Chicken Apple Meatballs

These roasted apple chicken meatballs are tender and juicy with a sweet and tangy balsamic apple butter glaze.

Quick and easy to make these chicken meatballs are filled with fall’s best flavors. They make a perfect weeknight meal and are great for making ahead and storing in the freezer! They would also make an amazing appetizer for Thanksgiving day.

stack of meatballs on a white plate

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chicken apple meatball ingredients on a dark background

Ingredients

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.

Apple Butter: Adding apple butter to these meatballs brings so much flavor and moisture. Every other year my family gets together to make a huge batch of apple butter in a gigantic copper cauldron over an open fire.

If you don’t have homemade apple butter you can use store-bought. Apple butter is usually found next to the jams and jellies.

Grated Apple and Grated Onion: Because the apple and onion are grated it is not necessary to cook them before adding them to the meatballs. The pieces are small enough that they will be nice and tender by the time the chicken is fully cooked. They will also add tons of flavor and moisture.

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

Grate the whole apple working around the core. I leave the skin on, but you could peel it if you prefer.

Grating the onion and apple 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 and apple.

Sage and Thyme: Sage and thyme are some of my favorite herbs to use in the fall and winter. You can substitute chopped fresh herbs for the dried herbs. If using fresh herbs you will want to double the amount.

Equipment

Food Processor or Box Grater: The apple and 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.

Small Saucepan

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

Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheight.

Chicken apple meatball ingredients in a glass bowl

In a large bowl mix together the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, apple butter, apple, onion, garlic, egg, salt, sage, thyme, and black pepper.

chicken apple meatball ingredients mixed up in a glass bowl

Mix with your hands until just combined.

chicken apple meatball on a sheet 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. 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.

Apple Butter Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

  1. While the meatballs are baking, in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the apple butter, water, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
  2. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then remove it from the heat.
  3. Drizzle the sauce over the meatballs before serving.

Serving suggestions

I usually serve these chicken and apple meatballs alongside roasted sweet potatoes and either steamed green beans or broccoli. I like to drizzle a little of the balsamic apple butter sauce over the roasted sweet potatoes. It tastes AMAZING!

Easy Dinner Tip: Peel and chop the sweet potatoes into one-inch pieces. Microwave the sweet potato pieces until they begin to soften. Toss the sweet potatoes with a little olive oil, salt, and pepper. Then roast the sweet potatoes in the oven while you are also baking the meatballs.

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 over worked, 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 the ground chicken. The cooking time will be the same.

stack of chicken apple meatballs on a white plate

How to store

Store leftover meatballs in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave.

How to freeze

Uncooked meatballs

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

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 the simmering sauce or warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes.
  • Meatballs can also be reheated directly from the freezer in the simmering sauce or a warm oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

Tips

  • 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.
stack of chicken apple meatballs on a white plate

Chicken Apple Meatballs

Yield: 22 Meatballs
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
These roasted apple chicken meatballs are tender and juicy with a sweet and tangy balsamic apple butter glaze.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb of ground chicken
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/2 cup shredded apple
  • 1/2 cup shredded onion
  • 2 cloves of garlic - minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground sage
  • 1 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper

Apple Butter Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

  • 1/2 cup apple butter
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper

Instructions

Meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheight.
  2. In a large bowl mix together the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, apple butter, apple, onion, garlic, egg, salt, sage, thyme, and black pepper.
  3. Mix with your hands until just combined.
  4. Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs using approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball.
  5. Line a large sheet pan with foil. 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.

Apple Butter Balsamic Vinegar Sauce

  1. While the meatballs are baking, in a small saucepan over low heat, whisk together the apple butter, water, balsamic vinegar, and black pepper.
  2. Bring the sauce to a simmer and then remove from the heat.
  3. Drizzle the sauce over the meatballs before serving.

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.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 4 Serving Size: 8 Meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 437Total Fat: 15gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 9gCholesterol: 168mgSodium: 747mgCarbohydrates: 47gFiber: 3gSugar: 29gProtein: 31g

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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close up of a stack of meatballs

Chicken and apple meatballs

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