Greek Chicken Meatballs

These Greek Chicken Meatballs with Olives and Feta are made with ground chicken and fresh herbs, tangy feta cheese, and briny Kalamata olives. They’re the perfect balance of savory and salty, and they’re even more perfect because you can make them in 30 minutes.

Serve your chicken feta meatballs with orzo or stuff them into a meatball wrap or homemade pita with a drizzle of tzatziki or my lemon herb tahini sauce. So read on to learn all the tips and tricks, or just grab your apron, hit that Jump to Recipe button, and let’s make Greek chicken meatballs!

plate of Greek chicken meatballs with olives and feta along with pita, orzo, lemon, cucumbers and tomatoes.
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Ingredients

ground chicken, feta, and olives and other ingredients for the greek chicken meatballs.

 

These Greek chicken meatballs are made with the classic trinity for how to make meatballs and meatloaves: a pound of meat, one egg, and a half-cup of panko or other breadcrumbs. To get a delicious Mediterranean chicken meatball, you add:

  • Buttermilk: the buttermilk does two things in this recipe. It contributes a bit of fat and flavor. It also helps break down the meat proteins to produce a more tender meatball (see the Recipe FAQs for more information about panades).
  • Kalamata olives: Kalamata are Greek black olives. They are easy to find and often come pitted, which is why I use them. Feel free to use any black olive.
  • Feta: feta is a soft, salty cheese made from all or mostly sheep’s milk, with up to 30% goat’s milk allowable. We prefer the creamier French version pictured here, but any feta will work.
  • Garlic and herbs: oregano is common in Greek cooking, but you can use mint, thyme, parsley, or rosemary in these meatballs. Use one or a combination of fresh herbs.
  • Lemon zest: the touch of lemon brightens up the mixture and really makes the flavors sing.

Note that you don’t add salt in the recipe because the olives and feta are salty enough.

Please see the recipe card below for complete information on ingredients and quantities.

Variations and substitutions

  • Sub ground turkey for the ground chicken.
  • Sub gluten-free panko or make your own breadcrumbs from a couple slices of stale bread.
  • Sub any type of milk for the buttermilk. It will contribute a bit of fat but may not have the same tenderizing effect on the ground chicken.

Recipe tips and tricks

Step by step

Step 1: Preheat your oven and line a roasting pan with parchment paper or a bit of oil. This prevents your meatballs from sticking to the pan.

Step 2: In a large mixing bowl, mix together your panko and buttermilk or other milk. Stir them together well so the liquid soaks into the bread crumbs.

glass bowl with buttermilk-soaked panko.

Step 3: While the panko and buttermilk are soaking, add the other ingredients one by one except for the chicken and egg. You’ll speed things up if you do this step while you chop all the other ingredients.

glass bowl with buttermilk-soaked panko, garlic, olives, feta, and other ingredients.

Step 4: Once all of the ingredients except for the chicken and egg are added to the bowl, mix these well with a spoon or spatula. Add the chicken and egg and use your hands to gently mix until well combined. Don’t overwork the mixture, or your chicken meatballs won’t be tender.

ball of greek chicken meatball mixture in a glass bowl.

If you have time, let the mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes to set up.

Tip from the wise quacker: make the meatball mixture ahead of time and leave the bowl in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.

Step 5: Use a medium-sized (#40) cookie scoop or your hands to form the mixture into one and a half inch meatballs. Place them on the baking sheet, leaving a little space between the meatballs.

unbaked chicken meatballs with feta and olives on a parchment-lined sheet.

Step 6: Bake the chicken meatballs in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165 °F (74 °C) and they are starting to turn golden brown. Shake or turn the meatballs once or twice during cooking for even browning.

Serve immediately.

baked chicken meatballs with olives and feta on a parchment-lined sheet.

What to serve with Greek chicken meatballs

Check out this post and read more about how to serve meatballs for dinner. Here are some of my favorite things to serve with these Greek chicken meatballs:

Recipe FAQs

What is a panade?

A panade (or panada) is a paste made of milk and bread. It’s commonly used in meatballs and meatloaf to keep the meat tender – one of the reasons why meat is cooked in milk in Bolognese sauce or my sausage ragù.

Are these traditional Greek meatballs?

No. Keftedes or keftethes are a traditional Greek meatball made with ground lamb or sometimes ground beef. My Mediterranean chicken meatballs are more Greek-style or Greek-inspired than a true Greek recipe.

How should I store these meatballs?

Store cooked meatballs in the refrigerator for up to five days. Cooled meatballs can also be frozen in an air-tight freezer bag for three to six months.

What can I do with leftover feta?

Feta is a key ingredient in Greek salads made with cucumbers and tomato, but you can use it in these savory feta and spinach muffins. Or make a quick shakshuka for one happy person for breakfast.

Love this recipe? Please leave a 5-heart 💜💜💜💜💜 rating in the recipe card below. Let me know how much you loved it, or any problems you had, in the comments section further down.

Recipe

Greek Chicken Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
Category: Main Course
Cuisine: Mediterranean
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 28 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories: 251kcal
Packed with Mediterranean flavors, these 30-minute Greek chicken meatballs with feta and olives are a must-try for any meatball lover!
Print Recipe

Ingredients

  • ½ cup panko or other bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons buttermilk or milk of any kind
  • ¼ cup Kalamata or other black olives pitted and coarsely chopped
  • ¼ cup feta, crumbled
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped like oregano, rosemary, mint, or parsley
  • 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 egg lightly beaten

Instructions

Greek chicken meatballs

  • Preheat your oven to 425°F (215°C).
  • In a large mixing bowl, stir together the panko and milk or buttermilk and set it aside for a few minutes to allow the panko to absorb the liquid.
    ½ cup panko, 2 tablespoons buttermilk
  • Add the crumbled feta, minced garlic, chopped herbs, chopped olives, lemon zest, and black pepper and stir together.
    ¼ cup Kalamata or other black olives, ¼ cup feta, crumbled, 1 clove garlic, minced, 2 tablespoons fresh herbs, chopped, 1 teaspoon lemon zest, ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • Add the ground chicken and the egg, and use your hands gently to mix everything together until well combined.
    1 pound ground chicken, 1 egg
  • Using a medium (#40) cookie scoop or your hands, form the mixture into about 1½ inch meatballs and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  • Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for about 15 minutes, turning them over once or twice for even browning. They should be cooked to 165℉ (74℃) and turning golden brown on the outside. Serve immediately.

Notes

Use a light touch when making these Mediterranean chicken meatballs. Kneading will make tough meatballs.
If you have the time, let the meatball mixture sit at 30 minutes in the refrigerator before shaping the meatballs.
You can make the mixture ahead of time and leave it in a covered bowl in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours.
This recipe will make about 18 to 20 medium-sized Greek meatballs with feta and olives.

Nutrition

Calories: 251kcal | Carbohydrates: 7g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 148mg | Sodium: 385mg | Potassium: 647mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 145IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 2mg
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