Easy Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs Recipe (Copycat)

A Mouthwatering Guide to Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs Recipe

Getting Started: The Basics of the Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs Recipe

So, you’ve stumbled upon Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs at your nearest Trader Joe and you’re curious about making them at home, huh? First off, let me tell you, you’re onto some good stuff here. The wonderful thing about this easy meal is that you can recreate it in various ways, tailored to your taste. Plus, this Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs recipe has everything you’re looking for: easy dinner, quick meals, and deliciousness. However, let’s not forget about the role of ground chicken, which is the star ingredient here. Ground chicken is a great option if you want to switch things up from traditional beef meatballs. And, the leaner meat packs much flavor and is a game changer when you’re craving healthy meals.

Now, before you roll up your sleeves and dive in, make sure to have your kitchen essentials ready: a large skillet, a meat thermometer, and a medium bowl. And as for ingredients, you’re going to need your white rice or cauliflower rice as a side, a red onion for that extra zing, parmesan cheese, and almond flour as a binding agent. If you’re ready to get cookin’, so am I!

Mastering the Art of Meatball Making: The Cooking Process

Ready, set, cook! To begin, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in your large skillet. While that’s getting nice and warm, mix your ground chicken, red onion, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, and a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper in a large bowl. Here’s where the meat thermometer comes in handy: you’ll want to make sure that the internal temperature of your chicken meatballs reaches a safe point during cooking. Now, a great way to add moisture to your meatballs is to include some bread crumbs and a splash of your favorite sauce—whether that’s marinara sauce or sweet chili sauce, it’s up to you.

Once your skillet is hot, use a cookie scoop to form your meatballs and drop them in. Cook for 8-10 minutes, turning occasionally until they turn golden brown. A good quality skillet really makes this recipe absolutely phenomenal! If you don’t have a cast iron skillet, I suggest you invest in one. I couldn’t live without my Lodge skillet for all the searing that I do. Check it out here.

If you’re more of an air fryer person, just place them in the air fryer basket and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines. Feeling fancy? Try serving them with grilled asparagus spears! You can also cook these meatballs in a slow cooker or an Instant Pot for an easy weeknight dinner that requires minimal attention. All that said, meal prep for this Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs recipe is also a breeze. Just freeze your cooked meatballs in an airtight container and heat them up next time you need a quick and easy lunch or dinner.

Sauce It Up: A Journey Through Tasty Sauce Ingredients

By now, you’ve probably mastered the basic Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs recipe. But hey, why stop there? You can dress them up with various sauces and bring them to new heights. For a kick, try a buffalo sauce with a dash of lemon juice. Want an Asian twist? A sauce with lime juice, sesame seeds, and Trader Joe’s miso ginger broth adds a whole new dimension. However, if you’re more of a classic Italian fan, basil pesto or a simple marinara sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese can never go wrong. And, adding some red pepper flakes can give that sauce some oomph!

For those who are into meal prep, make these sauces in advance and store them in airtight containers. Just heat and serve the next time you whip up some meatballs. You can also prepare a selection of these sauces to go with other Trader Joe’s recipes like turkey meatballs or meatless meatballs for your vegetarian pals. The sauce ingredients for these meatballs are super versatile, and the whole family will love trying different combinations.

Time to Get Fancy: Optional Toppings and Sides

Let’s talk sides and toppings, because, let’s be honest, meatballs shouldn’t stand alone. First time tackling this recipe? Why not try serving it over a bed of white rice or for a lower-carb option, cauliflower rice. Both options are quick meals that pair beautifully with our Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs. That said, you can also go a different route with jasmine rice or even cilantro wontons chicken broth ramen. Bell peppers make a colorful and nutritious side, and they can be quickly sautéed in the same large skillet you used for the meatballs. A quick sprinkle of sea salt, and you’re good to go.

If you’re feeling a little extra, a sprinkle of feta cheese and some green onions can go a long way. You could also go for lemon zest for a refreshing touch or sesame seeds for a nutty flavor. Moreover, green beans and asparagus ingredients can be quickly roasted on a sheet pan while your meatballs are cooking. Just preheat your oven, place them on a parchment paper-lined sheet, drizzle some olive oil, and pop them in for about 10 minutes. Next time you’re meal prepping, consider these options to add some flair to your usual Trader Joe’s recipes.

A Close Look at Nutrition: What’s In These Meatballs Anyway?

Are these Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs as nutritious as they are delicious? The short answer is yes, they offer a healthy alternative to traditional beef meatballs. Let’s not forget that ground chicken is a leaner meat option, so that’s a point for Team Healthy. On top of that, you can control the sodium level by using kosher salt sparingly and opting for sauces with less sugar. This makes them a fantastic choice for those looking for easy low-carb dinners or healthy meals. However, if you’re curious about exact nutrition facts, a meatball made according to this recipe, without sauce, clocks in at approximately 50-60 calories.

If you want to take it up another notch, consider using almond flour instead of bread crumbs. It’s a great way to reduce carbs and add some extra nutritional benefits. Plus, if you’re planning to use the air fryer basket, you’ll cut down on the oil, which is always a win. If you’re more of a “details” person and like to know all the nutrition facts, consider calculating the entire meal, including your chosen sauce and sides.

A World of Flavor: Unique Twists on the Classic Recipe

We all love Trader Joe’s meatballs, but what about adding some unique twists to the classic? How about trying turkey meatballs as a substitute for ground chicken? Turkey offers a slightly different flavor profile and is another lean meat option. If you’re up for experimenting, chicken sausage meatballs can also be a fun variant, adding a new way of enjoying this Trader Joe’s staple.

For an international touch, why not season your meatballs with some lime juice for a Mexican flair or some lemon juice for a Mediterranean zest? Another option is to toss them in some BBQ chicken meatball sauce, which is always a crowd-pleaser. Adding basil pesto or even buffalo sauce can make each meatball bite a different experience. Moreover, for those looking to explore various ways of enjoying this easy meal, cooking these meatballs in your Instant Pot or slow cooker with different sauces is another avenue worth venturing down.

Got Leftovers? Storing and Reheating 101

Good news: these Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs are just as tasty the day after. If you end up with leftovers—which is unlikely because they’re so darn good—you can store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze them. However, if you do decide to freeze, remember to separate the meatballs with parchment paper to prevent sticking.

To reheat, you can either microwave them for a couple of minutes or, for a crispier result, pop them back into the air fryer for a few minutes. The oven is also a great option, especially if you’ve got some frozen meatballs. Just place them on a sheet pan and heat at 350°F until they reach an internal temperature that’s safe for consumption. Also, take this opportunity to try them in different ways, perhaps this time on a ciabatta bun with spinach or even mixed in with your morning hash!

Take It Easy: Simplifying Meal Prep

Meal prep doesn’t have to be a chore, especially when you’re whipping up something as lip-smackingly good as Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs. To begin, make sure you have all your ingredients ready. That includes your ground chicken, spices, and other fun stuff like parmesan cheese and almond flour. Use a large bowl for mixing the meatball ingredients and a medium bowl for any sauce ingredients you’ll need. Having separate bowls for different components ensures less mess and smoother workflow. And, if you’re tight on time, a cookie scoop can be a real game changer for quickly forming uniform meatballs. Just scoop, release, and you’re ready for the next step.

Cooking meatballs in batches is also an easy way to save time. You can use a large skillet and cook them over medium heat, or for a hands-off approach, use your slow cooker or Instant Pot. Just make sure they reach the correct internal temperature for safe consumption. Once cooked, they can be stored in an airtight container for quick and easy weeknight dinners. Consider also making a double batch, so next time you’re in the mood for some Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs, they’re just a quick reheat away.

The Role of Sauces: From Sweet to Spicy

Sauce, glorious sauce! When it comes to meatballs, the sauce is where much of the flavor magic happens. Let’s start with something classic like marinara sauce. It’s a timeless choice and brings out the Italian seasoning in your meatballs. However, if you’re looking to venture off the beaten path, Trader Joe’s miso ginger broth adds an Asian twist that’s utterly delightful. Another great way to jazz things up is by using sweet chili sauce, which adds a hint of sweetness and a touch of heat.

Switching up your sauce ingredients is an easy way to create various ways of enjoying this delicious chicken meatball recipe. For a spicy kick, red pepper flakes can add some serious oomph. If you want a creamier sauce, a tablespoon of olive oil mixed with some basil pesto is a solid choice. Experimenting with different sauces is a good stuff approach to discovering new favorite recipes, and before you know it, you’ll have a repertoire of Trader Joe’s recipes that’ll make you the envy of your friends and family.

Tools and Tips: Let’s Talk Cookware

If you’re looking to make the best meatballs ever, the tools you use are just as important as the ingredients. A meat thermometer is indispensable for ensuring the correct internal temperature, which is essential for a juicy meatball. A large skillet is great for cooking your meatballs over medium-high heat, but if you prefer a no-fuss method, then the slow cooker is your friend. For those looking for a crispier texture, an air fryer basket is the way to go. Just set the temperature, place your meatballs inside, and wait for them to turn golden brown.

A large sheet pan is another essential tool, especially when you want to cook your meatballs and side vegetables simultaneously. Just line it with parchment paper for easier clean-up. Airtight containers are your best friends for meal prep, keeping your cooked meatballs fresh for days. Don’t underestimate the power of good cookware; it’s a worthy investment for those committed to making easy recipes with a sprinkle of flair.

The Versatility Factor: Breakfast, Lunch, and Dinner

You might think meatballs are just for dinner, but hold your horses. These Trader Joe’s chicken meatballs are so versatile, they could easily slide into any meal of the day. Ever tried meatballs for breakfast? It sounds odd, but pair them with some scrambled eggs, and you’ve got a protein-packed start to your day. Moreover, for an easy lunch, consider placing a few meatballs on a ciabatta bun, top with your favorite sauce, and voila—you’ve got a meatball sub that’ll be the talk of the office lunchroom.

Let’s not forget the timeless meatball salad combo. Toss a few warm meatballs over a bed of leafy greens, and you’ve got an easy meal that’s both hearty and healthy. And for dinner? The sky’s the limit. Serve them traditionally over white rice or opt for cauliflower rice for an easy low-carb dinner. The possibilities are endless, and exploring them can be a fun culinary adventure for the whole family.

The Grocery Run: Finding Your Ingredients at Trader Joe’s

So, you’re ready to make your shopping list and head to your nearest Trader Joe’s. First off, grab that ground chicken. It’s usually located near the ground turkey and chicken sausage. For spices, you’ll need garlic powder, onion powder, and Italian seasoning. Sea salt and black pepper are a must, but you probably already have those in your pantry. Don’t forget the almond flour; it’s usually near the baking supplies.

While you’re there, why not pick up some top fall finds? Trader Joe’s seasonal items are not to be missed and can sometimes serve as inspiration for your next culinary masterpiece. If you’re looking for additional items like lemon juice, lime juice, or red pepper flakes, they’re easily found in the spices and condiments section. Last but not least, if you’re feeling a bit fancy, grilled asparagus spears or even a bag of frozen green beans make great sides for your meatball dish.

Easy Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs Recipe (Copycat)

Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium
Servings

4

servings
Prep time

20

minutes
Cooking time

30

minutes

These homemade chicken meatballs are a spot-on copycat of Trader Joe’s classic, bursting with flavors of garlic, herbs, and Parmesan, all simmered to perfection in a rich marinara sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground chicken

  • 1/4 cup Italian bread crumbs

  • 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil

  • 1 24-ounce jar of marinara sauce

Directions

  • Get Ready: Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil. This sets the stage for your meatball masterpiece.
  • Combine the Good Stuff: In a large bowl, mix together ground chicken, Italian bread crumbs, grated Parmesan, lightly beaten egg, minced garlic, dried parsley, salt, pepper, oregano, and basil. Don’t overmix; you don’t want to make the meatballs tough.
  • Roll ‘Em Up: Use your hands to form the mixture into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place them on your prepared baking sheet.
  • Brown Those Babies: In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Lightly brown the meatballs for about 4–5 minutes, turning occasionally. You’re not cooking them through here, just giving them a nice color.
  • Into the Oven: Transfer your browned meatballs to the preheated oven. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F (74°C).
  • Sauce It: While they’re baking, warm up the marinara sauce in a saucepan over low heat.
  • Unite the Crew: After baking, transfer the meatballs into the saucepan with the marinara. Let them simmer for about 10 minutes to absorb some saucy goodness.
  • Serve and Savor: Spoon meatballs and sauce over your favorite pasta, or enjoy them solo for a protein-packed snack.

Notes

  • Try your favorite spices and flavorings to customize these meatballs.

These meatballs really give Trader Joe’s a run for their money! Forget the store-bought version; you’ve got this delicious homemade recipe now. You’re not just saving a trip to the grocery store; you’re creating kitchen magic. Bon appétit! 

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