Chicken Pesto Meatballs

Total Time

Prep/Total Time: 30 min.


4 servings

Updated: Sep. 23, 2023
These tender, pesto-stuffed meatballs get gobbled up in our house. They're short on ingredients, but packed with flavor. I always make a double batch, freezing the other half for a busy night. —Ally Billhorn, Wilton, Iowa
Chicken Pesto Meatballs Recipe photo by Taste of Home


  • 6 ounces uncooked whole grain spaghetti
  • 1/4 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons prepared pesto
  • 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • 1-1/2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional: Torn fresh basil and additional Parmesan cheese


  1. Cook spaghetti according to package directions; drain.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, pesto, cheese and garlic powder. Add chicken; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape into 1-in. balls.
  3. In a large skillet, brown meatballs over medium heat, turning occasionally. Add sauce and water; bring to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, until meatballs are cooked through, about 5 minutes. Serve with spaghetti. If desired, top with basil and additional cheese.

Can you freeze Chicken Pesto Meatballs?

Freeze cooled meatball mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan over low heat, stirring gently; add water if necessary.

Test Kitchen tips
  • If you don't have dry bread crumbs, substitute with an equal amount of unsalted cracker crumbs or uncooked oats, or use 3/4 cup soft bread crumbs.
  • Overmixing ground meat causes meat loaves, meatballs and burgers to have an unappealing firm and compact texture.
  • Mixing the seasonings and any bread crumbs or liquid ingredients before adding the meat helps blend the flavors without over-handling the meat.
  • Nutrition Facts

    3/4 cup meatball mixture with 1 cup spaghetti: 422 calories, 12g fat (3g saturated fat), 85mg cholesterol, 706mg sodium, 45g carbohydrate (7g sugars, 7g fiber), 32g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 3 starch, 3 lean meat, 1-1/2 fat.