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These Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs are best for cold fall and winter nights when you want easy comfort food at home. All mixed in one bowl, these meatballs come together easily and are so flavorful. This dish is warm, saucy, cheesy, and so amazing. Add some crusty bread or pasta on the side for a delicious hearty meal. Perfect as a simple family dinner. Yet equally great as an appetizer for upcoming holiday entertaining.

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

The thing about this past year and a half that I actually love is the fact that’s it’s made time with our families even more special and more valuable. We’ve been able to spend more time with family than ever before. And personally, I’ve loved having my brothers and cousins around to cook for on a more daily basis.

My oldest brother, who has been living with us since covid began, has inspired quite a few recipes. And to no one’s surprise I’m sure, he very much influenced this meatball recipe.

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

Creighton loves any form of meatballs, but meatballs covered in sauce and cheese? Oh yeah, I could probably get him to do just about anything for me. When he found out these were for dinner, his excitement was like a kid on Christmas morning.

Meatballs are something I’ve actually come to love to make. I use a trick my grandma taught me to keep them juicy and flavorful…but still super simple.

You guys are going to love how easy these are, and of course how delicious too!!

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

The process is simple, here are the steps

Start with the bread. My grandma used to wet the bread, then ring out the excess water and tear the bread into super fine pieces. This is the key to a juicy, non-dry meatball.

Add the bread to a bowl along with a mixture of spicy Italian chicken sausage and ground chicken. I love to use spicy chicken sausage for added flavor and heat, but use what you like best.

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

If you’re having a hard time finding ground chicken sausage, you can of course use regular pork sausage. Or make your own ground chicken sausage, which I often do. It’s simple, just take ground chicken and mix it with plenty of dry spices and herbs. I included my recipe below in the notes so you guys can make it too!

Next, add shallots, garlic, eggs, and parmesan to the ground chicken and spicy sausage. Mix that all together, and you’re ready to roll your meatballs.

Now bake! I love baking meatballs. It’s so much easier and cleaner, not to mention healthier, than frying them up in a skillet.

Once the meatballs are crisp and cooked, I pour over some jarred marinara sauce. Then top with a mixture of mozzarella and provolone cheese and a handful of fresh oregano.

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

Finish it up

Bake the meatballs until the cheese is super melty and browning on top and the sauce is bubbling.

At this point, your kitchen is going to smell pretty amazing, which always leaves everyone excited for dinner.

It’s such a great dish for an easy family dinner. Or use these meatballs as appetizers for your next dinner party with friends.

I’m already planning to make these again for Halloween night. These meatballs and sauce will be so delicious over a plate of spaghetti with a big side salad. Especially after trick-or-treating in the cold! Crusty bread on the side is also a must for soaking up all that sauce.

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

Looking for other easy fam dinner recipes? Here are a few ideas: 

30 Minute Coq au Vin Chicken Meatballs

Spicy Pumpkin and Pesto Cheese Stuffed Shells

Slow Cooker Mustard Herb Chicken and Creamy Orzo

Roasted Garlic Spaghetti Squash Lasagna Boats

Lastly, if you make these Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!

Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 45 minutes
Total Time 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories Per Serving: 475 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.

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Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground spicy Italian chicken sausage (see note)
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 slices soft whole grain bread
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 small shallots, grated
  • 2 cloves garlic, grated
  • 1-2 tablespoons chopped pepperoncinis
  • 1 jar (32 ounce) marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1 cup shredded provolone
  • 1/4 cup fresh oregano

Instructions

  • 1. Preheat the oven to 450° F. Grease a 9×13 inch baking dish with olive oil.
    2. Take the bread and run it under water until dampened but not soaked. Gently squeeze the excess water out of the bread and then crumble the dampened bread into pieces.
    3. In a bowl, combine the sausage, chicken, bread crumble, eggs, shallots, garlic, pepperoncinis, and a pinch each of salt and pepper. Coat your hands with olive oil, then roll the meat into 2 tablespoon size balls, and place them into the prepared baking dish. Bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp on the outside, but not yet cooked through on the inside.
    4. Remove from the oven and pour the marinara over top the meatballs. Cover the pan with foil and bake for 15 minutes longer, or until the meatballs are cooked through. Remove the foil and add the cheeses and oregano. Bake until the cheese is melted and golden, about 10 minutes. Serve topped with fresh oregano and your favorite pasta!

Notes

Ground Spicy Italian Chicken Sausage: I buy ground chicken sausage at Whole Foods. If you can’t find it, you can make your own by adding the following spice mix to 1 pound ground chicken:
1 tablespoon each of fennel seed, dried thyme, dried basil, dried oregano, salt, and pepper; 2 teaspoons each of cayenne (or less, if you don’t want it too spicy), paprika, and garlic powder; and 1 teaspoon each of smoked paprika and crushed red pepper flakes. 
Simple Baked Cheesy Italian Chicken Meatballs | halfbakedharvest.com

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Comments

  1. Is the Parmesan supposed to go in the meatball mix? The way the ingredients are listed it seems so, but it’s not part of the mixture recipe.

    1. I made these tonight and realized the same as you (which is why I came to see the post!). I noticed in the blog post she adds the Parmesan to the meatballs. I added to the top as part of the cheese mix when I realized I hadn’t added to meatballs. Can’t say I missed it in the meatballs, they were still delish!

  2. 4 stars
    Might want to clarify how much salt and pepper to add, as you have at the beginning of thst sentence “one tablespoon.” I knew better than to add that much, but some may not. 🙂

  3. 5 stars
    AMAZING! Love these so much. I wasn’t able to find chicken sausage so we used the spices and ground chicken – so delicious. I paired these with some palmini noodles and it hit the stop. Also ate some leftovers just meatballs. Definitely make this one!!!

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Have a wonderful week! xTieghan

  4. 5 stars
    these were super easy and loved having the leftovers.

    I put 9 meatballs in a 9 X 9 pyrex dish and froze the others. I used a high quality local marinara sauce.

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for trying out this recipe, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! Have a wonderful week! xTieghan

  5. 5 stars
    Hey Tieghan,

    These were amazing meatballs loved everything about them. They smelled great baking, perfect flavor and delectable. I shared some with my friend for her birthday and she said they were great as well!! That comes as no surprise as I love every recipe of yours I end up making. Thanks again for sharing you’re the best!

  6. 5 stars
    This is hands down my new favorite meatball recipe! I made it low carb/keto by using low carb bread and Rao’s marinara and it was amazing. All three of my kids loved it which is saying a lot!

    1. She added it to the meat mixture in the step-by-step at the beginning, just not in the official recipe. I missed it as well, but the parm is pretty good on top too!

  7. Your missing the addition of the Parmesan cheese in the instructions. I didn’t add it to my meatballs I’ll put it on the top and hope for the best.

    1. Hi Tina! I am so sorry about that! The parmesan gets added into the meatballs in step 3, I will be sure to change that 🙂 xTieghan

  8. Hi, my son has an egg allergy. Any egg substitutes I can use for the meatballs? If yes, how much of the substitute? Thanks! Love the recipes.

    1. Hi there! I would suggest 2 tablespoons buttermilk per egg, 1/4 cup ricotta cheese per egg, or 3 tablespoons of plain yogurt. Enjoy! 🙂 xTieghan

  9. Does the Parmesan cheese go inside the meatballs or on top when you combine the mozzarella and provolone cheese?

  10. 5 stars
    SO good! On our pasta rotation for this fall/winter!

    I halfed the recipe, if I made it whole next time could I freeze them at any point in the process?

    1. Hi there! Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try, I’m so glad to hear you enjoyed it! As far as freezing it goes, you could definitely freeze it and eat later! xTieghan

  11. Made this for dinner tonight. I couldn’t find chicken sausage so I followed the spice recipe using 1 teaspoon of cayenne. The dish was delicious. The whole family loved it. Will be making again; Thank you!

    1. Tried this recipe. Pretty good hit with my family. These pack some heat, though.

      Did make some changes. Used store bought white bread instead of wheat (misread the note for that one) and toned down the cayenne pepper by half the listed amount.

      These turned out flavorful and tender, though spicier than most of what my family prefers.

  12. Made this tonight with pork/beef meatballs and my husband loved it!! Kind of like Chicken Parmesan with meatballs 😊. What could be better? 🙌 Thank you for another great meal!!

  13. I just made this dish tonight and the chicken meatballs were delicious! I usually make meatballs with turkey so this was a nice change. I used the spices suggested for the chicken but I only used 1t of the cayenne (not 2 T) and 1/2 t salt. It was perfect! The fennel adds a unique flavor. I used 3 pieces of sourdough bread too. I actually froze half of the meatballs before cooking the other half. I made more sauce as I served it over noodles. The directions don’t say to add the parmesan to the meatballs but it does say it in the earlier description. I could easily have made this with just 1 pound of chicken but by freezing 1/2, I have meatballs ready for another dish sometime!

    1. I agree, I could not figure out if you were supposed to add parmesan or not because it was not in below instructions and now I am sad I did not!

  14. 5 stars
    Made this tonight and loved it! I used two pounds of ground turkey with the spices that
    you suggested for making your own sausage.

    How could I make it gluten free? What can I substitute for the bread?

  15. This was so so yummy and super easy!! I served it over pasta and added roasted broccoli on the side 🙂 Will definitely make again!

  16. 5 stars
    Made this for our Sunday Family dinner last night! So easy and Sooo good! Thanks for sharing the recipe, definitely going to make it again!

  17. 5 stars
    Wow!! These were so delicious. I did a mild version because…kids. But they were winners. My only question is how do you fit them all in the dish? I ended up having to use 2 dishes.

  18. 5 stars
    I used ground beef and Italian seasoning because that’s what I had on hand but it was a simple, classic and easy dinner.

  19. Did anyone do this with only the 1lb of ground chicken sausage that they made or did everyone use two pounds of two diff kinds of stuff

    1. I used 1 lb. of pork and 1 lb. of chicken. To fit in one baking dish, the meatballs were very large. If I make them again, I will make smaller meatballs.

    1. Hi there! I would complete all of the steps for making/forming the meatballs and then freeze them! 🙂 xTieghan

      1. These meatballs were delicious!
        I used breadcrumbs instead of the bread because that’s what I had. I followed the spice recipe and that was delicious! It was the perfect kick.

        I wasn’t sure if the Parmesan was suppose to be added to the meatballs because it wasn’t in the instructions but that’s what I did.

        Will make again!

        1. HI Brianna! So glad you enjoyed these meatballs! Yes, the parmesan was supposed to be added to the meatballs! I’m so sorry for the confusion! xTieghan

  20. I think this is my husbands new favorite! Made for company last night & there was nothing left! Easy and just the best!

  21. 5 stars
    Made this today! Used ground turkey. Couldn’t locate ground chicken in my area. Used your spice recommendation less 1 tsp cayenne. Turned out very good! These will make excellent meatball sandwiches for future meals!
    Another great recipe. Thanks.

    1. Looks so yummy! Is the grated parmesan cheese supposed to go in the meatballs? I don’t see where it is used in the instructions.

  22. 5 stars
    Hi!!! Bought the ingredients to make this! But I noticed in your video on Instagram you used peperochinis… it’s not listed in these ingredients? Let me know if I’m missing it! Can’t wait to make tonight 🙂

  23. Hi!!! Bought the ingredients to make this! But I noticed in your video you used peperochinis… it’s not listed in these ingredients? Let me know if I’m missing it! Can’t wait to make tonight :))))

  24. 5 stars
    Made these tonight. They got a 12 out 10 in this house! I grated the garlic and shallots on a traditional grater, worked just fine. I was able to source chicken sausage. The only modification I made was to use store bought gf breadcrumbs which worked just fine. I used slices of provolone over each meatball and then the grated mozzarella and turned the broiler on the last 10 minutes to get a nice golden almost crisp top. These are fantastic and perfect for a cool fall Friday. Great way to start the weekend. Simply brilliant!!

  25. 5 stars
    I used ground turkey but did not add the sausage in the meatballs. I squeezed balls of it into the sauce so we got bites of meatballs and bites of sausage separately. I found adding it to the meatballs was overpowering. I served it with crusty garlic bread and salad. Fantastic for watching the baseball game! Yum! Thank you, Teighan

  26. 5 stars
    OH WOW!! I made this recipe tonight and … it….is…delish!!! Loved it!! My husband loved it as much as I did. I did add fresh sliced mushrooms just because I had them. Oh yes, I will be making this recipe again!

    Did I mention you are one of my favorite food bloggers!

  27. 5 stars
    This was so delicious!! Just amazing. Couldn’t find chicken sausage at my local Whole Foods, so used Tieghan’s spice recommendations added to ground chicken. I halved the amounts & it was seasoned enough for me (using 1 lb ground chicken).
    This is a real winner! Thanks!

  28. 5 stars
    I made it for dinner tonight and it was the perfect meal on a cloudy cool evening. So freakin flavorful, adding the grated shallots is 100% worth it. I whizzed the garlic and shallots in my little food processor so it was insanely easy and the flavor was truly amazing.
    #halfbakedharvestsoulsistas

  29. I’m curious why you often grate (versus finely chop) garlic and shallots. Do you use a microplane or do you have another special method or tool?

    Thank you for the recipe. Meatballs are in the oven now. Can’t wait to try them!

      1. 5 stars
        Followed this except couldn’t find chicken sausage so added a little fennel sage and thyme. Sooooooo amazing! Everyone in my house devoured these.

  30. Tieghan,
    I was thinking of making these ahead and freezing? Can I bake them first? or is is better to freeze and bake right before tossing the sauce together?
    Thanks,
    Linda

  31. This is my perfect sort of recipe, easy and attainable but still delicious! Can I ask how you crumble the damp bread?