Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Meatballs

Moroccan-Spiced Chicken Meatballs

Chicken meatballs may not be a traditionally Moroccan dish, but they work beautifully when spiced with paprika, cumin, cinnamon, ginger and garlic, which are commonly found in the country’s cuisine. Whole-milk yogurt does double duty here: It’s used to make the meatballs moist and tender, and makes for a speedy sauce to serve with them. Don’t use ground chicken made with ultralean breasts; look for labels that show a mix of white and dark meat. (Or if you’re feeling ambitious, grind your own boneless, skinless chicken thighs in the food processor.) Serve the meatballs with couscous and a green vegetable for a flavorful weeknight dinner that’s well worth the effort.
  • Total:
  • Serves: 4 persons



  1. Step 1

    First, make the yogurt sauce: Combine 1 cup of the yogurt, 1 teaspoon of the garlic, the lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt and black pepper to taste in a small bowl. Mix well, and chill until ready to use.
  2. Step 2

    Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the remaining 1/3 cup yogurt, remaining 1 tablespoon garlic, chicken, panko, egg, parsley, olive oil, sugar, paprika, cumin, ginger, cinnamon, 1 1/2 teaspoons salt and a few generous grinds of black pepper. Mix gently but thoroughly, until incorporated. Using an ice cream scoop or two spoons, form meatballs about 1 1/2-inches in diameter, then place them on a plate or sheet pan until ready to use.
  3. Step 3

    In a large skillet, heat 1/8-inch olive oil over medium-high heat. When the oil is hot, fry the meatballs in batches, flipping occasionally, until browned all over and cooked through, 4 to 5 minutes. (If the meatballs begin browning too quickly or the oil begins smoking, lower the heat.) Transfer the cooked meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate.
  4. Step 4

    To serve, spread the yogurt sauce in an even layer on a flat platter. Arrange the meatballs on top, and top with a sprinkle of chopped parsley and the pine nuts, if using. Serve hot.