Chicken Meatball Casserole is a delicious quick and easy dish made with ground chicken, bread, parsley, chili flakes, egg, onions, tomato sauce, olives, cheese, and basil. It’s an Italian-inspired meal that serves six and is done in under an hour.
- What is Chicken Meatball Casserole?
- Video Recipe
- How to make chicken meatball casserole:
- Tips for success:
- Can I make this casserole keto-friendly?
- How can I make this chicken meatball casserole vegetarian?
- What can I serve with this casserole?
- How to store:
- Chicken Meatball Casserole
What is Chicken Meatball Casserole?
This casserole with chicken meatballs recipe is a perfect make-ahead dish that you can pull out of the refrigerator or freezer and cook the night you’re ready to eat it. Keep in mind that if it’s frozen, it will take longer to bake. The internal temperature should reach 165F. You can remove the aluminum foil for the last 15 minutes of baking to get the cheese golden brown and bubbly.
This casserole is a thick and creamy dish filled with chicken meatballs, Italian flavors of parsley and basil, a tasty tomato base, and melty mozzarella cheese on top. It’s a dish your whole family will ask for again and again.
- 1 slice bread: Thick white bread is best to help thicken up this casserole
- 1⁄2 cup milk: Use whole milk since it’s better at thickening
- 1 pound (500g) ground chicken: Ground chicken easily rolls into balls to make meatballs.
- 3 tablespoon parsley: Wash your fresh parsley before using it to make sure there’s no dirt left from the fields.
- 1⁄2 teaspoon chili flakes: Chili flakes add a little spice that makes this casserole hard to resist.
- 1 egg: Use a fresh egg to help bind the meat and other ingredients to make the balls.
- 1 medium white onion, sauteed: White onions have a great flavor even after cooking.
- 3 cups tomato sauce: San Marzano makes amazing canned tomato products.
- black olives: Sliced black olives can be found in a small can in the grocery store.
- 1 cup sharp mozzarella, shredded: You can buy a block of mozzarella and shred it yourself or buy it pre-shredded.
- 1 ball mozzarella: Balls of mozzarella are fresher and stored in liquid to keep it moist and fresh.
- Fresh basil for serving: Fresh basil is sharper and much more flavorful as a topping than dried basil.
How to make chicken meatball casserole:
Here’s a brief overview of how to make this dish. See the recipe card below for the specific recipe instructions.
1. Preheat the oven.
2. Soak bread in milk and set aside for 1 minute. Squeeze out any excess milk.
3. Combine ground chicken with egg, chili flakes, salt, pepper, onion, and bread.
4. Form meatballs using an ice cream scooper.
5. Cook meatballs on a pan with some olive oil for 2 minutes per side or until golden on both sides.
6. Place meatballs in a baking dish with some tomato sauce in it. Pour leftover tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Add pieces of fresh mozzarella on top and finish with black olives.
7. Bake at 190C/375F for 15 minutes.
Tips for success:
Here are a few tips for success and variations you can try to make this the best chicken meatball casserole you've ever had.
- This dish is made without pasta which makes it low-carb.
- Instead of using mozzarella, you can use cheddar, Colby jack, pepper jack, or Monterey Jack.
- You can use red onions instead of white if you want a different flavor in the dish.
Can I make this casserole keto-friendly?
Yes, this casserole has no pasta, and if you’d prefer you can leave out the one slice of bread if you want it to be completely keto-friendly. It is still low carb even with the slice of bread.
Either way, this dish will easily fit into your lifestyle even if you have keto restrictions but your family members don’t.
How can I make this chicken meatball casserole vegetarian?
To make this casserole vegetarian, you can use firm tofu instead of the chicken to make the “meatballs.” You can also add extra veggies that will give the dish more flavor and make it even more filling.
What can I serve with this casserole?
Serve this casserole with crusty white bread, roasted vegetables, fruit salad, or anything that offers opposing textures and flavors to this dish. The more differences between the dishes the better your palate will like it.
How to store:
Store any leftover casserole in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days. Reheat it in the microwave with 30-second increments until it’s hot all the way through.
To freeze the entire casserole, wrap it in aluminum foil and plastic wrap. Label it with what it is, how to cook, and the date. Labeling will help you remember later. Remember that if you cook it from frozen, it will take longer to cook in the oven without thawing first. Keep the foil on until the last 30 minutes of cooking so the top can brown.
What other meat can I make the meatballs out of?
If you’d rather not use ground chicken you can use ground pork, beef, or turkey instead.
Can I add pasta to this casserole?
Yes, you can definitely add pasta if you’d like. Some great options are spaghetti, penne, bowties, rigatoni, macaroni, or shells.
Can I make this casserole into sandwiches?
Give this casserole a fun twist and make it into a sandwich! Fill hoagie rolls with scoops of meatballs, sauce, and cheese.
- 1 slice bread
- 1⁄2 cup milk
- 1 pound (500g) ground chicken
- 3 tablespoon parsley
- 1⁄2 teaspoon chili flakes
- 1 egg
- 1 medium white onion, sauteed
- 3 cups tomato sauce
- black olives
- 1 cup sharp mozzarella, shredded
- 1 ball mozzarella
- fresh basil for serving
- Soak bread in milk and set aside for 1 minute. Squeeze out any excess milk.
- Combine minced chicken with egg, chili flakes, salt, pepper, onion, and bread.
- Form meatballs using an ice cream scooper.
- Cook meatballs on a pan with some olive oil for 2 minutes per side or until golden on both sides.
- Place meatballs in a baking dish with some tomato sauce in it. Pour leftover tomato sauce on top and sprinkle with shredded mozzarella. Add pieces of fresh mozzarella on top and finish with black olives.
- Bake at 190C/375F for 15 minutes.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 160Total Fat: 8gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 59mgSodium: 766mgCarbohydrates: 13gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 12g