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Saucy Barbecue Meatballs Recipe

by Jeanette on October 7, 2013 · 23 Comments
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These Saucy Barbecue Meatballs are sure to be a hit with kids and adults alike. Quick and easy to make, they’re perfect for a busy weeknight meal.
Saucy Barbecue Meatballs © Jeanette's Healthy Living
My kids love meatballs and I’m always looking for new ways to serve them. I made barbecue chicken meatballs that were very similar to these a while back, which the kids loved.

This time around, I decided to make a few changes. Instead of pan-frying the meatballs, I roasted them in the oven, making for less cleanup. While the meatballs roasted in the oven, I made a quick barbecue sauce, doubling the herbs from the previous recipe, and using tomato sauce instead of chopped tomatoes.

By the time the meatballs were ready, the sauce was done, and I simply simmered the meatballs in the barbecue sauce for ten minutes, just to get some meaty flavor into the sauce, and for the barbecue sauce to penetrate the meatballs a bit.
Saucy Barbecue Meatballs © Jeanette's Healthy Living
Served with some mashed potatoes (mashed cauliflower and potatoes would have been even better) and steamed broccoli, these Saucy Barbecue Meatballs make for the ultimate comfort dinner on a weekday night. My kids are super busy this year, with the twins in their senior year of high school, so dinnertime is a big deal. I go out of my way to make something special as many nights of the week as possible.

After all, this time next year, they’ll be eating college cafeteria food, which is most likely not going to be as good as mom’s home cooking ;).
Saucy Barbecue Chicken Meatball Dinner

Saucy Barbecue Meaballs Recipe

Rating: 51

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 4

These saucy meatballs take just 30 minutes to cook, and are great served with mashed potatoes and steamed broccoli.


    Barbecue Sauce
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoons Spanish smoked paprika
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 1/2 cups tomato sauce
  • dash cayenne pepper
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Chicken Meatballs
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/4 cup gluten-free bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground pepper


    Barbecue Sauce
  1. Place barbecue sauce ingredients in a saucepan and bring to a simmer over medium heat; reduce heat to low and cook while you make the meatballs.
  2. Chicken Meatballs
  3. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  4. In a bowl, mix together ground chicken, breadcrumbs, water, oregano, basil, thyme, chili powder, salt and pepper. Form into ~ 16 meatballs. Place on baking tray lined with parchment paper. Bake for 20 minutes. Transfer meatballs to sauce and cook on low for 10 minutes. Serve.


Adapted from Cooking Light


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  1. love this! My kids will be all over this recipe!

  2. Yummy. Nice clicks too,
    Thanks for sharing.

  3. Nice! I love meatballs and this sounds really flavorful Jeanette!

  4. Very nice meal that can be prepared in less than an hour! I already see my kids big smile when they see meatballs on the table. :) Btw, you look so young to be high school boys’ mom! ;)

    • Thanks Nami – there are days when I find myself in a rush to make dinner, so quick recipes like this one save me. My kids love meatballs too. It’s hard to believe the twins are graduating from high school already – fortunately, I still have my little guy to keep me company next year.

  5. Meatballs and barbecue sauce? I am SO there! And, the roasting part vs. frying? THE BEST for easy clean up…just like with baking bacon. Very inviting photography too, girl. But, hey! I’m with Nami…you are a Mom to twin boys…and they’re in high school? Stop. That’s crazy talk! ;) Thanks for sharing, Jeanette! And, of course, pinning! xo

  6. Love the flavors you have going on here!! And I have a 17-year old boy who could probably clear an entire batch in one sitting. Printing for one of those busy nights!

  7. Oh, now these I know my hubby and I would love! They look mouthwatering, Jeanette!

  8. Mmmm…these look good! Love the easy cleanup! :)

  9. Another nice recipe. Thank you Jeanette.

  10. Love a good meatball. These look great.

  11. The kids and my husband loved this dish. It was very flavorful and the oven preparation made it easy.

    • Lena, so glad you tried this recipe and enjoyed it. Baking the meatballs in the oven is so much easier to cleanup and less fat is used.

  12. This recipe sound delicious! I am also excited to have a “healthy” barbeque sauce. I’ve been looking for one. :)
    My husband and I are doing Dr. Davis “Wheat Belly” program and we are suppose to stay away from flours that are not almond and flax stay clear of rice starch, cornstarch, tapioca starch, and potato starch and so many bread crumb and other wheat free products have it. He wants us to stay away from corn flour, rice flour, oat products because they increase blood sugar. We can use: Almond meal, Almond flour, Ground pecans, Ground walnuts, Coconut flour, Ground golden flaxseed, Pumpkin seed meal, Sesame seed meal, Sunflower seed meal, Garbanzo bean flour, Chia seed meal. Do you have any bread crumb recipes using any of the above flours/meals that I could make for the delicious sounding meatballs! Sure want to try it!

    • Hi Brenda, I haven’t tried using any of these flours as binders but have seen paleo recipes that use almond flour or coconut flour. Let me know if try the recipe using another binder and how it comes out. I’m curious.

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