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Braised BBQ Chicken Meatballs

This BBQ chicken meatballs recipe calls for braising meatballs in barbecue sauce to get tender and juicy chicken meatballs packed with flavor. Make the BBQ sauce ahead of time or use your favorite store-bought bottle, and you’ve got dinner in 30 minutes.

You can serve BBQ chicken meatballs over mashed potatoes or mac and cheese for amazing comfort food. You’ll be surprised that you’ve never made anything like them before.

How to make your own homemade meatballs and meatloaf recipes

Many homemade meatballs and meatloaf recipes start out with a standard ratio of one pound of meat to one egg and one half cup of breadcrumbs. This ratio is a great taking off point for your own variations.

cast iron pan with chicken meatballs and barbecue sauce.

Pick a ground meat or a combination of meats. Add garlic or green onion for flavor and maybe some vegetables or nuts to give texture. Add in some spices.

These BBQ chicken meatballs were adapted from my recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. It has ground chicken in place of ground beef, a change of spices, and a braise in a homemade BBQ sauce instead of marinara.

Tips and tricks for this BBQ chicken meatballs recipe

The barbecue sauce is easy and quick to make. You chop and saute a few onions, add some minced garlic, and then simmer the rest of the ingredients while preparing the chicken meatballs.

If you’re short on time, you can always use store-bought barbecue sauce. But it’s worth making your own at least once when you have a few minutes more.

a pan filled with bbq sauce.

Make the chicken meatball mixture while the BBQ sauce is simmering. You can sub ground beef, ground pork, or a combination of the two if you like. But this is one recipe where you might not even notice the difference in flavor with ground chicken.

bbq chicken meatball mixture in a glass bowl.

Use a medium cookie scoop to get meatballs that are approximately the same size. And nestle them into the pan with your barbecue sauce.

uncooked chicken meatballs sitting in barbecue sauce.

Simmer on low for about 15 minutes, turning the meatballs over in the sauce about halfway through, until the internal temperature is 165 degrees. You may need to stir the sauce if it starts to stick to the bottom of the pan.

FAQs about these BBQ chicken meatballs

Can I substitute other ground meats for the chicken?

Yes, these BBQ meatballs can be made with ground beef, ground pork, or a combination of the two.

Can I make these gluten free?

Yes, I have made meatballs with gluten free panko, and it works perfectly.

Can I freeze these BBQ chicken meatballs?

Yes, meatballs freeze well for three to six months in an air-tight container. Freeze them in the leftover barbecue sauce if you have any remaining.

a cast iron pan filled with chicken meatballs and barbecue sauce.

How to serve these BBQ chicken meatballs

Serve these meatballs with your favorite barbecue side dishes. Try them with mashed potatoes or mac and cheese and some cole slaw. Or use them as the protein in a BBQ bowl. Leftovers work great in a meatball wrap.

four barbecue chicken meatballs over mashed potatoes.

Related recipes

Check out the archives for other recipes using ground meat, like these lamb meatballs with pine nuts and raisins, these chicken and apple meatballs, or these chicken Parmesan muffins.

BBQ Chicken Meatballs

5 from 3 votes
Category: Main Course
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 461kcal
Author: uglyducklingbakery
This BBQ chicken meatballs recipe calls for braising meatballs in barbecue sauce to get tender and juicy chicken meatballs packed with flavor. Serve with mashed potatoes, mac and cheese, coleslaw, or your other favorite sides.
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • 2 cups homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce
  • ½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 egg
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro or a combination of the two
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon oregano
  • ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • teaspoon chipotle or other chile powder

Instructions

  • Add the barbecue sauce to a large, lidded frying pan, and heat over low heat.
    2 cups homemade or store-bought barbecue sauce
  • In a large bowl, add the panko and milk and stir together to let the milk soak in while you prepare the other ingredients.
    ½ cup panko or other breadcrumbs, 2 tablespoons milk
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients to the bowl and use your hands to gently mix it all together.
    1 pound ground chicken, 1 egg, 1 clove garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons chopped parsley or cilantro or a combination of the two, ¼ teaspoon salt, ¼ teaspoon oregano, ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika, ⅛ teaspoon chipotle or other chile powder
  • Use a medium cookie scoop or use a spoon to scoop out about 2 tablespoons of the meatball mixture. Roll it into a ball and place it onto a plate or piece of waxed paper while you form all of the meatballs.
  • Gently nestle the meatballs into the barbecue sauce, cover the pan, and cook at a simmer for about 15 minutes, turning the meatballs once, until the internal temperature reaches 165°F. You may need to scrape the bottom of the pan if the barbecue sauce starts to stick.
  • Serve immediately.

Notes

Use store bought barbecue sauce, or check out my recipe for homemade barbecue sauce.
Variations
  • Substitute ground beef, ground pork, or a combination of the two in place of the ground chicken.

Nutrition

Calories: 461kcal | Carbohydrates: 65g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 5g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 139mg | Sodium: 1762mg | Potassium: 985mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 48g | Vitamin A: 643IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 3mg
Love this recipe?Mention @Uglyducklingbakery or tag #uglyducklingbakery!

What’s next?

If you make these BBQ chicken meatballs and love them, please leave a comment or rating here. Or share a pic with me on Instagram!

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6 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    These meatballs were fantastic! So easy, tender and flavorful. Made the homemade barbecue sauce to go with, which was also delicious. The recipe made 12 meatballs and my husband and I ate 4 each; can’t wait to eat the rest later this week. Maybe next time I’ll make a double batch. Thanks for the recipe! Highly recommended.

  2. 5 stars
    Super yummy and came together really quickly (even more so if you use storebought BBQ sauce). A great weeknight dinner!

  3. 5 stars
    Delicious, and a unique twist on meatballs. Super soft and tender meatballs. Easy to make on a weeknight. Best part was it was toddler approved, and easy to sneak in some veggies.

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