I am not one of those people who feels the need to put hot sauce on everything but I certainly appreciate that sometimes a little heat can really enhance the flavor of a food and that is just what happens with these Firecracker Chicken Meatballs. They have a kick for sure, but really it’s all about the flavor and the sauce is a sticky, sweet spiced wonder. I love these as an appetizer (and believe me, they’re a crowd pleaser) but they’re equally great served with some white rice and broccoli if you want a complete meal with some heat to it.
These are a baked meatball, so they make your life (or at least your cooking life) really easy. It’s a simple mixture of ground chicken, panko breadcrumbs, eggs, garlic, salt, pepper, and the like. Nothing too fancy, but the perfect base to take on that spicy sauce.
And that spicy sauce is pretty amazing! While the meatballs are in the oven, you just quickly boil some hot sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, and red pepper flake together until it’s reduced and syrupy. Be careful standing over those fumes though – they’ll sting a bit! I think Franks Red Hot is a great option for the hot sauce here – it’s basic enough that it mingles well with the brown sugar and other flavors, but really you can use whatever you like the best.
A couple of extra minutes in the oven ensures that the sauce really clings to the meatballs, which is good news because you’re going to want to savor every last drop of it.
Firecracker Chicken Meatballs
5m prep time
15m cook time
- 2 lb ground chicken
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup Panko breadcrumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
For the sauce:
- 1/2 cup hot sauce
- 1 cup light brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
- Place two racks in center of oven and preheat to 475°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside.
- In a saucepan, combine hot sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, salt, and red pepper flake over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to a simmer and let cook 8-10 minutes. Remove from heat.
- In a large bowl, combine chicken, garlic, salt, pepper, eggs, panko, paprika, and onion powder. Mix ingredients together well but do not over mix.
- Roll mixture into balls about 3 tablespoons in size. Place meatballs on prepared baking sheet and bake until cooked through, 11-13 minutes.
- Once cooked, dip each meatball into the sauce. Return back to baking sheet and bake 2 minutes more. Drizzle with additional sauce if desired. Enjoy!
Recipe adapted from Little Spice Jar.