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Meatballs in Honey Buffalo Sauce

My family loves the sweet and spicy combination and declared this recipe an instant favorite just for that reason. The meatballs start sweet but finish with a little heat! —Anne Ormond, Dover, New Hampshire
  • Total Time
    Prep: 45 min. Cook: 2 hours
  • Makes
    about 2-1/2 dozen


  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 15 Ritz crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup 2% milk
  • 4 teaspoons brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground chipotle pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground veal
  • SAUCE:
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup Buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons orange marmalade
  • 2 tablespoons apricot spreadable fruit
  • 2 tablespoons reduced-sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • Hot cooked rice or pasta
  • Sliced celery, optional


  • Preheat oven to 400°. Combine first 10 ingredients. Add meat; mix lightly but thoroughly. Shape meat mixture into 1-1/2-in. balls; bake on a greased rack in a 15x10x1-in. baking pan lined with foil until lightly browned, 12-15 minutes. Meanwhile, in a small saucepan over medium heat, whisk together sauce ingredients until brown sugar is dissolved.
  • Transfer meatballs to a 3-qt. slow cooker; add sauce. Cook, covered, on low until meatballs are cooked through, about 2 hours. Serve with hot cooked rice or pasta and, if desired, sliced celery.
  • Freeze option: Freeze cooled meatballs and sauce in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Heat through in a covered saucepan, stirring gently; add water or broth if necessary. Serve as directed.
Nutrition Facts
3 meatballs with 2 tablespoons sauce: 258 calories, 10g fat (3g saturated fat), 81mg cholesterol, 459mg sodium, 30g carbohydrate (26g sugars, 0 fiber), 14g protein.

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  • MelindaH
    Jun 19, 2018

    So I doubled the recipe for a party and I feel like the meatballs came out really hard. I wanted them to be moist and juicy but to me they were tough and dry. Maybe this recipe tastes different if you don't double it but I was pretty disappointed. My husband said he loved it though but I kind of wish I just bought frozen meatballs and added the sauce and called it a day!

  • amsm
    Sep 12, 2017

    These had just the right amount of heat, just a hint which is the way I like them! The sauce is not overly sweet. I think it has a good balance of sweet, savory, and spicy flavors. I do think the meatball mixture was a little soft. I made these meatballs twice, and the second time I added more Ritz crackers to help them hold up better.

  • NanaNeicy
    Sep 9, 2017

    I took these meatballs to a family reunion, and they went quickly! I feel certain that the ONLY reason they were not completely gone is simply due to the sheer volume of food we had! They were easy to mix up, and smelled divine while cooking - we drove about an hour to the reunion, and the smells wafting from the crock pot in the trunk tantalized us all the way!Substitutions I made - ground turkey for the ground veal, because ground veal wasn't available at the Neighborhood Market. Cayenne pepper for the ground chipotle because I had it on hand. Notes: When I cooked the sauce down, it tasted very sweet at first. As it cooked, the heat became more present. Not too hot, and no complaints of too much heat from the crowd today. I doubled the recipe (probably another reason I brought some home) and they fit in my 6 quart slow cooker just fine. I cooked a pot of rice to go along with the meatballs - and baby girl took leftovers home :) Definitely a repeat on these meatballs!Thanks, Anne - from a fellow VFE!

  • Appy_Girl
    Sep 9, 2017

    A 5 star winner. I love how the buttery taste of the Ritz crackers come through. And another plus is that it can be adapted to please everybody's Taste buds. Hubby is the hot head so for my taste I omitted the Chipotile Pepper .And for his taste I left out the brown Sugar in the meat mixture and added a Mere Tablespoon to the sauce. I served it as an appetizer . Made up just 1/2 of the recipe and that yielded me about 22-24 small meatballs. Its one of my Newest favorite picks . Happy to do this review . Taste Of Home Volunteer Field Editor.

  • amehart
    Sep 5, 2017

    Made a big pot of these for our Labor Day get together and it was a hit! Zero leftover and so many requests for the recipe. Already have a request to bring to our next get together. Excellent and easy recipe - perfect combination!

  • ScottsGrace
    Aug 26, 2017

    I am so not a fan of buffalo sauce. The original chicken wings with buffalo hot sauce never touch my lips! I was skeptical when I tried these but there were enough sweet and savory other ingredients that mellowed the harshness of the buffalo sauce and brought the flavor of these meatballs back around to something I would definitely make again. I think the sauce would be great for dipping seasoned chicken wings! Might be the only way I put buffalo on my wings in the future! LOL

  • annrms
    Aug 26, 2017

    This is a delicious and easy to prepare recipe. The sauce coats each meatball with a glisteningly sweet & spicy (I used a bit more "hot") pop of flavor. I did not use the brown sugar in the sauce, but that didn't upset the sweet & spicy taste for us. Served it with scallion/hot sesame oil fried rice and stir-fried cabbage and onions. It's a keeper!

  • LPHJKitchen
    Aug 23, 2017

    LOVED this! I thought the combination might be strange but it was perfect! Hubby likes extra spice but I don't so we tweaked buffalo sauce amounts for the each of us. Will definitely be making again!

  • BilliePock
    Aug 20, 2017

    Oh this is so good!! I could not find ground veal in my small town so just used 3/4 pound beef and pork. The sweet and hot combo in the sauce was just us. I am planning to make this again. I think it will be great for a football party.