These buffalo chicken meatballs are tangy, spicy, and cooked to absolute perfection. The juicy meatballs are cooked in a flavorful buffalo sauce — it’s the ultimate game day appetizer!
Tangy Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
If you love to indulge in buffalo chicken wings every now and then, you’re going to be OBSESSED with these buffalo chicken meatballs! The flavors are on a whole new level, and it gets even better… because we have the TASTIEST homemade ranch as a dipping for your meatballs.
Whether you use this meatball recipe as an appetizer, healthy snack, or main event for dinner, there are so many ways you can enjoy this delicious dish. Put it in a salad. Stick them in a hot dog bun. Place them over pasta — the world is your meatball. (LOL)
Why you’ll love them!
- An oven-free recipe.
- A healthy meatball alternative!
- Make ahead and meal prep friendly.
- There are SO many ways to serve them!
- They taste oh-so-YUMMY.
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What You Need
- Butter: you’ll need both melted salted butter and cold, grated salted butter for this recipe!
- Frank’s hot sauce: the king of all buffalo sauces, Frank’s delivers that classic got & tangy buffalo flavor we all adore.
- Honey: honey is great for adding some sweetness to the buffalo sauce to deepen the flavor and balance out the spicy.
- Ground chicken: we used pre-ground chicken for this recipe. If you want a lighter & airier meatball, you can always grind your own chicken!
- Breadcrumbs: whether it’s panko, Italian, or homemade breadcrumbs, any type of breadcrumb will taste amazing!
- Egg: egg is used as a binding agent so that the meatballs stay together nicely.
- Spices: we used spices like garlic powder, thyme, parsley, and dried chives to give these meatballs tons of flavor.
- Salt & pepper: salt and pepper are staples for enhancing the flavor of any dish. That includes these meatballs!
- Olive oil: you gotta have some olive oil to ensure your meatballs don’t stick to the pan.
What’s In Our Homemade Ranch?
- Greek yogurt: we used Greek yogurt as it’s a healthier option compared to sour cream. Use either!
- Buttermilk: buttermilk is the foundation of a good ranch. It makes it creamy and delicious.
- Mayonnaise: mayo is also great for giving ranch a creamy texture and rich flavor. You can always sub with vegan mayo if needed.
- Spices: we used a spice blend of parsley, chives, dried dill, onion powder, and garlic powder for this ranch!
- Sugar: sugar adds a hint of sweetness and balances out all the flavors of this homemade ranch.
- Salt & pepper: salt and pepper are necessary to elevate all the flavors.
- Lemon zest: lemon adds acidity and tang to the ranch to provide that classic ranch taste.
- White wine vinegar: another great ingredient for adding acidity. Don’t skip it!
Our homemade ranch recipe is so the perfect dipping sauce for these buffalo meatballs!
Need to make some recipe swaps? No problem. Below are some common recipe swaps for this recipe.
- Ground chicken —> ground turkey, ground pork, ground beef, or a combination.
- Dried dill —> dried tarragon
- Greek yogurt —> sour cream
How to Make Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
PREP RANCH DRESSING
Add all of the ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Set aside.
PREP BUFFALO SAUCE
Next, melt butter in a saucepan. Then whisk in the buffalo sauce and honey Remove from heat and set aside.
Add all of the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl and use your hands to combine. Using a tablespoon scoop, scoop about 2 tablespoons of the ground chicken mixture and form a ball with your hands.
Pro Tip: It is helpful if you wet your hands for this step! Repeat until all of the meatballs are made.
Heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side until the internal temperature of 165ºF.
Pro Tip: It takes about 10 minutes to brown the meatballs. However, the time may vary by stove top and size of the meatballs.
COOK IT ALL TOGETHER
Add the buffalo sauce to the meatballs and simmer them together over medium heat. Flip the meatballs, so they are coated in sauce.
SERVE + ENJOY
Remove from heat and serve with the homemade ranch or blue cheese. Enjoy!
What to Serve with Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
These tasty chicken meatballs make for the perfect game-day appetizer. If you want to make this a complete meal, we recommend serving them over pasta like our Whole Wheat Sundried Tomato Pasta, Pasta Primavera, and Creamy Tomato Vegan Pasta.
I don’t have a meat thermometer. How will I know when the meatballs are cooked?
You’ll know your chicken meatballs are done cooking when the juices run clear, it’s steaming hot all the way through, and there is no pink meat left.
How do you keep chicken meatballs from falling apart?
Using an egg will ensure that your meatballs stay together. However, if you use too much or too little egg, they can fall apart.
We recommend using only one smaller-sized egg to get the best results. If you are egg-free, you can always soak your breadcrumbs in milk instead, making sure to squeeze out any excess milk.
We recommend freezing these meatballs BEFORE tossing them in the sauce.
- Place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Freeze them for 2 hours. Once they’ve hardened up, transfer them into an airtight container layered with parchment paper or in a Ziploc bag for up to 3 months.
- Once you’re ready to serve them, thaw them and heat them in a skillet and then toss them with the buffalo sauce.
Store your leftover buffalo chicken meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
To reheat: place the meatballs in the air fryer for a few minutes or in the oven for 10 minutes until warmed through.
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- 1/2 cup plain Greek yogurt any % works
- ½ cup buttermilk
- 1 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon dried chives
- 1 teaspoon dried dill
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- ½ tablespoon lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup melted, salted butter
- ½ cup Frank’s hot sauce
- 2 tablespoons honey
- Prepare the ranch dressing. Whisk together the Greek yogurt, buttermilk, and mayo in a large bow until smooth. Add the remaining ingredients for the ranch and whisk until combined. Store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.
- Prepare the buffalo sauce. Heat the butter in a small saucepan over medium heat until melted. Whisk the buffalo sauce and honey into the butter until smooth and creamy. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Make the meatballs. Add all of the ingredients for the meatballs into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to massage all of the ingredients together until combined.
- Using a tablespoon scoop to scoop about 2 tablespoons of the ground chicken mixture and form a ball with your hands. It is helpful if you wet your hands for this step. Repeat this step until all of the meatballs are made.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium/high heat. Transfer all of the meatballs to the skillet and brown the meatballs for 2-3 minutes on each side until the internal temperature of 165ºF. It takes about 10 minutes to brown the meatballs. The time may vary by stove top and size of the meatballs.
- Once the chicken meatballs are cooked, remove them from the pan and discard any excess oil. Place the skillet back on the heat and return the meatballs to the skillet. Add the buffalo sauce to the meatballs and heat the meatballs in the sauce over medium heat. Flip the meatballs, so they are coated in sauce.
- Heat the meatballs until the sauce comes to a gentle simmer. Remove from heat and serve with the homemade ranch.
Tips & Notes
- Option to replace the ground chicken with ground pork.
- You can serve this as an appetizer, on a salad, or over pasta/mac and cheese.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Erin from The Wooden Skillet.
Photography: photos taken in this post are by Ashley McGlaughlin from The Edible Perspective.