Chicken Kotleti (Chicken Meatballs)

These tender and juicy kotleti are oval shaped chicken meatballs that are a favorite entree in Eastern European homes.

All Slavic children grow up with their mom’s kotleti, just like Italians grow up with meatballs. Kotleti translate as meat “cutlets”, and are small, individual meatball-type patties. Anytime I make these for dinner, I am guaranteed a huge smile from my husband and always an enthusiastic kiss too. He’s so easy to please:).

Most of the time, kotleti are made with pork or beef, but I actually prefer chicken. I think the meat is much more tender and light. Adding fresh, toasted breadcrumbs gives the meat a porous, tender texture. I have also found that grating the onion on the smallest holes of a box grater incorporates the onion really well into the meat and using only a small amount will give just enough flavor without giving you kotleti aftertaste. Not a good thing:) For this reason also, I always omit garlic.

Kotleti are also on my list for company dinners too. I love watching guests happily gobbling up the plate of tender chicken patties. Since most Slavic people grew up eating them, no one ever gets too excited when they see them on the table. They’re just a seemingly boring and uninteresting entree, but when they start eating them, they can’t stop raving about how delicious they are and I rarely have any leftovers. I think it’s the ground chicken and  the fact that they are SO juicy and tender. I hope you love these as much as we do.


  • ground chicken
  • panko breadcrumbs
  • milk
  • sour cream
  • salt, ground black pepper
  • egg
  • onion
  • dry herbs and spices
Ingredients for Chicken Kotleti

How to make Chicken Kotleti

  1. First, make the ground chicken mixture.
    • Place the ground chicken in a large mixing bowl.
    • Soak the breadcrumbs in the milk and set aside for a few minutes.
    • Grate the onion on the medium or small holes of a box grater. You can also finely mince the onion instead.
    • Add the soaked breadcrumbs, sour cream, egg, onion, salt, pepper and dry herbs and spices to the ground chicken. Mix to combine.
    • The meat mixture should be very tender. It is much softer in consistency than regular meatloaf mixture.
  2. Shape the meat into oval patties.
    • It really helps to use dampened hands.
  3. Pan fry the chicken kotleti.
    • Heat some oil in a skillet on medium heat and add the kotleti to the skillet. Cover and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side.
    • Covering the skillet and cooking it on medium heat with produce some steam, cooking the kotleti all the way through and injecting moisture and juiciness into the meat.
    • Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel and add more oil before cooking the next batch.
  4. Serve the chicken kotleti hot.
  5. Store the leftovers in the refrigerator for 5-7 days. You can also freeze them for up to 3 months.
Chicken Kotleti (oval chicken meatballs)
Chicken patties

Make Ahead:

Chicken Kotleti are perfect to make ahead. They even freeze really well.

  • You can make the raw chicken mixture and store it in the refrigerator for 1-2 days in advance, then shape and cook them. The raw chicken mixture can be frozen for up to 3 months. Simply thaw, then proceed with shaping the kotleti and cooking them.
  • Another option is to cook the kotleti and store them in the refrigerator for 5-7 months.
  • Freeze the cooked chicken kotleti for up to 3 months.
Chicken Kotleti
oval shaped chicken meatballs

Helpful Tips and Frequently Asked Questions


Chicken Kotleti

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5 from 2 reviews

Chicken Kotleti are Russian oval shaped meatballs. They are really juicy, tender and are always a big hit with the whole family, both children and adults.

  • Author: Olga’s Flavor Factory
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 20 mins
  • Total Time: 35 mins
  • Yield: 2022 small, 16 large kotleti 1x
  • Category: Entree


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 3/41 cup panko bread crumbs or 2 slices of bread
  • 1/31/2 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1/2 cup flour, for dredging


  1. If you’re using bread, toast the bread and pulse in the food processor or use a box grater. Place the breadcrumbs or the panko breadcrumbs in a bowl and top with milk.The milk should just cover the bread. You may not need all the milk, depending on the size of your bread.
  2. Let it stand for a few minutes, just until the milk is absorbed by the bread.
  3. Combine all the ingredients, except the flour, in a bowl.
  4. The meat mixture should be very tender. It is much softer in consistency than regular meatloaf mixture.
  5. With moistened hands, shape into oval patties. Dredge in flour.
  6. In a nonstick skillet, heat 1 – 1 1/2 Tablespoons of oil and add the kotleti to the skillet.
  7. Cover and cook until golden on both sides, about 5 minutes on the first side and 3 minutes on the second side.
  8. Wipe out the skillet with a paper towel before cooking the next batch.

Make Ahead:

  1. To make ahead, you can either make the meat mixture ahead of time and refrigerate or freeze until you’re ready to cook or cook the kotleti and reheat later. When you re-heat the kotleti, add just enough water to a skillet or a small pot and cook, covered, on low heat. This will keep the kotleti moist even as leftovers.

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  • Vadim

    Hi, this is Natasha’s husband. I love the pictures and probably will force Natasha to make some, unless I get to make them first. Great posts.


    Olga, my hubby (Vadim) actually made these today and I’m eating one as I write. Soo wonderful! Thank you so much. It’s just perfect!

  • Natalie

    These look so yummy! I am planning on whipping up a batch tomorrow. Quick question: what kind of bread do you typically use to make your breadcrumbs? Thanks!

    • Olga K.

      I use hearty country bread or homemade sandwich bread. I always have some bread in the freezer and just take out a slice or two whenever I need it.

  • Natasha

    I always use pork for my kotleti but after trying these I dont think I will go back.. Husband absolutely loved them.. Thanks for the recipe

    • olgak7

      Natasha, I used to use pork all the time before too. After trying kotleti with chicken once, my husband and I were won over and I only make it this way now. I’m so glad you liked it too.

  • Chicken Kotleti (you will dream about) Recipe

    […] are so soft and tasty. Yes, chicken can be dreamy. We learned how to make these from Olga of Olga’s flavor factory and I’m so pleased to share the recipe with you. We love her food and family blogs! We share […]

  • Vera

    Olga, I just made these wonderful kotletki and everyone loved them. I will definatly do them again, but I will triple the recipe because they are too good and my brothers just swollow them too fast. They turned out so soft with a really pretty korochka. Thank you very much for sharing these amazing recipes with.
    Merry Christmas to you and your family 🙂

    • olgak7

      How cool is that? I’ve noticed that most people really like these kotleti. Probably because chicken is a well liked protein.Thanks for letting me know, Helen.

  • Oksana

    Hi Olga,
    I made these and my husband said these were the most amazing ever! And he said to try making these patties for hamburgers instead of beef… I think we are hooked! :)) thanks for the recipe! I sure do love your site and visit it at least 3 times a week!

    • olgak7

      Yay! So happy to hear that you enjoyed this recipe. I like using chicken for hamburgers once in a while too.
      Thanks for visiting my site and for taking the time to let me know.

  • Olga

    Hi Olga,
    I’m Olga too 🙂 I just got done making these kotleti and they turned out sooo good!!! Thank you for this awesome recipe and I love you site!

    May God Bless You!!!

  • Elena

    Hi Olga,
    Do you drain the juice from the onions after grating them? The meat just seems too wet to handle, I can’t even make an oval shape, it just falls apart. I don’t know what i did wrong. I made sure I didn’t have too much milk with the crumbs as well, just enough to get them all soggy 🙁

    • olgak7

      Hi Elena,
      No I don’t drain the onions. The meat mixture should be VERY soft. The trick is to use damp hands when shaping them. This is the secret to really moist and juicy kotleti. Add more breadcrumbs if you still can’t work with it.

  • Lena

    Hi Olga, I noticed that the recipe has a yield amount, but how many people would 16 large Kotleti serve?
    The recipe looks great though, and I am looking forward to trying it!

    • olgak7

      That depends on how much people eat:). Some people may eat 2 kotleti, others will eat 4, and some might eat 6.
      Some people eat more than others, so whenever I can, I like to add how much a recipe yields, not how many people it serves, since a serving size is different with everyone.

  • Susanna

    Another Olga hit in my household! I have to say the meat mixture was a bit hard to handle, since it was so wet, but they were so delicious! And moist! Will definitely make them regularly!


    • olgak7

      You’re right, the ground meat mixture IS tricky to work with, but I love how tender and moist the kotleti turn out to be:). Glad you enjoyed them, Susanna.

    • olgak7

      Welcome, Natalie! I’m so glad you stopped by. I hope you find many other recipes to enjoy. These chicken kotleti are a personal favorites of my husband and I make them all the time. It’s so awesome to hear that others are enjoying them too. Thanks for taking the time to write.

  • Uliana

    Olga, please help! I really really want to make kotlety for my kids, but
    I don’t have store bought ground chicken, can I make my own?
    What parts of chicken are better for this purpose?
    Thank you

    • olgak7

      Absolutely, Uliana. I actually use ground chicken that I grind myself most of the time. The texture is much better and of course, you know exactly what kind of meat is going in.
      I like to use both dark meat (thighs are the easiest) and some breast meat too. You can use only dark meat and that would be just fine, but if you use only white meat (breast) the meat may be too dry.

  • Lesya

    Made these today but with turkey (thats all I had :-D)..hands down the best kotleti I had ever made. Cant wait to try with chicken. Thank you.

  • Evelina

    Thank you for this recipe! As a young wife, I am still learning to cook, and these turned out wonderful! My husband requests these often. I listened to your testimony… Wow, so powerful! God is amazing!

  • Tanya

    I made these today using ground turkey thigh, oh my they were delicious. I served them with mashed potato, gravy and cucumber, tomato salad. My picky eater said, “Mom, this dinner is so delicious!!!!!” Thank you Olechka so much for your awesome recipes!

  • Yuliya

    I tried to make these and they were frying up so quickly. Basically just cooking on the outside and formed thick. I was wondering what I did wrong? I didn’t add any milk to my breadcrumbs as they were very fine. I dreaded them in flour, as you stated. Wouldn’t I normally go in egg after the floor?

    Please help!

    • olgak7

      Hi Yuliya.
      Just cook them on lower heat next time. All stoves and skillets work differently and some heat up much faster than others. No, you don’t need to dredge the kotleti in egg first; I never do. I hope it works out better for you next time.

  • Larisa

    Hi Olga, thank you for posting this recipe, it looks delicious! I always have a problem of uneven browning of kotleti 🙁 Please recommend what frying pan you use?

    thank you!

    • olgak7

      Hi Larisa,
      A good skillet will definitely help in getting an even browning on the kotleti. A few other tips are to make sure that you are cooking them on a medium heat, not too high and to dredge off all the excess flour off of the kotleti before placing them into the hot skillet. If there is too much flour on the kotleti, the flour will fall off and burn and you will get uneven black burned spots all over the kotleti even though they will still be uncooked in the center. Also, make sure to wipe out the skillet after each batch of kotleti are cooked before you add new kotleti into the skillet.
      Here are the skillets that I have used to make kotleti and I think they all work really well.
      This is the newest one that I am really enjoying:
      OXO nonstick skillet:
      TFal nonstick skillet:

  • Irena

    I made these yesterday and they are delicious. Easy and yet sooo yummy and juicy. I will be making these often. I wanted to say thank you for the recipe.

  • Ali Barnes

    Hi Olga
    I’d really like to try these. Could you give an idea of weight for a ‘small’ onion? Small like a shallot, or small as in choose a small one from the standard onions?

    • olgak7

      It really depends on how strong of a flavor of onion you want, Ali. The onion is a completely personal preference. 4-5 oz should be good, but like I said, it won’t make or break the recipe if you use one that is larger or smaller.

  • Natalya

    As always this recipe is a Winner! Winner winner chicken dinner! I used to make kotleti with pork or mix pork and beef… but… I think that’s one’s are way more tender!! Just love ‘em!!!

    • olgak7

      Yes, you can cook them in the oven, but they will be very pale and won’t get a golden crust. I don’t even know how long you would need to bake them; I’ve never timed it.

  • Ella

    Hi Olga, can you advise what dry herbs and quantities you used please? The recipe seems to be missing this bit. Thanks!

    • olgak7

      The dry herbs is a matter of taste preference and what you have on hand. I switch it up all the time. I suggest Trader Joe’s Onion Salt and Simply Organic All Purpose seasoning, about a teaspoon or so. Everyone has different taste preferences and how much/how little they like at add.

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