Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

Firecracker chicken meatballs are perfectly spicy, slightly sweet, and tantalizingly sticky. The key to your next party, game day, or gathering.

Firecracker chicken meatballs on a square white plate drizzled with sauce.

Why You’ll Love These

My husband couldn’t get enough of these spicy chicken meatballs that pack a big punch of flavor.

Such an easy ground chicken recipe to whip up anytime.

A crowd-pleasing appetizer perfect for game days, New Year’s, Christmas, or any party!

Or serve them for lunch or dinner over a bed of cilantro lime rice or steamed rice with a side of green vegetables.

We also love making these chicken parmesan meatballs and sausage pretzel bites. Tasty, easy appetizers!

Key Ingredients

  • Chicken Meatballs – Ground chicken, eggs, breadcrumbs, minced garlic, cayenne, onion powder, paprika, salt, and pepper.
  • Firecracker Sauce – Hot sauce, apple cider vinegar, dark brown sugar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, and salt.

How to Make Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, and set aside.

In a saucepan over medium-high heat, combine the hot sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, Worcestershire, red pepper flakes, and salt. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for about 8-10 minutes.

The sauce will thicken upon cooling.

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Firecracker chicken meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl.

In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, salt pepper, eggs, panko, cayenne pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Mix until combined. DO NOT OVERMIX. It will result in tough and dry meatballs.

Shape the meat mixture into a ball, about one tablespoon of meat per ball, about golf ball sized. (I used a cookie dough scoop) Place shaped meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.

Baked firecracker chicken meatballs being brushed with sauce

Remove the baking pan from the oven, and brush each meatball with the sauce.

Firecracker chicken meatballs brushed with sauce on a parchment lined baking sheet.

Bake an additional 2 minutes. Remove from the oven and brush them again with the remaining sauce.

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs on a square white plate garnished with sauce and parsley

Serve and bask in the praise from your guests!

Tips

  • Be sure not to over-mix the meat mixture. Overmixing makes the meatballs tough and dense.
  • To ensure the meatballs are cooked, use an instant-read thermometer. The internal temperature should read 160 degrees F. As they rest and cool, they will reach 165 degrees F.
  • Instead of brushing each meatball, you can add the meatballs to the sauce and toss them in the sauce to coat them evenly. Place them back on the baking pan and bake for another 2 minutes.

Variations

  • You can use lean ground pork or beef. Although, ground chicken or ground turkey gives the best flavor. It can be all-white meat or a mixture of white and dark meat for a little more moisture.
  • You can make the meatballs any size you like. You might need to adjust the cooking time.
  • Use them for a meatball sub topped with some melted mozzarella or provolone.
  • Serve them for lunch or dinner with a side salad!
  • Serve in a lettuce wrap with a drizzle of blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.

FAQ

How to Serve Firecracker Chicken Meatballs

They are perfect, just as written, for an appetizer. But you can serve them over a bed of rice with a side salad or vegetable.
Serve in a lettuce wrap with a drizzle of blue cheese dressing or ranch dressing.

Make Ahead

You can form the meatballs, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for up to 48 hours. Then bake as directed.
Make the sauce as instructed and store it in an air-tight container for up to 48 hours.

Or you can flash freeze the chicken meatballs. Place them on a lined baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight. Bake as instructed in the recipe.

Storing

Let them cool to room temperature, place them in an air-tight container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.

Freezing

If you know you will be freezing some of the chicken meatballs don’t brush the sauce on them. Freeze in an air-tight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.

More Delicious Meatball Recipes

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs - These pack loads of spicy, sticky, slightly sweet flavor in one little morsel!

Firecracker Chicken Meatballs Recipe

Sweet, savory, and spicy all in one bite. Perfect for appetizers or main dish!
4.45 from 9 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, firecracker, meatballs, spicy
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 24
Calories: 114kcal
Author: Leigh Harris

Ingredients
 

CHICKEN MEATBALLS

  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder

FIRECRACKER SAUCE:

  • 1/2 cup hot sauce
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
  • 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 475ºF. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
  • In a saucepan, combine the ingredients for the firecracker sauce over medium-high heat, bring to a boil, reduce the heat to a simmer. Let simmer for 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat and allow the sauce to cool. The sauce will thicken as it cools.
    1/2 cup hot sauce, 1 cup dark brown sugar, 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1-2 tablespoons Worcestershire, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4-1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, panko, cayenne pepper, paprika, and onion powder. Mix all the ingredients together. DO NOT OVERMIX, it will result in tough and dry meatballs.
    2 pounds ground chicken, 2 cloves minced garlic, 1 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon pepper, 2 large eggs, 1 cup plain breadcrumbs, 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder, 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • Shape the meat mixture into a ball, about 1 tablespoon of meat per ball. (I used a cookie dough scoop) Place shaped meatballs on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • Brush each meatball with the sauce. Place back in the oven and bake for an additional 1-2 minutes.
  • Drizzle or brush with remaining sauce, as desired.

Notes

To Make Ahead – Form the meatballs, place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover them tightly with plastic wrap, and refrigerate them for up to 48 hours. Then bake as directed.
Make the sauce as instructed and store it in an air-tight container for up to 48 hours.
Or you can flash freeze the chicken meatballs. Place them on a lined baking sheet and freeze until hard, about 2 hours. Then transfer to a freezer bag or container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.  Make the sauce. Bake as instructed in the recipe.
Storing – Let them cool to room temperature, place them in an air-tight container, and refrigerate for up to 4 days.
Freezing – If you know you will be freezing some of the chicken meatballs don’t brush the sauce on them. Freeze in an air-tight container or freezer bag for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 114kcal | Carbohydrates: 13g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 46mg | Sodium: 373mg | Potassium: 236mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 9g | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 3.9mg | Calcium: 21mg | Iron: 0.7mg

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26 Comments

  1. These look amazing!! I am always looking for finger-food friendly bites that aren’t just a million variations on dip. I bet this sauce would also go great on crispy baked chicken wings – a favorite of some in our house. Thank you for sharing!

  2. These meatballs look so yummy! I’ve actually never made homemade meatballs so I like how this recipe is for the meatballs and the sauce, pinned it! Stopping by from Pink Heels Pink Truck link-up, enjoy the rest of your week!

  3. These look so good right now! And not just because I’m hungry. LOL
    I already printed the recipe. =0)
    Thanks for visiting Wonderful Wednesday. I’m your newest twitter follower!

  4. oh yes, I will definitely be making these as we love ground chicken and it’s perfect for the Superbowl. #ThursdayFavoriteThings5 stars

  5. That flavourful sauce – oh my it sounds so good! Your Firecracker Chicken Meatballs are a perfect appetizer. Scheduled to Pin later today and sharing on our Hearth and Soul Facebook page. Thank you for being a part of Hearth and Soul. Hope you will visit again this week!5 stars

  6. We will love your awesome sauce for these delicious Chicken Meatballs. Hope you are having a great day and thanks so much for sharing with us at Full Plate Thursday.
    Miz Helen5 stars

  7. Yesss! There will never be enough good meatball recipes in the world. These look absolutely amazing- can’t wait to cover my whole life in this firecracker sauce!

  8. I made these the other day. I doubled the recipe, except for the sugar. They look lovely all lacquered and they were a hit, I brought a bunch to work to share.5 stars

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