Recipe: Meatballs Made from Leftover Chicken

This recipe was bred from desperation. I was making a beautiful vegetable lasagna for dinner, and my husband asked, “So, what meat are you making with that?”.

What? Meat? Why?

Apparently, my dear carnivore needs meat with every meal. He made an argument that the kids need meat too – they’re growing, after all. To be fair, the previous night’s dinner was meatless, so I guess going meat-free 2 days in a row was just too much for him.

So, I popped open the fridge to see what I had. Nothing. There was no thawed meat. I looked at the leftovers and saw a large roasted chicken from a couple nights before. Bingo. Now what to make? My kids won’t eat leftovers in any form, so I have to get creative. I immediately thought of meatballs. I went on Pinterest and searched for recipes, but all used raw chicken as the base. My chicken was already cooked. I wound up just going at it blind, but the results were surprisingly delicious! The meatballs stole the show and saved dinner. Here’s the recipe:



  • cooked chicken, skin removed (I used 1 breast and 1 thigh from a roasted chicken)
  • 2 eggs
  • 3/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1-2 Tbsp milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • Olive oil


  1. Place chicken (skin removed) in a food processor. Process until finely chopped.
  2. Add eggs and breadcrumbs. Pulse to incorporate well.
  3. Add milk until mixture is moistened and sticks to itself easily.
  4. Season with salt and pepper
  5. Scoop mixture with a cookie scoop and form into balls. Fry in olive oil until browned on all sides.

Serve with marinara sauce.

I also thought this recipe would be great with some finely shredded carrots or zucchini mixed in. The vegetables would add some moisture and flavor to the mix. Also, it’s worth noting that the final results will depend on the quality of the chicken you start with. If the chicken is dry and poorly flavored, the meatballs will also be dry and poorly flavored.


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