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These air fryer chicken meatballs are easy, delicious, and always a game day favorite! Perfectly cooked chicken meatballs swimming in buttery buffalo sauce is the perfect addition to any game day spread!
Okay, I confess, I don’t watch sports. Not even a little bit. But I LOVE game day food, bring on all the buffalo-sauce-covered-things! Especially these INCREDIBLE air fryer buffalo chicken meatballs!
Typically you have wings and you have dip, but this is a fun recipe because it’s just a little unexpected, and it’s VERY filling. And of course, anything made in the air fryer is a favorite of mine. It's hard to image what life was like pre-air fryer. I'm very thankful to live in a post air-fryer world!
These buffalo chicken meatballs are insanely good as a stand alone meal, and they’re great on top of a salad if it's not game day and you just love chicken meatballs smothered in buffalo sauce (I do).
Air Fryer Chicken Meatballs
- Air Fryer
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 1 pound ground chicken
- 1 egg
- ½ cup Ritz crackers ground into crumbs
- ½ onion finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves minced
- 1 tbsp fresh basil chopped
- 1 tsp Frank's hot sauce
- 2 tbsp olive oil for greasing the air fryer
FOR THE BUFFALO SAUCE
- ½ cup Frank's hot sauce
- 3 tbsp butter salted
- 1 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- In a blender or food processor, grind the Ritz crackers into crumbs.
- In a bowl, combine the ground chicken, egg, ground Ritz crackers, minced onion, minced garlic, chopped basil, Frank’s hot sauce, and salt and pepper.
- Grease the air fryer with olive oil.
- Form 1 ½ inch meatballs, and place them into the greased air fryer evenly spaced (you may need to work in batches). There is no need to preheat. Turn the air fryer to “air fry” or 390 degrees Fahrenheit, close it, and air fry for 8 minutes, shake the basket, and continue cooking for another 2-3 minutes or until the center temperature reaches 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
FOR THE BUFFALO SAUCE
- Combine the hot sauce, butter, honey, garlic powder, and salt in a saucepan, and whisk over medium heat until it’s bubbly. Let it cool and pour it over cooked meatballs before serving.
- Toss the meatballs in the buffalo sauce until coated evenly. Serve with a side of ranch or blue cheese dressing, carrots, celery, and a little fresh basil if desired.
CAN I COOK THESE IN THE OVEN RATHER THAN THE AIR FRYER?
Yes, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet.
CAN I USE TURKEY OR BEEF TO MAKE THESE MEATBALLS?
You can use ground turkey, and they’ll taste great! However, beef isn’t the best for this recipe because it doesn’t pair well with buffalo sauce. You will cook the turkey the same as the ground chicken.
CAN I MAKE THESE IN THE OVEN?
Yes! Absolutely. If you don’t have an air fryer, you must get one! But if not, or you don’t want to use it, preheat your oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Then simply follow the instructions for making the meatballs. Place parchment paper on a baking sheet and drizzle it with olive oil. Place the meatballs equally spaced on the sheet and bake for about 2--25 minutes, flipping halfway through. Prepare your buffalo sauce as the meatballs cook, and when they’ve finished, toss them in the sauce and serve.
DO I HAVE TO USE FRANK’S HOT SAUCE?
Umm...Yes 🙂 Other hot sauce brands make it too spicy or too...lackluster. You can use a store-bought off-brand that is comparable to Frank’s for similar results.
WHAT SIZE COOKIE SCOOP WORKS BEST TO MAKE SMALL MEATBALLS, SUCH AS THESE?
The 1.5 tablespoon size is my favorite! Scoop the meat, and roll it between your palms to form a ball.
CAN I MAKE THESE AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes! This is a great appetizer to prepare the day before! Make the meatballs as directed, let them cool to room temperature, and place them in an airtight container and put them in the fridge. Make the sauce and keep it separate until you’re reading to serve the meatballs. When you’re ready, place them in a pan or crockpot with the sauce, heat, and serve.
If you’re making these more than 2 days ahead of time, cool the meatballs after they’re prepared, let them cool to room temperature, and place them in a bag and freeze for up to two months. Reheat them in a pan or slow cooker, then prep and add the buffalo sauce before serving.