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.
Loved these Firecracker Chicken Meatballs! Preparation was easy and was made on a weeknight as the main entree. Served with pasta (oilo e aglio) and roasted asparagus. I’ve never made a sauce with 1/2 c. hot sauce and red pepper flakes and was worried that it would be too hot/spicy, even though we love that type of food. I’m pleased to say, it was just right, the blandness of the ground chicken tempers the spiciness of the sauce. We loved it! Needless to say, this will be made again in our home. I can see a future of using shrimp and this wonderful, spicy sauce.
Can I use sriracha instead of Franks hot sauce?
These are the bomb. So good. Kids and I loved them. And healthy.
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?
We made these tonight and they were delicious! To the sauce I also added 1/2 cup sweet chilli sauce and I used 1/2 cup brown stevia instead of 1 cup of sugar. So good! We served with lemon-garlic zucchini noodles. Thanks for the great recipe!
Yummy. I made these keto by changing the Panko to ground pork rinds and substituted brown sugar with 1/2 cup of Splenda for baking.
I make lot of your delicious receipe I definitely will try fire cracker meat balls
Thank beta Marzia
I made these for a family Christmas party and they were a big hit! Luckily I made a double batch so we will have some for home. I will definitely make these again.
Id like to make these for an app at my sons rehearsal dinner for 80 people… can I make them ahead of time and serve them at room temp? Will they still taste good? Or reheat?
OMG these are the best. The first time I did it exactly as written but did not add the red pepper flakes as after tasting the sauce I thought it would be too spicy for some people.
The second time I added 2 teaspoons of salt and smoked paprika and 1 1/2 onion powder. I cooked them at 475 for 11 minutes liked the browning but the internal temp was 192. My daughter liked the browning of the first ones but the second one cooked to 165 was juicy?? still deciding which one on the doneness. Either way you can’t go wrong so YUMMY. These are a little spicy.
I just made these and they are AH-mazing! The only thing I did different was use “everything but the bagel flavored bread crumbs” because I didn’t have panko on-hand – I used slight less than the recipe called for so the meatballs wouldn’t be too tough. It worked out great! This recipe is going to be in my regular rotation. We ate the meatballs over rice with cooked sugar snap peas. Delicious!
In the picture it looks like there are fine pieces of basil or cilantro. Is that included in the recipe?
Wow! This was SO good. Double the sauce recipe, you will need it because it’s incredible. Easy to follow recipe & instructions. My husband is reluctant to try new foods & he loved this. Said it tasted like the filling for potstickers.
Love these! Easy & made as an entree with white rice. Poured the sauce on top. It’s a keeper!
AMAZING! Just had meatballs tonight, as we weren’t super hungry, but I can’t wait to make this and serve over rice or pasta, topped with a bit of bleu cheese and broccoli on side (w some sauce).
Freezing the remaining raw meatballs, based on other MB recipes I’ve made, this should freeze just fine. Next time,may try with the panko soaked in some milk (makes just slightly softer balls).
…..OH. And I used Frank’s WING sauce instead of the hot sauce, ‘cause that’s all I had. The sauce is thick and decadent!
These are the best meatballs EVER! Making another batch tonight for dinner…YUMMY!