Chicken Firecracker Meatballs

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5 from 1 vote
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes
Total: 22 minutes

These Firecracker Meatballs are bursting with flavor, they are perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. Great for dinner or as an appetizer.

These Firecracker Meatballs are bursting with flavor, they are perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. Great for dinner or as an appetizer.

Enjoy Firecracker Meatballs for a holiday or an ordinary dinner. These ground chicken meatballs are packed with flavorful ingredients including pork rinds in place of breadcrumbs. Make these keto friendly meatballs in less than 30 minutes.

To learn more about chicken safety an nutrition facts, visit the USDA.


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What We Love About This Recipe

  • 20 Minute Meal: Make these ground chicken meatballs in under 20 minutes.
  • Party Friendly: Firecracker buffalo meatballs make for a tasty party appetizer.
  • Keto: This recipe also happens to be keto friendly, perfect for those who are looking for flavor packed recipes without the carbs.
Meatballs on a cutting board.

Ingredient Notes

  • Ground Chicken: This recipe calls for ground chicken but you can also use ground pork or turkey for this fresh recipe as well.
  • Brown Sugar: For the sauce you can use regular light brown sugar or a sugar-free alternative, you can also use a liquid sweeter such as honey or maple syrup.
  • Hot Sauce: For a less vinegar taste, you can use sriracha sauce in place of regular hot sauce, this will result in a slightly sweeter spice than using a vinegar based hot sauce.
  • Pork Rinds: This recipe uses pork rinds in place of panko crumbs, if you are not keto / low-carb or do not have pork rinds, you can substitute for a cup panko breadcrumbs.
Ground meat, herbs, breadcrumbs, eggs and other ingredients for the appetizer.

Variations and Substitutions

  • Turkey – You can also make this recipe for firecracker buffalo meatballs with ground turkey or ground beef in place of chicken.
  • Air Fryer – Cook the meatballs in the air fryer basket instead. Cook for 10-12 minutes at 400 degrees.

How to Make Ground Chicken Meatballs

These are the basic steps for making Firecracker Chicken Meatballs. Please refer to the recipe card below for more detailed instructions.

Making the mixture for the appetizer.

STEP 1: PREPPING

Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees f and prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper and cooking spray.

Forming the meatballs.

STEP 2: MAKE THE MEATBALLS

In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, onion, Italian seasoning, egg, garlic, pork rinds, cheese, salt, and black pepper, mixed until fully combined. Next form the meat mixture into 20 evenly sized meatballs, then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet. Bake meatball for 15 minutes.

Creating the firecracker sauce.

STEP 3: FIRECRACKER SAUCE

Make the savory firecracker sauce while the meatballs are baking, stir brown sugar, hot sauce, apple cider, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a saucepan or large skillet over medium-high heat on the stove. Bring the sauce a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes. Let cool for 5-10 minutes.

Brushing the sauce on the finished meatballs.

STEP 4: BROIL MEATBALLS

Once your firecracker sauce has cooled and thicken, use a basting brush to brush the top of the meatballs with the sauce. Broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes. Finally, serve as appetizer or along side rice and veggies.

Prep and Storage Tips

HOW TO MAKE THIS RECIPE AHEAD OF TIME

To make this recipe ahead of time, bake the meatballs and make the sauce, store separately in the fridge for until you are ready to cook. Add meatballs to a baking sheet and brush the sauce on top, broil for 3-4 minutes or until hot.

HOW TO STORE THIS RECIPE

Store leftovers of firecracker buffalo meatballs in airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.

HOW TO FREEZE THIS RECIPE

Freeze ground chicken meatballs in a freezer safe bag for up to 2 months in cooked, or up to 4 months if you freeze the meatballs raw.

HOW TO REHEAT THIS RECIPE

Reheat in the hot oven at 350 degrees for 10 minutes or until hot, or heat in the microwave for 1-2 minutes or until hot.

Frequently Asked Questions

HOW TO MANY CALORIES IN FIRECRACKER MEATBALLS?

There are 288 calories per serving of these firecracker meatballs.

CAN I SUBSTITUTE TURKEY IN PLACE OF CHICKEN?

Ground turkey will work just as well in this recipe, use equal parts of ground turkey in place of chicken for this recipe.

CAN THIS RECIPE BE DOUBLED OR HALVED?

This recipe for ground chicken meatballs can easily be doubled or halved to fit your needs, just increase or decrease ingredients proportionally.

SHOULD I COOK MEATBALLS BEFORE FREEZING?

If you freeze meatballs raw, they will stay good in the freezer for up to 6 months, if you freeze the meatballs after cooking they will be good for up to 2 months in the freezer.

CAN I MAKE THE FIRECRACKER SAUCE HOTTER?

Of course, but remember your guests may not like them too hot. Try adding a little cayenne pepper or hot sauce to the mixture. Serve with a little ranch or sour cream to offer a cool side.

A top shot of the chicken meatballs.

Expert Tips for Making This Recipe

  • This Recipe Can be Doubled: This is a great recipe to bring to a gathering.  Simply increase the ingredients proportionately and split it into two baking sheets before baking.
  • Don’t Overcook: It is important to not over cook your meatballs, otherwise they will get really dry. Make sure that you pull them out after 15 minutes as you have to keep in mind they will be getting broiled for additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Make Sauce Before: For a faster cooking process, I recommend that you make the firecracker sauce ahead of time.
  • Serving: If serving as an appetizer, serve along with toothpicks or mini forks for guests to snack on.
  • Asian Flavors: Replace the sauce with one made of soy sauce, onion powder, paprika and sesame seeds and other asian inspired flavors.

What to Serve with Firecracker Meatballs

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These Firecracker Meatballs are bursting with flavor, they are perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. Great for dinner or as an appetizer.
5 from 1 vote

Chicken Firecracker Meatballs

Yield: 5 servings
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 17 minutes
Total: 22 minutes
These Chicken Firecracker Meatballs are bursting with flavor, they are perfect balance of sweet, savory, and spicy. Serve these as an appetizer.
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Ingredients

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound Ground chicken
  • ½ Onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning blend
  • 1 Large egg
  • 3 teaspoon. Minced garlic
  • 1 cup Pork rind crumbs
  • ¼ cup Parmesan cheese grated
  • Salt and pepper to taste

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup Swerve brown sugar substitute
  • ¼ cup Hot sauce
  • 1 tablespoon Apple cider vinegar
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Red pepper flakes to taste

Instructions

  • Start by preheating the oven to 400 degrees f.
  • In a mixing bowl, combine ground chicken, onion, Italian seasoning, egg, garlic, pork rinds, cheese, salt, and black pepper, mixed until fully combined.
  • Next form the meatball mixture into 20 evenly sized balls, then place onto a parchment lined baking sheet.
  • Bake meatball for 15 minutes.
  • Make the sauce the meatballs are baking, place brown sugar, hot sauce, apple cider, vinegar, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper in a saucepan over medium heat on the stove.
  • Bring the sauce a boil, reduce heat and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
  • Let cool for 5-10 minutes.
  • Then baste the meatballs with the sauce, and broil for 2-3 minutes before serving.

Expert Tips

  • This Recipe Can be Doubled: This is a great recipe to bring to a gathering.  Simply increase the ingredients proportionately and split it into two baking sheets before baking.
  • Don’t Overcook: It is important to not over cook your meatballs, otherwise they will get really dry. Make sure that you pull them out after 15 minutes as you have to keep in mind they will be getting broiled for additional 2-3 minutes.
  • Make Sauce Before: For a faster cooking process, I recommend that you make the firecracker sauce ahead of time.
  • Serving: If serving as an appetizer, serve along with toothpicks or mini forks for guests to snack on.

Estimated Nutritional Information

Calories: 288kcal | Carbohydrates: 25g | Protein: 22g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 4g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 120mg | Sodium: 633mg | Potassium: 559mg | Fiber: 0.4g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 101IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 89mg | Iron: 1mg
The nutritional information provided are estimates. To learn more about how I calculate this information go to www.itisakeeper.com/about-its-a-keeper/privacy-disclosure-policies/
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Course: Appetizers and Dips, dinner, Main Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: chicken, firecracker, hot sauce, meatballs

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