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Chicken Meatballs with Almond Sauce

Albóndigas de pollo en salsa de almendras

Written By: Byron | January 13, 2024
A small tapas serving of chicken meatballs with almond sauce.

This easy chicken meatballs with almond sauce recipe is the ultimate party pleaser. A classic recipe from Spain (called Albóndigas de pollo en salsa de almendras), you’ll find it served as a tapas or even as a main meal. 

The beauty of this recipe is in its simplicity. It is quick and easy to prepare, tasty, and high in protein! The juicy chicken meatballs use just 5 ingredients and are lightly pan-fried until browned then simmered in the flavorsome almond sauce.

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Serving:

Tapas for 4

Ready in:

36 minutes

Skill level:

Easy

Serve with:

Fresh bread

Watch step-by-step recipe video

If you’re looking for this recipe’s video and many other great recipe ideas, why not check out our Spanish Radish YouTube Channel? We’ve got everything from quick and easy tapas recipes to delicious main meals, to incredible Spanish dessert options too.

How to make chicken meatballs with almond sauce

  • Prep time: 10 minutes
  • Cook time: 21 minutes
  • Cooling time: 5 minutes
  • Ready in: 36 minutes

Ingredients

For the meatballs

  • 16 oz/450 g ground chicken mince (or turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
  • Splash of Extra virgin olive oil (optional)
  • Salt and pepper (to taste) 

For the Almond sauce

  • 2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil 
  • 3-4 slices of baguette (around ½ inch thick)
  • ¾ cups blanched almonds I used slivered
  • 2 large garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅔ cup dry white wine 
  • 1 ¾ cups vegetable stock/broth
  • Salt and pepper (to taste)

Equipment needed 

Method

Step 1 – Prepare the Meatballs

  • Mix all the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl.
  • Roll the mixture into small balls (1 inch/2.5cm) and place on a plate. (You should get around 20-25 balls at 1-inch/2.5cm or around 15 balls if they are about 2 inches/5cm). 
  • In a large skillet, heat a little oil and fry the meatballs for 2-3 minutes, rolling them around the pan so they cook evenly. They should start to brown slightly.
  • Once lightly browned, remove from the pan and set aside for use later. 

Step 2 – Prepare the Almond Sauce

  • Prepare and heat your stock in a small pot. 
  • Heat some oil in the skillet on medium-high heat. Add the bread slices and almonds, and cook stirring frequently until they are golden brown.
  • Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or until fragrant. 
  • Reduce heat to medium and pour in the wine. Simmer for 2-3 minutes. 
  • Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan.
  • Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes. 
  • Pour the sauce mixture into a food processor. Pour in the vegetable stock and blend mixture until smooth. (for extra smooth, run the mixture through a sieve to remove any husks from the almonds). 

Step 3 – Heat Meatballs in Sauce

  • Return the almond sauce to the skillet on medium heat and add the meatballs. Simmer for 12-15 minutes stirring frequently until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked. 

Cooking note: If using turkey, allow extra cooking time.

          ingredienst to make chicken meatballs are set out on a kitchen table.

          Why This Chicken Meatball Recipe is So Awesome! 

          • They are easy to make (10 mins prep)
          • Uses only 5 ingredients
          • They use one bowl
          • Ready in around 35 minutes
          • Great party food option
          • Meal-prep and batch-cooking friendly
          • Freezer friendly
          • They are CHICKEN. (Turkey is also a great option, too.)

          Ingredients and Substitutions

          Chicken meatballs are a spinoff of the typical beef, pork, or lamb meatballs that you’d find in many parts of the world. The one main advantage of chicken meatballs is they are lower in fat when compared to beef or pork meatballs (albondigas)

          We’ve kept this recipe paired down to just 5 ingredients (plus seasoning), but keep reading to discover how to enhance your chicken meatballs. 

          Ground Chicken or Turkey (Minced Meat)

          The good news is ground chicken is not only lower in fat compared to beef, or lamb, but chicken is also high in protein and relatively low in calories. And if you’re after protein-rich food, then turkey is an even better option. Here’s a comparison of chicken vs turkey:

          Ground Chicken Nutrition Facts (per 100g/3.5 oz.)

          • 40.5 Calories
          • 0g Carbs
          • (0g net carbs)
          • 2.3g Fat
          • 4.9g Protein

          If chicken is not your thing, or you’d like to have a protein boost, we suggest using ground turkey mince meat. Ground turkey meat is comparable in flavor (there’s only a subtle difference), inexpensive, and can be purchased at any supermarket or fresh food store. The most notable difference between ground turkey and chicken is that turkey contains almost 4x the amount of protein! Take note that all that extra protein comes with a tradeoff as turkey meat is much higher in fat and calories. 

          Ground Turkey Nutrition Facts (per 100g/3.5 oz.)

          • 148 Calories
          • 0g Carbs
          • (0g net carbs)
          • 7.7g Fat
          • 19.7g Protein

          Breadcrumbs 

          Never buy packaged breadcrumbs again with this classic tip from the Spanish Radish HQ. Simply keep any bread ends or stale bread and pop it into the freezer. When needed, grate the frozen bread with a box grater. That’s it! So easy! If you don’t usually keep bread in the house then using store-bought bread crumbs is fine. 

          Panko Breadcrumbs

          Panko breadcrumbs are a good option for making meatballs when frying them. Panko is a specific type of breadcrumb that is made with crustless white bread that has been dried and flaked. It is great for fried foods as it gives a lighter texture as it absorbs less oil. 

          Olive Oil

          We always prefer to use olive oil with our cooking, in particular extra virgin olive oil which is the most nutritious. For this recipe, we add just a splash of olive oil to the other ingredients to make the meatballs moist and juicy. When preparing the meatballs, check the mixture sticks together easily when cupped in the palm of your hand. If the mixture looks dry, add some olive oil. 

          Manchego Cheese

          Manchego is one of the most popular cheeses in Spain and hails from the Castilla-La Mancha region. Manchego is made with the milk of sheep from the Manchega breed (from the La Mancha plateau). The cheese is aged anywhere from 60 days to 2 years and has a firm consistency and rich flavor that works oh so well with this meatball recipe. 

          We use younger Manchego cheese (aged 60 days) for this recipe. It is lighter in flavor and usually cheaper compared to the more mature varieties. Manchego is not too difficult to source outside of Spain and has a distinctive zig-zag pattern (known as pleita) on the rind that is somewhere between yellow to brownish-beige in color. 

          Can’t find Manchego where you are? No worries. You can use another cured or semi-cured hard cheese of your liking.

          A small tapas serving of Chicken meatballs with almond sauce sits beside some amonds and aglass of red wine.

          Optional Ingredients

          Here are a few ideas for ingredients to help boost the flavor of your chicken meatballs. 

          Onion – Add half of an onion that is finely diced or ½ teaspoon of onion powder (fine powder, not the flakes). 

          Garlic – A clove of chopped garlic will add a little zing. If fresh garlic is too strong for your taste, use ½ teaspoon of garlic powder.

          Fresh parsley – Fresh chopped parsley is a great way to add a little color to your chicken meatballs. We suggest using around a small handful of fresh parsley (around 2 tablespoons once chopped). 

          What Sauces to Serve with Chicken Meatballs

          This chicken meatball recipe is ideal for serving as a party snack or tapas. They’re great on their own, or when served with a sauce. A creamy almond sauce works well, as does romesco sauce, or even a spicy mojo sauce for those who like it hot! 

          • Almond sauce
          • Romesco sauce
          • Mojo Rojo, Verde, and Picon

          Chicken Meatballs: FAQs

          How long do chicken meatballs take to make?

          • Prep time. 10 minutes
          • Cook time: 21 minutes
          • Cooling time. 5 minutes
          • Ready in: 36 minutes

          Can extra spices be added to this 5 ingredient recipe?

          Yes! If you want to add a little spice and step outside the 5 ingredient rule, consider adding around 1 teaspoon of smoked Spanish paprika. Another great option is a teaspoon of garlic powder (or fresh crushed garlic). And if you want spicy chicken meatballs, add some ground cayenne pepper or your favorite chili powder of choice.

          Can I use ground turkey for these meatballs?

          Ground turkey is a great option. When using ground turkey meat, use the dark meat cuts for more flavor. Allow an extra 5 minutes of cooking time when using ground turkey meat. 

          What sauces go with this chicken meatball recipe

          We love to serve this recipe with a tasty smoky romesco sauce or almond sauce. Another great option is a spicy Canarian mojo sauce (check out our easy Canarian mojo sauce recipe).

          What other tapas dishes should I serve with these?

          Other tapas recipes that work well with these include: Catalan roasted vegetables, ensalada Rusa (potato salad), fried Padron peppers, spicy patatas bravas, and Spanish chorizo cooked in cider. This would give you a nice cross-section of flavors and ingredients. But the world is your oyster and you could keep it purely meat-focused or even just serve your meatballs as the star of the show with a sauce or two. 

          Nutrition Facts

          Serving size: tapas

          Servings: 4

          Amount per serving

           

          Calories

          523

          % Daily Value*

          Total Fat 30.7g

          39%

          Saturated Fat 7.1g

          35%

          Cholesterol 148mg

          49%

          Sodium 681mg

          30%

          Total Carbohydrate 28.8g

          10%

          Dietary Fiber 3.6g

          13%

          Total Sugars 2.8g

           

          Protein 33.8g

           

          Vitamin D 4mcg

          22%

          Calcium 101mg

          8%

          Iron 4mg

          22%

          Potassium 326mg

          7%

          *The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calorie a day is used for general nutrition advice.

          A small tapas serving of chicken meatballs with almond sauce.
          A small tapas serving of chicken meatballs with almond sauce.

          Chicken Meatballs with Almond Sauce - Albóndigas de pollo en salsa de almendras

          Byron
          This easy chicken meatballs with almond sauce recipe is the ultimate party pleaser. A classic recipe from Spain (called Albóndigas de pollo en salsa de almendras), you’ll find it served as a tapas or even as a main meal.
          5 from 2 votes
          Prep Time 10 minutes
          Cook Time 21 minutes
          Cooling time: 5 minutes
          Total Time 36 minutes
          Course Appetizer, Chicken, Side Dish, Snack, tapas
          Cuisine American, Authentic Spanish recipe, Mediterranean, Spain
          Servings 4 Tapas
          Calories 523 kcal

          Equipment

          • 12 inch skillet
          • Glass bowl (Pryrex) or similar
          • Box Grater (for making breadcrumbs)
          • Food processor (for making the almond sauce)
          • Sieve (optional)
          • Small pot (for heating the stock)

          Ingredients

          For the meatballs

          • 16 oz/450 g ground chicken mince or turkey
          • 1 egg
          • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
          • 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese
          • Splash of Extra virgin olive oil optional
          • Salt and pepper to taste

          For the Almond sauce

          • 2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil
          • 3-4 slices of baguette around ½ inch thick
          • ¾ cups blanched almonds
          • 2 large garlic cloves minced
          • cup dry white wine
          • 1 ¾ cups vegetable stock/broth
          • Salt and pepper to taste

          Instructions
           

          Step 1 - Prepare the Meatballs

          • Mix all the meatball ingredients in a mixing bowl.
            16 oz/450 g ground chicken mince, 1 egg, 1/2 cup breadcrumbs, 1/2 cup grated Manchego cheese, Splash of Extra virgin olive oil, Salt and pepper
          • Roll the mixture into small balls (1 inch/2.5cm) and place on a plate. (You should get around 20-25 balls at 1-inch/2.5cm or around 15 balls if they are about 2 inches/5cm).
          • In a large skillet, heat a little oil and fry the meatballs for 2-3 minutes, rolling them around the pan so they cook evenly. They should start to brown slightly.
          • Once lightly browned, remove from the pan and set aside for use later.

          Step 2 - Prepare the Almond Sauce

          • Prepare and heat your stock in a small pot.
            1 ¾ cups vegetable stock/broth
          • Heat some oil in the skillet on medium-high heat. Add the bread slices and almonds, and cook stirring frequently until they are golden brown.
            2 Tablespoons Extra virgin olive oil, 3-4 slices of baguette, ¾ cups blanched almonds
          • Add the garlic and cook for an additional minute or until fragrant.
            2 large garlic cloves
          • Reduce heat to medium and pour in the wine. Simmer for 2-3 minutes.
            ⅔ cup dry white wine, Salt and pepper
          • Use a spatula or wooden spoon to scrape up the bits on the bottom of the pan.
          • Remove from heat and allow to cool for 5 minutes.
          • Pour the sauce mixture into a food processor. Pour in the vegetable stock and blend mixture until smooth. (for extra smooth, run the mixture through a sieve to remove any husks from the almonds).

          Step 3 - Heat Meatballs in Sauce

          • Return the almond sauce to the skillet on medium heat and add the meatballs. Simmer for 12-15 minutes stirring frequently until the meatballs are thoroughly cooked.

          Video

          Nutrition

          Serving: 150gCalories: 523kcalCarbohydrates: 28.8gProtein: 33.8gFat: 30.7gSaturated Fat: 7.1gCholesterol: 148mgSodium: 681mgPotassium: 326mgFiber: 3.6gSugar: 2.8gCalcium: 101mgIron: 4mg
          Keyword 30 minute recipe, almond sauce, almonds, chicken, Chicken meatballs, Easy tapas, meatballs, Spanish tapas