Chicken piccata hands down is one of my favorite Italian dishes. It’s saucy, briny, lemony, and garlicky, it just hits it every time. If you have every made chicken piccata at home you know it’s a lengthy recipe. First you need to dredge the chicken, then pan fry it, remove the chicken, make the sauce, cook the chicken in the sauce… (SEO is going to hate me for this run on sentence). So while I do have plans to give you my chicken thigh piccata, I also want to keep providing quick and easy dishes especially entering back to school time. Instead I give you chicken piccata meatballs, all the flavor of your traditional chicken piccata in less time with less work. All you need to do is assemble, mix the sauce, and bake away.
What You’ll Need For Chicken Piccata Meatballs
- Ground Chicken -Confession, sometimes I use ground turkey here instead. I find that ground turkey gives the meatballs a little more bounce and makes them a little more squishy?
- Bread Crumbs – I usually like to use panko in my meatballs, but here I prefer Italian breadcrumbs. The finer ground gives these meatballs a great soft texture. Make sure you buy unseasoned or plain Italian breadcrumbs.
- Garlic – I say this every time, but fresh only! Not only does the sauce get its flavor from the garlic but garlic also goes into the meatballs. The pre chopped jarred garlic just doesn’t have the same taste. What I love to do is buy the pre-peeled garlic in the refrigerated section. That way I always have fresh garlic on hand without always having to peel.
- Onion – White or yellow.
- Lemon – Both the zest and juice will be used in this recipe so make sure you zest the lemon before cutting it open.
- Chicken Broth – Regular, or low sodium.
- Capers – I like to use small capers, they are firmer and it’s more enjoyable when you get a bite with a few smaller ones than an explosion of sodium from a larger one.
- more garlic… yes i needed to say this
Step By Step
- Sauté the onions and garlic in a little bit of olive oil. Why? These meatballs only cook for approx 20 minutes in the oven. While I want the flavor of onions and garlic I don’t want a big half cooked chunk in my meatball. I do this for the majority of my meatballs unless they are going to simmer in a sauce for a long period of time.
- Combine chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, parsley, lemon zest, cooked onions and garlic with a heavy pinch of salt and a few cracks of pepper. Best method is to combine it with your hands, that way you avoid possibly over-mixing.
- Form the meatballs into ping pong sized balls. Put the meatballs in an oven safe pan deep enough to hold sauce.
- Put your butter and garlic together and melt the butter in the microwave. Add this mixture to the broth and capers. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and place in the oven at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until cooked.
Tips and Notes
- Even though this is a quick recipe it is a great one to meal prep or make in advance. With that said the meatballs will absorb a lot of the sauce the longer they sit. If you plan on pouring the sauce over noodles or rice, double the sauce if making in advance.
Like this flavor profile but want to skip out on the meat? Check out my Lemon Caper Pasta.
Chicken Piccata Meatballs
- 1 lb ground chicken or ground turkey
- 1/2 medium onion small diced
- 5 cloves garlic minced
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
- 1/4 cup parsley minced
- 1 egg
- 1 lemon zest, juice goes into the sauce
- olive oil
- 1/2 cup chicken broth
- 2 tbsp butter
- 6 cloves garlic minced
- 3 tbsp capers
- 1/4 cup parsley chopped
- Preheat oven to 400°.
- In a pan over low-medium heat add a drizzle of olive oil. Once heated add onions and garlic. Cook for 3-5 minutes until soft. Remove from heat and let it cool as you assemble the meatballs.
- In a bowl add ground chicken, breadcrumbs, parsley, lemon zest, cooked onions and garlic, an egg, 1/2 tsp of salt and a few cracks of black pepper. Mix until combined preferably with your hands. Try to not over mix it.
- Form the meatballs into ping pong sized balls, will yield 18. Place in a oven safe pan deep enough to hold the sauce.
- In a small bowl combine the butter and garlic and melt the butter in the microwave. Add garlic butter to the broth with the capers and lemon juice. Mix and pour over the meatballs.
- Bake the meatballs for approx. 20 minutes or until cooked through. Top with parsley and enjoy!