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Firecracker Meatballs Recipe | The Recipe Critic

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Get ready to spice up your dinner with these firecracker meatballs! Juicy beef meatballs are baked to perfection and then tossed in a sweet and spicy buffalo-based sauce, creating a delicious meal that’s perfect for any night of the week.

If you’re looking for ways to add a little more spice to your meals, try this firecracker salmon or this firecracker chicken. Then make this easy fried rice as a side; it will be a crowd-pleaser for sure!

overhead shot of firecracker meatballs doused in sauce in a skillet with wooden spoon. overhead shot of firecracker meatballs doused in sauce in a skillet with wooden spoon.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Quick and Easy Dinner: You can prep these ahead of time, and then once you are ready to bake, dinner will be ready in 20 minutes!
  • Packed with flavor: These firecracker meatballs are like a festive firecracker of flavor in your mouth. I love all of the seasonings in them, and don’t even get me started on the sauce! Yum!

Firecracker Meatballs Recipe

Firecracker meatballs are a delightful way to add spice and variety to your weekly meal planning. Not only that, you can totally change out the protein to match your preferences or what you have available. They come together quickly and easily, making them perfect as a side dish, main course, or even an appetizer for gatherings.

To make it a complete meal, use this fool-proof instant pot rice recipe. Get your vegetables in with this delicious green beans recipe and don’t forget dessert; you have to try my all-time favorite, mango sticky rice recipe!

What is in Firecracker Meatballs?

We all know “firecracker” means spiciness, but what exactly gives these meatballs their kick? I’ll give you a hint… it’s all about the red pepper flakes! Check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post for all of the exact measurements.

  • Ground beef: This is the star of the show and provides texture and flavor.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: The breadcrumbs help hold the meatballs together and provide a light texture to prevent them from becoming too dense.
  • Egg: The eggs bind the meatballs together.
  • Green onion: Provides a mild fresh flavor and a slight crunch.
  • Toasted sesame seeds: Add a nutty-rich flavor.
  • Garlic: Who doesn’t love a bit of garlic in their meatballs? Don’t knock it til you try it!
  • Ginger: Adds a warm, sweet flavor with a hint of spice that also adds depth to the meatball flavor profile.
  • Red pepper flakes: This is what cranks up that heat and is where the term “firecracker” comes from.
  • Soy Sauce: Gives the meatballs a savory, umami saltiness.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of all the other ingredients.
  • Pepper: Adds a touch of heat and compliments the other spices.
overhead shot of labeled meatball ingredients. overhead shot of labeled meatball ingredients.

What is Firecracker Sauce Made of?

Spicy firecracker sauce is all about heat, tanginess, and a touch of sweetness. It’s perfect for adding a lively kick to your favorite meals!

  • Buffalo sauce: This hot sauce acts as the base of the firecracker sauce and adds a tangy, spicy, slightly buttery flavor.
  • Brown sugar: Adds sweetness to balance out the heat.
  • Apple cider vinegar: Helps balance the sweetness of the brown sugar as well as the richness of the buffalo sauce.
  • Red pepper flakes: Gives the sauce an extra kick of heat.
  • Toasted sesame seeds: Add a nutty flavor and texture.
  • Salt: Enhances the flavors of all the ingredients in the sauce, ensuring each component reaches its full potential in taste.
Overhead shot of labeled ingredients for sauce. Overhead shot of labeled ingredients for sauce.

How to Make Firecracker Meatballs

  1. Preheat: Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. Combine: In a large bowl, add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, green onions, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix everything until well combined.
  3. Shape into balls: Shape the mixture into about 1-inch balls and place the formed meatballs in an even layer on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake meatballs: Bake the meatballs for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until the meatballs are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.
  5. Make the sauce: While the meatballs are cooking, whisk together the buffalo sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt in a medium bowl until smooth.
  6. Heat sauce with meatballs: Once the meatballs have finished cooking, add them and the sauce to a skillet over medium heat. Toss to coat, and let simmer.
  7. Serve: Enjoy the firecracker meatballs warm over your choice of rice—whether it’s white, brown, or even cauliflower rice. For added flair, sprinkle with green onions, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes to taste.

Tips for Tender, Perfect Meatballs

  • Don’t overcook! Make sure to keep an eye on the meatballs and take them out just after they are no longer pink. Then they will be juicy and fall apart in your mouth!
  • Mix when cold: When you mix everything together, you want to mix it as cold ingredients. So make sure to take everything out of the fridge just before you start cooking. This helps prevent the fat from melting before you cook the meatballs!
  • Protein variations: If ground beef isn’t your preference, ground chicken, ground turkey, or ground pork are excellent alternatives. Just be attentive while cooking to prevent overcooking.
  • Spice or no spice? These firecracker meatballs are meant to be spicy, but if you aren’t a fan of spice, you can reduce the heat by reducing the amount of red pepper flakes. 

Close up shot of large wooden spoon scooping meatballs out of a  skillet. Close up shot of large wooden spoon scooping meatballs out of a  skillet.

How to Store Leftover Meatballs

These firecracker meatballs are best served fresh out of the skillet and piping hot! But you can keep leftovers in the fridge and reheat them later!

  • In the Refrigerator: Once the meatballs have cooled, then, place them in an airtight container. Put it in your fridge for 3-4 days.
  • To Reheat: You can reheat them in the microwave, but I prefer crisping them up in the air fryer. Place the meatballs in a single layer in your air fryer, then heat for 3-4 minutes at 370 degrees Fahrenheit.

Close up shot of plated rice and a fork skewering a meatball. Close up shot of plated rice and a fork skewering a meatball.

More Meatball Recipes to Try

Meatballs are a delicious and budget-friendly way to feed your family and add some excitement to your weekly dinners. Looking for more inspiration? Check out these fantastic meatball recipes that will make your weeknight meals even more enjoyable!

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  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.

  • In a large bowl add the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, green onions, sesame seeds, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, soy sauce, salt, and pepper. Mix everything until well combined.

  • Shape the mixture into about 1-inch balls and place the formed meatballs in an even layer on the baking sheet.

  • Bake the meatballs for 12-15 minutes, flipping halfway through. Cook until the meatballs are golden on the outside and no longer pink on the inside.

  • While the meatballs are cooking, in a medium bowl whisk together the buffalo sauce, brown sugar, apple cider vinegar, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and salt until the sauce is smooth.

  • Once meatballs have finished cooking, add the meatballs and sauce to a skillet over medium heat and toss to coat and heat the sauce.

  • Serve the meatballs warm over rice. Garnish with green onions, sesame seeds, and red pepper flakes, if desired.

Calories: 114kcalCarbohydrates: 13gProtein: 5gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.2gMonounsaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0.3gCholesterol: 24mgSodium: 435mgPotassium: 96mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 11gVitamin A: 107IUVitamin C: 0.2mgCalcium: 21mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.





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