These buffalo chicken meatballs are pan seared and smothered in a spicy and tangy ranch sour cream sauce for a fun and flavorful dish with a kick!
Why you'll love them
If you're anything like me, you enjoy eating meatballs for dinner as the star of the meal. Dressing them up with hot wing flavors just might be the best riff on buffalo chicken out there! The creamy sauce with Frank's Red Hot is just so saucy. The sauciest of sauces. It has a spicy punch followed by that irresistible cooling effect from the sour cream and ranch.
It's true that you'll usually find these buffalo chicken meatballs on a snack table at a party as an appetizer, but I'm so excited to bring you this recipe that eats like a meal. It's just such a cozy and creative way to eat 'em, hot and tasty, for a comforting weeknight dinner.
Can I serve these as a party appetizer?
- Of course! I designed it as a meal, but you can serve them in a big bowl with the creamy sauce drizzled over top.
- Simply add a toothpick to each one so that everyone can help themselves.
- You could serve them with a small bowl of homemade ranch dressing or blue cheese dressing or dip on the side.
What you'll need
For the meatballs
- Ground chicken - or use ground turkey if you prefer!
- Egg - for binding everything together
- Panko - they're breadcrumbs that are lighter and less dense than regular ones
- Worcestershire sauce & Frank's Red Hot Original Sauce - they are the best savory and spicy pairing. Iconic!
- Garlic powder and onion powder - another layer of savory flavor
- Olive oil - for pan frying
For the sauce
- Butter - to start it off right
- Frank's Red Hot Original Sauce - I used Frank's Red Hot Original sauce. I recommend using that if you possibly can since not all hot sauces are created equal, and some can be much hotter than others.
- Ranch seasoning - I always go for Hidden Valley Ranch seasoning. If you prefer to make your own, check out this recipe for homemade ranch seasoning.
- Chicken broth - we're using low sodium here
- Sour cream - use full fat for optimal flavor and texture
- Scallions - optional topping, but a pop of freshness
How to make buffalo chicken meatballs
This is an overview with step-by-step photos. Full ingredients & instructions are in the recipe card below.
Add the meatball ingredients to a bowl, and mix together using your hands. Form into 1" balls. This recipe will make about 20.
Place meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for easy clean-up. Sear the meatballs in a skillet in two batches (about 5 minutes/batch), turning the meatballs often until they're nicely browned all over. Transfer meatballs to a plate.
In the same skillet, make the sauce using butter, Frank's Red hot, ranch seasoning, and chicken broth, then add the meatballs back in and cook until the sauce has reduced and the meatballs are cooked through. Stir in the sour cream!
Tips for success
- The meatball mixture is a bit sticky, so rolling them the same way as your standard beef/pork meatballs may not work as well. I gently form them into balls without actually rolling them. It can help to put a bit of olive oil on the palms of your hands so it sticks less!
- You could add some crumbled blue cheese either into the sauce or as a topping if it's integral for your buffalo chicken experience.
- Chicken is cooked when the internal temperature reaches 165F. Use an instant read thermometer to easily check.
What to serve with it
- I love a starch like rice (try jasmine or brown rice) or mashed potatoes to soak up all that addictive sauce! Even pasta works, like these garlic buttered noodles.
- Try my easy skillet asparagus for a veggie side so that it's a complete meal.
- I've been known to just eat them as-is with a slice of crusty bread for the sauce.
Leftovers and storage
- Leftovers should be good for 3-4 days in the fridge in a covered container.
- Reheat slowly on a low heat in a small saucepan so that the sauce is less likely to separate.
- This recipe isn't the best to freeze. Sauces with dairy just don't hold up well in the freezer.
Questions about this buffalo chicken meatballs recipe? Ask me in the comments below!
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 egg
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon Frank's Red Hot Original Sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons olive oil (for frying)
- Chopped scallions (for serving) optional, to taste
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 cup Frank's Red Hot Original Sauce
- 1 tablespoon ranch seasoning I used Hidden Valley
- 3/4 cup low-sodium chicken broth
- 1/2 cup sour cream
- To a prep bowl, add all the meatball ingredients (except for the olive oil and scallions). With your hands, mix it together well, but don't overwork the mixture. The mixture will be quite wet. Form 1" meatballs (it'll make around 20 or so). Place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet for easy clean-up.
- Add the olive oil to a skillet and let it heat up for a few minutes. Fry the meatballs in 2 batches until they're browned all over (about 5 min/batch). I use tongs to turn them quickly and easily. They will brown quite fast, so turn them often. If needed, add another splash of olive oil to the skillet for the second batch. Transfer meatballs to a plate once they're browned.
- If there's a lot of excess oil in the skillet, drain it, but leave the browned pieces (don't wipe out the pan). Take the skillet off the heat for a minute or so to let it cool a bit.
- Reduce the heat to medium. Add the butter to the skillet, along with the hot sauce, ranch seasoning, and chicken broth. Whisk until smooth. Let it bubble for a minute or two, then add the meatballs back to the skillet.
- Cook the meatballs for 5 minutes or so, until they're cooked through (165F) and the sauce has reduced a bit.
- Turn the heat off and stir in the sour cream (I toss it with 2 spoons to do this easily). Serve with chopped scallions sprinkled over top.
- The sauce is fairly salty, so you may want to make your own homemade ranch seasoning if you need it to be low sodium (see a recipe linked within the blog post).
- If the sauce becomes too thick, add a splash of chicken broth.
- Meatballs will cook at a different rate depending on how big/small you make them, so I recommend using an instant read meat thermometer to be safe.
- Nutritional information is provided as a courtesy only and should be construed as an estimate rather than a guarantee. Ingredients can vary and Salt & Lavender makes no guarantees to the accuracy of this information.