Nothing says comfort food quite like a warm, bubbly, cup of french onion soup. I love the flavors that come with making french onion soup: the melty cheese, the savory flavors of the broth, and of course, who can forget about the caramelized onions? I've taken my love of this classic soup and married the flavors with ground chicken, making the most delicious french onion chicken meatballs you'll ever eat.
Meatballs are a staple, but these french onion meatballs are so fun, different, and very delicious as an alternative to traditional meatballs. These come inspired by my italian style chicken meatballs and my sweet and sour slow cooker meatballs. I can't wait for you to make this recipe, it's one of my favs, and will be yours too!
What are the ingredients for these meatballs?
The ingredients for these easy french onion chicken meatballs is pretty standard. Here's what you'll need:
- Ground chicken: Ground chicken tends to work better in most meatball recipes than turkey for whatever reason, and in my personal opinion, while I LOVE ground turkey recipes, ground chicken is the underdog here.
- Caramelized Onions: the trick to caramelizing onions is low and slow. You can really get them caramelized by letting them sit for over an hour or so, but in this recipe we do a quick caramelized onion for about an hour.
- Breadcrumbs: the binding agent for the meatballs.
- Egg: another binder for the meatball mixture.
- Parmesan: we add just a ¼ cup to help combine the meat, egg, and breadcrumbs together.
- Salt and pepper: because we need some flavor!
- Butter: the butter will be used predominately for the caramelized onions.
- Gruyere cheese: this nutty cheese will be sprinkled on top of the meatballs while they bake, so as to act as the cheese in the french onion soup. Literal perfection if I may say so myself.
See the recipe card below for specific information about quantities.
How do I make this recipe?
One of the biggest steps in making these french onion meatballs is to caramelize the onions, so here's how you do it:
For making the meatballs, begin by preheating the oven to 350º and lining a baking sheet with aluminum foil. Start by adding onions to a cast iron skillet or dutch oven with three tablespoons of butter. Let the onions caramelize on a low flame until they are a deep, caramel color, approximately 1 hour. Take some of the caramelized onions and chop them up, add to the meat mixture.
Form meatballs the size of golf balls and place onto a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil. Bake for 28 minutesT.Once finished, sprinkle the meatballs with the with gruyere cheese and bake again for an additional 5 minutes or until the cheese is melted.
HINT: You can cover the pot or pan when the onions caramelize to help speed up the process a bit, but be on standby to watch the onions as they get close to caramelizing so that they do not burn.
Meatball Swaps and Substitutions
This recipe is a lower-carb recipe by nature, but if you want to swap and sub a few things out, here's what I'd recommend:
- Turkey vs. Chicken - you can swap out the chicken for turkey if you prefer that protein instead.
- Gluten Free - use gluten free breadcrumbs instead of the regular.
Using Up Leftover Caramelized Onions
I made way too many caramelized onions the last time I made this recipe, so I made some french onion burgers that I just might need to add to the blog soon, but some other ideas are:
- French onion galette - this is a recipe that I am working to get back on the website, but trust me, it is worth the wait!
- French onion soup (I mean, a classic)
- Turkey and caramelized onion sub or hoagie (however you say it)
- Caramelized onion BLTs --> this actually sounds, and is, quite amazing.
There are so many ways to incorporate caramelized onions in a meal.
Ways to serve these french onion meatballs
Some of my favorite ways to pair this include:
- Make a large batch of bone broth rice - use bone broth or chicken stock to cook jasmine rice and plop the meatballs on top!
- On top of mashed potatoes - I guarantee you'll devour my creamy garlic and herb mashed potatoes with these meatballs. I'm drooling thinking about it.
- Over pasta - adding these meatballs to a classic spaghetti or even making it fancy paired with my brown butter pappardelle is a fun, bold flavor profile that I am absolutely here for.
How would I store these meatballs?
While I would typically say to freeze these, I wouldn't suggest freezing them with the onions on top. If you want to make these for a freezer or as a meal prep, make the onions and simply keep them separate from the meatballs until you're ready to cook and eat.
In terms of leftovers, place any remaining meatballs in an airtight container and store in the fridge for up to five days.s
Do not over-mix the ground chicken: You don't want to bite into a super tough, chewy, meatball. It just won't taste good. When mixing, use four fingers and rake the meat into the center of the bowl, mixing as you go. Once the egg, breadcrumbs, and other ingredients are combined, stop mixing!
Hungry for more?
Here's other amazing meatball recipes to try!
French Onion Chicken Meatballs
- Keep the temp low, and monitor the meatballs: Ground chicken can get dry very quickly, which is why I chose to use 350º versus a higher temperature, and instead of going for the full 30 minutes, bake a few minutes less, as the meatballs will bake a touch more to melt the cheese.
- Add a little fresh thyme to the mix if you want some fresh herbs other than the dried herbs. If you want to spruce up the mixture, add a quick gravy: mix 2 tablespoon flour and ½ cup beef broth and pour over the meatballs. Then top with cheese.