Easy Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs Recipe (Copycat)

Fallen in love with Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs and want to make 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 chicken meatball recipe has everything you’re looking for: easy dinner, quick meals, and deliciousness. Ground chicken is a great option if you want to switch things up from traditional beef meatballs. And, the leaner meat is flavorful and a great choice when you’re craving healthy meals.

Step By Step

To begin, heat a tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat in your large skillet.

Mix your ground chicken, red onion, garlic powder, Italian seasoning, bread crumbs, and a pinch of kosher salt and black pepper in a large bowl.

You’ll need a meat thermometer to make sure that the internal temperature of your chicken meatballs reaches a safe temp of 165 degrees during cooking.

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. If you’re more of an air fryer person, just place them in the air fryer basket and follow the manufacturer’s guidelines.

Sauce Variations

You can dress them up with various sauces and really change the flavor.

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.

If you’re more of a classic Italian fan, basil pesto or a simple marinara sauce with a sprinkle of parmesan cheese can’t go wrong. I usually add some red pepper flakes which gives a spicy kick!

The sauce ingredients for these meatballs are super versatile, and the whole family will love trying different combinations.

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.

Storing and Reheating

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!

Tools and Tips

If you’re looking to make the best meatballs ever, the tools you use are just as important as the ingredients. A meat thermometer should be in your kitchen items for ensuring the correct internal temperature, which is essential for a juicy meatball. Also, every cook needs 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.

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.


How Do You Eat Trader Joe’s Meatballs?

  • Simple: Just heat and eat!
  • Pasta: Toss them with your favorite pasta and sauce.
  • Sub Sandwich: Slide them into a hoagie for a quick meatball sub.
  • Appetizers: Skewer them with toothpicks and serve as appetizers.
Preparation MethodIngredients NeededCooking TimeServing Suggestion
Classic SpaghettiSpaghetti, Marinara Sauce20 minsTop with Parmesan cheese
Meatball SubHoagie Rolls, Provolone15 minsAdd sautéed peppers and onions
Appetizer StyleBBQ Sauce, Toothpicks10 minsServe with a side of ranch
Meatball CasserolePasta, Cheese, Vegetables30 minsGarnish with fresh herbs

Are Trader Joe’s Frozen Meatballs Good?

  • Taste Test: Delicious and convenient! A thumbs up from busy cooks.
  • Flavor: Well-seasoned with a hint of herbs. Flavor in every bite!
  • Time Saver: A lifesaver for quick meals. Less time cooking, more time enjoying!
  • Versatility: Great for multiple recipes. From casseroles to sandwiches, they’ve got you covered!

Why Are My Chicken Meatballs Tough?

  • Overmixing: Mixing too much makes them dense. Be gentle!
  • Cooking: Overcooking is a no-no. Keep an eye on the timer!
  • Ingredient Imbalance: Too little moisture can lead to toughness. Balance is key!
  • Pro Tip: Use breadcrumbs and an egg to keep them tender and juicy.

How Do You Make Sure Meatballs Are Cooked Through?

  • Temperature: The internal temp should reach 165°F. A meat thermometer is your friend!
  • Size Matters: Consistent size ensures even cooking. Uniformity is the secret!
  • Cooking Technique: Baking or simmering in sauce helps cook evenly.
  • Visual: They should be golden outside and not pink inside.

How Long Does Trader Joe’s Pre Cooked Chicken Last in the Fridge?

  • Storage: Keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Freshness first!
  • Sealing: Store in airtight containers. Keep the goodness locked in!
  • Reheating: Ensure they’re heated thoroughly before serving again.
  • Freezing: For longer storage, freeze them for up to 2 months.

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! 

Easy Trader Joe’s Chicken Meatballs Recipe (Copycat)

Course: DinnerCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Medium


Prep time


Cooking time



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.


  • 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


  • Preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with cooking oil.
  • 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.
  • Use your hands to form the mixture into meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place them on your prepared baking sheet.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, add olive oil. Lightly brown the meatballs for about 4–5 minutes, turning occasionally.
  • Transfer your browned meatballs to the preheated oven. Bake for 10–12 minutes, or until a meat thermometer reads 165°F (74°C).
  • While they’re baking, warm up the marinara sauce in a saucepan over low heat.
  • After baking, transfer the meatballs into the saucepan with the marinara. Let them simmer for about 10 minutes.
  • Spoon meatballs and sauce over your favorite pasta, or enjoy them solo for a protein-packed snack.


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

Craving more delicious recipes? Try these: Comforting Homemade Chicken Noodle Soup