Buffalo Chicken Meatballs are the perfect poppable, snackable, dippable, add-to-salad-able, delicious bites you need in your life! Simple chicken meatballs are baked then tossed with homemade buffalo sauce. It’s a healthier alternative to traditional wings, fun to make – and less messy to eat, too.
I’m such a sucker for anything buffalo, but traditional wings come at a cost. Wings are already pretty fatty on their own, and if you order buffalo wings in a restaurant, they’re likely breaded, deep fried, and THEN tossed in a butter-laden buffalo sauce.
These meatballs, on the other hand, are made with lean ground chicken, baked, and tossed with a buffalo sauce that’s a little lighter on the butter (without skimping on flavor). They’re perfect for serving on game day as an appetizer with blue cheese dressing for dipping, or throwing in a salad.
Let’s learn how to make these awesome, juicy chicken meatballs (which are great on their own, too!), as well as how to make homemade buffalo sauce with ketchup added for extra flavor and thickness while taking the butter down a notch.
Ingredients and Substitutions
- Ground chicken – or turkey
- Breadcrumbs – homemade breadcrumbs, panko, or regular are fine, as long as they are unseasoned.
- Milk – I used whole milk and it keeps the meatballs extra juicy and fluffy, but you can use another or plant-based milk, or even omit it if you like.
- Egg – this will bind the meatballs together.
- Butter – or ghee for a dairy-free version.
- Garlic powder
- Chili powder
- Hot sauce – I like Frank’s Red Hot for anything buffalo flavored.
- Ketchup – omit if you like.
Please scroll to the bottom of the post for the full recipe including ingredient amounts and detailed instructions.
How to make Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- First, melt some butter in a small bowl or glass measuring cup. Brush a layer on a rimmed baking sheet (lined with foil if you want for easy clean-up).
- Then, make the meatball mixture. Mix breadcrumbs, milk, egg, some melted butter, garlic powder, chili powder, salt, and pepper together. Then, add the ground chicken and mix together.
- Tip: use your hands to mix everything together for the best texture, but a spoon is fine too if you really don’t want to touch the mixture.
- Form the meatballs and place them on the greased rimmed baking sheet. You can use a small cookie scoop to do this. Aim for about 1 ½ inches in size. Bake until fully cooked (you can use a meat thermometer to check that they are 165 degrees F.)
- Make the buffalo sauce – mix the remaining melted butter with hot sauce and some ketchup.
- Toss the meatballs with half the buffalo sauce. Put them back in the oven under the broiler for a few minutes.
- Finally, toss the meatballs with the remaining buffalo sauce. Serve!
Sure! Just use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
Yup! Use ghee instead of butter and plant-based milk.
Use a low carb breadcrumb alternative, like crumbled pork rinds, to make these chicken meatballs low-carb.
These buffalo chicken meatballs will stay good for 2-3 days in the fridge in an airtight container. Pop them in the microwave or air fryer to reheat.
If you like, you can freeze the chicken meatballs cooked or uncooked. Just bake from frozen (raw) for 30-35 minutes at 400 degrees F, or (cooked) for 25-30 minutes at 400 degrees F. If freezing cooked, feel free to toss with the sauce before freezing so you’re all ready to go!
How to serve Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- At a party with celery and carrot sticks and blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing for dipping (perfect for football game watching).
- Throw them in a salad – they’d be delicious in this deconstructed wedge salad.
- Enjoy them as a main course with a side of homemade oven-baked fries.
- Make flatter meatballs (use a spatula to press down on the tops of them before baking) and make buffalo chicken sliders out of them.
Other buffalo recipes
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Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Buffalo chicken meatballs are the perfect appetizer, snack, or main! They’re awesome added to a salad. Simple chicken meatballs are baked, then tossed with homemade buffalo sauce. A healthier, less messy alternative to wings!
Servings: 4 servings
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Melt 6 tablespoons of butter in a glass measuring cup or small bowl. Brush a layer of the melted butter onto a rimmed baking sheet (optional: line with foil first).
In a large bowl, mix together the egg (1), breadcrumbs (½ cup), milk (¼ cup), garlic powder (½ teaspoon), chili powder (½ teaspoon), kosher salt (½ teaspoon), black pepper (¼ teaspoon), and 2 tablespoons of the melted butter.
Add the ground chicken to the large bowl and mix together with the breadcrumb mixture. I like using my hands for this for the best texture, but feel free to use a spoon if you prefer.
Form 1 ½-inch meatballs (I like using a cookie scoop for this) and place on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes, or until internal temperature is 165 degrees F.
Meanwhile, make the buffalo sauce. Add the hot sauce (⅓ cup) and ketchup (1 tablespoon) to the bowl with the remaining melted butter.
Take the meatballs out of the oven and toss with about half the buffalo sauce. Put them back in the oven and broil on high for 3-5 minutes.
Toss the meatballs with the remaining sauce. Serve with blue cheese dressing or ranch for dipping, or add to a salad.
- Cooking time note: This recipe yields about 20 1 ½-inch meatballs, give or take. If you make them bigger or smaller, you may need to adjust cooking time to longer or shorter. This is where a meat thermometer comes in handy (I recommend Thermoworks Thermapen One for a super fast, accurate read!)
- The ketchup adds a little sweetness and thickness to the buffalo sauce, which I love. Feel free to leave it out if you like for a more traditional buffalo sauce (which is just melted butter and hot sauce!).
- Leftovers are good for 2-3 days in an airtight container in the fridge. Just pop them in your microwave or air fryer to reheat.
- You can make these chicken meatballs in advance and freeze them raw or cooked. Cook from frozen and raw at 400 degrees for 30-35 minutes or from frozen and cooked for 25-30 minutes.
- Make these gluten-free by using gluten-free breadcrumbs. Make them dairy free by using ghee instead of butter and plant-based milk.
Serving: 5meatballs | Calories: 379kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 28g | Saturated Fat: 14g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 163mg | Sodium: 1149mg | Potassium: 674mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 666IU | Vitamin C: 15mg | Calcium: 43mg | Iron: 2mg