Rustic Chicken Piccata Meatballs
A new twist on the classic chicken piccata! These Chicken Piccata Meatballs are made with ground chicken and simmer in a delicious lemon butter sauce. Serve this dish over pasta, quinoa, or with crusty bread on the side.
Oh sweet golden glory!
Chicken piccata meatballs are a REAL thing.
They’re tender, Italian-inspired, seared chicken meatballs rolling around in a creamy, buttery lemon sauce speckled with capers and sprinkled with parsley to finish. The garlic is there. The meatballs are melt-in-your-mouth delicious. But for real though, that sauce. There may have been a moment (or two) of weakness where I slurped it with a spoon, straight from the skillet because it’s LEMON BUTTER sauce, and it’s so gosh darn good. But then there was also a moment when I went in with a wedge of crust bread. 🤷🏻♀️
Can you tell I’m still trying to cling to the last of winter comfort food while progressively venturing into springtime flavors? Is it blatantly obvious, I can’t make up my mind at this point? These chicken piccata meatballs are exactly that. Bright, beautiful flavors that are balanced.
Warm and comforting like a hearty winter meal should be.
Chicken Piccata Meatballs Video:
Holy guacamole! I’ve shared a ton of meatball recipes with you guys over the last 10 years.
And I have to say, you guys have a place in your heart for chicken meatballs the way I do. Especially the firecracker meatballs! They’re always popular around Super Bowl time! A little sumthin’ for winter (try the Swedish meatballs) and then some for spring, like these chicken piccata meatballs. Before you know it, there’s a meatball recipe for every month out of the year.
And these are extra special because I can serve them over egg noodles for when I want a real weekend treat or with a side salad for days when I’m watching the carbohydrates.
And basically, what I’m trying to get at is that chicken piccata meatballs are the new way to eat chicken piccata. Listen, I don’t know about you, but I’ve always hated dredging chicken cutlets in flour. One, because who has the time to make cutlets and two, because I hate dredging things in flour. Yes, the prep time might be a bit longer on this recipe, but they’re also 1000% more delicious.
Seared tender meatballs in golden sunshine sauce.
The base for today’s chicken piccata meatball recipe is my go-to chicken meatball recipe I’ve been using for years. I’ll tweak it a little here and there to suit the flavors in the sauce.
What do you need to make chicken piccata meatballs?
- Ground chicken: I like to use ground chicken breast for this recipe, but ground chicken thighs would definitely produce juicier results if you’re a ground chicken thigh person. You could also use ground turkey instead.
- Panko breadcrumbs: we’ll use the panic in the meatball portion of this recipe to help bind the ground meat and to absorb any excess moisture from the protein.
- Parmesan cheese: parmesan plays a two part role, the first is that it flavors the meatballs. The second, it helps absorb any excess moisture.
- Large Egg: Another binding ingredient for the meatballs.
- Garlic Cloves: we’ll use garlic in both the meatballs and the sauce portion of the recipe.
- Seasonings: you’ll need some kosher salt and black pepper to flavor the meatballs.
- Low-sodium chicken broth: this makes the base of this piccata sauce.
- All-purpose flour: aids in thickening the sauce.
- Lemons: we’ll need lemon zest for the meatballs and lemon juice to use in the piccata sauce.
- Capers: adds that tart punch that piccata in known for.
- Butter: helps thicken and add richness to the sauce.
How to make chicken piccata meatballs:
- Start with the meatballs. Add the ingredients to a large mixing bowl and fluff the meat with a fork until the ingredients are evenly combined. Roll the meatballs into balls.
- Sear them off. Add a couple tablespoons of olive oil to a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook them in batches. Overcrowding the pan will result in the meatballs steaming rather than searing. Don’t worry about cooking the meatballs all the way through, we’ll just browning them for right now. These will finish cooking in the piccata sauce. Which will allow them o soak up the lemon butterflavor. Once the meatballs are done, remove them to a plate. If you’re worried about the amount of oil in the meatballs, you can remove them to a plate lined with a paper towel.
- Make the sauce. Add a tbsp of butter to the skillet and allow the garlic to cook in the butter. Stir as needed to keep the garlic from burning. Then whisk in the flour. You want the flour to cook in the butter to get rid of the raw taste. Then slowly drizzle in the chicken broth with one hand as you whisk. Add the brine from the capers and lemon juice before you let the sauce gain a simmer. You want the meatballs to cook in a the sauce for a few minutes. Lower the heat and add the remaining butter. Add it in slowly. Follow these instructions carefully. Adding in cold butter to the warm sauce allows it to emulsify and thicken the sauce. This is a chefs secret to getting the best, restaurant quality sauce. Serve with chopped parsley sprinkled on top.
Recipe Tips and Tricks:
Combine everything but the meat in a bowl first so you can ensure even mixing without overworking the meat. Once you add the meat, mix until it’s just combined. The texture is so much better when you take an extra minute to do it right.
Once you’ve made the meatball mixture, just divide them into 20-22 portions. I use a medium cookie scoop so that all the meatballs are the same size. This also cuts out the guesswork because they cook in the same amount of time.
Keep any leftover chicken piccata meatballs in an airtight container for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the meatballs in an airtight container for roughly 2 months.
These would be delicious with an orzo risotto or some cheddar mashed potatoes. Roasted garlic mashed potatoes with asiago are another great options.
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Fancy but Easy Salmon Piccata
- Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce
- Comforting French Onion Chicken Meatballs
- Seriously Amazing Swedish Meatballs in Brown Gravy
- Mini Moroccan Meatballs Couscous Soup
- 1/4 cup grated parmesan
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1/3 cup chopped parsley (plus more)
- 1 1/4 pounds ground chicken (or turkey)
- 1 teaspoon salt + 1/2 teaspoon pepp
- 4 tablespoons cold butter, cubed
- 3 cloves minced garlic
- 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour (scant)
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
- 1/4 cup capers (plus 2 tsp caper brine)
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- MEATBALLS: In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix together all the ingredients except the ground chicken. When the ingredients are combined, add the ground chicken and mix until *just* combined. Just be sure you don't overwork the meat. Roll into 20-22 meatballs using a cookie scoop (affiliate link) or about 1 1/2 tablespoons each.
- SEAR: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a little oil. Add the meatballs to the skillet but do not overcrowd. Cook in batches if they don't all fit. Sear the meatballs for 4-5 minutes, flipping to brown all sides evenly. We'll finish cooking the meatballs through in the sauce later. Remove meatballs to a plate.
- SAUCE: Add 1 tablespoon of butter to the skillet along with the garlic and cook for 30 seconds or until fragrant. Add the flour and whisk. Once the flour cooks for 30 seconds, slowly drizzle in the chicken broth with one hand while you continue to whisk with the other hand. Add the caper brine, capers, lemon juice, and allow the sauce to gain a simmer. Then add the meatballs reduce the heat to medium and let thicken, about 5-7 minutes. Lower the heat to low, add the remaining 3 tablespoons of butter and allow them to slowly melt into the sauce as you stir. The butter will help thicken the sauce further. Serve with additional chopped parsley on top if desired.
- The sauce will thicken as it sits so I'd advise keeping a little additional broth on hand if you don't plan on serving this right away. Serve over egg noodles, zoodles, quinoa, rice, or with crusty bread!