Golden brown, tender, juicy BAKED Spicy Chicken Meatballs simmered in a creamy, luscious Vodka Sauce and smothered with oozy cheese! This twist on classic Italian meatballs is easy to make and sure to become a family favorite!Recipe can be scaled up or down by using the slider if you hover your mouse over the number of Servings.
Optional for Serving: Crusty Artisan Bread, Cooked Pasta
Preheat oven: Arrange oven rack to lower-middle position. Preheat oven to high broil.
Prepare meatball mixture: Grate the onion into a large mixing bowl. To the same mixing bowl, add the chicken, garlic, egg, breadcrumbs, parmesan, Italian seasoning, chili powder, red pepper flakes and both types of paprika. Season with ¼ teaspoon each of salt and pepper. Use your hands to mix everything together well.
Form and roll meatballs: Spray your hands lightly with olive oil to prevent sticking. Roll and form the meat into firm, golf-ball sized meatballs, roughly 2 tablespoons of mixture each. (You should have about 15 meatballs).
Add sauce to baking dish: Pour the vodka sauce into a 9x13-inch baking dish. Spray a large oven-safe wire rack with non-stick cooking spray. Place the rack securely on top of the baking dish.
Add meatballs to rack: Place the meatballs on top of the oiled rack. Make sure you arrange the meatballs so that they are over the pan and the juices will drip into the sauce. Lightly spray the top of the meatballs with oil.
Broil: Broil the meatballs (over the sauce) for 8-9 minutes, or until the tops are golden brown. Remove from oven and flip the meatballs over. Continue to broil for an additional 2-3 minutes. Remove from oven. Reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Add meatballs to sauce: Carefully remove the rack of meatballs from the top of the sauce. Stir the sauce, taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Transfer the meatballs from the rack into the sauce.
Bake: Cover the pan and bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, or until meatballs are cooked through (internal temperature of 165 degrees F).
Uncover and add cheese: Uncover the pan and break the burrata on top of the meatballs and sauce, evenly distributing the cheese. Return to the oven and bake (uncovered) for an additional 8-10 minutes, or until the cheese is melted.
Serve: Garnish with fresh basil and parsley. Sprinkle with more parmesan and enjoy plain or with your favorite pasta or bread!
I recommend regular ground chicken for this recipe, not lean ground chicken. While you can use lean, all white meat ground chicken, your meatballs won’t be as flavorful and moist.
If you don’t have both sweet and smoked paprika, you can use a full teaspoon of just one type of paprika. I personally like the different flavors both provide.
You can use 2 (24 ounce) jars of your favorite store-bought vodka sauce – just make sure it is a brand you are familiar with and enjoy! The vodka sauce is a large part of this recipe! I recommend making your own – easy homemade vodka sauce recipe can be found HERE.
If you aren’t crazy about burrata, or can’t find it, you can substitute whole milk ricotta, fresh mozzarella, or a mixture of both!
To test meatball mixture for seasoning, fry a teaspoon of the meatball mixture in a hot pan. Taste and adjust mixture for seasonings.
If you don't want the chicken meatball drippings to flavor your sauce, you can place the meatballs on a greased wire rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet and broil them that way instead.
Tip for forming meatballs: spray your hands lightly with oil to prevent the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands.
To prepare meatballs in advance: The meatballs can be formed up to 2 days in advance. Place the meatballs on a plastic-wrapped lined sheet pan. Cover the pan with more plastic-wrap and store in the refrigerator.
To reheat meatballs in sauce: Cover the baking dish with aluminum foil. Reheat at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30-40 minutes, or until heated throughout.
Recipe Yield: Approximately 15 meatballsNutritional information is an approximation based upon 4 servings.