chicken meatballs with buffalo sauce
chicken meatballs with buffalo sauce

Chicken Meatballs with Buffalo Sauce

5/5
Chicken Meatballs are a fun twist on a classic. Tender, well-seasoned chicken meatballs are baked and finished with a tangy, spicy buffalo sauce. Enjoy with a side of ranch dressing with celery sticks or make it a wrap and serve inside some crisp lettuce.

Prep Time: 5 minutes

Cook Time: 25 minutes
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Recipe Rundown

buffalo style chicken meatballs served with celery sticks and ranch

Because it’s summer, and it sounds low key excellent – we’re making savory, yet light, chicken meatballs!

For the meatballs, you will need ground chicken (turkey works, too) and some basic seasoning from the pantry:

  • onion powder (or minced onion)
  • garlic powder (or minced garlic)
  • salt
  • pepper (or red chile flakes)

You can use your hands to form the meatballs; Use an ice cream scoop for equal portions. Since you’ll be baking these meatballs in the oven, you will also need a baking sheet or Dutch oven.

How to Get Really Juicy, Tender Meatballs

Since ground chicken is prone to drying out, this meatball recipe includes an egg and some dairy. While Parmesan and a splash of whole milk are typical, I like how sour cream works with the flavor of the chicken and buffalo sauce.

Technique Tip: Since over-mixing can cause meatballs to become dense, try a little tenderness.

baked chicken meatballs

Do chicken meatballs need sauce?

These meatballs are quite good by themselves, but I really prefer them with sauce. I tested both a plum and buffalo sauce, and preferred the buffalo style hot sauce. The plum sauce was…interesting, but didn’t quite do-it for me.

Variation Tip: Short on time? Serve the chicken meatballs with your favorite jarred pasta sauce.

Easy Buffalo Sauce for Finishing

Once the meatballs are cooked, I add a couple tablespoons of butter to the already-hot pan and swirl it around until melted. Next, add a dash of honey and coat the meatballs generously with some tangy hot sauce, such as Frank’s Red Hot or Tobasco Buffalo Sauce.

How to Make a Quick Plum Sauce

If you’re curious and want to try the plum sauce, you just blend 4 ripe plums until smooth to form a puree. You can do this step in a food processor or blender.

chicken meatball on fork with plum sauce

To the pureed plums, taste and add a splash of balsamic or honey. You could also add a splash of tamari or ginger juice, if you like. As the meatballs cook, you can warm the sauce in a pot on the stove just until bubbly.

Garnish and Serving Ideas:

Serve the meatballs with a fresh green salad or garnish them with fresh herbs to add a pop of color. Parsley, fennel fronds, green onion, or chives are all good options. For the buffalo style sauce, I really like serving these with a side of celery sticks and ranch dressing for dipping.

Here are a few more ideas:

  • serve with marinara, fresh basil, and Parmesan with noodles
  • serve sandwich style with lots of sauce
  • make it a wrap with tortilla or lettuce cups

Common Questions About These Chicken Meatballs

Can I make chicken meatballs without breadcrumbs?

Sort of. I suggest removing the sour cream and breadcrumbs but leaving the egg, if possible. You may want to add some shaved Parmesan for flavor and moisture in place of the sour cream.

What temperature should chicken meatballs be?

Same as any cooked chicken: 165°F

Can you freeze chicken meatballs?

Yes! After cooking the meatballs, allow them to cool for 15 minutes. Place them inside a sealed container to prevent freezer burn. Freeze for up to 3 months. To reheat, bake from frozen until completely warmed through.

More Easy Chicken Recipes

Chicken Meatballs with Buffalo Sauce

Chicken Meatballs are a fun twist on a classic. Tender, well-seasoned chicken meatballs are baked and finished with a tangy, spicy buffalo sauce. Enjoy with a side of ranch dressing with celery sticks or make it a wrap and serve inside some crisp lettuce.
5 from 1 vote
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: buffalo sauce, chicken, chicken meatballs, gluten free, healthy, meatballs
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 4 people
Calories: 346kcal
Author: Chef Sara Furcini

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs *
  • ¼ cup sour cream
  • ½ teaspoon onion powder or 1 tablespoon onion, minced
  • ¼ teaspoon garlic powder or 1 small garlic clove, minced
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • Black pepper
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • 1/4 tsp honey
  • 1/4 cup tangy hot sauce such as Frank's, Red Hot, or Tobasco Buffalo Sauce

Instructions

  • Prep: Preheat the oven to 400°F and coat a baking sheet or baking dish, such as a Dutch oven, with olive oil.
  • Mix: In a medium bowl, lightly mix the ground chicken, egg, breadcrumbs, sour cream, onion powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper.
  • Roll: Use an ice cream scoop to form uniform balls and set on top of the prepared bakeware.
  • Bake: Bake until slightly golden, about 25 minutes. Right out of the oven, add the butter and honey to the hot baking dish and swirl around to melt. Pour the hot sauce over the top and turn the meatballs in the buffalo sauce to coat. Enjoy!

Notes

Breadcrumbs: For the breadcrumbs, I recommend making your own. You can easily grind day-old bread in the food processor. If you are purchasing breadcrumbs, be sure to smell them to ensure they are not stale. Use plain or Panko breadcrumbs in this recipe.
If you are looking to make a gluten-free substitution, simply toast 2 slices of gluten-free bread and grind in the food processor.

Nutrition

Calories: 346kcal | Carbohydrates: 11g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 23g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 167mg | Sodium: 538mg | Potassium: 656mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 2g | Vitamin A: 334IU | Calcium: 54mg | Iron: 2mg

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