Homemade Pesto Chicken Meatballs are so juicy, flavorful, and work great on their own or served over pasta!
These meatballs can be served as a main dish with some pasta, or on their own as an appetizer. No matter how you serve them, they will become a new family favorite!
Family Friendly Dinner Recipe
Our family is always on the hunt for really easy dinner recipes. Bonus points if they are both kid-friendly and somewhat healthy!
These pesto chicken meatballs fit the bill, and have become a family favorite. They require minimal ingredients and only a few minutes of prep. It doesn’t get much better than that!
They’re flavorful, tender, and perfect on top of a bed of basil tossed pasta. We’ve also enjoyed them with roasted veggies and cous cous. Regardless, they’re always a big hit!
Pesto: We always make homemade pesto with walnuts instead of pine nuts, but store-bought works too. I make an extra large batch and it goes a long way.
Meat: Ground chicken goes well with the pesto flavor in these meatballs, but you could also use ground turkey, pork, or beef.
Hiding Veggies: You can add in shredded spinach or kale to your homemade pesto and the kiddos would have no idea. You can also add other healthy vegetables such as shredded carrots or zucchini to the meatball mix.
Be careful that you keep the veggie:chicken ratio balanced otherwise adding extra veggies can cause the meatballs to fall apart.
Seasonings: The pesto flavor is already pretty strong, but if you want more, try adding Italian seasoning, basil, parsley, oregano, or thyme. Add some heat with chili powder or red chili flakes.
How to Make pesto Meatballs
PREP. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, set aside.
MIX. In a medium mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, shallot, breadcrumbs, parmesan, pesto, egg, salt and pepper. Using a spatula or your hands, mix until combined.
FORM. Roll mixture into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place onto prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with oil (I prefer using pure avocado oil).
BAKE. Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees.
SERVE. Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite pasta dish or steamed veggies.
instant pot instructions
To make pesto chicken meatballs in the instant pot, make the meatballs and form into balls, being sure to not over-mix.
Place 1-1 ½ cups of chicken stock into the bottom of the instant pot. Place the trivet in the instant pot and place your meatballs on top of the trivet.
Cook on high pressure for 7 minutes. Let the pressure naturally release for 5 minutes before manually releasing it.
Perfect for freezing!
Uncooked meatballs freeze really well, so I like to make a batch of these, put them in the freezer, and then I can pop a few in the oven whenever I need them.
To FREEZE, put your meatballs on the cookie sheet, cover with plastic wrap, and put them in the freezer for about 30 minutes. After 30 minutes you can then transfer the meatballs to a freezer-safe plastic bag. Freeze until ready to cook!
If you have any leftover cooked meatballs, they should be STORED in an airtight container in the fridge. They will stay fresh for 2-3 days.
These chicken meatballs are the perfect addition to any pasta, rice, or veggie dish. Even the pickiest of eaters will love them!
For more meatball recipes, check out:
- Easy Meatball recipe
- Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Crockpot Meatballs
- Barbecue Pineapple Meatballs
- Italian Meatballs
Chicken Pesto Meatballs Recipe
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1/2 c panko breadcrumbs
- 1/4 c grated parmesan
- 1/4 c basil pesto fresh or store-bought
- 1 egg
- 1/4 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. black pepper
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with a silicone baking mat, set aside.
- In medium mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, shallot, breadcrumbs, parmesan, pesto, egg, salt and pepper. Using a spatula or your hands, mix until combined.
- Roll mixture into balls about 1 ½ inches in diameter. Place onto prepared baking sheet and lightly spray with oil (I prefer using pure avocado oil).
- Place into oven and bake for 20-25 minutes or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees. Remove from the oven and serve with your favorite pasta dish or steamed veggies.
Made these tonight. They were FANTASTIC!!! Kid liked them.
I’m so happy the kids liked them! That’s always a big bonus in my book. 🙂
I have made chicken meatballs a few times and they tend to turn out dry and flavorless. The addition of the pesto fixed both of those issues. Thanks for the recipe.
You’re welcome! I’m glad you enjoyed the pesto addition! Thanks for sharing.
I rarely follow recipes exactly. This one was logical and made sense…So I decided to make it almost verbatim. It was Excellent! My family and I enjoyed it very much. It is notable to say you can easily duplicate this recipe anytime and it will be equally as good every time. Cudo’s to you on a well written and nicely flavored recipe.
Thank you so much!! Sure appreciate your kind words. I’m so glad to hear you and your family enjoyed the recipe!
Tasty. Easy. Quick. Winner on all fronts. Served it with spaghetti dressed with pesto and small green salad.
Mmm sounds delicious! So glad you enjoyed the meatballs!
My picky husband loved these ! Used ground turkey because the store didn’t have ground chicken . Sooooo good 👍
This recipe is delicious. The best part is there are minimal ingredients needed and it’s quick to throw together on busy nights.
A different twist on meatballs and the family loved them!
What a nice departure from beef meatballs (which we love).
This recipe is a keeper.
I did add fresh basil since we have it in our garden.
Hubby loved them & especially love a healthy version that is so tasty.
Yay! I’m so glad you enjoyed the meatballs. I bet the addition of basil was tasty!
Mean the meatballs be cooked in an air fryer? Has anyone tried that?
Yes, they could. I haven’t tried it, but I imagine they would be delicious. You’ll have to let us know how they turn out if you give it a try!
Made these last night and they were delicious! My husband enjoyed too and I’m happy we can have them again tonight! Chicken has gotten so expensive, but Trader Joe’s still has ground chicken for $3.99, so it’s an inexpensive meal too!
Good to know! I’m so glad you both enjoyed the meatballs!
This is a hit in our house – all my kids love these meatballs. Thanks for the great recipe!
Will make this for sure looks delicious & then I will send another comment
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