Chicken Meatball Calzones

Chicken Meatball Calzones

Take your tastebuds to the big boot in the Mediterranean with this Italian-inspired Chicken Meatball Calzone, part of our "Global Cuisine" series with the Grill Dads.

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Chicken Meatballs and Sauce

1 pound Sanderson Farms® Boneless Skinless Thigh Fillets

½ cup panko bread crumbs

¼ cup whole milk

1 large egg

¼ cup grated parmesan

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 teaspoon garlic powder

½ teaspoon kosher salt


¼ cup olive oil for grilling, plus more for shaping the dough

¼ cup flour for shaping the dough

1 pound pizza dough

½ cup whole milk ricotta cheese

4 ounces shredded part-skim mozzarella

8 leaves fresh basil

3 ounces grated parmesan cheese


2 tablespoons olive oil

3 cloves garlic, chopped

1 (15-ounce) can crushed tomatoes

2- 3 Calabrian chiles, finely chopped

1 teaspoon kosher salt

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1. Bring the pizza dough to room temperature for one hour while you prepare the meatballs and sauce.

2. Chop the chicken thighs into 1-inch pieces. Move the chicken pieces to a food processor and pulse 10 to 12 times or until the chicken is the consistency of ground meat.

3. Make the meatballs: Move the chicken to a mixing bowl. Add the breadcrumbs, milk, egg, parmesan, parsley, garlic powder, and salt. Use clean hands to massage the mixture until homogeneous. Use a small scoop to dose the chicken mixture out into 1½ ounce rounds (about the size of a ping-pong ball). You should have 12 meatballs.

4. Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and brown on each side for 3 minutes, using a thin spatula to flip and turn the meatballs. Remove the meatballs to a plate. Add the garlic to the remaining oil and cook just until fragrant - about 1 minute. Add the crushed tomatoes and salt. Finish the sauce with the chiles, then return the meatballs to the sauce and remove from heat.

5. Divide the pizza dough into four equal portions. Roll each portion into a ball. Sprinkle a work surface with flour and roll each portion into a 9 x 5-inch rectangle. Add two tablespoons of ricotta to each dough portion, keeping the filling mostly to one side, but also leaving a 1-inch border. Add three meatballs and some sauce to each calzone, followed by the mozzarella and two to three basil leaves. Fold the dough over the filling, making sure not to pull the dough too tightly. Press the edges tightly to seal, rolling the bottom edge up and over the top, and crimping the dough to seal. Move the calzones to a rimmed baking sheet dusted with cornmeal. Brush each calzone lightly with oil and sprinkle with two tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese.

6. Heat a gas grill or smoker to 425℉. Brush the grates with oil. Add the calzones and cook for 30 minutes. Remove the calzones from the grill and cool for 10 minutes before serving.