These Chicken Meatballs for babies, toddlers and kids are soft, delicious and nutritious. They are a great source of protein and are made with added veggies and fruit.
Meatballs are a fantastic finger food for babies, toddlers and big kids. The great thing about meatballs is that you can mix and match the flavours, meats, and serving options.
For example, you can try lemongrass and ginger meatballs for a flavourful twist, or use ground lamb to make these spiced meatballs. You can also serve turkey meatballs in tomato sauce, for a classic and comforting meal.
Reasons to Love this Recipe
- Nutrition: These chicken meatballs for babies are a good source of protein. They are also packed with nutritious veggies and fruit, providing a range of essential vitamins and minerals.
- Easy to Prepare: Easy to prepare and can be made in advance, making these meatballs a convenient meal option for busy parents.
- Exposure to Texture & Flavours: The soft but textured consistency of these meatballs is perfect for introducing babies to new textures and encouraging them to explore different foods.
- Versatile: Serve these meatballs with a smoked paprika dip as a tasty snack, or paired with sides such as pasta, rice and veggies for a complete meal.
Ingredient Information (& Alternative Suggestions)
For the full recipe, with ingredient amounts, scroll to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
- Chicken Mince (ground chicken): Ground turkey also works great.
- Carrot & Onion: Added for extra nutrition, flavour and texture.
- Pear & Apple: Adds a lovely sweetness to the meatball as well as extra nutrition and texture. You can replace the pear with a second apple and vice versa.
- Breadcrumbs & Milk: Added to produce a lighter, more tender ball. If you or your kid have gluten/dairy allergies then you can miss this out, they will still taste great.
- Smoked Paprika & Parsley: There are many benefits to adding spices and herbs to baby food, but if you prefer you can skip them or replace them with other spices/herbs.
Step by Step Instructions
- Saute Onion and Carrot - Cook until soft (around 5 mins).
- Soak Breadcrumbs - Let it sit for around five minutes.
- Squeeze Liquid from Pear and Apple - Save the juice for smoothies or if you are cooking with kids then let them squeeze and enjoy the juice straight after.
4. Combine Ingredients - Gently mix with your hands until just combined. Be careful not to overwork the mixture.
5. Form Tablespoon-Sized Meatballs - I found the mixture made 28 meatballs.
6. Cook: You can either bake in the oven or pan fry
Tips for Success
- Finely grate the carrots and fruit
If you have a box grater then use the smaller shredding holes designed to finely grate.
A larger grate will still work but the meatball will just be a lot more textured.
- Don't overwork the mixture
The amount the ground chicken is handled will have a direct impact on the final texture of the meatballs. For lighter, tender meatballs try not to overwork the mixture.
I find combining all the ingredients before adding the ground chicken can really help with this.
- Use damp hands when forming balls
This helps to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands and making the balls hard to form.
When serving chicken meatballs to a baby try not to make the plate overwhelming by adding too much. Add one meatball along with two other foods such as sweet potato wedges and roasted broccoli and offer more if your baby is still looking for more.
For toddlers and older children, the portion sizes will increase and you can serve with a grain of choice, vegetables and some chopped fruit.
If you want to make it a little more fun you could add the meatballs to a kid-friendly kebab stick with some chopped vegetables and fruit. They are also great added to wraps or pitta bread along with some salad.
Yes! Allow the meatballs to cool to room temperature. Then freeze the meatballs on a baking tray until solid. Transfer to a freezer bag and store for up to 2 months. Perfect for the nights when you have something for dinner that’s not so baby friendly.
Yes, I recommend splitting the mixture and adding some salt to the adult portions before cooking. It is always good for your baby/children to see you enjoy the same meal as you serve your children.
You can just skip the milk and the breadcrumbs. They are added to make a lighter, more tender ball but the meatballs are still great without them.
Yes, you can. I haven't personally made these meatballs in the air fryer but a reader did. She cooked them at 350F (175c) for 10 mins, flipping them halfway. (Use a meat thermometer to check the temperature in the thickest part of each meatball. The min safe temp is 165F (74C).)
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Chicken Meatballs for Babies
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 onion , finely chopped
- 1 carrot , peeled and finely grated
- 40g (¾ cup) breadcrumbs (optional see notes)
- 2 tablespoon milk (optional see notes)
- 1 small pear , peeled and grated
- 1 small apple , peeled and grated
- 2 teaspoon freshly chopped parsley
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 500g (1.1lb) chicken mince (ground chicken)
- Preheat oven to 200c / 400f and line a baking tray with baking paper.
- Heat the oil in a pan and fry the onion and carrot, over a low heat, until soft. (For around 5 mins)
- In a small bowl, pour the milk over the breadcrumbs and allow to sit for 5 mins.
- Place the apple and pear onto a clean cloth and squeeze as much juice as you can out of them. (save the juice for smoothies etc)
- Add all the ingredients, apart from the ground chicken, to a mixing bowl and mix with your hands until all the ingredients are mixed together. Add the chicken mince and then gently mix, with your hands, until just combined.
- Shape tablespoons of the mixture into balls and place on the lined baking tray. (I made 28 balls.)
- Place in the oven and bake for approx. 20 mins, until golden and cooked through. Alternatively shallow fry, in batches, for around 6 minutes, until golden on both sides and cooked through.
- Breadcrumb and Milk mixture - Added to produce a lighter, more tender ball. If you have a dairy/gluten allergy then you can miss this out.
- Finely grate the carrots and fruit - If you have a box grater then use the smaller shredding holes designed to finely grate. A larger grate will still work but the meatball will just be a lot more textured.
- Don't overwork the mixture - The amount the ground chicken is handled will have a direct impact on the final texture of the meatballs. For lighter, tender meatballs try not to overwork the mixture. I find combining all the ingredients before adding the ground chicken can really help with this.
- Use damp hands when forming balls - this just helps to prevent the mixture from sticking to your hands and making the balls hard to form.
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