy chicken meatballs remains the same but each time, I choose the flavour to suit my mood. This one has the moreish taste of the Middle-Eastern ingredients such as cumin, fresh mint and sumac apart from chopped onions, garlic and chilli powder (cayenne). You can make the meatball your own and add spices and herbs of your choice. Remember not to cook the meatballs at very high heat, which will cook the exterior faster leaving the interior raw. Fry on a medium flame for 8-10 minutes, turning them every 2 minutes for even browning on all sides. That’s all there is to these easy chicken meatballs. We ate them wrapped in whole wheat tortillas with crunchy Romaine lettuce a generous spread of homemade hummus, which made for a truly satisfying meal.
Easy Chicken Meatballs
- 500 g chicken mince (chicken thighs)
- 50 g dried bread crumbs
- 4 tbsp fresh mint, chopped
- 3 tbsp onions, finely chopped
- 3 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
- 1 egg, lightly beaten
- 2 tsp cumin powder
- 1½ tsp chilli powder or cayenne
- 1½ tsp coriander powder
- 2 tsp sumac or 1 tsp lemon zest
- Olive oil to fry the meatballs
- In a bowl, mix all the ingredients (except the oil) until well combined and shape into walnut-size balls.
- In a wide cast iron or non-stick pan, heat about ½ cm oil to cover the bottom of the pan. Fry the meatballs on medium heat, a few at a time (taking care not to overcrowd the pan), for 8-10 mins turning them often to brown them evenly.
- To bake them, preheat the oven to 230°C, line a baking sheet with parchment, place the meatballs a couple of cms apart from each other, brush each with olive oil and bake for 10-12 minutes till golden and cooked.