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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs

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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs are an easy and delicious appetizer. Baby spinach adds a healthy kick to the meatballs. Rolled in bacon and finished with a sweet and salty coating, they’ll be a hit with your guests

This post and recipe card updated August 2, 2019
overhead shot of meatballs in an iron skillet with a side of mustard

I love to entertain and, whether I’m hosting the party or going to a friend’s house, I go with appetizers. And I focus on appetizers that are easy to make and easy to eat.

I like to test appetizers on my friends at parties, and they appreciate it too! My Spinach and Bacon Stuffed Mushrooms was my first appetizer recipe on the blog, and a huge hit with my friends. I made Pigs in an Everything Blanket for a game watch party and they were gone in no time.

Meatballs are perfect for entertaining, but I’ve never made them as an appetizer. So this was the perfect opportunity to branch out and try something new.

Rather than the traditional beef meatball, I went with chicken meatballs. And then wrap them in bacon because, well, it’s bacon! And that’s how Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs was born

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS
  • It’s an easy appetizer that comes together in about 15 minutes
  • You can prep them several hours ahead and bake when ready
  • They’re a great way to sneak in some veggies!
up close shot of finished meatballs in a skillet with a side of mustard

THE PERFECT CHICKEN MEATBALLS MIXTURE

I buy ground chicken thighs. Yes, you can grind your own chicken, but that seems like a lot of work.

Baby spinach is a great way to sneak veggies into the meatballs. Use raw spinach, and chop it into small pieces before adding to the mixture.

Red Pepper Flakes add flavor and heat to the meatballs. Less is more with pepper flakes, so don’t go overboard.

Fresh grated Parmigiano Reggiano adds a wonderful bite.

Panko Bread Crumbs and egg are the binders for the meatballs. To me, regular bread crumbs are a little too heavy.

Keep the seasonings simple, with salt, black pepper, minced onion, and minced garlic. You will add more seasoning to the bacon just before baking.

Don’t over-mix the meatball mixture, or they will be dense.

Use a 1 Tablespoon measure for the meatballs. That is smaller than traditional meatballs but since you’re wrapping them in bacon you don’t want them too big.

overhead shot of finished meatballs in a skillet with a side of mustard
BACON FOR THE BACON WRAPPED CHICKEN MEATBALLS

I tested both regular and thick-cut bacon for these Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs. I prefer regular bacon because it cooks more evenly, and it’s a little easier to eat.

Stretch the bacon, so that each piece of bacon can easily wrap 2 meatballs

  • Lay a piece of bacon on a flat surface, and hold down the left edge of the bacon with your left hand
  • Using the bacon edge of a large knife, run the knife along the strip of bacon to stretch it out about 50-75%
  • Cut each stretched piece of bacon in half
SWEET & SPICY COATING

The final piece of the puzzle is the sweet and spicy coating, a bold mixture of Dark Brown Sugar, Cayenne Pepper, and Chili Powder.

Sometimes the coating doesn’t fully stick to every inch of the bacon. I thought the meatballs would have “bald spots”, but seriously…who’s worried about how they look?! It’s all about the glorious flavors.

STEP BY STEP INSTRUCTIONS

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, and top with a baking rack. The rack ensures that the meatballs cook all the way around without flipping.

In a medium bowl, combine all meatball ingredients. Combine well, but do not overmix or the meatballs will be dense.

overhead process shot of meatball mixture

Using a 1T measure, scoop the mixture and form into meatballs with your hands.

overhead shot of meatballs on a baking rack

Stretch the bacon and cut each strip into 2 pieces. Place a meatball at the end of a strip of bacon, and roll until fully covered. Skewer each meatball with a toothpick and lay the meatball seam side down on the baking rack.

overhead shot of meatballs wrapped in bacon

Combine the sweet and spicy coating ingredients in a plate. Place meatballs one at a time on the plate, and turn to coat with the mixture. Return to the baking rack.

close up shot of meatballs wrapped in bacon and topped with coating

Bake the Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs for 18-20 minutes, until golden brown.

MAKE-AHEAD AND SERVING OPTIONS

Serve Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs with a Spicy Brown Mustard that adds another fabulous layer of flavor.

Leave the toothpicks in the meatballs when serving, so guests can easily pick them up.

Make-ahead instructions: (with either option, wait until just before baking to coat with the spice mixture)

  • OPTION 1 (my preference): Prepare meatballs up to 2 days ahead, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • OPTION 2: Prepare meatballs and wrap in bacon up to 4 hours ahead, and store in the fridge.
up close shot of finished meatballs with a side of mustard
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How far ahead can I bake these? I recommend baking immediately before serving, and keep them warm in a Food Warmer.

Can I use other types of protein for the meatballs? Ground turkey would be a great substitute. You can also double up on the pork by doing pork meatballs.

What other vegetables can I use? Try shredded zucchini, carrots, or even broccoli

MORE DELICIOUS MEATBALL RECIPES
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Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs

Yield: 24 meatballs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes

Bacon Wrapped Chicken Meatballs are an easy and delicious appetizer. Baby spinach adds a healthy kick to the meatballs. Rolled in bacon and finished with a sweet and salty coating, they’ll be a hit with your guests

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces ground chicken (I use chicken thighs)
  • 1 cup baby spinach, rinse, dried, and finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, minced
  • 1/4 cup fresh-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 large eggs, whisked
  • 3/4 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 Tablespoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 teaspoon fresh-cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 12 slices bacon
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1 Tablespoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 Tablespoon paprika
  • 2 Tablespoons chili powder
  • spicy brown mustard, for dipping

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil. Top with baking rack, and spray rack well with cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, add chicken, spinach, garlic, onion, cheese, eggs, Panko, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper. Mix all ingredients together, but don't over mix or the meatballs will be dense.
  3. Using a 1 Tablespoon measure, scoop the mixture and form into balls in the palm of your hands.
  4. Lay bacon pieces on a flat surface. Using the flat end of a large knife, run the knife along the bacon to stretch it out about 50-75%. Cut each strip in half.
  5. Lay a meatball at one end of a piece of bacon, and wrap. Insert a toothpick through each piece to hold the bacon together
  6. In a large plate combine brown sugar, paprika, cayenne, and chili powder. Place each meatball in the mixture, and toss to coat.
  7. Place meatballs on baking rack. Bake for about 20 minutes, until chicken is cooked through.
  8. Serve immediately, with spicy brown mustard for dipping. 

Notes

I use ground chicken thighs. You could use chicken breast, but I find it dries out more quickly.

Less is more with the red pepper flakes!

I prefer Panko bread crumbs, as I feel that regular bread crumbs are too heavy

I prefer regular bacon over thick-cut, because it cooks more evenly, and it’s a little easier to eat.

Use a 1 Tablespoon measure for the meatballs. That is smaller than traditional meatballs but since you’re wrapping them in bacon you don’t want them too big.

Make-ahead instructions: (with either option, wait until just before baking to coat with the spice mixture)

  • OPTION 1 (my preference): Prepare meatballs up to 2 days ahead, and store in an airtight container in the fridge.
  • OPTION 2: Prepare meatballs and wrap in bacon up to 4 hours ahead, and store in the fridge

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

How far ahead can I bake these? I recommend baking immediately before serving, and keep them warm in a Food Warmer.

Can I use other types of protein for the meatballs? Ground turkey would be a great substitute. You can also double up on the pork by doing pork meatballs.

What other vegetables can I use? Try shredded zucchini, carrots, or even broccoli

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 24 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 89Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 266mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 6g

Nutrient values are estimates only. Variations may occur due to product availability and food preparation. Nutrition may vary based on methods of preparation, origin and freshness of ingredients, etc

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