Homemade Barbecue Chicken Meatballs

Barbecue Chicken Meatballs
Barbecue Chicken Meatballs. Diana Rattray
Ratings (7)
  • Total: 40 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 20 mins
  • Yield: 24 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
73 Calories
3g Fat
6g Carbs
5g Protein
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These barbecue chicken meatballs are made with ground boneless chicken thighs. The chicken thighs keep the meatballs juicy. To make them a little lighter, use a combination of half chicken thighs and half chicken breasts. 

I used the grinder attachment on my stand mixer, but you could also use a freestanding meat grinder or food processor to grind the chicken with the spices and onion. Or buy ground chicken and mix it with the spices.

The chicken meatballs make a tasty appetizer. Serve them hot from a slow cooker or chafing dish. Or serve them as an entree with rice.


  • 1 pound chicken thighs (boneless, without skin, or use purchased ground chicken)
  • 2 slices bread (torn)
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/4 cup onion (coarsely chopped)
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried rubbed sage
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce

Steps to Make It

Cut the chicken into small chunks, trimming and discarding excess fat.

Soak the bread in the milk for a few minutes. In a food processor, combine the soaked bread with the chicken pieces, onion, garlic, thyme, sage, salt, black pepper, nutmeg, allspice, and cayenne. Process until ground and well blended. Or, grind the chicken and onion in a meat grinder then mix with the remaining ingredients.

If you're using pre-ground chicken, mix it with the soaked bread and spices until well blended.

Put the chicken mixture in a bowl, cover, and chill for about 1 to 2 hours.

Heat the oven to 425 F.

Line a baking pan with parchment paper or foil.

Moisten your hands with some cold water to keep the chicken mixture from sticking. Shape the ground chicken mixture into 1-inch meatballs and arrange them on the parchment or foil-lined baking pan.

Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 18 to 22 minutes, or until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked. The meatballs should register at least 165 F on a food thermometer inserted into the center of a meatball. That's the minimum safe temperature for ground poultry.

Heat the meatballs in a saucepan or slow cooker with the barbecue sauce until hot and nicely glazed.

Makes about 2 dozen meatballs.

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