Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

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Succulent buffalo chicken meatballs are tender and tangy with a fiery kick of buffalo sauce. Like buffalo chicken bites, they’re a guaranteed crowd pleaser. And an easy alternative to chicken wings. Serve them as an appetizer with dipping sauce, or enjoy them for dinner.

📌 Pin Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Overhead view of buffalo chicken meatballs with garnishes: crumbled cheese, green onions, ranch dressing.

👨🏻‍🍳 Why this Recipe’s a Keeper

  • Irresistible flavor. These buffalo chicken meatballs bring together the iconic taste of buffalo sauce with the savory goodness of perfectly seasoned chicken. The heat is enough to tantalize your taste buds without overwhelming them. The spicy kick keeps you coming back for more.
  • Simple preparation. With easy instructions and basic ingredients, even a novice cook can whip up these delicious meatballs in no time. And they’re are also fantastic for meal prepping. Make a batch ahead of time, freeze them.
  • They can be garnished with whatever you have on hand: Sliced green onions, minced red onion, cheese crumbles, Italian parsley, cilantro, or sprinkling of sesame seeds. If desired, drizzle the top of the dish with blue cheese dressing or creamy buttermilk ranch dressing.
  • Versatile crowd-pleaser. Whether you’re planning a game night or hosting a party, or just want to add excitement to a regular dinner, these meatballs are a versatile crowd-pleaser that will have everyone reaching for seconds.
  • Bite-sized bliss: The beauty of these meatballs lies in their bite-sized nature. They’re the ideal finger food for any occasion. They’re easy to handle, making them perfect for dipping into your favorite sauces or enjoying on their own.
  • Less messy than chicken wings. When hosting an indoor gathering, saucy buffalo chicken wings are a very messy option. So like BBQ meatballs, these buffalo chicken meatballs save the day. No orange fingerprints on surfaces next to gooey napkins or ugly piles of chicken bones. These small bites are eaten cleanly off a toothpick, or an appetizer fork.
Appetizer fork piercing a baked chicken meatball covered in buffalo sauce.
A buffalo chicken meatball with a bite taken out of it.

🛒 Ingredients

For the Chicken Meatballs

  • Large Egg: Helps bind the buffalo balls together so they don’t fall apart.
  • Panko Breadcrumbs: This ingredient soaks up extra moisture so the meatballs are tender and moist but not juicy.
  • Blue Cheese Crumbles: Adds delicious creaminess to the recipe with a salty, pungent sharp flavor. Blue cheese is a classic pairing with buffalo sauce. But if you don’t care for blue cheese, use feta instead.
  • Buffalo Sauce: My preferred brand is Frank’s Red Hot. But if you can’t find it at the market, feel free to use another brand.
  • Garlic Powder: Amplifies the savory warmth of the buffalo flavor.
  • Onion Powder: Evenly disperses the onion flavor throughout the meatballs.
  • Paprika: This earthy flavor adds an extra layer of complexity to the seasoned ground chicken while enhancing the taste of the buffalo sauce.
  • Sea Salt: This seasoning enhances the flavor of food.
  • Black Pepper: Its vibrant bitter flavor adds depth to mix of seasonings.
  • Ground Chicken: Is the main ingredient in buffalo chicken meatballs. It’s the perfect type of meat to pair with buffalo sauce. Use either ground chicken (both dark and white meat) or ground chicken breast.
  • Olive Oil: Helps the meatballs brown and crisp in the oven.

For the Buffalo Sauce

  • Buffalo Sauce: If you can find it at the market, use Frank’s Red Hot. Most chain restaurants and sports bars that serve buffalo chicken appetizers use this particular brand.
  • Butter: Thins out the buffalo sauce and helps it stick to the meatballs. It also provides a rich buttery taste.
Ingredients for buffalo chicken meatballs recipe.

📖 Recipe Steps

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the baking tray to grease it. Reserve second tablespoon of olive oil for later.

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add breadcrumbs, blue cheese (or feta), buffalo sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix well to combine.
  2. Add ground chicken to the bowl. Mix it gently. This is very important. We don’t want to overly compact the meat. If time allows (optional), refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.
  3. Fill a small bowl with water for dipping your fingers and hands. A bit of liquid on your hands will make it easier to handle the meat without it sticking. Divide the meat mixture into 15 golf-ball sized meatballs. Roll the balls between your palms until smooth and round.
  4. Arrange meatballs on the prepared baking tray. Leave room between the pieces so they can brown on all sides.
How to make buffalo chicken meatballs in 4 easy steps.
  1. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes or until the interior temperature registers 165°F on a food thermometer.
  2. While meatballs are in the oven, prepare the buttery buffalo sauce sauce on stovetop. Add buffalo sauce and butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk to combine. Remove pan from heat.
Making a buttery buffalo sauce for baked chicken meatballs.
  1. Add meatballs to a large bowl. Pour sauce over the balls and toss until well coated.
  2. Transfer buffalo balls to a serving dish. Garnish with cheese crumbles and sliced green onion. Serve immediately with a chilled dipping sauce like blue cheese dressing or buttermilk ranch dressing.
Bite taken out of a buffalo chicken meatball to view the beautiful tasty texture.

👩🏻‍🍳 Expert Tips

  • Quality ingredients matter. Opt for high-quality ground chicken breast and season it properly. Be sure to use a reputable buffalo sauce for the best flavor.
  • Double the recipe. Like these popular baked chicken meatballs, air fryer lemon butter chicken meatballs, and Greek lamb meatballs, this party favorite won’t last long on the appetizer table. For a gathering of any size, double or tripe the recipe to make sure you have enough on hand.
  • Chill the mixture: After combining the ingredients, chill the mixture in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. This helps the flavors meld together, makes the mixture easier to handle when forming the meatballs, and helps them hold together better during cooking.
  • Use a metal scoop. For evenly sized meatballs, use a metal scoop – a large scoop for extra-large balls, a medium scoop for average-size balls, or a small scoop for mini ones. After portioning out the meat, roll the balls between the palms of your hands until they’re smooth and round. This will ensure consistency in cooking and a polished presentation.
  • For a crispy exterior, bake then broil. Baking promotes even cooking. Arrange meatballs on a baking sheet, leaving space between each one to allow for proper airflow. Then, for an extra layer of texture, broil the meatballs for a few minutes after baking. This creates a crispy exterior while keeping the inside moist. Keep a close on on them to prevent burning.
  • Serve with care. If serving at a party, keep the meatballs warm in a slow cooker or chafing dish. Provide toothpicks for easy, mess-free enjoyment. Serve with cooling sides to offset the heat: ranch dipping sauce, celery sticks, cucumber slices or carrot sticks. These refreshing options will balance the flavors while also providing a crunchy contrast.
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs in a serving dish garnished with crumbled cheese and sliced green onion.

🍴How to Use Leftover Meatballs

If you have leftover meatballs after your party, turn them into a main dish and avoid food waste. Imagine this tasty meal: savory seared meatballs in a cast-iron skillet coated in a thick and spicy sour-cream-ranch sauce. So aromatic and flavorful. Here’s how to do it.

  1. Rewarm buffalo balls in the oven.
  2. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in a hot skillet and sear the meatballs. Remove the balls to a plate. To the pan: add 3 tablespoons Frank’s Red Hot sauce, 1/3 cup chicken broth, and 1/4 cup sour cream (or Mexican crema). Whisk to combine. If needed, adjust quantities of broth and sour cream until desired thickness is achieved. Add 1/2 tablespoon Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning. Stir to incorporate.
  3. Toss warmed meatballs in the thick luscious sauce.
  4. Serve over mashed potatoes or rice, with a garden salad on the side.

Another Meal Idea: Make a meatball sandwich. Rewarm the meatballs. Tuck them inside a Mexican bolillo roll (or small baguette) that’s been smeared with mayo. Add fresh produce like shredded lettuce, sliced red onion, and sliced tomatoes. An easy lunch or dinner!

Buffalo chicken meatballs on a serving plate with forks.

🧑🏼‍🍳 Recipe FAQ

These are the most commonly-asked questions when making buffalo chicken meatballs, and the most helpful answers for recipe success.

Can I use ground turkey or beef instead of chicken?

While you can substitute ground turkey or beef, using ground chicken provides a lighter, more authentic flavor. If you choose to substitute with turkey meat, keep in mind that turkey is dryer – not as juicy. Adjust the seasonings to complement the different meat.

How to keep meatball mixture from sticking to hands?

Fill a bowl with water and put it next to your work area. Dampen your hands with water before rolling the meatballs. The moisture will help prevent the meat mixture from sticking to your hands. You can also use olive oil or cooking spray.

Can I make these meatballs in an air fryer?

Yes, you can! Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Spray the meatballs with cooking spray. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, turning them halfway through, until they’re golden brown and cooked through.

How to know when ground chicken is done?

The USDA recommends cooking ground chicken to an internal temperature of 165ºF. Read more about this at foodsafety.gov: safe minimum internal temperatures.

How to make my own buffalo sauce?

In a saucepan over medium heat, melt 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter. Add 1/2 cup hot sauce (like Frank’s Red Hot) to the pan and stir to combine. If desired, add 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper (for additional heat), 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce, and salt to taste. Simmer for 5 to 7 minutes, stirring occasionally. Taste and adjust the salt, if needed. Remove pan from heat. Let the sauce cool for a few minutes.

What sides to serve with chicken meatballs for dinner?

Meatballs pair well with potato salad, classic macaroni salad, coleslaw, corn on the cob, breadsticks, carrot sticks, celery sticks, or a crisp green salad.

How do I store leftovers?

After meatballs have cooled, place them inside an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 3 days. Reheat in a microwave, or in a 350°F oven until warmed through.

Can I make the meatballs ahead of time?

Yes, you can! Prepare the meatballs and refrigerate them for up to 24 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can freeze uncooked meatballs for later use. When ready to cook them, be sure to adjust the cooking time accordingly.

How to freeze meatballs?

Arrange meatballs on a parchment-lined tray in a single layer, leaving room between the pieces. Freeze for about 45 minutes, or until meatballs are firm. Transfer balls to an airtight container lined with parchment paper, or to a zip-top freezer bag. Freeze up to 1 month.

Buffalo balls on an appetizer table with forks and garnishes.

🍽️ More Small Bites

If you enjoyed these buffalo chicken balls, you’ll also want to try these delicious small bites. Each recipe is easy to make and a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Print your favorites for later, or pin them to Pinterest.

Rate This Recipe ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Recipe testers provided feedback on this delicious appetizer. They said this final version of the recipe produced the BEST buffalo chicken meatballs. It rivals the taste and texture of those served at sports bars and restaurants.

If you agree these buffalo balls are super tasty, give them a 5-star rating in the comments. Then be a recipe hero. Share it with a friend. 📌 Pin it to Pinterest.

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Overhead view of buffalo chicken meatballs with garnishes: crumbled cheese, green onions, ranch dressing.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs


  • Author: Denay DeGuzman
  • Total Time: 25 Minutes
  • Yield: 15 Large Meatballs 1x
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Description

Buffalo chicken meatballs have a rich tangy flavor with a kick of heat. They taste just like the buffalo small bites served at sports bars. Enjoy with a creamy dipping sauce like blue cheese or ranch.


Ingredients

Units Scale

BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATBALLS

  • 1 large egg
  • 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese crumbles (or feta cheese)
  • 3 tablespoons buffalo sauce, preferably Frank’s Hot
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil

BUTTERY BUFFALO SAUCE FOR TOSSING

  • 1/2 cup buffalo sauce, preferably Frank’s Hot
  • 3 tablespoons butter

GARNISHES – OPTIONAL

  • Green onion, thinly sliced on a diagonal
  • Blue cheese crumbles or feta cheese

Instructions

BUFFALO CHICKEN MEATBALLS

RECIPE PREP: Preheat oven to 400°F. Drizzle 1 tablespoon olive oil over the baking tray to grease it. Reserve second tablespoon of olive oil for later.

  1. In a large bowl, beat the egg with a fork. Add the breadcrumbs, blue cheese (or feta), buffalo sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, paprika, and salt and pepper. Mix well to combine. Add ground chicken to the bowl. Mix it gently. This is very important. We don’t want to overly compact the meat. If time allows (optional), refrigerate the mixture for 30 minutes.
  2. Fill a small bowl with water for dipping your fingers and hands. Having a bit of liquid on your hands will make it easier to handle the meat without it sticking. Divide the meat mixture into 15 golf-ball sized meatballs. Roll the balls between your palms until smooth and round.
  3. Arrange meatballs on the prepared baking tray. Leave room between the pieces so they can brown on all sides. Drizzle the remaining tablespoon of olive oil over the top of the meatballs. Bake for 15 minutes or until the interior temperature registers 165°F on a food thermometer.
  4. While meatballs are in the oven, prepare the buttery buffalo sauce sauce on stovetop. Add buffalo sauce and butter to a saucepan over medium heat. Once the butter has melted, whisk to combine. Remove pan from heat. 
  5. Add meatballs to a large bowl. Pour sauce over the balls and toss until well coated. Transfer buffalo balls to a serving dish. Garnish with cheese crumbles and sliced green onion. Serve immediately.

Notes

Air fryer directions: Preheat the air fryer to 375°F (190°C). Spray the meatballs with cooking spray. Cook for about 12 to 15 minutes, turning them halfway through, until they’re golden brown and cooked through.

How to serve meatballs as appetizers: Serve with a cool dipping sauce like blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing. If desired, include a crunchy side like celery sticks or carrot sticks. In Mexico we include juicy wedges of lime and a pinch bowl with flaky sea salt.

How to store leftovers: After the chicken meatballs have cooled, place them inside an airtight container. Refrigerate up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave, or in a 350°F oven until warmed through. 

  • Prep Time: 10 Minutes
  • Cook Time: 15 Minutes
  • Category: Appetizers
  • Method: Bake
  • Cuisine: American

Keywords: Buffalo Chicken Meatballs, Buffalo Balls, Buffalo Chicken Meatball Recipe, Buffalo Chicken Balls, Chicken Meatballs

Gold Line: Sprinkles of Inspiration | confettiandbliss.com

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs 👉🏻 Join the Convo

Do you order buffalo balls at sports bars or restaurants? Do you like to eat them at home during Game Day gatherings? Share your thoughts on these saucy chicken meatballs in the comments below. I’d love to hear from you.

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One Comment

  1. These little meatballs are very tasty. A real time-saver for make-ahead meals. Last month I made a double batch and froze half for later. This Sunday I’m making them for a church potluck. This recipe’s a keeper.