Go Back
+ servings

Spicy Calabrian Chicken Meatballs

This recipe for spicy Calabrian chicken meatballs is one you'll add to your regular rotation. These Calabrese meatballs are so delicious!
4.23 from 9 votes
Print Pin Share on Facebook
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 40 minutes
Total Time: 55 minutes
Servings: 16 meatballs
Calories: 130kcal



Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 shallot peeled
  • 5 cloves garlic peeled
  • cup fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 red Fresno chili pepper trimmed; or use crushed red pepper
  • ¼ cup heavy cream plus more, if needed
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs or panko plus more, if needed
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons avocado oil for frying

Calabrian Red Sauce:

  • 1 teaspoon olive oil for frying
  • 1 yellow onion peeled and minced
  • 3 cloves garlic peeled and minced
  • ¼ cup Calabrian chili peppers in oil minced
  • ¼ cup white wine or chicken stock
  • 15 ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Pinch of sugar if needed
  • 4 ounces fresh mozzarella torn
  • 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil optional


Prepare the Meatballs:

  • In a food processor, combine the shallot, garlic, parsley leaves, and chili pepper and pulse until minced. Remove from the processor and rinse out the processor and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, whisk together the heavy cream and eggs. Add the panko or breadcrumbs and set aside for 10 minutes.
  • Add the minced aromatics to the bowl of softened panko and season with salt and pepper. Add the ground chicken and season with salt and pepper. Use your hands to combine, being careful not to over-mix. If the mixture seems too dry, add a bit more heavy cream and work it in with your hands. If it feels too wet, add a touch more panko. Be careful not to add too much panko, or else you will end up with chicken bricks.
  • Form into tablespoon-sized meatballs and set aside. Note: You can fry up a small piece before making the meatballs to taste them first.

Fry the Meatballs:

  • Heat the avocado oil in a wide pot over medium heat. Add the meatballs in batches, and cook for 3-4 minutes per side until browned all over. Transfer to the meatballs and continue frying until all the meatballs brown all over. Cover the plate with foil and set it aside.

Prepare the Sauce:

  • If needed, add a touch more oil to the same pan you used to fry the meatballs and turn the heat to medium. Add the diced onion and cook for 5-8 minutes until it softens and turns golden around the edges.
  • Add the minced garlic and minced Calabrian peppers and cook for 45 seconds until fragrant.
  • Pour in the white wine or chicken stock and bring to a boil. Scrape up any browned bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
  • Add the crushed tomatoes and bring to a boil. Season with salt and pepper and a pinch of sugar, if desired. Add the meatballs, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes.

Melt the Cheese:

  • Preheat oven to 400ºF. Arrange the torn mozzarella all over the meatballs and drizzle with 2 teaspoons of extra virgin olive oil. Transfer to the oven for 15 minutes until the cheese is completely melted. If desired, turn on the broiler for 3-4 minutes until the cheese turns golden brown in spots. Remove from the oven.

To Serve:

  • Divide the meatballs and sauce between bowls and serve with pasta or crusty bread. Enjoy!


Calories: 130kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 8g | Sodium: 121mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin C: 5mg
Tried this recipe?Mention @triedandtruerecipes or tag #triedandtruerecipes so I can feature you in my feed!