Damn Delicious

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

These meatballs are a lighter, healthier alternative to buffalo wings, and you can easily make them right in the slow cooker!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs - A lighter, healthier alternative to buffalo wings that you can make right in the slow cooker!

It’s been insanely warm out here in the Bay Area, and I even think it high 90 degrees in the house yesterday. So the last thing I want to do is leave the stovetop or oven on. That’s why I finally dusted off my slow cooker, and seeing that I had an entire bottle of Frank’s RedHot ready to be used up, I just had to make these epic buffalo chicken meatballs. I’m not even a buffalo fan but these meatballs still blew my mind!

You can even make these ahead of time up to the point of baking them. When you’re ready to serve, pop these babies right into the slow cooker for about 2 hours, really letting the buffalo flavors soak right in. From there, you can drizzle on that blue cheese dressing goodness to taste. Best of all, these can be served as a snack, a party appetizer or even a light dinner!

Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

A lighter, healthier alternative to buffalo wings that you can make right in the slow cooker!

15 minutes2 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 3/4 cup Panko*
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3/4 cup buffalo sauce
  • 1/4 cup blue cheese dressing

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat; set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Panko, egg, garlic and onion powder and green onions; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.
  3. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 4-5 minutes, or until all sides are browned.
  4. Place meatballs into a slow cooker. Add buffalo sauce and gently toss to combine. Cover and cook on low heat for 2 hours.
  5. Serve immediately, drizzled with blue cheese dressing, if desired.

Notes:

*Panko is a Japanese-style breadcrumb and can be found in the Asian section of your local grocery store.

Adapted from Cheeky Kitchen

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Nutrition Facts
Serving Size
Servings Per Container 6

Amount Per Serving
Calories 273.2 Calories from Fat 101.7
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 11.3g 17%
Saturated Fat 2.5g 13%
Trans Fat 0.2g
Cholesterol 95.6mg 32%
Sodium 976.3mg 41%
Total Carbohydrate 23.1g 8%
Dietary Fiber 1.0g 4%
Sugars 0.5g
Protein 15.5g 31%

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

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183 comments

  1. These are amazing! I made a double batch and they were so easy to make. They were a huge hit at the Super Bowl party today! thank you!

  2. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have made these many times and they are always a hit! I put a cube of mozzarella cheese inside each meatball before baking.  They’re fabulous!

  3. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have made these about 6 times now for pot pucks and there are never any left overs. Tonight I am about to precook some for a Sip & See tomorrow but I’m going to try with Impossible Burger since the guest of honor is vegetarian. I bet they’ll be amazing as well. This is a recipe I have saved on my phone cause I use it so often. Thank you

  4. Rated 5 out of 5

    I have made these a few times, and they come out very tasty..Never have any left once they come out of the slow cooker..

  5. I haven’t made these yet but they look like something my boys would both love. I noticed in the picture you have the meatballs on a baking rack…does that work better than just putting them on the parchment?

  6. could these be baked fully in the oven and reheated in a crockpot the next day (with the sauce added at that time)?

  7. Rated 5 out of 5

    Made these as written, except using chopped sweet onion instead of spring onions, and using Sweet Baby Ray’s buffalo sauce. The meatballs were tender, moist and flavorful. Was not fond of SBR sauce, so will try something new next time. This is a keeper.

  8. Made these yesterday and they were fantastic. I doubled the recipe and every one was eaten. Thanks for such an easy tasty appitizer!

  9. This looks awesome! Do you think it would be okay if I made the meatballs the night before, stored them in the fridge overnight and then put them in the slow cooker the next day? Any recommendations that I let them come to room temp before putting them in the slow cooker or straight from the fridge is just fine?

  10. Hi there! I’m wondering what the instructions would be if I cooked these meatballs the night before ? Would I bake in oven then hold off on cooking in the crock pot ? Thank you in advance! 

  11. Anyone has recommendations of a good side dish or veggie to go with this to help make it a full meal? Looks delicious!

  12. These were fabulous! I used Anchor Bar medium wing sauce. Yes that’s the bar that originated the chicken wing. I did notice that the flavor was not as good when they cooled. Next time I’ll serve them warm.

  13. Has anyone used ground turkey? I have some turkey but will get chicken if no one has tried turkey. They look delicious!!!!

  14. I made these for dinner last night with mac-n-cheese and a big salad. They were a huge hit!

  15. They were amazing!! They also taste really good with honey barbecue sauce!

  16. I love this recipe and have made many times in the slow cooker, aslways a crowd pleaser! I’m wondering if this would work in an Instant Pot Pressure cooker? Thanks!

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment regarding substitutions and modifications.

  17. I wanted to bring these to a BBQ. If I cook them right before the party would they still be good if I just reheated them at the party before serving or do you not recommend this? (party is 5 minutes away)

  18. This recipe looks perfect for an appetizer at my son’s wedding reception! The site is several states away and we are arriving a week early to help out with decorating, etc so I wonder if I make and freeze these ahead of time, defrost them the day before, would it be better to just reheat them in crock pot, or would it be better to freeze them after browning and cook the day of the wedding in the crock pot ( not sure how much time I’ll have) Thee will be about 140 people so would need a few crockpots!

  19. My entire family LOVED these! I doubled the recipe and topped with a homemade buffalo sauce recipe. Thanks for this great idea!

  20. Looks very yummy! My stomach is crying now. I like this kind of meatballs. Thanks for sharing this.

  21. I LOVE these. I made them one time for a tailgate potluck and now they are requested all the time. Just made 5lbs worth for tomorrow.

    • So does it work to put a few rows of meatballs in the crockpot? Do you have to keep stirring?
      Wanted to double or triple the recipe myself.
      Thanks!

  22. Did you recently update the recipe? I make this almost weekly for lunches and I swear the recipe called for 1.25 lbs ground chicken because I always use 2 packages of 1 lb chicken (only way I’ve seen sold) so I always have to adjust the recipe for 2 lbs instead of 2 1/2 lbs. Can you tell me what the salt and pepper quantities were in the original recipe – the quantities were right one. We LOVE these meatballs and have folks ask for the recipe whenever we serve them at a party. Thanks!

  23. There’s no way your meatballs were 1 1/4″ – 1 1/2″ and that you got 24 out of 1 lb. of ground turkey. I average about 15 every time. Regardless, double the batch and you’ll have more than enough for everyone to enjoy. This recipe is great and easy to follow. So delicious! I make them often!

  24. Delicious! Thank you for great recipe.

  25. Its a sunny and beautiful 75 degrees here in Texas on football Sunday, so you had me at slow cooker. I mixed Franks with some melted butter for the buffalo sauce and ended up pouring a little over a cup of sauce on the meatballs (we love Franks!). Just put the lid on the crockpot, can’t wait to try them! Thank!

    • Oh and the 5 minutes in the oven seemed just about fine to me, as this is meant just to “set” them for the crockpot. I feel like 10-15 minutes would just cook them all the way through, what would be the point of the slow cooker?

  26. Might be a strange question… But can you leave on warm in crockpot?  Making for Super Bowl.  Thanks

  27. Wow these were delicious! I made them on the weekend and they were a hit. I did bake them for about 10 minutes in the oven though before putting them in the slow cooker (flipping halfway through). This recipe is a keeper 🙂

  28. We are a huge buffalo wing family as we live in buffalo!!!! Is was a healthy alternative to the greasy wings. I doubled the recipe and did get 48 balls.  I baked them a bit longer, 7 minutes and then flipped them and baked an additional 5 minutes. I cooked them in the crock on low for 3 hours and they were delicious

  29. Can these be stacked to the top in a Slow Cooker in several layers? Or does it have to be one single layer at the bottom? Thx

  30. The GATOR balls were and absolute hit, going try venison, tuna & conch.

  31. I am always looking for ways to prepare the wild game I harvest. This looked interesting so I prepare per the menu but substitute “GATOR”

  32. Would you say these are hot. Medium or mild with the hot sauce?

  33. My meatballs don’t brown in 4-5 minutes!! What did I do wrong? Lol 

  34. I tried making these for the first time about a month ago. Have made them three times since! They are great! I add finely chopped celery, instead of green onion, to the meatball mixture and it tastes great! I recommend that for anyone who isn’t a green onion fan. I follow the rest of recipe as written, other than maybe adding a bit more buffalo sauce, but that’s just a personal preference.
    I have been doubling the recipe and typically get between 35 and 40 small to medium sized meatballs. Thank you for the great recipe 🙂

  35. If I need inspiration you are my go-to site, and my daughters, but as I live in the Meditteranean I cant always get the exact ingredients.  Could you tell me what Buffalo sauce is please.  We do have Tabasco sauce out here.

  36. We have made these twice with ground chicken and loved them! (We also have to keep them in our convection oven at 400° for 15 minutes to get them to brown.) Tonight we’re giving them a try with ground turkey, because Trader Joe’s doesn’t have ground chicken. I’ll report back with a result. 

  37. I am sure my husband will like these meatballs, It looks amazing and i cant wait to get them done

  38. I am going try this this weekend. Is there a a way to reach you incase i make some mistakes and need help.
    Amazing recipe. Love love love it!

    • Pamela, if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment. I will do my very best to respond in a timely manner. 🙂

  39. I made these for dinner last night and they were delicious. I was worried that the meatballs would end up dry but they were moist and full of flavor. I didn’t have two hours so I gave mine an extra 5 minutes in the oven and only did 1 hour in the crockpot on high and still came out great. I wish I had doubled the recipe because there were no leftovers.

  40. The 5 minutes for browning is way off as other people have noted. 15 minutes and counting so far in a preheated 400F oven.

    Thanks for recipe!

  41. These tasted exactly as I hoped they would! Because I really wanted them and was not willing to wait 2 hours, I baked at 400 degrees for 20 minutes. I then simmered in a small pot with the Frank’s Red Hot Sauce about 5 minutes. This is similar to how I make traditional meatballs and they were great. When I am not in a rush I will definitely try using the slow cooker! We use at least one of your recipes in our weekly meal planning. Love your site!

  42. do you know how long these need to cook in instant pot (pressure cooker)?

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot answer with certainty. As always, please use your best judgment.

  43. Please, do you have the nutritional count for these delicious looking meatballs?

    • Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, it is best that you use free online resources at your discretion (you can Google “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information.

  44. Hello,
    This is a great recipe but I want to make this for 12 people. Did you have any left over and if so were they still good after two hours. I want to try to just make two separate batches because I do not know what would happen if I put two rows of the meatballs. Any advice would be greatly appreciated. 

  45. Look great and easy!! I love meatball. Thank you for sharing this recipe.

  46. you state that these can be made ahead of time up to the point of baking – can you clarify if you mean baking the 4 minutes in oven for browning or do you mean before you put in slow cooker? Just want to know if I should oven brown them before I freeze them, or freeze them before I oven brown them. Thanks!

  47. I dont have a slow cooker, how else can i cook these meatballs they look soooo good.

  48. Do you think you can use anything else to substitute the Panko? Besides regular breadcrumbs? anything gluten free or carb free?

    • Unfortunately, without further recipe testing, I cannot advise an appropriate substitute that will not alter the overall taste/texture of the dish. Using a substitution may also result in a mediocre outcome but if substitutions must be made, please use your best judgment to fit your dietary restrictions.

  49. these were delicious, I chopped up fresh jalapeño, added to mix, then sprinkled cayenne on them before I baked them….

  50. I made this today and they were a HIT at home and at my work potluck! Any idea how many calories??

    • Nutritional information is provided only for select and new recipes at this time. However, if it is not available for a specific recipe, it is best that you use free online resources at your discretion (you can gooogle “nutritional calculator”) to obtain such information.

  51. Probably a stupid question, but how many meatballs does this recipe yield? I see it says six servings but how many meatballs per serving?

    • Elizabeth, the number of meatballs is indicated in the recipe:

      In a large bowl, combine ground chicken, Panko, egg, garlic and onion powder and green onions; season with salt and pepper, to taste. Using a wooden spoon or clean hands, stir until well combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/4-to-1 1/2-inch meatballs, forming about 24 meatballs.

  52. Hi – just picked this up in UK. Chicken meatballs sound great. Not familiar with Buffalo sauce. Is it like a spicy bolognaise sauce?? I live in a small provincial town and our supermarket doesn’t have commercial buffalo sauce or Panko. Any thoughts on alternative?
    I would do this for a pot luck supper – with a liquid sauce over spaghetti or rice.
    Love the thought.

  53. Just made these. Smell awesome. Going to serve them with a bowl of the Bleu Cheese dressing for dip and celery sticks

  54. These were delicious! Just made them tonight and accidentally forgot the egg but they still turned out great. Thank you!

  55. Fabulous recipe! Your directions and photos were perfect. I made these as an appetizer for our Super Bowl party and they were a big hit! Next time I will double the recipe as everyone wanted more!

  56. My granddaughters will be 18 in October and we will be having them a big party these will go over great for my twins!

  57. thank you for your reply i meant frying them on a pan instead of the oven before putting them in the slow cooker

  58. hello i am about to make these for the super bowl do you think it would still taste good if i cooked the meatballs on a pan instead of baking them? thank you

  59. I’d love to make these for a potluck but I’d have to make them ahead and then drive 2 hours… any ideas on how to reheat them without making them dry?

    • Unfortunately I cannot answer this with certainty as I have not tried reheating these myself. Please your best judgment on storing and reheating.

  60. I took a chance and made these for the first time to enter into our appetizer contest at work for our Super Bowl party, and I won! I doubled the recipe and baked the meatballs the night before, (they do take longer than 5 min, they take about 10 min). The next day before the party, I put them in the crockpot with the sauce for 2 1/2 hrs. on low, they were prize winning!

  61. When you say Franks Buffalo sauce, is it the pre-made variety or do you make it with the straight Franks hot sauce mixed with butter? Thanks..Kevin

  62. hi love the recipe but I am cooking for a 2 and 6yr old do you think I could substitute buffalo sauce for bbq sauce so its not so spicy??

    • That sounds like a great idea but without further recipe testing, I cannot say with certainty how this will turn out. Please use your best judgment to make the appropriate substitutions.

  63. I’ve made these and there great, i even subbed the tooth pick with a celery stick so you can eat the whole thing, with out ever having to worry were to ditch the stick…hahah

  64. If we don’t have two hours for cooking on low, is it okay to do 1 hour on high?

    • I’m not entirely sure if the meatballs will be fully cooked through after one hour. It may be best to taste-test one of the meatballs prior to serving.

  65. It took me much longer than 4-5 minutes to have the meatballs brown. It took almost 15 minutes. Can’t wait to try them this evening as we ring in 2015!! Can’t wait to check out all your other recipes on here!!

    • Pat, I’m so glad you tried this recipe! As for browning, your heat source may have been set too low. Also, please keep in mind that the meatballs do not have to be completely cooked through in this step. You are simply browning it for the slow cooker.

  66. Thank you for sharing! I am making them as I type 🙂 today is my Husbands Bday so I want to surprise him when he gets home from work with this as an appetizer. I think he will love them! I forgot the green onions, so I replaced with a tsp or so of freeze dried chives. I am sure he will love them! also he is not a fan of bleu cheese dressing so I grabbed a bottle of the buffalo ranch dressing. Cant wait to surprise him! ps- My slow cooker is still packed since we just moved so I will probably just cook them very very low and slow on stove top in a sauce pot with lid on. I think that will work. Thanks again! Happy Holidays!

  67. thank you for this great recipe! Made these for a small gathering and they were a hit! I did make and bake them early, then put in the crock pot later in the day. Turned out perfect! Used more Frank’s for our taste and made a blue cheese dressing. Will become a staple in our home!

  68. I am new to your site and so glad that I found it! You do an amazing job!!
    I have never used buffalo sauce any suggestions for a brand?

  69. I don’t have any parchment paper…. Would aluminum foil work jus as well?

  70. I wonder if I can use ground beef instead of chicken, would it be the same?

    • You can certainly try substituting ground beef but without further recipe testing, I cannot speak for how much this will change the overall taste/texture of the dish. It is always best to use the ingredients listed in the recipe to obtain the best results possible.

  71. Hi, can you bake these the night before and put them in the crockpot the next day?

    Thanks

    • I have never tried doing this myself but I don’t see why it wouldn’t work!

    • this comment is probably a bit late but I cooked mine in the oven and put them into the crockpot and into the refrigerator until the next day as I was making them for Christmas Eve and it worked perfectly!! These are incredible!

      • That was what I was wondering.make them ahead.  I like to bake them off in oven till done. Put in fridge then add to crock pot with the sauce to warm up for my next tailgate party. 

  72. Love this recipe! I’ve been making these for the past couple of weeks for every football Sunday and my husband and friends are obsessed! I’m thinking of preparing them and baking them tonight so I’ll have less of a clean up tomorrow but I was wondering.. If I double the recipe (to about 40 small meatballs) could I still put them all in one crockpot? Or do you think they need to all be in one single layer?

  73. Hi! I just found your blog and will be making this recipe tonight! I will add a small ball of fresh mozzarella to the center of the meatballs for some extra melty, cheesy goodness.

    This recipe seems to be a great, lower-calorie alternative with all the same buffalo flavor. Even with the added cheese I calculated 388 calories per serving (at 4 servings for me, not 6), so your original without the cheese would be even less. And Frank’s Red Hot is my fave too! Sorry to ramble, but thank for the recipe and I’m sure they will turn out delicious!

  74. When you bake the meatballs, does 1 side become flat. I tried another recipe awhile back and baked them but 1 side was flat.

    • The meatballs inevitably flatten a bit on one side. After all, they are sitting flat on a baking sheet the entire time they are baked!

      • Thanks for the quick response! I just found your blog through Pinterest and I cannot wait to try this and other recipes you have posted 🙂

  75. I just came across your blog and I’m so excited to try these for a college football game tonight! As well as your Parmesan zucchini crisps. Your dishes look amazing, surely I’ll be trying many more! Thanks for sharing your skills with all of us! 😀

    Amber

  76. Instead of cooking in oven first, do you think cooking them in crock pot longer would work.? Slow cook on low for 4-6 hours? They look yummy!

    • I’ve actually tried cooking them completely in the crockpot before and I was personally not a fan. A lot of the fat surrounding the meatballs had floated to the top, leaving it to be very unappetizing.

  77. I like the ease of this recipe, but I’m not a fan of buffalo sauce. How would these meatballs be without the buffalo sauce?

  78. This sounds delicious!!! I love buffalo chicken and these meatballs sound so simple to make. Thanks for sharing!

  79. These look great!! Thanks so much for sharing. Can’t wait to this recipe!

  80. can I use ground beef – forgot to buy chicken 🙁

    • You can certainly use ground beef but I worry that the texture may be a bit more tough than using ground chicken.

  81. I’ve made these before but I add crumbled blue cheese into the mix then bake them.

  82. Do you think this would also work with ground turkey?

  83. Pingback: Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs with Blue Cheese Dressing

  84. Just added these to my food list for my hubby’s poker party this Saturday… Can’t wait to try. Looks delish!

  85. Another winner! I always find the best stuff on your blog!

  86. I understand. I kept the temperature at 400 degrees, cooking them for a total of 30 minutes, turning them twice the first 20 minutes, basting with buffalo sauce and cooking for an additional 10. Perfect! 🙂

  87. If I needed to cook them entirely in the oven, how long would they stay in? Maybe brown them at 400 for 4-5 minutes, then turn the oven down to 325, sauce them and leave them in for an additional 20 or 30 minutes?

    • Unfortunately, I cannot give you the exact time/oven temp as this is a recipe specifically for a slow cooker. I recommend using your best judgement to ensure that the meatballs are completely cooked through.

  88. More than the preparation I liked the presentation. Thanks for sharing.

  89. I made these last night for Cinco de Mayo. I added about 2 tbsp. of crumbled blue cheese to the meatball mixture and decided to make mini hoagie sliders with them. I made a ‘slaw’ out of shredded (chiffonade) Romaine lettuce, shredded carrots and diced celery. I topped the mini hoagie roll with the slaw mix, plopped the meatballs on top and drizzled with Blue cheese dressing. Wow! It may not have been ‘authentic’ Mexican fare, but it sure tasted delicious with a Margarita!!!

    • Your changes sound great!!! I am not on the “blue cheese” bandwagon yet but putting it in the meatballs might get me there yet.!!!
      Sandi

  90. Hot weather? Please send some to the New England area 🙁
    I would love to feel that heat, so tired of wet and damp. These look wonderful.

  91. These are a total lifesaver! I’m out near Sacramento, and we were above 90° the entire past week. It was almost torture to go outside during mid-afternoon, and I’m definitely not looking forward to the summer when the thermometer reads 100°+ nearly every other day. So smart to pull out the slow cooker! And all those delicious flavors? Count me in!

  92. Oh my goodness, I was subscribed to your Tumblr feed still. I’ve just been going through all my feeds to update them and noticed. Ugh! Sorry I’ve been MIA for so long.

    So need to try these meatballs. In fact, it’s dinner time here now and I’m literally salivating all over the keyboard! *wipes mouth* 🙂

  93. Yaaaay for these! Perfect for a pot luck or BBQ. Or just perfect for my face.

  94. These meatballs look amazing! I love buffalo chicken anything, yum!

  95. Just love these photos – I want to reach out and swipe a meatball. Or at the least, some of your warm temps!

  96. It’s the boyfriend’s birthday party next weekend and I have a feeling these will be very popular with the lads! The best part is I can prepare everything ahead of time! One less thing to worry about 🙂 Thank you!!!

  97. I LOVE meatballs, but don’t make them nearly often enough. Totally making these the next time we have a family get together – I know they’ll be devoured!

  98. I need to make these for my husband – he will LOVE them!

  99. I’m thinking I may bake them, then freeze until I need them quickly one night. Wonder if I could just put them in the slow cooker frozen. I have recipes for the slow cooker where you use frozen chicken thighs, etc. How do you think the meatball would survive being slow cooked from frozen?

  100. I know! It was 94 degrees in San Diego yesterday! Too hot. These meatballs look divine. Pinned.

  101. LOVE that you used your slow cooker for this!!! Brilliant. . love this, Chung-Ah!

  102. Where can I purchase the wooden skewers featured in your awesome photo?

  103. Hot weather???? I live in Arizona its been hot for about a month or two. LOL! Look forward to making these. You had me at crock pot!……. Great photos! On a serious note , your recipes have renewed my love of cooking , thanks…..

  104. Can I just, uhm maybe *sneaks up and steals one*
    These look marvellous! Buffalo combo all the way, thanks for a great recipe! x

  105. love your recipes….but 3/4 cup of Franks???????? I think I am brave when I use 2 tablespoons!!!!!!!!

  106. So tasty looking and so easy! Envious of your sunny weather, it’s chilly and rainy here.

  107. Looks great. Love ground chicken. Is the buffalo sauce the hot sauce you used?

  108. Yep, got to 90 degrees here in FL this week too so I am definitely needing some time off the oven! I adore buffalo chicken, so these must happen to my face!
    I love the colors in the first shot! Pinned!

  109. Oh what an awesome idea!!! I could see theses being a big hit at my next party!

  110. OMGerd. This looks so simple to make! But soo delicious looking! Must try it soon!

    • these were delicious….i was only able to get 19 meatballs out of the batch and i did make them small so next time i will double the recipe i think…i used sweet baby rays wing sauce and they were perfect…thank you for sharing

  111. I can see you took full advantage of your hand model, or platter-holding model 🙂 The blue shirt with the color of the meatballs make these images pop! What perfect party food!