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Ground chicken blended with fresh flavors (lemongrass, garlic, ginger & cilantro), these chicken meatballs are a great lunch, dinner or party appetizer!
We are a house that loves a good meatball recipe. Typically, we use ground beef, pork or even sausage and douse them in marinara sauce, and serve over pasta. Or make them healthier and do turkey meatballs with pesto or these epic little lovelies.
We love this recipe because it is a different take on your traditional meatball recipe. It’s fresh Thai flavors without the burn!! I use lemongrass, ginger, garlic, and cilantro.
Do you love spice? My favorite way to add some heat is with a teaspoon of sriracha, a pinch of red pepper flakes or a little hot sauce if you’re into it.
While I do brown these in an oven-safe skillet, and could actually cook them fully on the stove, I prefer to brown them up and then either put the skillet right in the oven or spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and bake in the oven.
Frequently Asked Questions
Use a digital thermometer, you need the chicken meatballs internal temperature to be 165 degrees F when measure with a digital thermometer to be safe to eat.
Mixing TOO well can make your meatballs tough and chewy. Just a quick mix until the flavors blend is all that is needed. I like to sprinkle the seasonings over the top of the chicken, to help incorporate them into the mix without having to OVER mix.
What to serve with Thai chicken meatballs
You could make your own dipping sauce, but I like to keep it super simple and use a store-bought sweet chili sauce (called Mae Ploy). I also add a little sriracha to some sour cream, and that’s good too!
Kylee’s Notes & FAQs
Store meatballs in an airtight container in refrigerator for up to 3 days. See freezing instructions in the recipe card.
Additions & Substitutions
Green onion – added along with the cilantro, gives more green and a lovely flavor.
Onion powder is a great addition to bump up the savory flavor.
Fish sauce or soy sauce – if you’re looking for a little more umami flavor, adding a teaspoon of one or the other will be delicious.
Lime juice – I love a little fresh lime or lemon zest in this recipe, it really brightens it up!
Can you freeze chicken meatballs?
Yes, you can! These meatballs are SO good to make ahead and freeze well.
Freezing uncooked meatballs
Place on a baking sheet or sheet pan. cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze several hours. Remove from the baking sheet, and store in a freezer-safe plastic bag. To eat, remove as many frozen meatballs as you need and bake on a baking sheet in the oven at 400 degrees F. You’ll need 10-15 minutes.
Freezing baked chicken meatballs
Allow to cool completely and place on a baking sheet. cover loosely with plastic wrap and freeze several hours. Remove from the baking sheet, and store in a freezer-safe plastic bag. To eat, remove as many meatballs as you need and heat in the microwave until piping hot.
The full list of ingredients and quantities is found in the printable recipe card below.
- Ground chicken. Either make your own lean ground chicken by putting chicken thighs or chicken breasts in a food processor and pulsing until coarse or grab it from the store. Ground turkey breast is a great substitute here too.
- Onion. Diced up finely!
- Fresh cilantro. Grab it, chop it, add it. Easy!
- Lemongrass. If you can’t find fresh lemongrass, don’t worry! You can buy lemongrass paste in the produce section of most grocery stores, or online.
- Ginger. Grate it fresh or use ginger paste.
- Garlic. Use a little extra if you are a garlic lover!
- Breadcrumbs. I use plain bread crumbs here, not panko breadcrumbs.
- Salt & pepper. I use kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper to taste.
- Olive oil. For cooking. You can use any kind of oil that you like best.
How to make Chicken Meatballs
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The full list of ingredients, quantities and instructions can be found in the printable recipe card below.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Make the meatballs
In a large bowl, add the chicken, cilantro, lemongrass, ginger, garlic, onion, salt & pepper.
Mix with a spatula.
Using a cookie scoop for evenly sized meatballs, scoop out.
Roll in your hand to make balls.
Place on a plate, and continue until you are out of meatball mixture, and your bowl is empty!
Cook the meatballs
Add a little olive oil to an oven-safe large skillet.
Add the meatballs, and brown. If your skillet is oven safe, just transfer to the oven as is. If not, add meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet lined with parchment paper and bake in the oven 8-10 minutes, until fully cooked.
More appetizer recipes
- Baked Coconut Shrimp. These easy baked coconut shrimp are the perfect appetizer or light dinner. Crispy, crunchy and with a dipping sauce, this one is a winner!
- Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip with Bread Dippers (in a skillet!). A warm skillet full of delicious, Creamy Hot Spinach Artichoke Dip, surrounded by baked-in-the-skillet chewy bread – perfect for sharing!
- Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball. Make this easy Jalapeno Popper Cheese Ball for your next party or gathering, and watch it disappear fast! This is a great make ahead appetizer!
- Ham & Pineapple Cheese Ball. Easy and fast to mix up, and place in the fridge for later. A great make ahead appetizer, this Ham & Pineapple Cheese Ball is sure to please the majority of guests!
- Buffalo Chicken Dip. Super easy to make, and always the first to be devoured, this Buffalo Chicken Dip is a great appetizer recipe for parties and gatherings!
- Sausage Stuffed Mini Peppers. These little beauties are the best appetizer in town! A yummy mix of spicy sausage, cream cheese, onion and garlic mean these disappear fast! Make a double batch for a crowd.
Thai Chicken Meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Combine the ingredients (except for oil) in a bowl.
- Use a cookie scoop, and roll into small balls in your hands.
- In medium skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add meatballs and brown.
- Bake in the oven 8-12 minutes, until fully cooked.
- Green onion – added along with the cilantro, gives more green and a lovely flavor.
- Fish sauce or soy sauce – if you’re looking for a little more umami flavor, adding a teaspoon of one or the other will be delicious.
- Lime juice – I love a little fresh lime in this recipe, it really brightens it up!
Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.
Update: This was originally posted in October of 2015, and has been updated and republished to improve reader experience, with new photos in December 2022