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Buffalo Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs are the perfect quick snack or appetizer that you can make ahead and freeze in large batches. Then when you need a quick party snack just place them in your air fryer and bake. Sauce them up mild, medium, or extra hot.

buffalo turkey meat balls with sauce, stacked on a plate

Air fryer meatballs are very vertical. Once you make the basic meatball recipe you can sauce them in a variety of ways after they are cooked. I give you the recipe for buffalo sauce but they would also be good with my Spicy Garlic Sauce or Spicy Coffee BBQ Sauce. . The possibilities are endless really so try your favorite sauce to season them.

Why this recipe works

  • They only take about 12 minutes in the air fryer
  • They are the perfect make-ahead party snack that you can freeze and then bake when needed.
  • If you like your buffalo sauce spicy or mild these meatballs will be great.
  • Ground turkey has less fat than traditional beef meatballs.
  • Using this basic recipe is a great meal prep idea for spaghetti and meatballs or a meatball sub sandwich for dinner.
  • As the meatballs cook in an air fryer the grease drips down off the meatball into the bottom of the basket.

🛒 Ingredient notes

buffalo turkey air fryer meatball ingredients on counter
  • ground turkey – be sure to purchase lean ground turkey that has a low-fat like 10% fat to 90% ground turkey
  • saltine crackers finely crumbled – you could also use Ritz crackers or dried panko crumbs.
  • green onion chopped, green and white part – I like using the whole green onion but just be sure and chop them very fine
  •  celery chopped very small because it would not be good to have big chunks of celery in your meatballs. You want flavor not texture.
  •  hot sauce – Be sure you do not use wing sauce, you want a more concentrated hot sauce

See the recipe card for a complete list and quantities.

How-To Video

Step-by-step instructions

  1. Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.

Place ground turkey in a large mixing bowl. Mix the meat together for about 30 seconds. Note* For best results start with chilled lean ground turkey.

Crumble the crackers in your hands adding them into the bowl of turkey ground meat. Mix them in for a few seconds.

A bowl with meat and crackers being stirred in and then another bowl with chopped onions and celery being stirred in

2. Next, add 1 egg. Mix for 30 seconds

Add your green onions, celery, garlic powder salt pepper. Mix until everything is well incorporated, about 30 seconds.

buffalo sauce in cup and cookie scoop with meat mixture

3. Stir in the hot sauce

4. Using a 1-inch cookie scoop pull out even size balls of the meat mixture. Roll them in your hands and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Continue until all the meat mixture is gone.

raw buffalo meatballs on a baking sheet

5. At this point, you can freeze the meatballs to bake in your air fryer later or bake them right away.

Baking meatballs in an air fryer

Place half of the meatballs in your air fryer basket. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn meatballs over and bake for another five minutes.

Using a digital meat thermometer check that they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees on the inside. If they are not 165 degrees yet return to the air fryer and bake two more minutes and check again. They should be golden brown. *Note cook time may vary.

When the meatballs are done place them into a large bowl and drizzle the buffalo sauce over them. Toss until coated well or stir with a large spoon until coated. Serve warm.


Sauce Instructions

  1. Place 2 tablespoons of real butter in a small mixing bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until butter is completely melted.
  2. Add the hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing and stir well. Set aside for when the meatballs are done.

Hint: To make your turkey meatballs an even size use a 1 inch cookie scoop to scoop out the meat mixture before rolling them into balls.

Tip

For mess-free clean-up on your hands use disposable surgical gloves. Give them a quick spritz of cooking spray on the outside so the meat mixture will not stick to them. When finished pull them off inside out and throw them in the trash.

🌶️ Variations

  • Once cooked you could toss these homemade meatballs in marinara sauce or other favorite pasta sauce and top with parmesan cheese. Then serve as an appetizer with a toothpick in it.
  • If you do not have crackers on hand you could use panko bread crumbs instead.
  • To make these buffalo meatballs even spicer add 1 – 2 teaspoons red pepper flakes when making the meat mixture. This is the perfect way to add heat without adding calories.
  • Instead of the buffalo sauce toss the cooked meatballs in BBQ sauce for a great party snack.
  • Mix one cup of grape jelly and one cup of ketchup in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir until combined then toss your cooked meatballs in the sauce.

How to freeze meatballs

This is an easy meatball recipe that can be frozen raw and then baked in your air fryer just before a big party or to make a quick dinner. Having snacks like these meatballs is a great idea during the busy holiday season.

  • Using a 1-inch cookie scooper, place a ball of meat mixture into your and roll into a ball. Place it on the parchment paper. When you have all the turkey balls rolled, place the cookie sheet into the freezer. Allow freezing for 24 hours.
  • Next, remove frozen turkey balls from the cookie sheet and place meatballs in a freezer bag. Be sure the bag is labeled and dated. They will remain fresh in your freezer for up to 6 months.

How to make tender meatballs

  • Be sure you do not overcook your meatballs. Cooking ground turkey too long makes it tough and dry. Juicy meatballs are much better,
  • It is also a good idea to start with chilled meat or frozen meatballs. This is a secret to keeping meatballs tender without adding calories.
  • Add your meatballs into a sauce right after cooking so they do not dry out.

How to keep meatballs warm for a party

  • Stovetop: keep them warm over very low heat for up to 1 hour
  • Crockpot: After you have cooked the meatballs in sauce, transfer to a crockpot and set the temperature to a warm setting. They will keep for several hours. It is good to stir every hour to keep the sauce from sticking to the slow cooker.
  • Chafing dish: An affordable option for large parties to keep food warm is a chafing dish. Another perk is they make clean up after the party a breeze.

24 Piece Party Serving Kit Includes Chafing Kits and Serving Utensils

How do you know when meatballs are done?

Using a quick digital meat thermometer, check that the center of the meatball reaches 165 degrees.

How many meatballs are in one pound of meat?

A pound of ground meat will make roughly 30 medium-size (1-inch) meatballs.

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buffalo turkey meat balls with sauce, stacked on a plate
5 from 1 rating

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes
Servings: 30 meatballs
Buffalo Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs are the perfect quick snack or appetizer that you can make ahead and freeze in large batches. Then when you need a quick party snack just place them in your air fryer and bake. Sauce them up mild, medium, or extra hot.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

hand showing you to tap on the ingredient to add to your walmart and target list.

Ingredients
 

Topping sauce

  • 1/3 cup hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons ranch dressing

Instructions
 

  • Preheat your air fryer to 400 degrees.
  • Place ground turkey in your kitchen aid bowl or a large mixing bowl if you would like to mix them by hand. Mix the meat together for about 30 seconds. Note* For best results start with chilled lean turkey.
  • Crumble the crackers in your hands adding them into the bowl of turkey ground meat. Mix them in for a few seconds.
  • Next, add 1 egg. Mix for 30 seconds
  • Add green onions, celery, garlic powder salt pepper, and hot sauce. Mix until everything is well incorporated, about 30 seconds.
  • Using a 1 inch cookie scoop pull out even size balls of the meat mixture. Roll them in your hands and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet in a single layer. Continue until all the meat mixture is gone.
  • At this point, you can freeze the meatballs to bake in your air fryer later or bake them right away.
  • Place half of the meatballs in your air fryer basket. Bake for 5 minutes and then turn meatballs over and bake for another five minutes. Check that they have reached an internal temperature of 165 degrees on the inside. If they are not 165 degrees return to the air fryer and bake two more minutes and check again. They should be golden brown. *Note cook time may vary with ovens.
  • When the meatballs are done place them into a large bowl and drizzle the buffalo sauce over them. Toss until coated well or stir with a large spoon until coated. Serve warm.

Buffalo sauce

  • Place 2 tablespoons of real butter in a small mixing bowl and microwave on high for 30 seconds or until butter is completely melted.
  • Add the hot sauce and 1 tablespoon of ranch dressing and stir well. Set aside for when the meatballs are done.

Equipment

Notes

Tip: For mess-free clean-up on your hands use disposable surgical gloves. Give them a quick spritz of cooking spray on the outside so the meat mixture will not stick to them. When finished pull them off inside out and throw them in the trash.
How to freeze meatballs
This is an easy meatball recipe that can be frozen raw and then baked in your air fryer just before a big party or to make a quick dinner. Having snacks like these meatballs is a great idea during the busy holiday season.
  • Using a 1-inch cookie scooper, place a ball of meat mixture into your and roll into a ball. Place it on the parchment paper. When you have all the turkey balls rolled, place the cookie sheet into the freezer. Allow freezing for 24 hours.
  • Next, remove frozen turkey balls from the cookie sheet and place meatballs in a freezer bag. Be sure the bag is labeled and dated. They will remain fresh in your freezer for up to 6 months.
 
Serving: 1meatball, Calories: 32kcal, Carbohydrates: 1g, Protein: 4g, Fat: 1g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 14mg, Sodium: 171mg, Potassium: 65mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 1g, Vitamin A: 38IU, Vitamin C: 3mg, Calcium: 5mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American
Course: Appitizer
Author: Gina Dickson

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For more great meatball recipes be sure and head over to my 60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes for a Party.

60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party with pictures of different recipes

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