Baked Sage Chicken Meatballs with Brown Butter Sage Sauce

These baked sage and chicken meatballs are the best! Serve them as appetizers or turn them into a meal.

They are quick and easy to make making them perfect for a weeknight meal.

What makes these meatballs so great? They are mixed together in one bowl, they are baked in the oven leaving your stovetop free for the rest of your meal, and clean up is a breeze. Did I also mention they are freezer-friendly?

close up of a pile of chicken meatballs

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chicken sage meatball ingredients

Ingredients

Meatballs

Ground Chicken: If you can’t find ground chicken you can either substitute ground turkey or ask your butcher to grind 1/2 a pound of chicken breasts and 1/2 a pound of chicken thighs together.

Breadcrumbs: Breadcrumbs help bind meatballs together and absorb moisture to create more tender meatballs.

Grated Onion: When grating the onion, leave the root end intact so you will have something to hold onto while grating.

Grating the onion produces a lot of liquid. Place your grater on a cutting board that has a channel around the edge to catch all of the juices. Pour the juice in with the grated onion.

Parmesan Cheese: Use freshly grated parmesan for the best flavor and texture. Not the dry stuff that comes in a green can.

Egg: Egg helps to bind the meatball together and adds additional fat, moisture, and flavor.

Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic you can substitute 1/4 teaspoon of granulated garlic.

Sage: Sage is one of my favorite herbs to use in the fall and winter. You can substitute dried sage for fresh sage. If using dried sage you will want to cut the amount in half. Sage has an earthy slightly peppery flavor.

For more information about purchasing fresh herbs check out my Guide to Fresh Herbs.

Brown Butter Sauce

Unsalted Butter: Use unsalted butter. Salted butter tends to foam more, which makes it harder to accurately gauge the color of the butter as it browns.

Fresh Sage Leaves: I would be sure to use fresh sage and not try to substitute dried sage.

Garlic: If you don’t have fresh garlic you can substitute 1/8 teaspoon of granulated garlic.

Equipment

Food Processor or Box Grater: The onion can be grated on either a box grater or chopped in a food processor.

Large Mixing Bowl: These are my favorite mixing bowls. They come in a huge range of sizes, nest together for easy storage, and are easy to clean.

Sheet Pan: I have a set of sheet pans from Chicago Metallic that I have been using forever. When I need to purchase new sheet pans I will probably buy these sheet pans because they come with their own roasting racks.

Thermometer: The easiest way to know when the meatballs are fully cooked is to check their temperature. Full cooked meatballs should have an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheight. The Thermapen Mk4 from Thermoworks is my favorite thermometer. It is durable, fast, and easy to use, and clean.

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheight.

In a large bowl mix together the ground chicken, bread crumbs, onion, parmesan, egg, garlic, sage, salt, and black pepper.

uncooked meatballs on a foil lined baking pan

Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs using approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball.

Line a large sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Space the meatballs about 1/2 inch apart on the sheet pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit. You can also cut a meatball in half to make sure the meat is no longer pink.

While the meatballs are baking, add the butter to a large light-colored saucepan and melt over medium heat.

Add the sage leaves and minced garlic. The butter will foam up a bit and then subside. Lightly browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan.

Stir and cook the mixture until the butter has turned a very light brown color and the sage leaves have become crispy. About 5 minutes. Watch carefully the butter can go from perfectly browned to burnt in moments.

Season with salt and pepper.

Frequently asked questions

Can meatballs be made ahead of time?

Yes. Shape the meatballs and place them in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet, being careful to not squish them together. Cover and refrigerate for up to one day.

Why are my meatballs tough?

Meatballs become tough when they are overworked, formed into too tight of balls, or are overcooked.

Don’t over-mix the ingredients. Remember the mixture will continue to mix together when you are rolling it into balls.

Can I use ground turkey instead?

Yes, you can substitute ground turkey for ground chicken. The cooking time will be the same.

What is brown butter?

Brown butter is a french sauce known as beurre noisette which translates to hazelnut butter. As the butter is heated water evaporates and the milk solids caramelize on the bottom of the pan. These caramelized milk solids give brown butter its characteristic nutty flavor.

meatballs, ravioli, and spinach on a black plate

How to freeze meatballs

Uncooked meatballs

  1. Place the uncooked meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours until the meatballs have frozen.
  3. Transfer the meatballs to a zip-top bag and label it with the contents and date.
  4. Uncooked meatballs can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.
  5. Thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight before cooking as described in the recipe.

Cooked meatballs

  1. After cooling the meatballs place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours until the meatballs have frozen.
  3. Transfer the meatballs to a zip-top bag and label it with the contents and date.
  4. Meatballs can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

To reheat frozen cooked meatballs

  • Frozen meatballs can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator and reheated in a simmering sauce or 350 degree Farenheight oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Meatballs can also be reheated directly from the freezer in a simmering sauce or 350 degree Farenheight oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tips

Sage Chicken Meatballs

  • If you can’t find ground chicken you can either substitute ground turkey or ask your butcher to grind 1/2 a pound of chicken breasts and 1/2 a pound of chicken thighs together.
  • To keep the meatballs from sticking to your when rolling them into balls, spray your hands with a little nonstick cooking spray.
  • Don’t overwork the meat. Mixing the ingredients by hand allows you to ensure the ingredients are combined completely without overworking the mixture. Overworking the mixture creates tight tough meatballs.
  • When shaping the meatballs, all of the meatballs should be similar in size to ensure they will cook at the same rate. Loosely roll the meat into balls. Rolling and squeezing them into tight balls will create tough overworked meatballs.

Brown Butter Sauce

  • Use a light-colored pan to brown the butter. A light color pan will make it easier to gauge the color of the butter as it browns.
  • Brown butter sauce can go from perfect to burnt very quickly. Once the butter starts to brown stir constantly. When the butter begins to smell nutty remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce into a separate container. This will ensure that residual heat doesn’t cause it to burn.
  • Use unsalted butter. Salted butter tends to foam more, which makes it harder to accurately gauge the color of the butter as it browns.

Serving Suggestions

These meatballs can be served as appetizers or turn them into a meal. I really like to serve them with cheese ravioli and sauteed spinach.

meatballs, ravioli, and spinach piled on a black plate

Baked Sage Chicken Meatballs

Yield: 20 Meatballs
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
These baked sage and chicken meatballs are the best! Serve them as appetizers or turn them into a meal.

Ingredients

Baked Sage Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup shredded onion
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese - grated
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 2 tablespoon fresh sage - minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter - sliced into 6 pieces
  • 8 fresh sage leaves - cut into ribbons
  • 1 clove garlic - minced
  • salt and pepper

Instructions

Meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheight.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the ground chicken, bread crumbs, onion, parmesan, egg, garlic, sage, salt, and black pepper.
  3. Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs using approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball.
  4. Line a large sheet pan with foil and spray with nonstick spray. Space the meatballs about 1/2 inch apart on the sheet pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheight. You can also cut a meatball in half to make sure the meat is no longer pink.

Brown Butter Sage Sauce

  1. While the meatballs are baking, add the butter to a large light-colored saucepan and melt over medium heat.
  2. Add the sage leaves and minced garlic. The butter will foam up a bit and then subside. Lightly browned specks will begin to form at the bottom of the pan.
  3. Stir and cook the mixture until the butter has turned a very light brown color and the sage leaves have become crispy. About 5 minutes. Watch carefully the butter can go from perfectly browned to burnt in moments.
  4. Season with salt and pepper.

Notes

  • If you can’t find ground chicken you can either substitute ground turkey or ask your butcher to grind 1/2 a pound of chicken breasts and 1/2 a pound of chicken thighs together.
  • To keep the meatballs from sticking to your hands when rolling them into balls, spray your hands with a little nonstick cooking spray.
  • Don’t overwork the meat. Mixing the ingredients by hand allows you to ensure the ingredients are combined completely without overworking the mixture. Overworking the mixture creates tight tough meatballs.
  • When shaping the meatballs, all of the meatballs should be similar in size to ensure they will cook at the same rate. Loosely roll the meat into balls. Rolling and squeezing them into tight balls will create tough overworked meatballs.
  • Use a light-colored pan to brown the butter. A light color pan will make it easier to gauge the color of the butter as it browns.
  • Brown butter sauce can go from perfect to burnt very quickly. Once the butter starts to brown stir constantly. When the butter begins to smell nutty remove the pan from the heat and pour the sauce into a separate container. This will ensure that residual heat doesn't cause it to burn.
  • Use unsalted butter. Salted butter tends to foam more, which makes it harder to accurately gauge the color of the butter as it browns.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: Meatballs5
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 343Total Fat: 18gSaturated Fat: 6gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 10gCholesterol: 177mgSodium: 668mgCarbohydrates: 15gFiber: 2gSugar: 2gProtein: 32g

This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from an online calculator. Although raspberriesandkohlrabi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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top down view of meatballs, spinach, and ravioli on a black plate

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