These French Onion Chicken Meatballs are flavorful, hearty, and crazy delicious! Tender, juicy, low-carb, gluten-free, homemade chicken meatballs simmered in a French Onion sauce, topped off with a combination of Havarti and Gruyère cheese.
All the deliciousness of French Onion Soup with the addition of healthy protein-packed meatballs! Better make a double batch… 😀
This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases. Please read my disclosure policy.
I know what you’re thinking: how could something look this amazing and be low-carb, keto and gluten-free???!
Well, as I like to remind you – I’m just over here working hard to bring you all the deliciousness you crave without all the carbs, gluten and calories. And not to brag, but did I mention these meatballs are baked!! #alwayswinning
What can I say – it’s why I get paid the big bucks my friend. Lol
Less talk about me and more drooling over these French Onion Chicken Meatballs!!
Just look at that melty cheese hugging those lil guys! Amazingness!
These chicken meatballs are truly the winning appetizer for any get-together and especially Super Bowl Sunday! I mean you gotta bring your appetizer “A” game to one of the biggest food events of the year – right!??
‘Cause we all know game day is really all about the food!!!
How to serve these meatballs:
- Eat them straight up like the hearty meat bombs they are!
- Tuck them into some little dinner rolls for a crowd-pleasing slider.
- Make French Onion Meatball Subs – brilliant!
- Wrap them in some green leaf lettuce and enjoy low-carb, gluten-free, keto meatballs like the ketonic boss you are!
- You could even make a meal out of these baked meatballs… just add more beef stock and some cooked penne pasta, and boom!! Dinner is served.
- Or leave out the pasta, and keep it gluten-free… add several cups of beef stock and you’ve got yourself a delicious bowl of French Onion Soup with gluten-free meatballs!
You gotta love all those options! Aren’t meatballs amazing!
They really are one of my favorite things to eat. And because of that I have multiple meatball recipes on the blog! If you haven’t already checked them out, you’ll find Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, Greek Lamb Meatballs, Asian Meatballs, Chili Sliders made from frozen meatballs in the crockpot, and last but not least, this Italian Meatball Sub Recipe!
I might be slightly obsessed with meatballs.
I love how you can use different ground meats, add different ingredients to give them flavor, or swap out items to make them suit your diet, and of course dunk them in whatever sauce you want to create a variety of delicious flavor combinations.
And dare I say it, today’s combo is my new favorite! (Shhh… don’t tell all the others.)
Shall we discuss how this chicken meatball recipe comes together?
How to make meatballs:
First, we start by making the meatballs.
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F and place parchment paper on a baking sheet. Yes – we’re baking them! They’re so easy and no greasy mess to clean up after.
- Add all the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl: ground chicken, Parmesan cheese, almond meal, fresh chopped parsley, chopped onion, egg, garlic, salt and pepper.
- Mix the ingredients well until everything is combined.
- Using a 1½ – inch scoop, form meatballs and space them evenly on a parchment-lined baking sheet (I had 6 rows of 4 meatballs).
- Bake for 15-20 minutes or until your trusty meat thermometer says they have reached 165 degrees (for my oven that took 15 minutes).
How to make the French Onion Sauce:
While the meatballs are baking you can start creating the sauce.
- In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Add the onions and cook until very soft and golden (about 25 minutes), stirring often.
FYI: The continuous medium heat transforms this crunchy, pungent veggie into a supple and sweet addition to this dish. (Please, do not rush this process, by cooking the onions on a higher temperature you can burn them! And if you burn the onions, you’ll need to throw them out and start over.)
- Add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- Add the beef broth, fresh thyme, onion powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Add the baked meatballs to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes.
- Sprinkle the cheese over the meatballs and cover the pan until it melts, about 3-5 minutes. Serve them warm, and garnish with fresh thyme.
It’s almost too easy, for something so delicious – isn’t it? I can’t wait for you to try this easy meatball recipe!
It’s so flavorful and hearty, and really cheesy and delicious! I’m thinking maybe you should make a double batch – one for you, and one for everyone else!
I thought I would try to read your mind and answer some questions you might have about this meatball recipe. So here are answers to some of the most common questions for you:
Can you freeze chicken meatballs?
These meatballs and sauce will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 4 days.
You can also freeze them and store them in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months. To defrost, place them in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat them with more beef stock on the stovetop over medium heat. And I’m guessing you’ll probably want to add a bit more cheese.
Which brings me to the next question I’d like to answer…
What is Gruyère cheese? … And can I substitute it?
I’m so glad you asked.
It’s the cheese traditionally used when making French Onion Soup. It’s sweet but slightly salty and the flavor varies the more it’s aged. It is often described as creamy and nutty when young, becoming more earthy as it matures.
I enjoy it, but honestly, I wanted a more salty cheese flavor so I used a combination of Gruyère and Havarti cheese (which is super soft and creamy and has a salty buttery flavor… mmm).
If you can’t find Gruyère cheese you can swap it out for one of the following cheeses or use a blend of: Jarlsberg, Asiago, a mix of Fontina/Parmesan, Swiss, Havarti or Gouda.
You will most likely need to purchase the cheese in a block form and shred it yourself as many of these do not come pre-shredded. I shred it in my food processor and it comes out perfect. You can also use a hand grater. The Havarti cheese is so soft you will want to put it in the freezer for 30 minutes to an hour before shredding it. (Trust me – it’s totally worth it!)
All these cheeses can be found in the specialty cheese area near the deli at most grocery stores.
Can I use chicken stock instead of beef stock?
I used beef stock for the sauce because I wanted it to have a rich, deep flavor. You could use chicken stock but the sauce would have a lighter and brighter taste.
Can I make these meatballs with beef or pork?
Personally, I love making meatballs with ground chicken or ground turkey (always 93% fat because you have to have some fat or they will be dry).
For this recipe I like chicken because it’s healthier, but you could use lean beef or pork for this recipe too. Or get crazy and combine a couple of them – you do you my friend!
Can I use bread crumbs instead of almond meal?
The answer is – yes! But…
I always use almond meal in place of bread crumbs for all my meatball and patty recipes. I like the additional protein and fiber it provides and that it keeps them gluten-free and low-carb.
I’ve actually started ordering it online from Amazon because I had a hard time finding it in stores. I have some in my refrigerator and a back-up stash in my freezer at all times.
FYI: Almond meal and almond flour are similar but should not be used interchangeably in this recipe. Almond meal has a courser texture and is the best substitute for bread crumbs. Almond flour has a fine ground texture just like regular flour.
Usually, almond meal is made from raw almonds ground with their skins on, and almond flour is made from blanched almonds with the skins removed.
So there you have it my friends… I know you’ll love these easy, cheesy, French onion chicken meatballs as much as I do.
I would love to hear what you think after you’ve made them, so please drop me a note, leave a comment, or post on social media to let me know!
For The Chicken Meatballs:
- 1 egg
- 5 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1/3 cup almond meal for gluten free version (or bread crumbs if preferred)
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/3 cup parsley, finely chopped
- 1 medium onion, finely chopped
- 1 pound 93% lean ground chicken
For The French Onion Sauce:
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 large yellow onions, thinly sliced
- 4 large garlic cloves, minced
- 1 1/2 cups beef broth
- 1 tablespoon fresh thyme
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 4 ounces shredded Gruyère cheese (see Note about cheeses below)
- 6 ounces shredded Havarti cheese (see Note about shredding the Havarti, below)
To Make The Meatballs:
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large mixing bowl, combine all meatball ingredients: ground chicken, Parmesan cheese, almond meal, fresh chopped parsley, chopped onion, egg, garlic, salt and pepper. Mix until everything is combined.
- Using a 1½ - inch scoop, form meatballs and place them evenly spaced on the parchment lined baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until internal temperature is 165F.
To Make The French Onion Sauce:
- While the meatballs are baking: In a large skillet over medium heat, add the olive oil and butter. Add onions and cook until very soft and golden, 25 minutes, stirring often.
- Add the minced garlic and cook 1 more minute.
- Add beef broth, fresh thyme, onion powder, salt and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat and simmer until slightly thickened, about 5 minutes.
- Add the baked meatballs to the skillet and cook about 5 minutes. Sprinkle the cheese over the meatballs and cover the pan until it melts, about 3-5 minutes. Serve them warm, and garnish with fresh thyme.
- Onions: I prefer yellow onions for this recipe. But you could use whatever onion you wanted – white, sweet, red, etc.
- Cheese: If you can’t find Gruyère cheese you can swap it for one of the following cheeses or use any combination of: Jarlsberg, Asiago, a mix of Fontina/Parmesan, Swiss, Havarti or Gouda.
- Stock: Beef stock produces a rich, deep flavor. You could use chicken stock but the sauce would have a lighter and brighter taste.
- Ground Meat: This recipe should work with ground beef or pork (or a combination) just make sure to buy lean meat!
- Bread Crumbs: Bread crumbs are fine if you don't have almond meal, however this does raise the carb count and of course adds gluten to the recipe.
- If using Havarti, because it is so soft I strongly recommend you freeze for it 30-60 minutes before attempting to shred it!!
- These meatballs and sauce will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for 4 days. You can also freeze them and store them in a resealable freezer bag for up to 3 months.
Serving Size3 Meatballs
Amount Per Serving Calories 348Total Fat 25gSaturated Fat 11gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 15gCholesterol 115mgSodium 1092mgCarbohydrates 7gNet Carbohydrates 5gFiber 2gSugar 3gProtein 24g