Chicken Paprika Meatballs is a fun and tasty twist on a classic. This kid-friendly version features big, juicy meatballs and a sauce that’s so good you’ll want to lick your plate clean.

Chicken Paprika Meatballs wtih herbs and cheese

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It’s been quite some time since I was able to get together in person with my good friends Natalie and Holly from The Modern Proper. The stars finally aligned, and we spent a long overdue weekend together catching up at a retreat, and of course, cooking. 

Chicken Paprika Meatballs

One of the recipes I’ve been dying to make was Chicken Paprika Meatballs, a recipe that’s featured in their book, The Modern Proper Cookbook. Wow, is this dish ever good! Who doesn’t love meatballs, right? But add an amazing sauce and a lemon-dill cream garnish, and you’ve got a meal that’s as pretty to look at as it is delicious.

Chicken Paprika Meatballs with cheese

I’ve been enjoying more of their fabulous easy weeknight meals, and you can too! Grab a copy of their book, and while you wait, give these meatballs a try! I just know you’ll love them! PS. You may have seen a copy at Crate & Barrel.

The Modern Proper Cookbook

Gather these ingredients

Lemon Dill Cream sauce

  • Sour cream
  • Fresh dill 
  • Lemon zest – From a fresh lemon.
  • Lemon juice – From a fresh lemon.
  • Salt – Kosher salt.
  • Cayenne pepper

meatballs mixture and making the balls

For the meatballs

  • Ground chicken
  • Bread crumbs – Just regular bread crumbs.
  • Milk – Optional.
  • Egg
  • Garlic cloves – Fresh cloves; grated.
  • Paprika
  • Fresh dill
  • Cracked black pepper
  • Olive oil

paprika sauce

The sauce

  • Onion – Yellow or white onion; chopped.
  • Garlic – Fresh cloves; minced.
  • Canned crushed tomatoes – 1 14-ounce can.
  • Chicken stock
  • Paprika
  • Kosher Salt
  • Caraway seeds

Garnishes

  • Lemon wedges
  • Parsley – Minced.

serving of meatballs

Paprika, a key ingredient

Paprika is what gives this Chicken Paprika Meatballs recipe its distinctive color and flavor. But did you know that paprika has a fairly short shelf life and starts losing flavor after 2-3 years. If you have to dig the jar of paprika out from the very back of the pantry, and dust it off before opening it, do yourself a favor and buy fresh paprika for this recipe. The difference in flavor will be remarkable!

What is paprika?

Paprika is made from less spicy peppers, and it is ground and dried. It has a slightly sweet flavor, and bright red color.

making paprika meatballs

How to make Chicken Paprika Meatballs

  1. Make the Lemon Dill Cream by mixing the sour cream, dill, lemon zest and juice, salt, and cayenne pepper in a small bowl.
  2. For the meatballs, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt, lemon zest, paprika, dill, and pepper in a large bowl. 
  3. Make large golf ball-size meatballs and place them on a baking sheet.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add a single layer of meatballs and cook until brown, then flip them over and brown them on the other side. Transfer them to a clean plate and cook the remaining meatballs.
  5. Add the onion to the same skillet and saute until the onion is soft. Add the garlic, and cook for an additional minute. 
  6. Add the tomatoes, chicken stock, paprika, salt, and caraway seeds. 
  7. Blend with an immersion blender right in the skillet.
  8. Transfer the meatballs to the sauce and simmer over medium heat until the meatballs are cooked through.
  9. Transfer the cooked meatballs and sauce to a serving dish and add dollops of Lemon Dill Cream to the top. Garnish with lemon and parsley.

Tips & substitutions

  • Lessen your time in the kitchen by making the meatballs ahead of time. You can make them and freeze them, or just form and brown them a few hours ahead of time and pop them into the fridge until you’re ready to finish the recipe.
  • Chicken broth can be used instead of chicken stock. I like using no-sodium added broth to control the salt.
  • This recipe makes enough for four servings, but it can be easily doubled to feed a crowd or if you want leftovers.

a bite of meatball

Serving suggestions

I love serving these easy meatballs with something to soak up all that delicious sauce. Brown rice, egg noodles, or even spaetzle are tasty paired with this recipe. Mashed potatoes are also a terrific choice, and pair your meal with a bright green vegetable like broccoli or green beans.

Storage

Store your leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days. You can also freeze the leftovers. Package them in freezer-friendly plastic bags or containers for 1-2 months. Thaw, reheat, and enjoy!

Check out these awesome meatball recipes while you’re here

This recipe is featured in the cookbook, The Modern Proper Cookbook.

Chicken Paprika Meatballs wtih herbs and cheese
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Paprika Chicken Meatballs

Chicken Paprika Meatballs is a fun and tasty twist on a classic. This kid-friendly version features big, juicy meatballs with paprika sauce.
This recipe is featured in the cookbook, The Modern Proper Cookbook.
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Yield: 4
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Ingredients
 

Lemon Dill Cream:

  • ½ cup sour cream
  • 2 tsp minced fresh dill
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
  • ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper

Meatballs:

  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • ¼ cup plain bread crumbs
  • ¼ cup milk optional
  • 1 egg
  • 2 garlic cloves, grated
  • 1 ¼ tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp grated lemon zest
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp minced fresh dill
  • ¼ tsp freshly cracked back pepper
  • 2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

Tomato sauce:

  • 1 medium yellow onion, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 14-ounce can crushed tomatoes
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 1 Tbsp paprika
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp caraway seeds

Garnish:

  • Lemon wedges, for serving
  • Minced fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves, for serving

Instructions
 

Lemon Dill Cream:

  • Combine the sour cream, dill, lemon zest and juice, salt, and cayenne in a small bowl and mix well.

Meatballs:

  • In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, garlic, salt, lemon zest, paprika, dill, and pepper. Mix well. With wet hands (or you can use kitchen gloves) form large golf ball-size meatballs (about 2 Tbsp each) and place on a baking sheet or plate. Makes about 15.
  • Heat the olive oil to medium-heat in a large skillet. Once hot, add a single layer of meatballs and cook until browned, about 3 minutes. Turn and cook for an additional 3 minutes on the other side. Transfer to a plate and cook the remaining meatballs.

Sauce:

  • To the same skillet add the onion and saute until softened, for about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Next, add the tomatoes, chicken stock, paprika, salt, and caraway. With an immersion blender, blend the sauce right in the skillet. [Optional to add all directly to the blender. Blend 2 minutes and then return back to the skillet.]
  • Return the meatballs to the skillet and bring to a simmer over medium heat. Cover and cook until the meatballs are cooked through, about 10 minutes.
  • Transfer the meatballs and the sauce to a serving dish and dollop the lemon dill cream over the top. Serve with a squeeze of lemon juice and a sprinkle of fresh chopped parsley.
Cuisine: American
Course: Main Course
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bowl of Chicken Paprika Meatballs