These baked chicken meatballs (tefteli) are the Russian version of porcupine meatballs! They’re smothered in a delicious cream sauce that takes plain meatballs to remarkable! 

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Chicken Meatballs (Tefteli)

If I ever make meatballs from chicken, it’s likely to be these chicken meatballs! There so good over creamy mashed potatoes or the perfect stovetop rice! The sauce is similar to stroganoff but orangey and ultra creamy! My version of chicken meatballs is baked, which allows the meatballs to simmer and soak up in the sauce more, but they can totally be finished off on the stovetop! Furthermore, doing so will make them guest friendly as they can stay warm in the oven or crockpot for those coming guests!

How to make Baked Chicken Meatballs in a Cream Sauce (tefteli):


Baked Chicken Meatballs (Tefteli)

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 30 meatballs
Author: Alyona Demyanchuk
These baked chicken meatballs (tefteli) are the Russian version of porcupine meatballs! They're smothered in a delicious cream sauce that takes plain meatballs to remarkable! 


Chicken Meatballs:

  • 2 lbs ground chicken
  • 2 cups cooked rice
  • 1 onion
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper

Cream Sauce:

  • 4 Tbsp butter
  • 1/4 cup flour
  • 3 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup heavy cream
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 1 packet Goya Sazon seasoning


  • Combine all the chicken meatball ingredients. Set aside.
  • Heat a deep frying pan with 1/2 cup of oil. Scoop 2-inch meatballs into the skillet and fry on each side for 2-3 minutes. Transfer to a large baking dish.
  • TO MAKE SAUCE: Melt butter in a saucepan. Whisk in flour then pour the chicken broth and bring to a boil, whisking occasionally. Add the sour cream, heavy cream, paprika and the Goya Sazon packet, bring to a simmer (about 8 minutes.)
  • Pour sauce over arranged meatballs. Cover and bake at 350°F 45 minutes.


To make rice: Bring 1 1/4 cup water and 2/3 cup of rice to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer over low for 20 min. 
Chicken Broth Substitute: Stir 1 teaspoon of chicken bullion powder to 3 cups of water. 
Stovetop: omit baking and allow meatballs to simmer in the sauce for 20 minus over med-low heat. 
Meatball Size: Here is the same exact heavy duty scoop that I used. It makes large meatballs. Use a 1/4 cup measuring scoop instead. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1meatballCalories: 136kcalCarbohydrates: 5gProtein: 6gFat: 10gSaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 48mgSodium: 243mgPotassium: 201mgFiber: 1gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 211IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 14mgIron: 1mg

Shop Chicken Meatballs:

chicken-meatballs-cream sauce-tefteli


What are Tefteli?

Tefteli are Russian meatballs made with rice and simmered in a cream sauce. Sauces can vary as some use a tomato based sauce.

Can I make Chicken Meatballs Gluten-Free?

Yes! Omit the flour and use cornstarch! Cornstarch is gluten-free and you won’t miss out on the taste!

What Ingredients are in chicken meatballs?

  • chicken
  • cooked rice
  • onion
  • eggs
  • salt and pepper


  • butter
  • flour
  • chicken broth
  • sour cream
  • heavy cream
  • paprika
  • Goya Sazon Seasoning 

What are porcupine meatballs?

Porcupine meatballs get their name from the rice, as rice resembles “spikes.” Though, they’re not prickly, the rice works as one of the binding ingredients since no flour or bread crumbs are used.



  1. Use cornstarch instead of flour to make these meatballs gluten-free.
  2. A quick substitute for chicken broth is simply to dilute chicken bullion powder with water.
  3. Make these over the stovetop instead of baking!
  4.  Sprinkle fresh dill or parsley into the sauce for aroma!

Other Meatball Recipes:

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    • vsb

    Hi – have you ever frozen these? And if so, at what stage do you freeze?

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi vsb, Not these.

    • Tetyana

    This is so delicious 🙂 I love this recipe

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Thank you for sharing, Tetyana

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