Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Recipe photo by Taste of Home

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Total Time
Prep: 15 min. Bake: 20 min.
Spicy, flavorful and—best of all—easy to make. Buffalo chicken meatballs will be a hit at any party.

Updated: Mar. 15, 2024

The next time you feel stuck trying to figure out what to bring to a tailgate, office event or game-day gathering, you’ll be grateful you bookmarked this riff on ever-popular Buffalo wings. While we love any recipe with flavors that will be a guaranteed hit, the fact that we can make the dish quickly is just as important.

This Buffalo chicken meatball recipe is baked and ready to go in just 30 minutes—or made ahead of time and frozen for an easy-to-heat appetizer or entree, whenever the occasion calls for it. If you and your family can’t get enough Buffalo chicken recipes, these meatballs with ground chicken and a double dose of fiery Louisiana hot sauce are sure to be a showstopper.

Ingredients for Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

  • Ground chicken: Find ground chicken in the meat case near the other ground meats, or grind chicken breast at home using a stand-alone meat grinder or a KitchenAid stand mixer attachment. Chicken is a lighter choice than the typical ground beef and pairs naturally with the hot sauce in this recipe.
  • Hot sauce: Here’s what puts the Buffalo in these meatballs! For this recipe, use a Louisiana-style hot sauce—a thin, red, vinegar-based sauce made with cayenne peppers or other red chiles that is then fermented. We use the spicy sauce in two ways: in the meat mixture and at the end of the recipe to coat the baked meatballs. Learn more about Louisiana hot sauce, Sriracha and more in our guide to all the types of hot sauce.
  • Bread crumbs: Along with an egg white, panko bread crumbs help hold the meat mixture together and give the baked meatballs a lighter texture, too. If panko isn’t available, use crushed saltine crackers or finely crushed tortilla chips instead.


Step 1: Make the meatball mixture

Preheat the oven to 400°F. Set a greased rack inside a shallow baking pan. Stir together the panko bread crumbs, 1/3 cup of the hot sauce, the chopped celery and the egg white in a large bowl. Then, crumble the ground chicken into the bowl and gently mix it with the other ingredients.

Step 2: Shape the meatballs

Use a cookie scoop or a teaspoon to scoop the meat mixture. Roll each portion between your hands to create one-inch-sized meatballs. (Plan for about 20 meatballs total.)

Place the meatballs on the prepared rack and baking pan.

Step 3: Bake the meatballs

Bake the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes until they’re browned and completely cooked through. Use tongs to transfer the hot meatballs to a medium bowl.

Step 4: Coat with hot sauce

Pour the remaining 1/2 cup of hot sauce into the bowl and toss the meatballs until they’re completely coated. If you choose, drizzle ranch or blue cheese dressing on top and garnish with chopped celery leaves.

Serve the meatballs hot or at room temperature.

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs served on plate with celeryTMB Studio

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Variations

  • Make them cheesy: Do this by folding 1/2 to 3/4 cup of shredded cheese, such as shredded cheddar, Monterey Jack or crumbled blue cheese, into the meat mixture. You could also slice cheese into small cubes, adding a cube to the center of each meatball as you shape them. Then bake the meatballs as directed.
  • Try Buffalo turkey meatballs: Although chicken is the classic choice for most Buffalo dishes, the meatballs are just as delicious when made with ground turkey.

How to Store Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Leftovers, or meatballs made ahead of time, need to cool completely before storage. Store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.

If you’re setting the meatballs out for a party or snacking, they should be left at room temperature for no more than two hours for food safety.

How to Freeze Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Yes, like most meatball recipes, these freeze very well. In fact, this is a smart way to be prepared for any sudden party appetizer emergencies!

Shape and bake the meatballs as directed, then let them cool. (Do not coat them in hot sauce yet.) Once cooled, freeze the meatballs in a single layer on a tray. When they’re solid, transfer the meatballs to an airtight freezer container or freezer bag. There, they’ll keep for up to three months.

To reheat the meatballs, let them thaw in the fridge overnight. Add the meatballs to a saucepan with the 1/2 cup hot sauce. Heat them on low heat, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are warmed through.

Buffalo Chicken Meatball Tips

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs served in a bowlTMB Studio

Can you use Frank’s RedHot instead of Louisiana hot sauce?

Frank’s RedHot falls in the family of Louisiana-style hot sauces, so feel free! Other Louisiana-style hot sauce brands that would work include Tabasco, Louisiana Brand, Crystal Hot Sauce and Slap Ya Mama.

How do you make Buffalo chicken meatballs less spicy?

Buffalo dishes are meant to be spicy, of course, but there are ways to make them a little less fiery so everyone can enjoy them. One way to decrease the heat is to use less hot sauce than the recipe calls for, especially the amount used to coat the meatballs after baking.

Another option is to add ingredients to the hot sauce before coating the meatballs to help tone down the spiciness. Melted butter is a good choice, or if you like the combination of sweet and spicy, try stirring honey into the hot sauce. Sour cream can also be added to the hot sauce to mellow the heat and create a creamier version of the Buffalo chicken meatballs.

What do you serve with Buffalo chicken meatballs?

Since these meatballs pack some heat, your guests will appreciate a few sides to help cool down. While the recipe calls for a ranch or blue cheese dressing drizzle, these dressings can also be served on the side for dipping. A mild queso sauce for drizzling or dipping will also offer some relief (and flavor!). If you go this route, set out some toothpicks, too.

Celery and carrot sticks will be just as at home with these meatballs as they are with hot wings and homemade ranch dressing.

If you serve Buffalo chicken meatballs as an entree, round out the meal with sides of mac and cheese or rice, or pile the meatballs into a sandwich with a drizzle of ranch on top.

Watch how to Make Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

Prep Time 15 min
Cook Time 20 min
Yield 2 dozen.


  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup plus 1/2 cup Louisiana-style hot sauce, divided
  • 1/4 cup chopped celery
  • 1 large egg white
  • 1 pound lean ground chicken
  • Optional: Ranch or blue cheese salad dressing and chopped celery leaves


  1. Preheat oven to 400°. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs, 1/3 cup hot sauce, celery and egg white. Add chicken; mix lightly but thoroughly.
  2. Shape into twenty-four 1-in. balls. Place on a greased rack in a shallow baking pan. Bake 20-25 minutes or until cooked through.
  3. Toss meatballs with remaining hot sauce. If desired, drizzle with salad dressing and sprinkle with celery leaves.

Nutrition Facts

1 meatball: 33 calories, 1g fat (0 saturated fat), 14mg cholesterol, 338mg sodium, 1g carbohydrate (0 sugars, 0 fiber), 4g protein.

I like to dunk these appetizer meatballs in blue cheese or ranch salad dressing. If I make them for a meal, I often skip the dressing and serve with blue cheese polenta on the side. —Amber Massey, Argyle, Texas