These cheesy stuffed chicken meatballs are a healthier twist on traditional Italian meatballs stuffed with gooey mozzarella! Say hello to deliciousness!
Chicken meatballs aren’t something new here. When I introduced my Margarita Chicken Meatballs to my Stuffed Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Cheesy Ranch Centers you guys went nuts!
Then you guys asked for a super healthy version and who I am to deny you? Thus came my Protein Packed Chicken Parmesan Florentine Meatballs.
These meatballs are not only super healthy and packed with protein but they are friggen delicious! I’ve been preaching to you all for years.. eating healthy doesn’t have to taste bad! You should never have to sacrifice taste for making food healthy!
A few weeks ago I shared with you my latest meatball recipe, Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs made with beef and pork.
These meatballs stopped us in our tracks!
These seriously stopped both Mr. Fantabulous and me in our tracks. See while he likes cheese he doesn’t “love it”.
I know he’s a weirdo but he’s sexy and can lift super heavy stuff so I keep him around. LOL Please… I adore that man and would be lost without him! But when it comes to cheese he can either love it leave it. Me, on the other hand, has an entire fridge drawer dedicated to just cheese.
So when I decided to make a batch of meatballs I wanted to incorporate some cheesy awesomeness into them. Just by stuffing some cheese in the middle the outcome was so incredible that I may just permanently switch to making my meatballs this way for when I make meatball subs.
For him, I won’t have to add extra cheese on top (again he’s weird) and for me, I’ll get a double whammy of cheese… cheese in the middle and cheese on top! WIN WIN!
A healthier twist on traditional meatballs
So when I posted the Italian beef meatball recipe, I got hammered (in a very loving way) by you guys asking if it was a simple swap out of chicken for the beef and pork. Sadly that’s not the case.
Traditional beef & pork meatballs have a higher fat content meat-wise.
Ground chicken or if you’re like me, just food-processor pulsed chicken breasts (I like that better than actual ground chicken) has a very low-fat content.
That being the case if you were to just substitute the meats one-for-one, you’d end up with a very, VERY dry meatball with the chicken. And that’s just gross. No one wants a dry meatball.
A Chef’s Tip about working with Ground Chicken
This recipe actually took me a few tries to get the juiciness right for it. One thing about working with ground chicken is that it’s very, very tacky and it sticks to your fingers when you go to form the meatballs.
This is why anytime I make chicken or turkey meatballs I advise you to keep wetting your hands to form them this way the mixture won’t stick to them.
Once I nailed the recipe for the first time I made this recipe a couple of times after that just to be sure it wasn’t a fluke thing. There’s one thing about creating a great recipe but it’s another thing to ensure that the same delicious outcome happens every single time you make it.
You’ll happy to know that the same delicious outcome is repeatable… and I have about 4 dozen frozen meatballs in my freezer right now. LOL Wanna come over and have lunch with me?
Truth be told, I’m not sure which one I like better – this or the beef/pork one. Thankfully since I have so many of each in the freezer I don’t have to pick just one. I’ll make both and snack on them.
Keto-Friendly and Gluten-Free Options
For the bread, go with gluten-free bread and mix that with milk.
For the panko, you can use gluten-free or crushed pork rinds.
When I like to serve these meatballs
While football season is over, we still have hockey and baseball is starting up.
These make perfect dishes to tailgate with, serve up with big game or snack on while cheering your favorite team on!
These make a great appetizer for your next party or cookout (yes, summer is really approaching) or because it’s Friday night and you have a date with Netflix!
- 4 large boneless chicken breasts (or 2 lbs ground chicken)
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 4 slices stale white bread, crusts removed and torn (can be gluten free as well)
- 3 1/4 ounces grated parmesan
- 1–2 tsp black pepper
- 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1 tsp oregano
- 1 tsp basil
- 1 1/2 tsp ground garlic
- 1 1/4 tsp onion powder
- 1/4–1/3 cup Panko or Gluten Free Panko
- 4–6 string cheese sticks, each cut into 1/4” pieces (5 per stick)
- Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking pan with foil and spray with olive oil. Cut the chicken breasts into 1” cubes. Place the chicken I the bowl of a food processor and pulse until very small chunks are present. *You can skip steps 3 and 4 if you have ground chicken.
- In a bowl add the bread and the milk, press down to soak the bread and let sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, strain the bread from the milk and place the wet bread in a bowl with the rest of the ingredients (except the string cheese).
- With wet hands, shape half of the meatball and put 1 piece of string cheese in. You’ll want to keep re-wetting your hands so the mixture doesn’t stick to them. Place additional meal on the outside and form into a tight meatball. Fry in oil on all sides til brown. Place on the tray, slightly touching.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until 165F. Serve with warmed Marinara Sauce
Keywords: Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Chicken Meatballs, cheese stuffed meatballs, high protein meatballs, ground chicken meatballs