Busy cooks, you'll love this easy sheet-pan dinner with Italian Baked Chicken Meatballs, tomatoes and red onions. The secret is in the super juicy meatball mixture bursting with Italian flavors! 

baked chicken meatballs with tomatoes and onions

If you've made my baked meatballs or my Italian baked chicken recently, you'll want to try these chicken meatballs. An awesome new riff that my family has been absolutely loving!

I think of these baked meatballs as an "anytime" type dinner. You can make them any night of the week, and serve them up however you like--straight form the pan; with your favorite grain or pasta (I have a killer spaghetti dinner idea below). Or, for sandwich night, make Italian meatball subs!

What I love about this ground chicken meatballs recipe

1. Easy Sheet-Pan Dinner. Anytime I can toss everything on one sheet pan or baking sheet for a quick bake is a win! You may have seen some of my earlier dinners: sheet pan chicken and veggies; bajed eggs; sausage and peppers; baked shrimp, you name it!

2. Delicious. The secret is in the chicken meatball mixture with loads of Italian flavors (more on this later!)

3. Meatballs Made with Ground Chicken. Don't get me wrong, I will eat beef meatballs for sure! But like my earlier turkey meatballs, this recipe is a great alternative if you're looking for something different or a little lighter.

Chicken meatball mix prepared in mixing bowl

Meatball Mixture for Italian Chicken Meatballs

Okay, so what's in the flavor-packed mixture for this chicken meatball recipe? Clearly a meatball recipe starts with ground meat, and here the choice is ground chicken (or turkey). And as you guessed, some eggs and bread crumbs are used for binding. But there is more...Let's talk flavor makers!

Flavor Makers: We're talking Italian-style baked chicken meatballs, so the flavor-makers are decidedly Italian--a combination of garlic, fresh thyme and parsley, dried oregano and just a hint of paprika for depth. And yes, a little freshly ground Parmesan cheese! If you like heat, add a pinch of red pepper flakes.

Pro Tip: If you're looking for juicy chicken meatballs (or turkey meatballs) help the meatball mixture with some extra virgin olive oil. Quality Extra virgin olive oil is a healthy and important source of fat here, adding a bit of depth and moisture to the chicken meatballs.

But in addition to what goes in the meatball mixture, I love adding a little more Italian to the sheet-pan in the form of red onions and tomatoes. And why not roast the veggies with the chicken meatballs at once?!

How do you make chicken meatballs from scratch?

Making chicken meatballs from scratch takes one large bowl, one baking sheet or sheet pan (affiliate link), and four main steps:

  1. Prepare the meatball mixture. We talked about what's in this mixture already--ground chicken and a combination of spices, herbs, a little Parmesan cheese, bread crumbs and an egg which helps bind everything together. Ground chicken is lean, so adding a good drizzle of extra virgin olive oil as noted above helps lend it some fat and moisture. With clean hands, mix everything together until well incorporated (a pair of disposable gloves comes in handy here) .
  2. Shape the mixture into balls. The easiest way to arrive at the same size meatballs for even cooking is to use a tablespoon to scoop up 1 or 2 tablespoons of the mixture at a time and form into balls. Once you pick a size, stick to it.
  3. Arrange on lightly oiled baking sheet. If you're already baking the chicken meatballs, you might as well do as I have and add tomatoes and onions to the same baking sheet. I give the tomato and onion wedges a quick toss with some extra virgin olive oil and some seasonings before adding them to the sheet pan, then I add in the meatballs one by one making sure everything is arranged in one layer without crowding the pan. Should you use parchment paper to line the baking sheet? You can, but I find that it helps to expose the meatballs directly to the heat of the pan, as long as the pan is oiled so they don't stick.
  4. Bake! What temperature and how long to bake chicken meatballs? I heat my oven to 400 degrees F and the meatballs along with the tomatoes and onions will bake for about 30 minutes. And if you're like me and want to add color and a little extra crisp to your baked chicken meatballs, take the pan out and give the tops of the meatballs a brush of extra virgin olive oil, then return to the oven and bake at 450 degrees F for 5 minutes or so (but watch carefully, you don't want the meatballs to turn too dark or burn).
chicken meatballs in baking sheet

What can I serve with meatballs besides pasta?

I love this sheet-pan meal! You can eat the meatballs and veggies right out of the pan with for a low-carb meal. Add a salad or another side like these baked zucchini sticks!

OR serve them over your favorite grain. For sandwich night, you can simply make Italian subs using these baked meatballs and veggies! My simple tomato panzanella salad would make a great addition to start!

But if you really want an epic meatball and spaghetti dinner, here is what you do:

Cook spaghetti according to package and drain. While warm, toss spaghetti with more extra virgin olive oil and a bit of grated Parmesan cheese. Add the baked chicken meatballs with the tomatoes and onions and toss some more to combine. So good!

Gluten Free Option

For the gluten free option of this chicken meatball recipe, simply replace the bread crumbs with cornmeal. My friend who specializes in gluten free meals thinks cornmeal is the best option because it has a way of keeping the meatballs nice and tender. You can use maybe less cornmeal than the recipe requires for bread crumbs (about ¼ cup or so is okay.)

Similar Recipes to Try: 

Crispy Chicken Schnitzel

Easy Meatball Soup

Grilled Chicken Kofta

Eggplant Rollatini

You may also enjoy 50+ Top Mediterranean diet recipes. For all recipes, visit us here JOIN MY FREE E-MAIL LIST HERE. 

4.75 from 79 votes

Easy Italian Chicken Meatballs Recipe

Suzy Karadsheh
baked chicken meatballs with tomatoes and onions
You'll love these easy sheet-pan dinner with Italian baked chicken meatballs, tomatoes and onions. Loads of flavor in the meatball mixture from fresh herbs and spices to a bit of grated Parmesan. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil to keep the meatballs nice and juicy!
Prep – 20 mins
Cook – 30 mins
Cuisine:
Italian
Serves – 20 meatballs
Course:
Entree

Ingredients
  

  • 1 large red onion cut into wedges
  • 6 to 7 to Tomatoes Roma or tomatoes on the vine, quartered or cut into wedges
  • 3 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves divided
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil I used this Private Reserve olive oil
  • Kosher salt
  • 1 ½ lb ground chicken or ground turkey, if you like
  • 3 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 raw egg beaten
  • ½ cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
  • cup plain bread crumbs see notes for gluten free option
  • 2 teaspoon dry oregano
  • ½ teaspoon sweet paprika
  • black pepper
  • 1 cup fresh chopped parsley

Instructions
 

  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. And lightly brush a large sheet pan with extra virgin olive oil.
  • In a large mixing bowl, add the sliced onions and tomatoes. Sprinkle with kosher salt and about 1 ½ teaspoon fresh thyme (leave the rest of the thyme for later). Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil and toss to combine. Transfer to the prepared sheet-pan and spread well.
    Tomatoes and onions quartered in a mixing bowl
  • In the same mixing bowl, now prepare the chicken meatball mixture. Add ground chicken, garlic, egg, remaining 1 ½ teaspoon thyme, Parmesan cheese, and bread crumbs. Add oregano, paprika, pinch of salt and black pepper, and 1 cup fresh chopped parsley. Drizzle a bit of extra virgin olive oil. Using clean hands (remove any rings, of course), mix well until the chicken meatball mixture is well-combined.
    Chicken meatball mix prepared in mixing bowl
  • Form the mixture into small chicken meatballs about 1 ½ tablespoon each (whatever size you choose, stick to it for even cooking.) Arrange the chicken meatballs on the same sheet pan with the tomatoes and onions (nestle them in between the veggies, making sure not to crowd the meatballs.)
    chicken meatballs arranged with tomatoes and onions on sheet pan before baking
  • Bake for 30 minutes or so, or until meatballs begin to turn a beautiful golden brown and the tomatoes collapse. (If after they've baked, you'd like a little more "crust" or color to your meatballs, you can remove them from the oven briefly and brush the meatballs with extra virgin olive oil. Turn oven heat up to 450 degrees F and return the meatballs to the oven for 5 more minutes or so, watch carefully.)

Video

Notes

  • Cook's Tips for Serving: You can serve these beautiful meatballs on top of your favorite grain or plain orzo pasta. If you'd like to turn it into a big chicken meatball and spaghetti dinner, cook spaghetti according to package and drain. Place warm spaghetti in a large serving bowl and add a generous drizzle of good extra virgin olive oil and some freshly-grated Parmesan cheese. Toss to combine. Add the baked chicken meatballs with onions and tomatoes on top, and mix again to combine. Enjoy!
  • Cook's Tip for Gluten Free Chicken Meatballs: You can obviously blitz a piece of gluten free bread in a food processor to make GF bread crumbs. A friend of mine who specializes in gluten free cooking mentioned  cornmeal. She found that it made lean chicken and turkey meatballs surprisingly tender and flavorful. You can try just ¼ cup of cornmeal in this recipe.
  • Leftovers? Store cooled leftover chicken meatballs with tomatoes and onions in tight-lid containers. Refrigerate for up to 4 days. Warm over medium heat, tossing as needed (adding a little liquid to your heating pan will help.)
  • Visit our Shop to browse our collection of excellent extra virgin olive oils and all-natural and organic spices.

Nutrition

Calories: 79.4kcalCarbohydrates: 4.1gProtein: 7.9gFat: 3.9gSaturated Fat: 1.3gCholesterol: 39.6mgSodium: 75.3mgPotassium: 300.2mgFiber: 0.9gSugar: 1.3gVitamin A: 627.3IUVitamin C: 10.1mgCalcium: 44.1mgIron: 0.9mg
Tried this recipe?

This post originally appreciated on The Mediterranean Dish in 2019 and has been recently updated with new information and media for readers' benefit. Enjoy!

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I'm Suzy; born and bred right on the shores of the Mediterranean. I'm all about easy, healthy recipes with big Mediterranean flavors. Three values guide my cooking: eat with the seasons; use whole foods; and above all, share! So happy you're here...
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Comments

  1. Can I prepare this dish ahead of time? I am feeding a large crowd and don’t want to be in the kitchen the whole time. So, I had hope this could be prepared a day in advance and then reheated and served. Thank you!

    1. Hi, Jane. You can absolutely make the meatball mixture the day before, form into meatballs, place on a parchment lined baking sheet, then cover and refrigerate until you are ready to cook them.

  2. Will be trying this one soon! Looks delicious! Do you have a link for the salt container you have in this video for the chicken meatballs???? Thanks!

    1. Maybe add more olive oil next time? I use ground turkey instead of chicken, and they turn out moist and delicious every time!

  3. 5 stars
    Made this for dinner and it was so delicious. I added some fresh green beans to the veggies - yum. Will definitely be making this again.

    1. Hi, Emily! The nutrition information is our best estimate using a nutrition calculator. This recipe will give you 20 meatballs and the calories would include 1 meatball plus a bit of the veggies.

  4. 5 stars
    Loved your recipe for chicken meatballs. I love mint, so I added a good pinch of my own dried mint. Did however forget to add the parmesan cheese lol....next time!!! From NSW Australia
    Thank you Suzy

    1. Sure, Valerie! I typically cook the meatballs fully and let them cool completely. Spread them on a sheet pan and freeze for 1 hour, then transfer them to a container or freezer safe bag and freeze until needed. This has worked well for me.

    2. 5 stars
      It also works if you freeze them raw on a sheet pan and transfer them to a freezer safe bag or container (as Suzy suggests) then defrost and bake as directed.... less worries about the meatballs overcooking or drying out! 🙂

  5. Making tonight! Just curious what the serving size would be.

    79 calories for 1 meatball? veggies extra?

    Thanks!

    1. The nutrition information is our best estimate using a nutrition calculator. This recipe will give you 20 meatballs and the calories would include 1 meatball plus a bit of the veggies.

  6. 5 stars
    This is amazingly delicious and healthy to boot! I used ground turkey and dried thyme, but all else as written. I will making this often in the future. Thank you for this wonderful recipe! ☺️

  7. Hi. I'm becoming a big fan of your recipes and dishes. Question...for this meatball recipe, do you know now the nutrition breaks out per serving? And, how many meatballs constitute a serving? (I think you specify 20 total meatballs over all).

    Thank you.

    Rick

    1. Hi Rick, the nutrition facts are divided by the number of meatballs plus some of the veggies. As mentioned, this is really a best estimate from the nutrition calculator used here. For my family, we budget about 3 to 4 meatballs per person with some of the veggies included.

  8. I am looking forward to making this this week. I have a question, we're probably serving over pasta. Do you think drizzling some balsamic over the dish might be a good addition?

    1. Hi Valerie! I haven't tried adding balsamic, but it sounds wonderful. I'd start with a tiny amount and see how you like it.

      1. Suzy, this was a slam dunk! We made homemade fresh fettucine and served the meatballs over it. The flavor of the meatballs is delectable. I wish I could isolate exactly what makes them taste so good, but my palate isn't that advanced. Even my meat eating husband was raving over the taste of these. With the noodles, this was a very complete meal, though I can see myself just munching on it straight out of the fridge. I did make my balsamic butter reduction and ate it here and there but it was a very sweet addition. I found instead that I really liked a big squirt of lemon over my plate as a nice burst of acid.

        This would make a fantastic potluck dish.

    2. 5 stars
      Suzy, as always YOU ARE AMAZING !! Made this recipe, but subbed roasted chicken meat, instead of making the balls. Yummy !! Threw on some sliced avocado after taking from oven. Thanks again so much, love your channel ❤??

  9. I have used this recipe with a few changes...I mix breadcrumbs with corn meal or corn flake crumbs and also add a little basil to the fresh spices...there is a South African Smoke Seasoning I use to provide a robust flavor...
    I also make meatballs for my dog, using little if any crumbs and substituting a little flaxseed instead...I use them for treats, as well as making her chick breast chips slow roasted in the oven...she is addicted to those...generally we all eat well with Italian recipes being my natural go to for meals...you presented a lovely cookie sheet dish that all can enjoy...my thanks...

  10. I have tried this recipe for the first time . Instead of bread crumbs I used wheat ritz crackers ( I forgot about picking up corn meal at the grocery store). I also used 2 lbs of chicken and kinda 3/4 the seasonings for all the meat. I also used more smoked paprika in the meat, I love this seasoning and more garlic! It’s going to be delicious!

  11. HI. This sounds great. Where do we use the second 1.5 tsp of thyme? It's not mentioned in the recipe.

    1. I have the same question. I believe it goes in the meatball mixture (the thyme sprigs are pictured next to the meatball bowl) but I'm not entirely sure.

    2. Hi Marc! Thanks for catching that...the remainder of the thyme is used in the actual meatball mixture. We've made the correction.

  12. In the Italian Chicken meatballs What do you suggest I use in place of cheese I have a friend who is dairy/lactose intolerant and wonder what I can use if I serve these to her
    Thanks Wendy I in Qld Australia

  13. I really want to try this, I have one question- on the fb video to which this recipe was linked, it looked like you used two eggs for binder to scramble but the recipe calls for one. Which way does it turn out better, or am I wrong about what I thought I watched? Thanks for any clarification. Your recipes and pics are outstanding.

  14. 5 stars
    I stumbled on this recipe tonight searching for a "chicken meatball recipe." So glad that I did! My husband and I both enjoyed these very much. I confess that I left out the garlic... My husband doesn't like it. A little crazy, right?
    Anyway, these meatballs were flavorful and delicious even without garlic! Well done! Thank you!

  15. 5 stars
    Really good and easy. I added 1T of spicy Italian Bomba (fermented chili garlic sauce) from Trader Joes and cooked them at 450 for 20 min....fantastic,
    Also I tried making some of them a bit bigger and flatter for sliders--worked great.
    ~Thanks Suzy!

  16. 5 stars
    After many a spaghetti and meatball dinner for my family, this hands down the tastiest, juiciest and easiest of them all. Winner!