meatballs in a bowl

What’s better than a great soup recipe that incorporates meatballs? This French onion soup-esque recipe combines yummy grilled onions, Gruyere cheese, and fantastic chicken meatballs, making it both tasty and incredibly filling. It would be great to serve for lunch or dinner, and it always hits the spot. The meatballs truly take the soup to a whole new level!

Recipe developer Hayley MacLean has a knack for coming up with delicious recipes, and this soup is one of her best to date. "What I love about this recipe is the rich caramelized onion flavor mixed with the nutty, gooey cheese," MacLean raves. "French onion soup has long been one of my very favorite foods so getting to recreate those flavors in these meatballs worked perfectly, and the chicken acts as the perfect main star for this dish!" These are also great for any occasion. "These meatballs would be great served at a holiday gathering as an appetizer or makes a great family meal, it is a really versatile recipe," MacLean shares. If you love French onion soup, take it up a notch with this decadent meatball variation.

Gather the ingredients to make French onion chicken meatballs

ingredients for chicken meatballs

Once you commit to making this dish, it’s time to take a trip to the grocery store. Just pick up a pound of ground chicken and then some shredded Gruyere cheese. You will also need to grab Italian breadcrumbs and fresh chopped parsley. Next, toss an egg and a few cloves of garlic into your cart. What recipe isn’t better with garlic? The recipe also calls for a few commonly used ingredients like salt, pepper, and olive oil. You may have these ingredients at home already. You will also need a little butter, a couple of yellow onions, and all-purpose flour. Then, just get some beef broth and fresh thyme. That’s all you need!

Prepare and bake the meatballs

meatballs on baking sheet

Now that you have gotten your trip to the store out of the way, it’s time to get started on the cooking. First, make your way over to the oven and preheat it to 425 F. Then, take out a baking sheet and some parchment paper. Line the sheet with parchment paper so that it covers the whole sheet, which will prevent the meatballs from sticking to the bottom.

Now, take out a large bowl and toss in the ground chicken, followed by the Gruyere cheese. "Mozzarella is a great universally-liked cheese that is less earthy than the Gruyere, and it gives an excellent cheese-pull! A Swiss Emmental or provolone also would work great in this recipe," MacLean says of a sub for Gruyere. Next, add in the breadcrumbs, parsley, and egg. You can also throw in a few cloves of garlic, salt, and pepper at this time. Stir everything to combine it well. Using your hands, form the chicken mixture into balls. You should be able to make 16 meatballs total. Place the rolled meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 18 to 20 minutes. You can also check for an internal temperature of 165 F.

Cook the onions and make the French onion sauce

onions in a skillet

While the meatballs cook in the oven, you can multitask. Simply grab a large skillet and place it over medium heat. First, add the olive oil to heat it, and then throw in the onions. Cook the onions for about 30 minutes, until they turn soft and golden. Next, add the remaining two cloves of minced garlic and then cook for an additional one to two minutes. Then, toss in the flour and cook for another 30 seconds to a minute, until there’s no dry flour remaining.

Add the broth and thyme, and then bring the mix to a boil. Then, lower the heat to a simmer and cook for five to 10 minutes, until slightly thickened. "The most important thing to watch for when boiling the broth is to keep it on a low simmer and reduce it just enough so it will lightly coat your spoon or spatula," MacLean explains. "You do not want it to be too thin and watery or too thick to properly dress up the meatballs!"

Add the meatballs to the sauce and serve

meatballs in a pan

By now, the meatballs should be finished cooking, so go ahead and take them out of the oven and place them into the sauce. Then, sprinkle the remaining ½ cup of Gruyere on the top. Cover the pan and cook until the meatballs are warmed through and the cheese melt. This should only take about five minutes. These are best when served warm. If you’d like, you can garnish some chopped parsley. "I love serving them with some crusty baguette to scoop into the rich sauce and onions, or they would be delicious made into a meatball sandwich with a side of the broth for dipping," MacLean suggests.

Anything left? "Leftovers can be kept in an airtight container for up to 5 days in the refrigerator. They can also be frozen and kept for up to 3 months," MacLean shares. Hopefully, these French onion chicken meatballs hit the spot for you and your family!