Fried Chicken Meatballs

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These fried chicken meatballs are light and delicious. They are made with vegetables and can be served as a snack or as a main dish. They are great warm or cold and can even be frozen for later!


In Israel, we don’t really come together for a large meal every evening as most families here in the U.S. do. Our main meal is lunch, and by the end of the day, everyone is tired and ends up just picking something easy and light for dinner before calling it a day.

But Friday night is different. That is our “come together” meal. It’s a huge meal that usually takes a few hours to make. My mother always serves fish or soup (like this favorite pea soup), a couple of dishes of meat, a few different sides, a bunch of different salads, and, of course, there is always Challah bread. Growing up, I remember how hard it was to wait for this meal to be served…

Fried Chicken Meatballs…

A pile of fried chicken meatballs ready for serving.

The house smelled so good, and us kids, used to eating our main meal in the middle of the day, were starving by the time the food got to the table on Friday night. That’s where these fried chicken meatballs came in. My mother would fry them around 4 pm in hopes to serve them for dinner, but they never made it to the table.

We’d sneak into the kitchen and grab them as they came out of the hot oil. My mother would try to move them around, smack our hands, yell… Nothing ever worked and nothing ever changed as we grew up. We still steal these delicious fried chicken meatballs as they come out of the pan, thankfully, she’s given up by now and came to peace with the fact that they just ain’t gonna make it to her beloved large Friday night dinner.

Some of the ingredients for the meatballs.

Ingredients…

  • Meat – let’s talk about meat for a minute… We used chicken here because in Israel (I was visiting my family when I took the images and the recipe from my mother for this post) ground chicken meat is very easy to find in the store. Here in the U.S. it might not be as easy to come by. However, ground turkey is always available, so feel free to substitute for ground turkey or you can buy boneless chicken thighs and grind the meat yourself.
    If you raise your own meat chickens, turkeys, or rabbits, you can use their meat in this recipe. With turkey and chicken grind the dark meat for this dish since it’s a bit softer and not as dry as the breast.
  • Vegetables – what makes these meatballs so light are the added vegetables. We used zucchini, onion, and parsley here but you can get creative or try something new each time. Shredded carrots, shredded potatoes, shredded beets, shredded turnips, cilantro instead of parsley, they can all work well.
  • Egg – just one egg to bring the mixture together…
  • Bread crumbs – we just used plain to make sure the meatball mixture is not too wet.
  • Seasonings – use salt, black pepper, and a little bit of chicken flavoring like Knorr if you want.
  • Oil – feel free to use either canola oil or vegetable oil (we used canola). If you feel like making these meatballs a bit healthier you can fry them in lard or tallow.

Kitchen Tools…

How to Make Fried Chicken Meatballs…

Mixing all of the ingredients.

Step one – prep the meatball mixture. To a mixing bowl, add the meat, vegetables (shredded zucchini, grated onion, and chopped parsley. Or you can place all the vegetables in the food processor and pulse a few times), egg, and breadcrumbs. Then add about one teaspoon each of salt, black pepper, and chicken flavoring. Mix it all together using your hands until you get a smooth mixture that is not too wet and can be formed into patties. If you find that the mixture is too wet, add a little more breadcrumbs.

Making the meatballs.

Step two – fry the meatballs. Set your pan on the stovetop and add a little less than half an inch of oil. Turn the heat to high to heat the oil. To check if the oil is hot enough for frying, I insert a wooden toothpick into it. If bubbles form around the toothpick it means that the oil is ready. I usually lower the temperature of my stovetop to medium-high at this point to keep the oil from heating too much. We don’t want it to burn the outside of the meatballs before the inside has a chance to cook. Scoop some of the mixture and form it into a patty or a ball…

Frying the meatballs.

Lower the meatballs into the hot oil and fry until they are golden before turning them over. This should take a few minutes (about 4-5 minutes or a little more depending on the temperature of your oil).

Setting the meatballs on a sheet pan to cool.

Step three – let the meatballs cool. Once the meatballs are golden on both sides, take them out of the hot oil and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. I sometimes place the cookie cooling rack inside of the baking sheet and place them on the rack, this way the excess oil will drip down onto the baking sheet. Both methods work well. Now all that is left to do is wait a few minutes for these fried chicken meatballs to cool slightly before you can serve them.

How to Serve Fried Chicken Meatballs…

  • As a main dish – they are filling yet light and they are, in my opinion, the best easy lunch. I love packing them for the kids for school. I place four of them for each of my kids in a lunch plastic container with some homemade sweet potato fries, roasted asparagus or broccoli, beetroot salad, red cabbage salad, purple sweet potato chips or whatever other vegetable I have on hand. They are delicious cold just as much as they are delicious warm and the kids can simply pick them up by hand and enjoy them.
  • As a snack – sometimes, chips just don’t cut it! You know what I mean, let’s say you are out working on building a chicken coop for your beloved Black Australorps, you have no time to drive 20 minutes to town to pick up lunch or get in the kitchen and start putting something together… These fried chicken meatballs can save the day! Make sure to fry them ahead of time and keep them in a plastic container in the fridge, they’ll be there waiting for you to snack on so you can finish the house for the chickens that will produce more meat to make more meatballs. Ha! The cycle of homesteading…
  • As an appetizer – this is a great pre-meal dish! Or maybe you are hosting a party and need something small and yummy for your guests to munch on until the main dish is served…

How to Freeze These Chicken Meatballs…

These fried chicken meatballs will last in the fridge in a plastic container for a few days. I doubt that you are going to have any leftovers but just in case you do, know that you can easily freeze them. Just place the meatballs in a Ziplock bag or a plastic container and stick them in the freezer, they should last up to a year.

Biting into a warm fried chicken meatball.

How to Reheat Leftovers…

If you want to warm up your cool or frozen meatballs the best way to do it is in the oven. If you stored them in the fridge, you can also heat them in the microwave for a minute or so, but I think that the oven is a better choice.

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the meatballs on the baking sheet (if they are frozen, you don’t have to wait for them to thaw). Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake them for 10-15 minutes. They come out as soft and delicious as if you just fried them.

Frequently Asked Questions…

Can I use different vegetables?

Yes! Pretty much anything that you can think of. I love a combination of shredded potatoes and shredded zucchini. You can soften a sweet potato, dice it and add it to the mixture. You can do the same with pumpkin (ground turkey and pumpkin meatballs sound like a great dish for a holiday party!). I would always make sure to use one grated onion and parsley or cilantro though. They add great taste.

Can I add cheese?

Sure. In Israel, it’s not too common to mix cheese and meat so I’ve never tried, however, I don’t see why it won’t work. You can add pretty much any cheese from feta, to goat cheese, to mozzarella. I’d probably add about a cup. If you try that, let us know how it turned out in the comments.

What kind of other oils can I use for frying?

If you don’t want to use canola or vegetable oil , I think that lard will work best. Tallow can work as well.

Can I bake the meatballs instead of frying them?

Yes! These chicken meatballs don’t have to be fried. You can bake them in a 350 degrees F preheated oven for 20-30 minutes as well. They might not be as golden and beautiful but they’ll still be delicious.


These meatballs save me on a regular basis. They take me back to my childhood and I love serving them to my kids and watching them enjoy them as much as I did growing up. As an adult, I now appreciate them for their delicious taste but also because I can serve them cold, I can freeze them, I can eat a couple as a snack and not feel bad about it, and if I serve them as a main dish they don’t make me want to go take a nap since they are so light and easy to digest. Overall, I guess you have figured out by now that I’m totally in love with these golden beauties! I hope that you’ll give them a try.

More Delicious Recipes…

Fried Chicken Meatballs

Fried Chicken Meatballs

Yield: 20 meatballs
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 10 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes

These fried chicken meatballs are made with vegetables. They are light yet filling. Can be served warm or cold.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken (or turkey)
  • 2 cups shredded zucchini
  • 1 medium onion, grated
  • 1 bunch of parsley, chopped (about 2 cups)
  • (Note - you can place all the veggies in the food processor and pulse a few times)
  • 1 egg
  • 4 tablespoons plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon chicken flavoring (like Knorr, link in post)

For Frying:

  • Canola oil, vegetable oil, lard, or tallw

Instructions

  1. Add all the meatballs ingredients to a mixing bowl. Mix with your hand until you get a smooth mixture that is not too wet and can be formed into meatballs or patties. If you find that the mixture is too wet, add a little more bread crumbs.
  2. Set your pan on the stovetop and add a little less than half an inch of oil. Turn the heat to high to heat the oil. To check if the oil is hot enough for frying, I insert a wooden toothpick into it. If bubbles form around the toothpick it means that the oil is ready. I usually lower the temperature of my stovetop to medium-high at this point to keep the oil from heating too much. We don’t want it to burn the outside of the meatballs before the inside has a chance to cook.
  3. Scoop some of the mixture and form it into a patty or a ball. Lower the meatballs into the hot oil and fry until they are golden before turning them over. This should take a few minutes (about 4-5 minutes or a little more depending on the temperature of your oil).
  4. Once the meatballs are golden on both sides, take them out of the hot oil and transfer to a baking sheet lined with a paper towel to soak up the excess oil. I sometimes place the cookie cooling rack inside of the baking sheet and place them on the rack, this way the excess oil can drip down onto the baking sheet. Both methods work well.
  5. Now all that is left to do is wait a few minutes for these fried chicken meatballs to cool slightly before you can serve them.

Notes

  1. Serve warm or cold.
  2. Store in the fridge for a few days.
  3. Or freeze! Just add the meatballs to a Ziplock bag or a plastic container and freeze. They should last up to a year in the freezer.
  4. Reheat: if you want to warm up your cool or frozen meatballs the best way to do it is in the oven. If you stored them in the fridge, you can also heat them in the microwave for a minute or so, but I think that the oven is a better choice.
    Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and place the meatballs on the baking sheet (if they are frozen, you don’t have to wait for them to thaw). Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and bake them for 10-15 minutes. They come out as soft and delicious as if you just fried them.


Frequently Asked Questions...

    1. Can I use different vegetables?
      Yes! Pretty much anything that you can think of. I love a combination of shredded potatoes and shredded zucchini. You can soften a sweet potato, dice it and add it to the mixture. You can do the same with pumpkin (ground turkey and pumpkin meatballs sound like a great dish for a holiday party!). I would always make sure to use one grated onion and parsley or cilantro though. They add great taste.
    2. Can I add cheese?
      Sure. In Israel, it’s not too popular to mix cheese and meat so I’ve never tried, however, I don’t see why it won’t work. You can add pretty much any cheese from feta, to goat cheese, to mozzarella. I’d probably add about a cup.
    3. Can I bake the meatballs instead of frying them?
      Yes! These chicken meatballs don’t have to be fried. You can bake them in a 350 degrees F preheated oven for 20-30 minutes as well. They might not be as golden and beautiful but they’ll still be delicious.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 34mgSodium: 137mgCarbohydrates: 2gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 6g

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