These citrus-glazed chicken meatballs are great as dinner or as an appetizer. The meatballs are made with simple pantry spices, browned in a hot pan, and then coated in the sticky-sweet orange and lemon sauce.
Citrus-Glazed Chicken Meatballs
Last week I shared a recipe round-up with 24 meatballs recipes (link at the end of the post!) and, not surprisingly, it triggered a serious meatball craving. My usual go-to solution for a meatball craving is to make my classic meatballs or my chicken & spinach meatballs, but this time with a hefty amount of inspiration, I went with something totally new: chicken meatballs with a sweet and sticky orange glaze. Well, I guess it’s not totally new as I used my orange chicken recipe as the inspiration, but that’s the great thing about cooking, right? Take a recipe, switch a few things up and you get something brand new.
And these bites of chicken can pull double duty. Make them a little bigger, serve them over rice and call them dinner. Or, make them a little smaller, pile them in a dish with some toothpicks on the side and call them an appetizer. I went the dinner route and I kept the leftovers in the fridge. Later, I may or may not have plucked one out of the container every time I passed the fridge as a little snack, so maybe they serve a third purpose, as well. They’re delicious cold so add them to the late-night savory snack column, too.
Some Ingredients You’ll Need
- Ground chicken: For dinner-sized meatballs scoop a generous couple of tablespoons for the balls and you should get about 16 meatballs. For appetizer size, cut back to a tablespoon.
- Pantry Spices: I used to make meatballs with fresh onion and garlic, but more and more I put the spice rack to work. It’s so much easier to use garlic powder, onion powder, and dried oregano – less prep time! I also added some crushed red pepper flakes for a little heat.
- Breadcrumbs: I used plain store-bought dried breadcrumbs.
- Cornstarch: Roll the meatballs in some cornstarch and they will develop a nice crust as they brown in the pan. Add a small amount to the sauce to help it thicken as it cooks.
- Oranges and Lemons
- Ginger: You can buy a knob of fresh ginger, peel it, and mince enough for 1 teaspoon or you can buy a tube of fresh ginger paste. Buy the tube. It’s so much easier.
- Other ingredients for the sauce: Soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, honey, and brown sugar.
More Meatball Recipes
Want more meatball recipes? Check out this collection featuring some of my favorite recipes plus others from around the web. So much delicious inspiration!
These chicken meatballs, made with simple pantry ingredients, are coated in a sticky-sweet citrus sauce made with fresh orange and lemon juice. This recipe makes approximately 18 dinner-sized meatballs, but you can also make them smaller and serve them as an appetizer.
For the Meatballs
- 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
- 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 2 tablespoons cornstarch
- 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
For the Citrus-Glaze
- 2/3 cup juice from 4 oranges
- 1/3 cup juice from 2 Lemons
- 1 tablespoon soy
- 1 tablespoon rice wine vinegar
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger (see note)
- 1/4 cup honey
- 2 tablespoons brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch
- Combine the bread crumbs, garlic and onion powders, salt, and oregano in a large bowl. Add the egg and oil and stir to combine. Add the chicken and, using your hands, gently mix it all together until just combined.
- Spread the 2 tablespoons of cornstarch in a shallow dish. Scoop approximately two tablespoons of the chicken and form a ball. Lightly coat it in cornstarch and place it on a plate. Repeat with the rest of the chicken.
- Heat the vegetable oil over medium-high heat in a 10-inch skillet. Place the meatballs in the pan and cook them, turning periodically to brown them all over, about 10-15 minutes. Transfer the meatballs to a clean plate and turn the heat off.
- Combine the orange and lemon juices, ginger, soy sauce, vinegar, honey, and brown sugar in a medium bowl. Add the cornstarch and whisk until combined. Turn the heat back on to medium heat and, using the same pan you used to cook the meatballs, pour the sauce into the pan and bring it to a boil. Whisk frequently until the sauce starts to thicken (should lightly coat the back of a spoon). Add the meatballs, roll them in the sauce, and let it cook another five minutes or until the sauce resembles syrup. Remove from the pan and serve.
You can buy a knob of fresh ginger, peel it. and mince enough for one teaspoon or just buy a tube of fresh ginger that’s all ready to use, no prep necessary. Look for fresh ginger paste near the herbs at the store.
- Serving Size: 3 meatballs
- Calories: 299
- Fat: 16.3g
- Carbohydrates: 24.9g
- Fiber: 0.6g
- Protein: 15.3g