Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
This is my favorite way to eat chicken meatballs. They’re spiced up with a sweet, savory, and spicy firecracker sauce. They’re tender, filled with flavor, and require minimum work!
Thank God It’s Friday, y’all!
I thought this week would never end. It was an ongoing cycle of endless days, but the weekend is finally here!
This recipe for firecracker chicken meatballs has been stuck in my head on an endless loop for the last several weeks. I had been craving something with a little more spice, yet a little sweet too. And what’s more perfect than game day food that’s actually somewhat healthy (they’re baked!) and still has tons of flavor but isn’t your regular old meatball covered in marinara? FIRECRACKER. SAUCE. FTW!
These baked chicken meatballs are one of Anees’s favorite meals. This is obviously a recent development. Because up until a couple of weeks ago, they didn’t even exist.
How to make the original Firecracker Chicken Meatballs:
This recipe is super low maintenance. And if you’re not a fan of chicken meatballs, you can swap it out for turkey or any other kind of ground meat you please. But I do feel that chicken or turkey would pair the best with the sauce.
These are perfect for when you’re hosting a game day party and need something super flavorful on the table. I like to make a big batch for the two of us that we munch on all week long. Meatball subs made with firecracker chicken and melty cheese would be perfect for weekend lunches and a few meatballs paired with a side salad would be ideal for weekday lunches. And if you’re like me, with a fetish for food straight from the refrigerator, well then they’d make for a good snack too. Yup, cold. I like them like that sometimes!
What ingredients do you need to make the best firecracker chicken meatballs?
We’re keepin’ what goes into the meatballs simple because it’s that firecracker sauce that we want to stand out bright when you take that first bite.
For the chicken meatballs, I used simple ground chicken breasts. Again, ground chicken thighs or a combination of ground chicken + ground turkey would be good too.
The binding is simple. 2 large eggs and a little panko. For the spices, paprika, onion powder, and obvi, garlic. It’s all pantry staples on this one, folks!
You want to *just* combine the ingredients. When making meatballs, the less you work the meat, the better it is. I shaped mine into 3 tablespoon-sized balls. It’s totally up to you how big/small you want them. The size I indicated will take about 11-13 minutes in the oven.
What goes in the firecracker chicken meatballs sauce?
The sauce is simple too. Since the meatballs are flavored with just enough to keep them moist, the real flavors come from the sauce! All you need is a little hot sauce (I recommend Franks), brown sugar, red pepper flakes, apple cider vinegar, and a pinch of salt. It’s 10 ingredients total if you don’t count the salt and pepper. The sauce is enough to coat all the meatballs with a little leftover for a drizzle before serving. If you’re like me and you live to dip and dunk, double the sauce recipe. You can even serve these firecracker meatballs with a little white rice and broccoli and drizzle the sauce on there. I speak from experience, can you tell?
And the best part is, you can mix up the meat mixture from the night before and just bake and drizzle them with the sauce the day of. These tasty chicken meatballs are going to be the highlight of game day. Get ready to be host of the year!
How would you serve firecracker chicken meatballs as a meal?
I get this question a ton! I would serve them over a bed of white rice (or cilantro lime rice, even better) with roasted or sauteed veggies on the side!
If you like this recipe, you might also like:
- Slow cooker honey chipotle meatballs
- These CRAZY GOOD wings with the same sauce
- Easy Philly Cheese Steak Dip
Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
This is my favorite way to eat chicken meatballs. They're spiced up with a sweet, savory, and spicy firecracker sauce. They're tender, filled with flavor, and require minimum work!
- 1 ¾ - 2 pounds ground chicken (or turkey)
- 4 teaspoons minced garlic
- 1 ½ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs*
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ½ cup hot sauce (I recommend Franks)
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- ¼ teaspoon salt
- ¼-½ teaspoon red pepper flakes (depending on spice preference)
- Position 2 racks near the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 475ºF. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper, set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine the ingredients of the firecracker sauce over medium high heat, allow to come to a boil, reduce the heat so it simmers. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools so don't worry if it looks thin.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, salt pepper, eggs, panko, paprika, and onion powder. Use your hands to mix all the ingredients together. It's easier to tell when he ingredients are combined when using hands. DO NOT OVERMIX, it will result in drier meatballs.
- Shape the meat mixture into ball, about 3 tablespoons of meat per ball. You can also do this with an ice cream scoop. Place shaped meatballs on prepared baking sheet. bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are completely cooked.
- Using 2 tablespoon, dip each individual meatball into the sauce. Alternately, you can brush each meatball with the sauce. Place back on the baking sheet and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes. Drizzle or brush with additional sauce as desired.
- Panko is a Japanese style of breadcrumbs.
- A combination of ground chicken and turkey can be used to make these meatballs.
- If you would like to serve your meatballs with sauce, I would double the ingredients for the sauce portion as this recipe makes just enough for basting.
- The meatball mixture can be prepared the night before and baked the day of, if desired.
I made this Saturday for my husband. He loves spicy food. He raved about them so much that I am sending him the link to this page so his co-worker can try it. I know that we will be making this recipe many times in the future. Thank you for this yummy recipe!
Since you are the most recent comment I’m hoping you’ll remember how many meatballs you got out of this recipe. I’m making them for a Mew Years get together so I’m trying to decide if I should double or triple the recipe. Thanks!
Wondered if I could use frozen chicken or turkey meatballs and just add the sauce. Cook them in the crockpot for a few hours. What do you think?
Hi Julie! If you’ve used frozen chicken or turkey meatballs in a slow cooker before, then it should work out just fine! I haven’t, so it would be difficult for me to say. Maybe if you sauté the meatballs in a bit of oil to just sear the outside and let them finish in the slow cooker with the sauce?
I just made these for NYE. SO GOOD! Thank you!
Hi, could you put these over rice or how do you serve them during a meal time? Can’t wait to make them!!
Hi Anne, that’s actually exactly how I serve these! I’d make additional sauce if you’d like to drizzle some on the rice too!
I loved these! Great recipe!
These are the best chicken balls recipe I have ever made. It’s the perfect blend of hot and sweet. Thanks for sharing!
Made these tonight and added a little BBQ sauce to tone down the spice. I paired the finished meatballs with an avocado cream sauce for dipping. Turned out great! Pretty darn spicy otherwise, so I recommend tasting the sauce as you make it and toning it to your liking.
My family loved this recipe. Especially the sauce!
Is there nutrition for this recipe? Looks awesome
Hi Heather, I don’t have it calculated off hand but if you paste the link to this page in myfitnesspal.com it’ll generate it for you 🙂
Delicious! Was a big hit for Super Bowl party!
What are the green flakes I see in the picture?
Just parsley for pictures. It’s not really part of the recipe.
Do you have the nutritional information for these?? Can’t wait to make them!
I dont have them calculated off hand Nataliya, but you can plug the URL for the recipe into myfitnesspal.com and it will calculate it for you!
These were so incredibly delicious and easy to make. I took leftovers for lunch and 12 couldn’t come fast enough. This recipe is a definite keeper.
Delicious! Great recipe! I added green onion. My kids requested I make it again. Thanks for sharing this great recipe!
My family loved this recipe! I was concerned my kids wouldn’t be able to handle the spice so I cut down the Frank’s hot sauce and used ketchup to to make the needed 1/2 cup. Delicious!
All 3 of my boys loved these! Yummy and spicy – these are a winner!
Very easy and tasty.
I loved it ..it’s yummy!!!!
Can you substitute honey for the brown sugar? If so, how much do you think?
Honey may work for this recipe but without recipe testing, I can’t say for sure if it’ll thin out the sauce too much. Usually, honey and brown sugar are a 1:1 ratio, but 1 cup seems like a whole lot for this. I’d start out with about ½ cup and adjust with additional honey as desired.
Really yummy! These were a big hit at my house! i used Louisiana Hot Sauce instead of Frank’s, and also added some cayenne to the meatballs for an extra kick!
Oh my thes e are absolutley fantastic. An instant family favorite. I used a small dipper(.75 maybe) for appetizer size and i got at least 40 meatballs. They puffed up a lot during cooking.
Oh my goodness – those knots are so cute! The meatballs are amazing and I think this could be easily called a piece of art more than just a recipe or a blog post. Thanks so much for your motivation!
Going to make these today for a party! Can you go ahead and make the sauce earlier like 2-3 hours before cooking the meatballs? Can’t wait to taste!!
Yes, I think that should be fine. You may need a little water when reheating the sauce as it may thicken a bit as it sits though.
Made these and turned them into mini patties for sliders…they were a hit! I even made a gluten free version with GF panko. Topped with homeade Kale Chips and Peperjack cheese…..I will definitely be making these again!
Great recipe! I added two tablespoons of riccotta to moisten the meatballs even more!
I’ve made these a few times for parties. I make it them the day before, keeping the sauce separate. I double the sauce. Then the day of, I put them in a crockpot on warm with the sauce. They go in a flash.
I agree with you. I too made twice the amount of sauce. Crock pot is the way to go.
I used turkey, but, they were a little dry.
Hey ladies I’m thinking about making this for a family reunion. I’m just curious about how much you got out of this recipe. I want it to be a decent amount. I noticed she said to double for extra sauce. But if I double the amount of meatballs I’m afraid of messing up the sauce? Any tips or advice?
Made this recipe for my boyfriend and he and I both LOVED it!! I used 93% lean turkey and followed the recipe exactly. Got 18 meatballs out of it. These also make great leftovers! Thanks for the recipe!!
I wish l had leftovers ?
Fun, new way to fix chicken. Spicy sweet sauce that isnt too spicy, can be served on side for dipping. Will definitely make again! Great food to bring to a party or to serve at casual dinner party. Teenagers would love this one while gathered around bonfire…great alternative to the typical pizza.
Hi, these sound so yummy, and I can’t wait to try them! Thank you for sharing. I need to make something at the same time, and I was wondering if I could bake them on 350 instead? If so, do you know how long they should bake for?
Delicious! Love that they were baked not fried. I only needed one batch of sauce because dipping didn’t seem necessary. Quick and easy!
Amazing! My husband loved them I skipped the red pepper flakes and added a tablespoon of honey! Used blue cheese for dipping sauce it was fantastic!