Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce

Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce is a delectable dish that combines tender, juicy chicken meatballs with a rich and creamy sauce. Perfect for a comforting dinner, this recipe is a crowd-pleaser that brings a touch of elegance to your mealtime. Whether served over pasta, rice, or with a side of crusty bread, these meatballs and their luxurious sauce are sure to satisfy any craving for a hearty, flavorful dish.

Preparing the Chicken Meatballs

To start, mix ground chicken with breadcrumbs, grated Parmesan cheese, minced garlic, finely chopped onions, and fresh herbs like parsley or dill. Season with salt, pepper, and a dash of nutmeg to enhance the flavors. Incorporate an egg to bind the mixture, ensuring the meatballs hold their shape during cooking. Form the mixture into small balls, and brown them in a skillet with a little olive oil until they’re golden on all sides. The goal is to achieve a crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist and tender.

Chicken Meatballs in a Cream Sauce

Crafting the Cream Sauce

The cream sauce is what sets this dish apart, enveloping the chicken meatballs in a velvety, flavorful blanket. In the same skillet used for the meatballs, sauté additional minced garlic and diced onions until soft and fragrant. Sprinkle in some flour to create a roux, then gradually whisk in chicken broth and heavy cream. Let the sauce simmer until it thickens to your desired consistency. Season with salt, pepper, and a pinch of paprika or mustard powder for an extra layer of flavor. Fresh herbs can be added at the end for a burst of freshness.

Combining Meatballs with Sauce

Once the sauce has reached the perfect consistency, return the chicken meatballs to the skillet, coating them thoroughly in the creamy sauce. Simmer everything together for a few minutes to allow the meatballs to soak up some of the sauce and finish cooking through. This step ensures that every meatball is infused with the rich, creamy goodness of the sauce, making each bite a delightful experience.

Serving Suggestions

Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce are incredibly versatile and can be served in a variety of ways. Over a bed of al dente pasta, they create a comforting and satisfying meal. For a lighter option, serve them alongside steamed vegetables or a fresh salad. Mashed potatoes or a scoop of creamy polenta also make excellent bases, absorbing the sauce beautifully. Garnish with additional grated Parmesan and fresh herbs before serving to add a touch of elegance and extra flavor.

Customizing Your Dish

This recipe is easily customizable to suit different tastes and dietary needs. For a lighter version of the cream sauce, substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or a plant-based cream alternative. The ground chicken can also be replaced with turkey or a plant-based ground meat substitute for a different twist on the classic. Experimenting with various herbs and spices allows you to tailor the dish to your preferences, making it a versatile recipe to have in your culinary repertoire.

Exploring Side Dish Pairings

To complement Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce, selecting the right side dishes can elevate the meal to new heights. A simple side of buttered green beans or roasted Brussels sprouts adds a touch of greenery and freshness, balancing the richness of the cream sauce. A crisp, mixed greens salad dressed with a light vinaigrette offers a refreshing contrast to the savory meatballs. For those who prefer grains, a side of fluffy quinoa or fragrant jasmine rice can serve as a delightful bed for the saucy meatballs, making every spoonful a harmonious blend of flavors and textures.

Enhancing the Sauce with Additional Ingredients

The cream sauce offers a versatile base that can be enhanced with a variety of ingredients for added complexity. Stirring in a spoonful of Dijon mustard or a dash of white wine can introduce depth and a slight tanginess to the sauce. For a luxurious twist, add a handful of sautéed mushrooms or sun-dried tomatoes, which contribute their unique flavors and textures to the dish. Incorporating a bit of spinach or kale towards the end of cooking introduces color and boosts the nutritional value, creating a more well-rounded sauce that complements the chicken meatballs beautifully.

Mastering the Meatball Cooking Technique

Achieving perfectly cooked chicken meatballs requires attention to detail. Ensure the skillet is hot enough before adding the meatballs to achieve a golden-brown sear without overcooking the exterior. Turning the meatballs gently ensures even browning on all sides. If the meatballs are not fully cooked through after browning, the simmering process in the cream sauce will complete the cooking, ensuring they remain juicy and tender. This technique allows the meatballs to absorb the flavors of the sauce while maintaining their structural integrity.

Creating a Make-Ahead Meal Option

Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce can be prepared as a make-ahead meal, offering convenience without sacrificing taste. Both the meatballs and sauce can be cooked in advance, cooled, and stored separately in the refrigerator. When ready to serve, gently reheat the sauce, adding a little extra broth or cream if needed to adjust the consistency. Then, add the meatballs to the warm sauce to heat through. This method ensures a quick and easy assembly for a delicious meal that tastes just as fresh as when it was first made.

Incorporating Global Flavors

Experimenting with global flavors can transform Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce into an internationally inspired dish. Incorporate elements of Italian cuisine by adding a sprinkle of crushed red pepper flakes and a touch of basil into the sauce for a spicy kick. For a Swedish variation, modify the cream sauce by including a splash of Worcestershire sauce and serving with lingonberry jam on the side. Exploring different herbs, spices, and accompaniments allows this versatile dish to travel the culinary world from the comfort of your kitchen.

Adjusting for Dietary Restrictions

Catering to various dietary restrictions doesn’t mean sacrificing flavor in Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce. For a gluten-free version, use almond flour or a certified gluten-free breadcrumb alternative in the meatballs, and thicken the sauce with cornstarch or a gluten-free flour blend. Dairy-free diners can enjoy this dish by substituting the heavy cream with coconut cream or a rich, unsweetened almond milk, and using a plant-based cheese for garnish. Adapting the recipe in these ways ensures that more guests can indulge in this comforting, savory meal without concern.

Chicken Meatballs in a Cream Sauce

Tips for Achieving the Perfect Cream Sauce Consistency

The secret to a velvety cream sauce lies in patience and attention to detail. Begin by cooking the roux until it’s golden and fragrant, ensuring the flour taste is cooked out. Slowly whisk in the liquid ingredients to prevent lumps and achieve a smooth texture. Allow the sauce to simmer gently; this not only thickens the sauce but also concentrates the flavors. If the sauce thickens too much, a splash of broth can loosen it to the desired consistency. Remember, the sauce will continue to thicken upon cooling, so it’s often best to err on the side of slightly thinner than desired.

Utilizing Leftovers for New Meals

Transforming leftovers of Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce into new meals can be both creative and resourceful. Sliced meatballs can be added to a hearty sandwich or sub, topped with extra cream sauce and melted cheese for a delicious lunch option. Another idea is to toss the meatballs and sauce with freshly cooked pasta, turning it into a creamy pasta dish reminiscent of an Italian trattoria. These simple reinventions not only stretch your food budget but also keep mealtime interesting.

Garnishing for Added Flair and Flavor

A thoughtful garnish can enhance the visual appeal and taste of Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce. A sprinkle of finely chopped parsley or chives adds a pop of color and freshness to the dish. For a bit of texture, toasted pine nuts or almond slivers can be scattered on top just before serving. Parmesan cheese, either shaved or grated, lends a final touch of savory depth. These garnishes not only decorate the dish but also introduce new flavors and textures, making each bite a delightful experience.

Pairing with Beverages to Complement the Meal

Selecting the right beverage can elevate the dining experience of enjoying Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce. A medium-bodied white wine, such as Chardonnay or Pinot Grigio, pairs well with the richness of the cream sauce, while a light red wine, like Pinot Noir, complements the savory chicken meatballs. For non-alcoholic options, a sparkling water with a squeeze of lemon or a crisp, chilled apple cider offers a refreshing contrast to the dish’s creamy texture. Choosing a beverage that balances the meal’s flavors ensures a harmonious and satisfying dining experience from start to finish.

Exploring Cream Sauce Variations

Diversifying the cream sauce used with Chicken Meatballs can introduce a range of flavors to this classic dish. Consider infusing the sauce with different herbs such as rosemary or tarragon for a unique aromatic twist. Adding a spoonful of pesto or sun-dried tomato paste can transform the sauce with new color and depth. For those who enjoy a bit of heat, incorporating a dash of cayenne pepper or diced chipotle peppers in adobo sauce can add a spicy kick. These variations not only cater to different taste preferences but also make the dish adaptable to various culinary themes.

Optimizing Meatball Moisture and Flavor

Ensuring the chicken meatballs remain moist and flavorful involves a few key techniques. Mixing a small amount of milk or broth with the breadcrumbs before adding them to the ground chicken can help retain moisture inside the meatballs. Additionally, incorporating finely grated vegetables such as zucchini or carrot not only adds moisture but also sneaks in extra nutrition. Gentle mixing and avoiding overworking the meat mixture are crucial to keeping the meatballs tender. Letting the formed meatballs rest in the refrigerator for about 30 minutes before cooking can also help them retain their shape and enhance flavor absorption.

Creating a Complete Meal Experience

To turn Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce into a full dining experience, consider the overall meal composition. Pairing the dish with a starchy side like mashed potatoes, polenta, or egg noodles provides a comforting base that complements the creamy sauce. Adding a side of steamed asparagus, roasted broccoli, or a vibrant mixed salad introduces color, texture, and nutritional balance. Completing the meal with a simple dessert, such as fresh berries with whipped cream or a slice of lemon tart, ensures a satisfying end to the culinary journey.

Engaging Presentation Techniques

Presenting Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce with flair can elevate the dining experience. Consider serving the dish in a shallow bowl to showcase the sauce and make scooping easier. Using fresh herbs as a garnish not only adds color but also enhances aroma. For a communal dining approach, serve the meatballs and sauce in a large, central dish, encouraging guests to share. Drizzling a bit of olive oil or sprinkling edible flowers over the top before serving can add a final touch of elegance.

Embracing Seasonal Ingredients

Incorporating seasonal ingredients into the Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce can refresh the dish throughout the year. In spring, adding fresh peas or asparagus pieces to the sauce brings a burst of freshness. Summer might inspire the inclusion of cherry tomatoes or basil for a lighter touch. In fall and winter, incorporating mushrooms or squash can lend a heartier, earthy flavor. Adjusting the recipe to reflect seasonal availability not only enhances the dish’s appeal but also supports local produce sourcing.

Chicken Meatballs in a Cream Sauce

FAQs about Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce

Q1: Can I use store-bought chicken meatballs for this recipe? A1: Yes, you can use store-bought chicken meatballs as a time-saving alternative. Just ensure they are fully cooked according to the package instructions before adding them to the cream sauce.

Q2: How can I prevent my meatballs from falling apart while cooking? A2: Make sure your meatball mixture isn’t too wet, and refrigerate the formed meatballs for about 30 minutes before cooking to help them hold their shape better.

Q3: Is there a way to make the cream sauce thicker without flour? A3: For a flourless option, you can reduce the sauce longer over low heat or use a small amount of cornstarch dissolved in water to thicken the sauce without altering its flavor.

Q4: Can I freeze leftover Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce? A4: Yes, this dish freezes well. Cool the meatballs and sauce completely before transferring them to a freezer-safe container. They can be stored in the freezer for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and reheat gently on the stove.

Q5: What are some low-carb alternatives to serving Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce? A5: Serve the meatballs and sauce over a bed of steamed or roasted vegetables, such as cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or spaghetti squash, for a low-carb meal option.


Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce is a sumptuous and versatile dish that brings comfort and elegance to any table. With tender chicken meatballs drenched in a silky cream sauce, it’s a recipe that appeals to a wide range of tastes and can be adapted to meet various dietary needs. Whether served over pasta, rice, or a low-carb alternative, this dish is sure to impress with its depth of flavor and satisfying richness. By following the tips and variations outlined, you can create a meal that’s both delicious and tailored to your preferences, making Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce a cherished addition to your culinary repertoire. Enjoy the process of crafting this delightful meal and the pleasure of sharing it with friends and family.

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Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce

  • Author: recipstep
  • Total Time: 45 minutes
  • Yield: 4 servings 1x
  • Diet: Gluten Free



For the Meatballs:

11 1/4 lb ground chicken, I used ground chicken thighs
1 cup cooked white rice, cooled to room temp or colder
1 large egg
1 small onion, grated
1 garlic clove, pressed
1/2 tsp salt, I used sea salt
1/4 tsp pepper
1/2 cup flour for dredging
2 Tbsp oil, I used extra LIGHT olive oil
For the Sauce:
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 Tbsp flour
2 cups reduced sodium chicken broth
1/4 cup sour cream, or greek yogurt, or heavy cream
1/2 to 1 tsp paprika, more if you like a little spice in your life
Salt and Pepper to taste
Freshly chopped parsley for garnish


In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, 1 cup cooked rice, 1 egg, grated onion, 1 pressed garlic clove, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Mix well.
Roll the meat into 1 to 1 1/4″ balls, then roll the balls in flour, dusting off excess.

Heat a large skillet over medium heat and add 2 Tbsp oil. Transfer meatballs into the skillet and saute 4 minutes on the first side, then flip them over with tongs, cover and cook another 3 minutes or until golden brown on all sides and cooked through, then remove to a plate.
In the same pan over medium heat, melt 2 Tbsp butter then whisk in 2 Tbsp flour and continue mixing until golden in color. Whisk in 2 cups chicken broth and stir until it starts to thicken. Add 1/4 cup sour cream and season to taste. I added: 1/2 tsp paprika, 1/2 tsp sea salt 1/8 tsp black pepper.
Bring sauce to a simmer and stir until sauce thickens enough to lightly coat a meatball then stir in the meatballs, turning them to coat (keep in mind sauce will thicken more as it cools). Once the meatballs are warmed up, remove from heat and sprinkle with fresh parsley or dill. Serve warm.


  • Letting the meatball mixture rest in the refrigerator for 30 minutes before forming can help the meatballs hold their shape better.
  • For a lighter version, substitute heavy cream with half-and-half or a plant-based cream alternative.
  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 30 minutes
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Pan frying, Simmering
  • Cuisine: International


  • Calories: 450
  • Sugar: 3g
  • Sodium: 500mg
  • Fat: 30g
  • Saturated Fat: 15g
  • Carbohydrates: 15g
  • Fiber: 1g
  • Protein: 30g
  • Cholesterol: 180mg

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