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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!

Chicken pesto meatballs served with a bowl of pesto pasta

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!

Making pesto in a food processor to combine with chicken meatballs

Ingredient Tips

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.

Pesto meatball ingredients in a glass mixing bowl

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 1/2 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.

Chicken meatballs on a baking sheet

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.

Pesto chicken meatballs on top of pesto pasta in a bowl

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:

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5 from 72 votes

Chicken Pesto Meatballs Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Homemade Pesto Chicken Meatballs are so juicy, flavorful, and work great on their own or served over pasta!
Servings: 4
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 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
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Instructions 

  • 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 1/2 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.

Nutrition

Calories: 295kcal, Carbohydrates: 7g, Protein: 25g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 5g, Cholesterol: 145mg, Sodium: 498mg, Potassium: 621mg, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 425IU, Calcium: 121mg, Iron: 1.6mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
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About Natalie

I'm the food photographer and blogger behind Life Made Simple. I'm passionate about creating from scratch family-friendly recipes ranging from healthy to decadent.

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Recipe Rating




54 Comments

  1. Jennifer says:

    5 stars
    These Chicken Pesto Meatballs have the best flavor and I love that they’re a bit healthier too! One of our favorite recipes!!

    1. LilLunaTeam says:

      So glad it’s one of your favorites! Thanks for sharing!

  2. Lisalia says:

    5 stars
    Yummy! We served these meatballs over rice. They were so easy to make and absolutely a delicious dinner! Oure entire family ate it up. No leftovers. I’ll have to double it next time!!

    1. LilLunaTeam says:

      I’m so happy your family enjoyed it! Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  3. Betsy says:

    5 stars
    One of my absolute favorite pasta sauces! So good in the meatballs! Love the delicious flavor combination of chicken and pesto in one meatball. So easy to make. I could easily make a double batch and throw some in the freezer for another time! Family loved it. So delicious!

  4. Debra says:

    5 stars
    So easy and tasty! My husband was hesitant upon hearing the recipe but qent back for seconds! Thanks for the quick, flavorful recipe!

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      You made my day! Thanks for letting me know!

  5. Sarah says:

    5 stars
    These were soooo delicious. I cooked them in a cupcake tray so they retained Even more MOISTURE. A new favourite for us! Thankyou!

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Good idea! Thank you for letting me know that!

  6. Tici says:

    5 stars
    FABULOUS! I added some garlic, basil & oregAno to my meatballs. WonderFul recipe!

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Yum! I am so glad you liked them, as much as we do! Thank you!

  7. Angela says:

    5 stars
    Really delicious recipe, thank you!

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      You are so welcome! Thank you for trying them!

  8. SHeree jackson says:

    5 stars
    Very easy recipe and
    So Fast, too! Everyone
    enjoyed them, even,
    my grandson!
    Thanks,
    Sheree

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Glad he did!! Thank you for trying this recipe!

  9. Natalie says:

    5 stars
    Tried these aNd they were OUTSTANDING!! Ive been making homemade Pesto for years so this is exciting! Do you think i could make a batch but freeze them before they are cooked? I’d love to have these handy On a busy weeknight.

    1. Kristyn Merkley says:

      Yay!! Glad you liked them! I would think you could, I haven’t tried, but I don’t see why not.

  10. Misty says:

    5 stars
    I am so excited to finally have a meatball recipe with chicken that I love!! These were are incredible!