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Lemon butter chicken meatballs served on orzo and drizzled with lemon brown butter sauce.

Lemon Butter Chicken Meatballs

  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 25 Minutes
  • Yield: 20 Meatballs 1x


These lemon butter chicken meatballs are made in the air fryer. But they can also be baked in the oven. Light and lemony, they’re coated in a rich and savory lemon brown butter sauce. So delicious.


Units Scale

Lemon Butter Chicken Meatballs

  • 3/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 pinch ground black pepper (optional)
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 1 large clove garlic, grated
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, for greasing air fryer basket and hands

Lemon Brown Butter Sauce

  • 5 tablespoons salted butter
  • 2 cloves garlic, smashed and peeled
  • 1/2 lemon, juiced

Optional Garnishes

  • Flaky sea salt
  • Freshly-grated parmesan cheese
  • Fresh herbs (choose your favorite): oregano, basil, or Italian parsley


RECIPE PREP: This is an air fryer recipe. Lightly grease the air fryer basket with olive oil. Set it aside. 

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine breadcrumbs, parmesan cheese, lemon zest, dried oregano, red pepper flakes, sea salt, and ground black pepper. Add beaten egg and grated garlic to the bowl. Mix to combine. Add ground chicken to the bowl. Mix gently to incorporate the ingredients. Do not overmix.
  2. Lightly coat your hands and fingers with olive oil. Form golf-ball-size meatballs by hand, or use a metal scoop. Between the palms of your hands, gently roll each chicken meatball into a smooth ball. Place meatballs inside the prepared air fryer basket. Arrange them in a single layer leaving space between pieces so the meatballs can become crisp. Don’t overcrowd the basket. We’ll be cooking in batches.
  3. Air fry the lemon butter chicken meatballs at 375°F. Cook for 12 to 14 minutes, or until golden brown and the interior of the meatballs register 165°F on an instant read thermometer.
  4. Assemble the lemon brown butter sauce on stovetop. Set a small saucepan over medium heat. Add butter and garlic. Once the butter melts, cook 3 to 4 minutes, or until a foam develops on top. Gently swirl the pan for 30 to 45 seconds, or until the butter turns brown. The foam will clear. The sauce will be richly aromatic. Remove the pan from heat. Stir in lemon juice.
  5. Transfer the cooked meatballs to a bowl. Drizzle them with lemon brown butter sauce, then toss until well coated. Plate the meatballs with your favorite sides. Garnish with a pinch of flaky salt, freshly-grated parmesan cheese and fresh herbs.


Tip for zesting fresh lemon: Zest the lemon first before slicing it in half and juicing it.

How to make light tender meatballs: Take care not to overwork or compact the meat mixture. Use a light hand when forming the meatballs or when using a metal scoop. If the meat is overmixed or pressed too hard during meatball formation, the texture will be heavy and dense.

How to store leftover meatballs: Transfer cooked meatballs to an airtight container and refrigerate. They’ll stay fresh for up to 3 days.

Instructions for oven baking the meatballs: No air fryer? No problem. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking tray with aluminum foil. Place uncooked meatballs on the tray, leaving a bit of space between each. Bake 25 minutes or until golden and done. For best results, rotate the meatballs after the first 15 minutes of baking.

  • Prep Time: 5 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 Minutes
  • Category: Chicken
  • Method: Air Fryer
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Lemon Butter Chicken Meatballs, Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs, Lemon Chicken Meatballs, Ground Chicken Meatballs Recipe