Whether it’s game day, a holiday or any day, these air fryer buffalo chicken meatballs will hit the spot. They have crusty edges and a tender center then coated in a smoky, spicy buffalo sauce. They're the perfect appetizer you can make ahead!
Even when it isn’t football season, these meatballs make their way to the table on a regular basis. They’re full of bold flavor, only take about 20 minutes of prep time and are popular with the entire family!
I prefer making these meatballs over buffalo wings when having a party. This way I don’t have to worry about the dogs snagging any chicken bones in their reach.🍗
Why You’ll Love this Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Recipe
- Delicious, tender meatballs full of buffalo flavor!
- Serve as the perfect party appetizer or light dinner.
- Made with simple ingredients and budget friendly.
- Make ahead and freeze to always have on hand.
- Great for meal prep!
See the recipe card below for exact measurements.
- Frank’s Buffalo Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
- Apple Cider Vinegar
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Celery Seed
- Lean Ground Chicken
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Large Egg
- Buffalo BBQ Sauce (made from above)
- Onion Powder
- Dried Parsley
- Salt and Black Pepper
- Ranch or Blue Cheese Dressing for dipping
- Make buffalo turkey meatballs instead of chicken.
- Vary the spices by adding garlic powder, paprika, oregano or cayenne pepper.
- If you don’t have an air fryer, bake meatballs at 400 degrees for 13-15 minutes until the center of the meatballs are cooked through.
Make the Hot Sauce: For homemade buffalo sauce, combine all ingredients in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a low simmer and cook 5 minutes, stirring frequently so it doesn’t burn on the bottom of the pan.
You’ll need a ¼ cup for the meatballs and set the rest aside. The sauce can be made ahead. Refrigerate in an airtight container up to 5 days.
Meatball Mixture: Combine ground chicken and remaining ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix with clean hands until well combined.
Form Meatballs: Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Roll chicken mixture into 1 ¼ to 1 ½-inch balls and place prepared baking sheet.
You should get 30-36 meatballs. Place baking sheet in the refrigerator at least 10 minutes and up to 1 day.
Air Fry: Select Preheat on your air fryer and press Start/Pause. Take meatballs out of the fridge and place about a dozen in the preheated air fryer basket. You’ll have to work in batches.
Spray the meatballs with cooking spray and cook at 400 degrees for 8-10 minutes until cooked through but still tender. Repeat with remaining meatballs.
Transfer cooked chicken meatballs to a large bowl. Pour enough buffalo sauce over the meatballs and gently toss to coat evenly.
To Serve: Place the coated meatballs in a serving bowl with remaining sauce alongside. Serve with celery sticks or carrot sticks, ranch dressing, blue cheese crumbles and chopped chives or green onions. Enjoy!
- Have a small bowl of water next to you when rolling the meatballs so the mixture doesn’t stick to your hands.
- Stick to the ¼ cup of buffalo sauce for the meatball mixture. More than that can make the meatballs too soft.
- Use a small cookie scoop to keep the meatballs the same size.
- Whether air frying or baking, keep the meatballs in a single layer. You’ll need to air fry in batches.
- To freeze, place meatballs on a sheet pan and freeze until solid before or after cooking. Transfer the frozen balls to a freezer bag or airtight container for up to 3 months.
- Keep the buffalo meatballs warm in a crock pot when having a party.
What Goes with Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs FAQs
Ground chicken has more moisture than beef so if you add too much egg or milk the meatballs will become soft and not hold their shape. One egg for two pounds of ground chicken is enough.
Meatballs that don’t have enough moisture or have been overcooked will be tough. It’s essential to have some combination of egg, milk and breadcrumbs as a binder to balance the protein and make the meatballs tender.
This recipe yields 30-36 meatballs and if you plan on 3 meatballs per person that will be 10-12 servings. If you have some big eaters at your party, the number of servings may be lower depending on the other dishes you’re having.
You can reheat them in the air fryer for 5 minutes at 400 degrees. Or, rewarm in a 375-degree oven 10 minutes until heated through. Also, you can microwave them on high for 45-60 seconds.
More Meatball Recipes!
Air Fryer Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- 1 cup Buffalo Sauce
- ¾ cup BBQ sauce (I’m a fan of Stubb’s)
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ teaspoon celery seed
- Salt and pepper, to taste
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tablespoons milk
- 1 egg
- ½ cup celery, minced
- ¼ cup homemade buffalo sauce
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
- Celery sticks
- Ranch dressing
- Sliced green onions
- Chopped chives
- Crumbled blue or gorgonzola cheese
- In a medium saucepan, combine buffalo sauce, bbq sauce, honey, vinegar, butter, Worcestershire sauce and celery seed. Season with salt and pepper.
- Bring to a low simmer over medium heat until butter melts, stirring frequently. Gently simmer 5 minutes more for flavors to meld and sauce to thicken slightly.
- Reserve ¼ cup of sauce for meatball recipe. Set remaining sauce aside. Makes about 2 cups and can be made up to 5 days ahead.
- In a large bowl, add ground chicken, panko, milk, egg, celery, ¼ cup prepared buffalo sauce, cumin, onion powder, parsley, salt and pepper. Mix with your hands until combined.
- Gently roll into 1 ¼ to 1 ½-inch meatballs and place on a parchment lined rimmed baking sheet. You should get 24-30 meatballs.
- Place meatballs in the fridge for at least 10 minutes and up to 1 day.
- Select Preheat on your air fryer and press Start/Pause.
- Take meatballs out of the refrigerator and add to the preheated air fryer basket. Spray meatballs with cooking spray and cook at 400 degrees for 10 minutes.
- Transfer cooked meatballs to a large bowl. Pour enough Buffalo bbq sauce over meatballs to coat them evenly.
- Transfer to serving bowl and pass remaining sauce alongside with celery sticks, ranch or blue cheese dressing, and suggested garnishes. Enjoy!
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