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chicken in a skillet
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5 from 6 votes

Chicken Piccata Meatballs

What do you get when you cross tender, pan-seared meatballs with lemony chicken piccata? Chicken Piccata Meatballs! Serve this saucy one-pan recipe over spaghetti or rice for a fresh twist on a classic.
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Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time25 mins
Total Time55 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: chicken dinner, Chicken Recipe, freezer friendly, meatball, weeknight-friendly
Servings: 4
Calories: 428kcal
Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $10.00


  • Mixing Bowls
  • Saute Pan or Skillet



  • ½ cup Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs (see note)
  • 2 Tablespoons Milk
  • 1 pound Ground Chicken
  • 3 Tablespoons minced White Onion
  • ¼ teaspoon Black Pepper

For the Sauce:

  • ½ Lemon, very thinly sliced
  • 4 cloves Garlic, sliced
  • 2 teaspoon Sugar
  • 3 Tablespoons Olive Oil, divided
  • 3 Tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 Tablespoons minced Shallots
  • 1 Tablespoon All-Purpose Flour
  • ½ teaspoon Dried Oregano
  • ½ cup Dry White Wine (substitute chicken stock)
  • 1 cup Low-Sodium Chicken Stock
  • 2 Tablespoons Capers, drained and rinsed
  • 2 Tablespoons chopped Flat-Leaf Parsley


  • Slice ½ lemon into very thin slices. Toss with garlic and sugar. Set aside. (Note: You can slice the other half of the lemon into wedge to squeeze over the finished dish.)
  • Combine bread crumbs and milk in a large mixing bowl. Add chicken, onion, and black pepper. Use your hands to gently combine all of the ingredients. Form into meatballs that are about 1.5-inches in diameter (these should be fairly small; if the mixture sticks to your hands, wet your hands with a small amount of oil or water).
  • Heat a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add olive oil. When it begins to shimmer, add meatballs. Let meatballs cook on one side until golden brown, then gently turn meatballs until evenly golden brown on all sides, 6 to 8 minutes total. (Note: If the pan starts to look dry or the meatballs start to stick at any point during cooking, add some extra oil.
  • Set cooked meatballs aside in a bowl.
  • Pour lemon-garlic-sugar mixture into heated pan. Sauté until garlic is fragrant and lemons are tender, 1 to 2 minutes. (Don’t worry if there are a lot of browned bits starting to stick to the bottom of the pan at this point - they’ll come up as soon as you add the liquid.)
  • Transfer lemons and garlic to bowl with meatballs.
  • Add butter to heated pan. When it melts, add shallots and cook until tender, about 2 minutes.
  • Add flour and oregano and stir until no dry spots remain.
  • Slowly pour in white wine and stock, scraping up any browned bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Bring sauce to a simmer and simmer until slightly thickened, 2 to 4 minutes.
  • Remove pan from heat and gently stir in capers, lemon-garlic mixture, and meatballs.
  • For more lemon flavor, squeeze some extra lemon juice over top. Top meatballs with parsley.


Recipe adapted from Lemon Chicken Piccata which gets the idea for Charred Lemons from Cooking Light.
Lemon Slices - As you can see from the photos, lemon slices are left whole in the finished dish. If they are very thinly sliced, they are delicious to eat along with the meatballs. If they are thicker, they may be a bit tough to eat, so just leave them on the side. Either way, they add beautiful color to the finished dish and give it a rich, lemony flavor all the way through. 
Italian Seasoned Breadcrumbs / Salt - Be sure to check the ingredients on your seasoned breadcrumbs to be sure they include salt. Most “seasoned” breadcrumbs include plenty of salt, in which case the meatballs will not need any additional salt. If salt is not included, add ½ teaspoon of salt to the meatball mixture. 
Make ahead - Make and refrigerate the meatballs up to a day ahead. Line them up on a sheet pan and cover with plastic wrap to keep them moist until you’re ready to cook them. 
To freeze - Cook meatballs and sauce as directed. Allow to cool completely. Freeze for up to 4 months.
Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!
chicken piccata meatballs freezer label


Calories: 428kcal | Carbohydrates: 21g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 11g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 470mg | Potassium: 637mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 526IU | Vitamin C: 21mg | Calcium: 75mg | Iron: 2mg