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Chicken Meatballs – Kotleti

Kotleti are classic Ukranian Chicken Meatballs that are rich, juicy and delicious. This version is one of the best chicken thigh recipes with every bite packed with flavor. Serve them with mashed potatoes for dinner or with eggs for a delicious breakfast.

Try some of my other classic Ukranian dishes such as this Borscht, this One-pot Beef Rice Plov, and for dessert, my Russian Chocolate Honey Cake.

Platter of kotleti Russian meatballs with steamed asparagus.

The Best Chicken Meatballs Recipe

If you are looking for a unique and delicious way to serve chicken, this is it. It’s far too easy to make the same basic recipes over and over, especially when it comes to chicken. Try this Russian version of the chicken meatballs recipe for a change!

It’s one of the few recipes that my family will ask for over and over again. Just like borsch, mashed potatoes, and golubtsikatelti are our favorite comfort food for sure.

Thankfully, this recipe only takes about 30 minutes to toss together from start to finish, so it makes for a simple evening meal.

Close up of the best chicken thigh recipe - kotleti. Freshly seasoned patties with fresh herbs and a side of asparagus.

A Twist on Homemade Chicken Sausage Recipes

Technically, Russian kotleti are just a version of chicken meatballs flavor-wise and breakfast sausage shape-wise. To me, these meatballs are very similar to good homemade chicken sausage, minus the rosemary.

Kotleti are seasoned similarly with garlic powder, onion powder and a dash of cayenne.

This homemade chicken sausage recipe uses dried French bread in place of traditional bread crumbs. In fact, I always save the dried french bread just to use in this recipe when I need it. You can use storebought breadcrumbs if that’s easier for you though.

What do I Serve with Homemade Chicken Sausage?

There are so many ways to serve kotleti. That’s one of the reasons I recommend trying this version out of all the homemade chicken sausage recipes—the flavors work in so many ways.

Our family’s favorite pairing is with mashed potatoes and cucumber salad, or a good, crunchy pickle.

So here’re sides I like to serve the katleti with:

  • mashed potatoes and roasted vegetables such as asparagus or broccoli
  • buttered pasta
  • rice
  • cooked buckwheat (healthy and delicious)
  • quinoa (good source of plant-based protein)

How to serve leftover Russian Meatballs:

  • for breakfast in place of breakfast sausage
  • chop the patties and fold them into an amazing omelet
  • make a breakfast sandwich, pairing it with an egg between a biscuit or an English muffin.

Homemade chicken sausage on a plate with mashed potatoes and asparagus.

Tips for Making The Boneless Chicken Thigh Recipe (Kotleti)

  • Use a grinder for boneless chicken thigh recipe: To get ground meat, you have a few options. First, you can purchase a grinder attachment for your stand mixer. Secondly, you can often find ground chicken thigh in stores, but if you cannot, many grocery store butchers will grind meat for you, if you ask them.
  • Keep whipping the meat: This recipe calls for several “wet” ingredients, particularly milk. The milk should be added slowly to the ground meat, then whipped on medium speed with the paddle attachment until the meat thickens up a bit.
  • Make-ahead: Freeze extras: If you have extra kotleti, or if you want to turn this into one of the make-ahead boneless chicken thigh recipes, the chicken patties freeze easily. Just prepare the recipe, cook, and then wrap tightly in freezer wrap and freeze.
  • Use dried bread: If you have fresh bread, this recipe will not work as well. You can either substitute it with breadcrumbs or take your French bread, slice it into cubes and dry out at low heat until it dries out.

Chicken Meatball with pasta and broccoli.

How to Make Chicken Sausage (Kotleti)

  • Using a meat grinding attachment, combine the ground chicken thighs and the dried cubed French bread.
  • Add the rest of your ingredients, except for milk, and mix again on low speed.
  • Add the milk slowly until well combined.

Visual instructions for how to make chicken sausage in a stand mixer.

  • Add oil to a skillet and heat over medium heat
  • Scoop  & shape kotleti onto the pan using a large ice cream scoop, then flatten into the patty shape.

Step by Step for how to make chicken sausage, shape them and cook properly.

  • Cover with a lid and cook 5-6 minutes.
  • Flip the kotleti and cook the other side.
  • Serve warm and enjoy.

More Chicken Thigh Recipes to Try:

Chicken Kotleti

Katletu - Chicken Meatballs
4.67 from 3 votes

Kotleti are classic Ukranian Chicken Meatballs that are rich, juicy and delicious. This version is one of the best chicken thigh recipes with every bite packed with flavor.

Author: Marina | Let the Baking Begin
Course: Breakfast, dinner, Main Entree
Cuisine: Russian, Ukrainian
Keyword: Ground chicken, sausage
Calories: 98 kcal
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 35 minutes
Servings: 4 people



  1. Using a stand mixer attachment, grind the chicken thighs and dried cubed bread together.

  2. To the same bowl, add 1 egg, 2 tsp garlic powder, 2 tsp of onion powder, 2 tsp of black ground pepper, 1.5 tsp of kosher salt and ¼ tsp cayenne pepper (use less if you do not like any spiciness).

  3. Use the mixer's paddle attachment to mix everything on low speed.

  4. With the mixer still running, slowly add in ⅔ cup of milk a little at a time, until fully incorporated.

  5. Turn mixer to medium speed and continue whipping for about 1 minute.

  6. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to a skillet, and heat over medium heat.

  7. Dip the ice cream scoop into cold water, then scoop the meat mixture into the heated pan, placing the balls about 2-3 inches apart. Then flatten the balls with the back of a spatula until they are about 1/2" thick.

  8. Cover the skillet with a lid and continue cooking until golden in color, then flip and cook the other side of the patty for about 5-6 minutes total.

Nutrition Facts
Chicken Kotleti
Amount Per Serving
Calories 98 Calories from Fat 18
% Daily Value*
Fat 2g3%
Saturated Fat 1g6%
Cholesterol 41mg14%
Sodium 1013mg44%
Potassium 90mg3%
Carbohydrates 16g5%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 5g10%
Vitamin A 105IU2%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 26mg3%
Iron 1.3mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Marina | Let the Baking Begin

Welcome to Let the Baking Begin! I'm Marina and my love and passion for eating only the most delicious foods drive me to share that love here on Let the Baking Begin (since 2009). With over 20 years of experience in the kitchen, you know the recipes are tested and retested until perfect. I'm so happy to have you here. Enjoy! Read more...

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  • Elena

    Can I do this recipe in oven instead of frying in a pan?

    · Reply
    • Yes, you can Elena. Just place them on parchment or foil-lined baking pan, then brush the tops with oil if you wish to have similar taste to that of pan-fried, or just leave them as-is if you’re going for a more healthy version and bake them in a 425F or 450F oven until the internal temp is 160F.

      · Reply
  • Rebecca Brown

    I have a friend with a meat grinder attachment that I could probably borrow, but would a food processor work?

    · Reply
  • Yelena

    This recipe is awesome but nutrition facts is wrong: check for sodium potassium and carbs

    · Reply
    • Than you Yelena for your feedback. I re-ran the nutrition app to recalculate and indeed the potassium was off. Fixed it though.

      · Reply

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