Annabel Karmel's chicken and apple balls recipe

(594 ratings)

Annabel Karmel's chicken and apple balls are the ideal homemade alternative to chicken nuggets - so much healthier and very easy to make.

Annabel Karmel's chicken and apple balls
  • healthy
Preparation Time20 mins
Cooking Time8 mins
Total Time28 mins

These chicken and apple balls from family chef Annabel Karmel make a delicious and appealing meal for young children. 

If your kids like chicken nuggets, they will love this homemade version with chunks of chicken breast, sweetened with grated apple and fresh herbs. They are delicious served hot with a salad or a portion of potato wedges, or cold as a snack. Plus they make great finger food for babies and toddlers (adjust the recipe for children under one to remove the salt, see ingredients list). They are quick to prepare - ready in under half and hour, and this recipe makes 20 balls - enough for 4-5 portions, depending on the diners' ages. 


  • 1 tbsp light olive oil
  • 1 onion, finely chopped
  • 1 Granny Smith apple, peeled and grated
  • 2 chicken breasts cut into chunks
  • ½ tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1 tsp fresh thyme leaves, chopped
  • 1 chicken stock cube, crumbled (from one year old)
  • 50g fresh white breadcrumbs
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper (from one year old)
  • Plain flour for coating
  • Sunflower oil for frying




  1. Heat the oil in a medium-sized pan and sauté the onion for about 3 mins over a low-medium heat. Remove the pan from the heat and allow the onions to cool down.
  2. Using your hands, squeeze out a little excess liquid from the grated apple.
  3. Mix the apple in a bowl with the chicken, cooled sautéed onion, thyme, crumbled stock cube and breadcrumbs then roughly chop in a food processor for a few seconds. Season with a little salt and pepper if you like.
  4. Using your hands, form the chicken mixture into about 20 small balls, roll in flour and fry in shallow oil for about 5 mins until lightly golden and cooked through.

Top tip for making Annabel Karmel's chicken and apple balls

Serve these chicken and apple balls with different dipping sauces - ketchup, mayo or sweet chilli or hummus. Or make your own dip by combining Greek yoghurt with some lemon juice, crushed garlic and chopped fresh mint.

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Annabel Karmel

Annabel Karmel MBE is a chef and author of over 40 cookbooks based on nutrition, and cooking for babies, children and families. With her career spanning over 25 years she has pioneered the way families feed their babies and children all the world over.