Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2024)

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Delicious Greek chicken meatballs in a creamy dreamy lemon sauce. These meatballs are tender to the core! Nestled in a rich and creamy lemon sauce, they are perfect to serve over pasta, quinoa, or fluffy rice!

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (1)

Warm, hearty and deliciously creamy!

These tender, seared chicken meatballs are rolling around in a creamy lemon sauce that has a nice little zing! They’re warm and comforting but still offer a bright and beautiful lemony flavor that doesn’t leave you feeling heavy. Don’t be surprised if you catch the fam eating right out of the skillet while the sauce is still warm and tangy.

It’s the perfect transitional meal to take us from summer right into fall or from winter into spring. I’m not quite ready to let go of all the summer flavors, but with the gloomy weather we’ve been having lately, I’m ready for warm bowls of food again. Greek chicken meatballs totally fit the bill.

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2)

What do you need to make the Greek chicken meatballs?

  • Garlic + herbs: minced garlic, chopped parsley, and dried oregano help add flavor the meatballs. You can use fresh or dried herbs for this recipe. Keep in mind you need roughly double the amount if you’re using fresh herbs.
  • Lemon zest: brightens up the meatballs and adds just a fresh flavor to them
  • breadcrumbs: are used for binding. I prefer to use Panko breadcrumbs because they melt right into the meatballs and you don’t even realize they’re there.
  • Feta cheese: adds tang and aids in binding the meatballs as well. Before this recipe, I had never added feta cheese to homemade meatballs, and I love the flavor they add.
  • An egg: Acts as a binder to hold everything together.
  • Ground chicken: I prefer to use ground chicken breasts, but I would think if you like chicken thighs, you might want to use ground thighs here. They would certainly add more flavor and retain extra moisture as well!
Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (3)

How to portion chicken meatballs:

Once you’ve made the meatball mixture, divide it into 24-28 portions. I like to use a cookie scoop so that the meatballs are all the same size. Doing this also cuts down on the guesswork for cooking the meatballs because they cook up in roughly the same amount of time when they’re the same size.

What if the meatball mixture sticks to my hands?

If the meatball mixture sticks to your hands when you’re rolling them, just spray the inside of your hands with a little cooking spray before grabbing the meat mixture. This should keep the mixture from sticking to your hands!

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (4)

How to make Greek chicken meatballs:

  1. In a bowl, combine everything but the meat mixture along with a generous pinch of salt and black pepper. I use a fork to mix all the ingredients together.
  2. When the ingredients are mix, add the ground chicken and mix until just combined. You don’t want to overwork the meat mixture or you’ll be left with tough and dry meatballs. Portion the meatballs using a cookie scoop into roughly 1 ½ tablespoon portions.
  3. Add a drizzle of oil to a hot skillet and cook the meatballs for about 5-7 minutes or until they cook all the way through. You want to flip them so that they brown evenly on all sides. Be sure to not overcrowd the pan or they won’t brown!

TIP: At this point, you can allow the meatballs to cool and freeze them for later. If you plan on making this midweek and don’t have the time to fry the meatballs the day of, just freeze the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment. When frozen, transfer to a freezer-safe bag.

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (5)

Ingredients for the lemon sauce for Greek chicken meatballs?

  • Butter: Butter plays a two-part role in the sauce. We’ll use a little bit to sauté the garlic and flour in and the last tablespoon is added at the end to add creaminess and a little bit of luster to the sauce.
  • Garlic: sautéed in butter it adds so much delicious flavor to the sauce
  • flour: just a tablespoon is used in this recipe to help thicken the sauce
  • Chicken stock: is the base of the creamy lemon sauce
  • Green olives: briny green olives are the perfect pairing to the bright zingy lemon sauce. Capers would also work if you aren’t a fan of green olives
  • Egg yolks: the egg yolks I know are an unusual addition to a cream sauce. They help emulsify the sauce and make it extra creamy and delicious! Trust me, I was super scared to try it too, but I have a foolproof method for you below!
  • Lemon juice + zest: help flavor the sauce
  • Nutmeg: Add a depth of flavor that works beautifully with all the lemony flavor in this recipe. Freshly grated works best!
Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (6)

The secret to perfectly smooth lemon sauce:

  1. Cook the flour: Add a knob of butter to the skillet and allow the butter to melt. Saute the garlic in the butter until fragrant. Then, add the flour and whisk. You want to let the flour cook for 30 seconds to get rid of the raw flavor. Then, slowly drizzle in the chicken broth with one hand while you continue to whisk with the other hand. Once the stock is completely incorporated, allow it to reach a simmer and then let cook for a few minutes until it thickens just a tad bit.
  2. Combine the yolks and lemon juice: While the sauce is thickening, you want to add the lemon juice to a bowl along with the egg yolks and whisk them to combine. Then, once the sauce is thickened, add a tablespoon of the sauce from the skillet to the lemon egg mixture as you whisk. Adding the hot liquid to the eggs and lemon juice will help temper the yolks so that the sauce doesn’t break later. You’ll repeat the same thing a total of three times or until you’ve added a total of 3 tablespoons of the liquid to the yolk mixture.
  3. Finish the sauce: With the skillet on the lowest heat setting, stir the yolk mixture into the skillet. Once combined, kick the heat up to medium and continue to stir and cook the sauce for 4-6 minutes until it thickens to your liking. Keep in mind it will thicken quite a bit when it cools, so you don’t want to thicken it too much at this point if you plan on serving it later! Stir in the lemon zest and the nutmeg. Then, add the butter and green olives to the sauce and stir to combine. Place the meatballs back into the pan and allow them to just heat through. Serve warm over buttered orzo, or with fried bread on the side.

If you like this recipe, you might also like:

  • Greek Avgolemono Soup
  • Rustic Chicken Piccata Meatballs
  • French Onion Chicken Meatballs
  • Cajun Chicken Meatballs in Cream Sauce
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (7)

Yield: serves 5-6

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce

Prep Time20 minutes

Cook Time25 minutes

Total Time45 minutes

Delicious Greek chicken meatballs in a creamy dreamy lemon sauce. These meatballs are tender to the core! Nestled in a rich and creamy lemon sauce, they are perfect to serve over pasta, quinoa, or fluffy rice!

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (8)

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 5 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon EACH: lemon zest AND chopped parsley
  • ¾ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • ⅓ cup grated yellow onions
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 ½ teaspoon dried oregano (a little more if it’s fresh)
  • 1 ¼ pound lean ground chicken

Lemon Olive Sauce:

  • 3 tablespoons salted cold butter, cubed
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups low sodium chicken stock
  • ½ cup green olives (or use ¼ cup capers!)
  • 2 teaspoons lemon zest + ⅓ cup lemon juice
  • 2 egg yolks
  • ⅛ teaspoon freshly grated nutmeg

Instructions

    1. MEATBALLS: In a medium bowl, using a fork, mix together all the ingredients except the ground chicken. You also want to add 1 teaspoon of salt and ½ teaspoon of pepper. When the ingredients are combined, add the ground chicken and mix until *just* combined. Just be sure you don’t overwork the meat. Roll into 24-28 meatballs using a cookie scoop or about 1 ½ tablespoon each.
    2. COOK: Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle in a little oil. Add the meatballs to the skillet but do not overcrowd. Cook in batches if they don’t all fit. Sear the meatballs for 5-7 minutes, flipping to brown all sides evenly, until the meatballs are cooked all the way through. Remove the meatballs to a plate.
    3. SAUCE: Add 2 tablespoons butter to the skillet along with the minced garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring so it doesn’t burn. Add the flour and whisk. Once the flour cooks for 30 seconds, slowly drizzle in the chicken broth with one hand while you continue to whisk with the other hand. Then, allow the sauce to reach a simmer, and continue to cook for 3 minutes or until the sauce thickens a bit. Lower the heat to the lowest setting and let the sauce hang out. In a small bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and egg yolks. Once combined, add a tablespoon of the sauce from the skillet into the egg mixture while you whisk it. Repeat this step two more times (so a total of 3 tablespoon of sauce should be added to the yolks.) Then, with the heat on the lowest setting, add the yolk mixture to the sauce you have on the stove. Kick the heat up to medium and stir the sauce and allow it to cook for 4-6 minutes or until it thickens to your liking. Then, stir in the nutmeg and lemon zest. Taste and adjust with salt and pepper as desired. Add the last tablespoon of butter to the sauce and allow it to melt in slowly. Add the green olives to the sauce along with the meatballs. Let them heat through for just a minute or two until warm. Serve with fried bread, over buttered orzo, or rice!

Have you made this recipe?

If you enjoyed this recipe, please consider leaving a ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ rating and a comment below. You can also share a picture on Instagram with the hashtag #LITTLESPICEJAR, I'd love to see what you made!

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Chicken Comfort Foods Dinner Springcastelvetrano olives chicken chicken meatballs egg yolks garlic Greek lemon cream sauce nutmeg oregano panko

originally published on Sep 3, 2020 (last updated Jul 9, 2022)

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53 comments on “Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce”

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  1. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (15)

    Mehndi Reply

    This looks amazing!! We love meatballs in our home so this is the perfect recipe. Thank you!

    5

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (16)

      Marzia Reply

      So glad to here that! 🙂

  2. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (17)

    Paul Reply

    This was pretty good but a good grate of cheese and a few shakes of parmison takes out the acidic taste of lemon and leaves a nice happy taste.

    5

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (18)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi Paul! Glad to hear you gave the recipe a go! Thanks for sharing your additions 🙂

  3. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (19)

    N Reply

    Oh my gosh, so I have never left a review for a recipe no matter how much I loved it. But these were DELICIOUS!!! So yummy, we will be making these frequently now!

    5

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (20)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi there! Appreciate you taking the time to leave a review and I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe 🙂

  4. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (21)

    Tina Reply

    This looks amazing but is it possible to make these with beef?

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (22)

      Marzia Reply

      Yes, you could swap the ground chicken for ground beef for the meatballs. Not sure how the lemon sauce would taste with the beef meatballs, but I’d love to know how it went if you decided to give it a try 🙂

  5. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (23)

    Lisa Reply

    Thank you for the recipe! It was delish!

    Another tip for rolling the meatballs, is to just wet your hands with water. Easier to re-dunk your hands/fingers into a bowl of water, than to keep applying cooking spray.

    5

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (24)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi Lisa! I am so glad to hear you enjoyed this recipe! Appreciate you sharing that tip 🙂

  6. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (25)

    Kimberley Reply

    This recipe was amazing! I used 1/2 lamb 1/2 beef instead of chicken and used feta stuffed green olives because I love feta. I also served it with a side of tomato basil orzo and warm pita bread. It was a pretty big meal, but everyone loved it.

    5

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (26)

      Marzia Reply

      Your sides sound delicious, Kimberley! So glad to hear it was enjoyed by all 🙂

  7. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (27)

    Palmer Reply

    if you wanted to bake the meatballs instead of cook in a skillet what would you recommend for oven temperature or broil and time?

  8. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (28)

    Sabrina Dupree Reply

    I’ve made this recipe twice now and it is really good. Any leftovers have never hung around for long.

    5

  9. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (29)

    Mary Lou Hatch Reply

    Oh my goodness! This sauce is amazing!!! I didn’t make the meatballs, YET… but they also look amazing! I served the lemon sauce over sauted shrimp and rice. So delicious!!!

    5

  10. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (30)

    Ferynn Reply

    Would leaving the olives/capers out completely change the flavour of the dish? They’re not big in this house but I REALLY want to make this recipe.

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (31)

      Chantal Reply

      Can we not add on the capers or olive?

  11. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (32)

    Tara Reply

    What type of orzo do you use? Or brand I guess.

  12. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (33)

    Sha Poletti Reply

    Loved the recipe…Did/do you post nutritional values IE: calorie , carbs,fast, sat fat, sodium, sugar? Thanks !

  13. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (34)

    Karen Lord Reply

    Made this for dinner tonight . Served it over fettuccine pasta with a simple Greek salad . Was delicious!!!

    5

  14. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (35)

    Ximena Reply

    Hi! i was wondering if i could leave the feta cheese out? or replace it with some other type of cheese

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (36)

      Marzia Reply

      You can try replacing it with grated parmesan instead if you’d like. I haven’t tested the recipe without the feta, so I’m not sure if the meatballs will bind properly without some sort of cheese. The cheese also lends a bit of salt here, so if you decide to try omitting it, you’ll want to up the salt a bit. Hope you enjoy this dish!

  15. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (37)

    Emma Reply

    Whole family loved this recipe! Delicious!

    5

  16. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (38)

    Dianne Reply

    I’ve made this recipe twice now and they are DELICIOUS! My boyfriend and I love these meatballs and sauce. One note: each time I’ve made the recipe, it’s taken about 3 hours start to finish. Just a heads up for anyone making the recipe for the first time and in a time crunch or very hungry. But totally worth it!!

    5

  17. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (39)

    Elaine Lindsey Reply

    I made this recipe and I can’t say enough about how delicious this tasted great Greek recipe it satisfied my taste buds I’ve added this to my collection as a go to recipe the only thing I wish was that you would have given the recipe for the rice thank you so much for sharing you are the best

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (40)

      Marzia Reply

      Hi Elaine! I’m so glad to hear you’ve enjoyed this recipe! The starch pictured is just dry orzo that I prepared according to package directions! Hope that helps 🙂

  18. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (41)

    Fs Reply

    This was delicious, yet quite lemon-y. My 9 year old loved it, 6 year old said it was too sour. I personally was a big fan! I will echo another comment that this took a LONG time to make start to finish. Granted, I doubled the recipe so it took three batches to cook the meatballs, but it was a solid 3 hours start to finish. If I made this again I would try with frozen meatballs (turkey would probably be yummy), although they won’t have the feta inside.

    4

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (42)

      Paula Reply

      I just made it for the first time in under an hour. I baked my meatballs at 500 until the temp read 165. Turned out wonderful! I even burned my garlic and has to start the sauce again, I used jarred the second to go around. Maybe try baking the meatballs next time

    • Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (43)

      Victoria Stefani Reply

      You can buy ground turkey to make the meatballs. Trader Joe’s sells it in 20 ounce packages, the exact amount needed for this recipe!

  19. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (44)

    Jenny Mikhail Reply

    I liked this recipe a lot. The meatballs were especially good. I thought the sauce was just a bit too lemony, so next time, I’ll probably use less lemon juice.

    This took me around 1.5 hours to make – not sure how it took some people 3 hours.

    4

  20. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (45)

    Eva Reply

    This recipe was so good! I highly recommend!! I don’t normally like feta cheese, but I couldn’t even really tell it was in the meatballs. I also increased the amount of sauce just because I like having extra, but overall so tasty.

    5

  21. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (46)

    Jenny Cacioppo Reply

    Hi. have made this many times and LOVE. A real favorite! Last time I made a double batch and froze the uncooked meatballs and sauce…meatballs are defrosted and look good, how do I heat up the sauce, or do I make new sauce? Pl ease let me know! THANKS

    5

  22. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (47)

    Rachel Reply

    This is my family’s fav recipe. We’ve been making this once a week for months now. I usually double the sauce and serve it with spaghettini. It’s delicious!

  23. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (48)

    Sue Reply

    Made with ground turkey, couldn’t find ground chicken. This was fabulous, the whole family loved it, so easy and he lemon sauce was the crowning glory, could just drink the sauce is was soooo good.

    5

  24. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (49)

    JS Reply

    This was really good! Even though I don’t like olives, they really added a great flavor to the sauce. (I just didn’t eat them) I loved how bright and lemony this recipe is. My husband and daughter really like it too! I replaced the egg in the sauce with arrowroot to thicken it up and accidentally forgot the panko but this was so good. Can’t wait to make it again! Thanks for the recipe

    4

  25. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (50)

    Pam Reply

    I am a home chef and this is a top ten of new recipes I have tried in the past year! Absolutely Delicious!!!
    Can’t wait to make again. Thank you

    5

  26. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (51)

    LORNA GRANT Reply

    A very delicious recipe thank you, and hello from Zimbabwe.
    I cooked the balls in air fryer, came out beautifully!
    I also added a pinch or two of sugar, but I think that was because my lemons were quite green.

    4.5

  27. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (52)

    Mary Tierney Reply

    Absolutely delicious! We served it with a Mediterranean cous cous and today’s Brussels sprouts.

    5

  28. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (53)

    Sharon Reply

    I have made these a couple times and everyone loves them. A couple changes I made were to add chopped capers to the meatballs instead of the sauce, omit the olives all together and instead of egg yolks I added a half cup of heavy cream which made the sauce creamy and cuts the lemon a bit.

    5

  29. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (54)

    Monica Reply

    Made it for dinner last night and it was absolutely delicious — it instantly became a new favorite!

    5

  30. Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (55)

    Connie Reply

    We make this weekly sooo good!

    5

Greek Chicken Meatballs in Lemon Cream Sauce Recipe | Little Spice Jar (2024)

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