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Baked Chicken Meatballs on rice on plate
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5 from 11 votes

Chicken Meatball Recipe (sticky, sweet & spicy)

This tender, sticky, sweet, spicy saucy chicken meatball recipe is a perfect appetizer or easy weeknight meal over fluffy rice. Impressive, but so quick and easy.
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time22 minutes
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Servings (change as needed): 25 -30 meatballs
Author: Cheryl


  • 1 pound minced chicken (preferably dark meat, but white is fine too)
  • 2 slices bread, torn into tiny little pieces (about 1/3 cup breadcrumbs)
  • 3 tablespoon milk
  • 1 tablespoon grated onion (or 1 tsp. onion powder)
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon Ketchup
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped parsley or basil (or 2 teaspoons dried)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • Garnish: chopped green onions, toasted sesame seeds


  • 1/3 cup soy sauce (light or low sodium is fine)
  • 1/5 cup water
  • 1/4 cup apple sauce (or apple juice or cider)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon Bourbon (optional)
  • 1/4 tablespoon chili flakes (for mildly spicy)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic - or 1 clove or frozen cube (or 1/4 tsp garlic powder)
  • 1 teaspoon minced/grated ginger or 1 frozen cube (or 1/4 tsp ginger powder)
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch


  • Preheat oven to 400F.
  • MAKE CHICKEN MEATBALL MIXTURE: In a medium bowl, add bread and milk. Let soak for a minute until liquid is absorbed. Add grated onion, ketchup, garlic, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix together. Add minced chicken and lightly mix all ingredients together. Mixture will be very moist. If too moist, add up to a few tablespoons breadcrumbs.
  • FORM AND BAKE MEATBALLS: Line a large sided pan with parchment or foil sprayed with oil. Wet your hands (do this periodically) and form meatballs into balls about 1 1/2 inches. (I don't worry about them being perfectly round). You should get about 25-30 balls. Place on pan and bake for 12 minutes or until cooked through. One side will be browned, the other pale. If desired, turn half way through (I don't bother).
  • MAKE SAUCE/GLAZE: While meatballs are baking, add all sauce/glaze ingredients to a small wok or skillet. Heat to medium high, stirring. Bring to boil, lower heat to medium and cook for 7-8 minutes to reduce and thicken sauce.
  • FINISH THE DISH: Add baked meatballs to sauce and stir to coat well. Serve. Note 1 for serving options.


  1.  Serving Options: For dinner, serve over rice or noodles. For appetizers, transfer to serving bowl (or leave in pan) and serve with toothpicks. For a starter, serve 2-3 on mini plates. For all, garnish with green onions and toasted sesame seeds.
  2. Make Ahead: Meatballs can be made ahead, cooled and refrigerated for a couple of days. Or frozen for 2-3 months.
Nutrition values are estimates per meatball. The values will actually be a little lower if all the glaze is not eaten. 
Calories: 49kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 250mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 80IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 10mg | Iron: 1mg