Buffalo chicken meatballs will be your new comfort food favorite! Ground chicken is mixed with buffalo sauce, breadcrumbs, cheese, and more for a batch of slightly spicy, juicy, and healthy chicken meatballs. Delicious served over salad, on subs, or by themselves, these meatballs are done in under 40 minutes.
Meatball subs and I go way back. It was my #1 pick when escaping my campus dining hall for dinner at the Wegmans deli (how I miss it!!). Then there was a time when I ate a homemade one for lunch for a work-week straight when my parents were moving and I had stepped up to the task of eating everything from the freezer. There was a lot of Sunday sauce in there.
Work lunches don’t get better than that.
While these buffalo chicken meatballs make a less-than-traditional meatball sub, they’re a zippy, flavorful, and easy lunch/dinner recipe to pull together and work perfectly on sub rolls. I might be clearing space in the freezer for a container (or two…) of these meatballs as we speak.
Reasons to Love This Recipe
- These buffalo chicken meatballs are baked AND juicy, making them a healthy swap for those that are traditionally fried.
- As long as you have ground chicken and buffalo sauce on hand, you probably have all of the ingredients you need as this recipe uses mainly pantry or fridge staples.
- This recipe doesn’t use many dishes. One bowl to combine the ingredients, one sheet pan to bake, one scoop and a few measuring cups.
- Ground chicken: One pound (16 ounces) of ground chicken will yield fifteen golf-ball sized meatballs. Since this recipe doesn’t have too much in the way of added fat, I don’t go out of my way to look for ground chicken breast. Regular ground chicken (a blend of white and dark meats) is perfect.
- Panko: While it may seem counterintuitive, breadcrumbs in a meatball mixture helps prevent them from drying out as they absorb and hold onto liquid/fat. Larger-sized panko works very well for this purpose.
- Buffalo sauce: Use your favorite variety! I buy Frank’s RedHot Wings and like to use it here as it’s not too thick and has a spice level that’s just right.
- Parmesan: If possible, I recommend shredding your own Parmesan as I find it’s not as dry and has a bolder flavor. The next best option would be a pre-shredded variety found in the refrigerated deli section. I do not recommend any of the shelf-stable canister kinds.
- Press the garlic, shred the Parmesan, and add all of the ingredients to medium/large mixing bowl.
- Mix everything together until all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed and it resembles one giant meatball. You can use a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula, but I like to mix meatballs with my hands (using disposable gloves if you like). Doing this by hand makes it easier to avoid over-mixing everything, would can lead to tougher meatballs.
- Scoop meatballs of about two tablespoons in size and place them on a large greased (or parchment paper-lined) sheet pan. They don’t expand while baking so you can place them fairly close together, still with space between them.
- Bake at 400°F/204°C for 22-24 minutes, or until the center of the largest meatball reaches 165°F — fully-cooked.
Once these buffalo chicken meatballs are cooked you can go in several different directions. The easiest way to serve them is probably to warm up some buffalo sauce and toss the meatballs in as a glaze. They make a delicious and spicy protein option when served over a salad.
Most of the time, however, I’m partial to my old favorite, meatball subs. Pop a few meatballs on a hoagie roll or your bread of choice, drizzle extra buffalo sauce if you like over top, and add some cheese (I like provolone) for a wholly satisfying, comfort food-esque sandwich.
To melt the cheese and heat everything up without the roll becoming too crisp in the process, I like to assemble the sub, wrap it in foil, and place in a hot oven (set at 350°F or so) for 5-10 minutes. This way the cheese melts, the meatballs are hot, and the bread stays soft. Just add lettuce, if using, after the sub is heated.
- Using an instant-read meat thermometer makes determining when these meatballs are done a cinch. I have a digital one that wasn’t too pricy, around $30 or so. It’s become one of the most frequently used tools in my kitchen, from cooking meats to checking water temperature for homemade pizza dough (I’m horrible at guesstimating) to candies.
- You can eyeball it or use a measuring spoon, but a cookie scoop makes it so easy to portion out the meatballs. This ensures that the meatballs are uniform in size so that they can cook evenly. The one I usually use has a two-tablespoon capacity and yields 15 golf ball-sized meatballs, but you could also use an ice cream scoop that has that spring-action sweeping arm to release the contents.
- The yield and cook time is for buffalo chicken meatballs made with a two-tablespoon capacity cookie scoop in mind. Increase or decrease cook time as needed if you’re making smaller or larger meatballs.
If you’ve enjoyed this recipe, I’d love for you to leave a star rating in the recipe card and/or a comment review below!
Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
To make the meatballs:
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 large egg
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- ¼ cup grated Parmesan cheese
- ¼ cup buffalo sauce
- 3 cloves garlic minced or pressed
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground pepper
- Extra buffalo sauce for tossing meatballs
To make subs:
- 4 hoagie rolls
- Provolone cheese
- Extra buffalo sauce (optional)
To make the meatballs:
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Spray a large sheet pan with cooking spray or line it with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, add all of the meatball ingredients (except the extra buffalo sauce for tossing) and mix together until everything is combined evenly. You can use a wooden spoon, a sturdy spatula, or your hands.
- Using a spoon, measuring spoon, or a cookie scoop (the scoop I use has a 2-Tablespoon capacity), scoop meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet, about an inch or so apart from one another.
- Bake for 22-24 minutes, or until the center of the largest meatball reaches 165°F. Let meatballs cool slightly on the baking sheet to reduce the possibility that they'll break apart when handling. Toss with warmed buffalo sauce before serving.
To make subs:
- Cut hoagie rolls in half. Add 3-4 meatballs to each roll and drizzle meatballs with additional buffalo sauce if you like. Add 1-2 slices of cheese over top. Wrap the sub in aluminum foil and place in a 350°F oven for 5-10 minutes, or until everything is heated and the cheese has melted.
- Cook time: The cook time listed is for meatballs that were portioned out using a 2-Tablespoon scoop. If using a smaller/larger capacity scoop, you may need to adjust the cook time up or down to ensure they’re fully cooked and heated to the appropriate temperature.
- Try and make meatballs as evenly-sized as you can so they cook in the same amount of time.
Nutritional information is provided as an estimate. As it can vary due to many factors (brands used, quantities, etc.), we cannot guarantee its accuracy.