How to cook chicken meatballs in a skillet (Gluten-free recipe)

These juicy, tender meatballs are cooked with rice and parmesan cheese. Serve them with spaghetti and tomato sauce, add them to a salad or pack them in a lunch box. They are perfect either way and gluten-free of course.

chicken meatballs close up

This is one of my favorite recipes for a busy weeknight dinner. I have made these easy skillet meatballs so many times that I somehow didn’t even think about sharing them with you.

The last time I made these chicken meatballs, my boys said, mum, you should put the recipe on your blog! To be honest, I thought, this recipe might be too simple, nothing fancy, just your everyday chicken meatballs. But then I thought, they were right! This homemade meatballs recipe is exactly the kind of recipe why I started my blog in the first place. They are quick, wholesome, easy to make and gluten-free.

I hope that you and your family will enjoy this delicious family chicken dinner as much as we do.

Reasons to love this recipe

  • Wholesome. These homemade meatballs are made with only a few fresh ingredients and are so so good for us. You might have to spend some extra time in the kitchen preparing them, but this will be so worth it!
  • Gluten-free. If you were looking for a gluten-free meatballs recipe, you found the right place. These delicious meatballs are made with rice, without breadcrumbs.
  • Easy to make. Watch the video below to see how I make them.
  • Meal-prep friendly. Make them, put them in a fridge or freezer and enjoy them later in the week.
  • Done on a stove, in a skillet.
  • Can be cooked in the oven.
  • Kid-friendly. Kids love meatballs and these ones are perfect for the school lunch box.
  • Budget-friendly. Chicken meat is cheap and delicious. Perfect for a family meal.
  • Freezer-friendly. Yes, you can freeze them.
  • And don’t forget they are simply delicious!!
chicken meatballs on a plate with tomatoes and fresh parsley

Ingredients:

As mentioned before these flavorful meatballs are made with only a few fresh ingredients. You will need:

Chicken mince. Also known as ground chicken meat. I recommend you use mince made from chicken thighs. Dark chicken mince has higher fat content, resulting in juicier meatballs.

Parmesan cheese or Parmigiano-Reggiano. Only half a cup is needed to add a lot of rich, salty flavour to our meatballs.

Cooked rice. In this recipe, I use cooked basmati rice instead of bread crumbs. Rice’s sticky properties come in handy for shaping meatballs. This also makes them absolutely gluten-free.

ingredients to make chicken meatballs

See the recipe card for the full list of ingredients.

How to make

  1. Prepare a baking tray by lining it with some parchment paper. You can use a large chopping board instead of a baking tray.
  2. Combine cooked rice, grated parmesan cheese, chopped parsley and an egg in a large bowl. Season with salt and pepper.
  3. Add the chicken mince to the bowl and using your hand mix everything well until all ingredients are combined and you have a smooth meatball mixture.
  4. Take a little bit of the meat mixture in your hands, approximately 1/2 tablespoon full, and roll it into a little ball between your hands. If the meat is sticking to your palms, wet your hands with a little bit of water. Put the meatball on the baking tray and repeat with the remaining mixture. You will have approximately 30 little chicken meatballs.
  5. Put the tray with the meatballs in a freezer for 10 minutes. This will help to keep the round shape when cooking.
  6. Heat some olive oil in a large cast iron skillet over medium heat. Do not overheat the oil.
  7. Place the raw meatballs into the skillet one by one. Make sure to leave some space between them so they have enough room to caramelize. Too many meatballs in one pan will result in steamed meatballs.
  8. Cook them for 4-5 minutes, on medium-high heat. Turn the around and cook them on the other side for another 4-5 minutes.
  9. Now cook them for another minute, moving constantly so that they brown all over. Take them out of the pan.

The chicken meatballs in a skillet are ready to be served.

15 row chicken meatballs on a baking tray

Cook them in the oven

Like any other meatballs, these chicken meatballs can be cooked in the oven. Cook them on a baking sheet or baking rack, lined with some baking paper. Brush them with some extra virgin olive oil and bake them for 20 minutes at 200’C (400’F). The baked meatballs are a little less juicy than the stove-top ones, nevertheless delicious.

Chicken meatballs recipe

What to serve with chicken meatballs

These delicious meatballs can be used in so many different ways.

Are these meatballs gluten-free?

Yes, these chicken meatballs are 100% gluten-free. They are made with cooked rice instead of bread crumbs and seasoned with parmesan cheese. So if you have celiac disease, gluten intolerance or any other reason not to consume gluten, these meatballs are a perfect choice.

Variations

The options to customise these meatballs are endless.

  • Add some Italian seasoning and freshly pressed garlic for Italian meatballs.
  • Use cilantro leaves instead of parsley and a teaspoon of sweet chilli sauce for some Thai flavour.
  • Add chilli sauce or some chilli flakes for some extra heat.
  • Use feta cheese instead of Parmesan to make Greek meatballs.

Make them dairy-free.

You can leave the cheese out completely and add 1/2 teaspoon of nutritional yeast instead. Alternatively use dairy-free cheese.

How to store

If you have some leftover meatballs or you cooked them in advance, simply refrigerate them in an airtight container. They will stay fresh for up to 3 days.

How to freeze meatballs

The meatballs can be frozen in a freezer-safe container or a freezer bag for up to 3 months. Take the frozen meatballs out of the freezer on the day you would like to serve them and let them defrost naturally in a fridge. They will be completely deforested before dinner time. You can reheat them on a stove, or in a frying pan with a little bit of olive oil. Or put them in the oven for 15 minutes at 200’C (400’F) and enjoy!

More easy meals ideas

Q and As

Can I use chicken breast mince instead?

Yes, you can. This recipe will work just fine using chicken breast. However, the meatballs might not be as juicy as the ones made with dark chicken meat. They will also cook a bit faster.

How do I know the meatballs are cooked through?

The cooking time will depend on the size of the meatballs. The smaller the meatballs the faster they will cook. You can use the meat thermometer to ensure that the meatballs are cooked. Chicken is done cooking when its internal temperature reaches 165ºF (75ºC).

Can I use beef or pork meat to make this recipe?

Yes, you absolutely can. Swap chicken mince for whatever ground meat you prefer and follow the recipe. It might take a little longer to cook pork or beef, so give them a little extra time.

Can I freeze uncooked meatballs?

I would not recommend freezing these meatballs uncooked. Rice doesn’t freeze well and you might end up with mushy meatballs.

chicken meatballs on a plate with tomatoes and fresh parsley

How to cook chicken meatballs in a skillet (Gluten-free recipe)

Elena Elliott
Juicy tender meatballs cooked on the stove. This is the only chicken meatball recipe you will ever need. Nourishing, easy to make, and absolutely delicious.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course dinner
Cuisine Italian
Servings 30 meatballs

Ingredients
  

  • 500 g of organic or free-range chicken mince I always use chicken thigh mince
  • 1/2 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup parmesan cheese grated
  • 1 free-range egg
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley optional
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 4-5 tablespoons of olive oil for shallow fry

Instructions
 

Frying in a skillet method

  • Prepare a baking tray by lining it with some parchment paper. We will place raw meatballs on the tray.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine the cooked rice, grated parmesan cheese, and chopped fresh parsley leaves (if using)
  • Add an egg, salt and pepper and mix everything to combine. 
  • Add chicken mince and mix using your hands until the meat mixture is well combined and smooth.
  • Take half a tablespoon of the meatball mixture and roll it in your hands, shaping a little ball. Place the ball onto the prepared baking sheet.
  • Repeat with the remaining mixture. You will have approximately 30 meatballs.
  • Refrigerate the meatballs for 10 minutes.
  • Heat some olive oil in a large skillet or frying pan. 
  • Add the meatballs one by one into the frying pan and cook for 3-4 minutes over medium heat. 
  • Using long tongs, flip the meatball to the other side and cook for another 4-5 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked. 
  • Use a meat thermometer if you need to make sure the meatballs are fully cooked. Chicken is done cooking when its internal temperature reaches 165ºF (75ºC).

Oven baked method:

  • Preheat the oven to 200’C(400’F)
  • Follow the recipe steps 1 to 6.
  • Transfer the tray with the meatballs into the preheated oven and bake for 15 minutes or until fully cooked.  
  • Use a meat thermometer if you need to make sure the meatballs are fully cooked. Chicken is done cooking when its internal temperature reaches 165ºF (75ºC).

Video

Notes

Parsley leaves in this recipe are totally optional. Many kids don’t like green “stuff” in their meatballs.
I would not recommend freezing these meatballs uncooked. Rice doesn’t freeze well and you might end up with mushy meatballs.
Swap chicken mince for whatever ground meat you prefer and follow the recipe. It might take a little longer to cook pork or beef, give them some little extra time.
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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4 Comments

  1. These were so good and will definitely go into our rotation. It is a win anytime I can get all three kids on board with the same meal.

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