These Brown Sugar Buffalo Chicken Meatballs will become your most requested game day appetizer! They are easy, gluten free AND can be kept warm in your crock pot for hours! An easy tailgate recipe!
You know that smell…
The smell you smell when you walk into a house that has had a crock-pot going for hours!
It always brings on that nostalgic feeling involving family and food.
Other than the “smell” of it, a crock-pot or “slow cooker” meal is more popular than ever and I know why…
Especially when it comes to parties or gatherings.
Yes there are times when we must pop things in the oven last minute but when we CAN use our extremely heavy friend, Mr. Crock-Pot, we use him! With pleasure!
All you need to do is bake the meatballs in the oven first, then toss them in the slow cooker with this drool-worthy sauce, set to “WARM” and then you’re free to go do your vacuuming or anything else to prepare for the day!
By the way, I did not crock-pot my meatballs here! Instead, I made these meatballs to be served with skewers, because clearly I have an obsession with skewered foods! Like these Mini Kielbasa Dijon Corn Dogs or Mini Ginger Chicken Satay Skewers!
Your choice! Either way, they’re delicious!!!
Game Day Meatballs
Our “game days” are football games. Being from just outside of Philadelphia, my husband lives for the Eagles. He gets so excited when Sundays come around in the Fall like a little kid preparing to go see Mickey Mouse.
My favorite part of “game days” is the company and more importantly the food!! God forbid our team loses…I know to keep my distance!
OR I’ll quickly look for something sweet to whip up for Derek because that helps him feel better! Lol!
Pre-game, these brown sugar buffalo meatballs are the first thing I pull out!
What I do, is whip up a large batch at once, maybe 2-3 lbs. of chicken, freeze them, then pull the meatballs out Sunday mornings and throw them in the slow cooker with the yummy sauce! Done!
Tapioca Meatball Binder
As in tapioca pudding?!
Yes! It is a great, gluten-free ingredient and works wonders for soaking up liquid.
You’ll notice when making this that the ground chicken and egg create a very wet meatball making them not very “ball-able”. Yes I made that word up. Definition: The ability to form into a ball. 😉
So adding the instant tapioca absorbs that excess liquid so you can shape these babies nicely.
It is basically replacing the typical breadcrumbs or wet bread that most meatball recipes call for.
Make sure to use the instant tapioca that you can find in any grocer.
You can always use the gluten-free breadcrumbs if you want to as well!
Serve these with ranch or (my favorite) a little blue cheese dressing on the side!
Pin this recipe for later by clicking the pin below!
Let me know if you try these and for what football or futbal game if any?! 🙂
These Brown Sugar Buffalo Chicken Meatballs will become your most requested game day appetizer! They are easy, gluten free AND can be kept warm in your crock-pot for hours!
- 1 lb. Ground Chicken (or turkey)
- 1 Stick Finely Chopped Celery
- 1/4 Cup Grated Onion
- 1 Large Egg
- 1/2 Tsp. Salt
- 1/4 Tsp. Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Instant Tapioca (OR substitute 1/2 cup GF bread crumbs)
- 1/2 Cup Hot Sauce
- 1/3 Cup Brown Sugar
- 1 Stick Unsalted Butter (melted)
Option 1: Add all meatball ingredients in a bowl and mix until combined.
Option 2: If you don't feel like chopping the celery or grating the onion, add everything but the meat and tapioca to a food processor and pulse until pureed. Then add to meat and tapioca in large bowl to the puree and mix until combined.
Using a mini ice cream scoop for consistency, scoop meatballs onto large greased baking sheet and bake at 375 degrees F for 12-15 minutes on middle rack, (I do not turn them but you can halfway if you want more even browning.)
Meanwhile, add the melted butter, hot sauce and brown sugar to a large bowl or crock-pot if your serving in one.
When meatballs are done, toss them in the sauce while hot. (Sauce does not need to be hot, the meatballs themselves will warm it up)
Serve with blue cheese or ranch dressing on the side! Skewers are optional!
Make more sauce if you need! These babies should be drenched in it!
- Place skewers/toothpicks in a small shot glass and allow guests to grab them as they please!
- Keep in crock-pot and set on "warm" if you want to serve these all day.
- These freeze well so make ahead of time, allow to cool, and place in plastic bag or Tupperware until you need them! Then just warm up in a 350 F oven OR throw the cooked meatballs straight from the freezer in a crock-pot, add sauce and turn on "warm"!
I do not put the meatballs in the crock-pot raw to cook! Uncooked meatballs will stick to one another when they are stacked on top of each other! This is why I bake them FIRST then add them to the crock pot!