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NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN MEATBALLS {Spicy Cocktail Meatballs}

Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs being the heat to your next party! These HOT & SPICY chicken meatballs are TENDER, delicious, and easy to make in the crockpot!

overhead picture of chicken meatballs

If you’d rather skip my essential cooking tips and tricks and get straight to this delicious recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.

Nashville hot chicken meatballs puts the fire on a chicken meatball instead of a fried chicken sandwich.

Just because you put the hot oil on a meatball instead of a wing or thigh doesn’t make it any less hot! Consider yourself warned!

WHAT IS NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN?

Nashville Hot Chicken is a slightly spicy piece of fried chicken that is basted or heavily drizzled with a cayenne pepper sauce that burns like molten lava.

Typically served over a slice of white bread, pickles, and slaw, it is not for the faint of heart.

You need to love the pain. Seriously, it is hot!

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spicy chicken meatballs on a piece of white parchment

WHAT MAKES NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN HOT?

Some recipes add a little cayenne to the dredge before frying but the real heat comes from the hot oil with cayenne pepper that gets slathered on the chicken after it’s been fried.

Here’s the thing about coating something in oil… IT WILL COAT YOUR MOUTH TOO!

When you take a bite of Nashville hot chicken, you experience a brief moment of warmth.

You think to yourself, no problem. This isn’t that hot. WRONG!

So be warned. This recipe doesn’t shy away from the five alarm fire intensity.

If you can’t stand the heat, then eat another kind of meatball. I have plenty to choose from.

overhead picture of spice rub for chicken meatballs

WHAT FLAVOR IS NASHVILLE HOT?

The flavor of the sauce is spicy. A little bit of sweetness from the small amount of brown sugar but it is mostly spicy.

Think firecracker chicken sauce but less tangy and definitely not as sweet.

I’m a huge fan of firecracker chicken so I knew I would love this hot chicken sauce on meatballs.

The first time made this recipe by slow cooking the meatballs in the hot pepper sauce in a crock pot, I started with double the cayenne. Forgetting that the longer you cook spices, the hotter they get.

The large amount of cayenne with the increased cooking time turned up the temperature. I am pretty sure it was literally off the Kelvin scale.

Lesson learned. Start small!

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HOW TO MAKE NASHVILLE HOT CHICKEN MEATBALLS

STEP ONE: My recipe starts with precooked chicken meatballs. Feel free to make yours homemade and cook them your favorite way before adding to the crockpot.

I make homemade meatballs all the time and love them! Less additives and preservatives.

STEP TWO: Make the spicy Nashville hot sauce. Mix the spices, add some melted butter and chicken stock to it, and then pour over the cooked meatballs in the slow cooker.

The original recipe calls for adding the spices to a little of the hot oil that the chicken was fried in. This isn’t necessary because the meatballs will be simmering in the sauce.

STEP THREE: Stir to coat, turn on low, and simmer for 2 hours. Less if you start to get scared!

This is one of the spicy hottest meals I have ever eaten. It helps to have a few emergency action plans in place when the burn starts to make you squeal like a baby that just figured out what the stove does.

close up of hot chicken meatballs and pickles on toothpicks

HOW TO HANDLE THE HEAT

  • Drink milk. Milk fats help break down the chili oil and will also help coat the mouth with a layer of protection. 
  • Water doesn’t necessarily help. First, water and oil don’t mix. Oil repels water. Second, adding water makes smaller globules of oil that disperse and this just makes matters worse.
  • A few bites of plain white bread helps calm the tongue down a bit.
  • A tasty and chilled adult beverage can help. Alcohol helps clean the hot oil from the tongue. It also helps you feel better about choosing to eat something so hot.
  • If you just don’t want them that hot, then of course you can use less cayenne. Start small, like a teaspoon or two instead of the full 3 tablespoons. You aren’t a wimp. You are just sane.
  • Be sure to have plenty of cold pickles on hand to eat with the meatballs. They definitely help!
picture of hot chicken meatballs and pickles on toothpicks

If you love this Spicy Chicken Meatballs Recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!

Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs Collage

If you like super spicy foods, add more cayenne and you have an opportunity to touch the sun with your tongue. If you are really insane, save sauce from the meatballs and add it to other items like chicken wings or drizzle on your burger!

OTHER MEATBALL APPETIZERS TO TRY!

Crock Pot Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs

Crock Pot Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs

Yield: 15 servings
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 5 minutes

Can't handle the heat of a full Nashville Hot Chicken Sandwich? These hot chicken slow cooker meatballs are tender, delicious, and the perfect dose of heat!

Ingredients

Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs

Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce

  • 1 stick melted butter
  • 1 cup chicken stock
  • 2 tablespoons white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons cayenne pepper
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika

Instructions

  1. Prepare the Nashville Hot Chicken Sauce
  2. Combine all the sauce ingredients and set aside.
  3. Add all the meatballs to your crock pot or slow cooker.
  4. Pour the hot chicken sauce over the meatballs.
  5. Stir to coat the meatballs.
  6. Cook on low for 2 hours or on high for 1 hour.
  7. Serve with pickle slices.
  8. Enjoy with a cold beverage to temper the heat!

Notes

*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 15 Serving Size: 3 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 8gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 49mgSodium: 490mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 8g

This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.

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Beer Cheese Dip | Lemon Blossoms

Tuesday 15th of September 2020

[…] Spicy Chicken Meatballs […]

Jennifer

Tuesday 14th of January 2020

Can these be done with homemade meatballs?

Jennifer

Tuesday 14th of January 2020

Yes they can! Use your favorite recipe just be sure to pack the meatballs a little tighter than normal so they have less chance of falling apart in the crockpot during the long cooking time.

Angela

Tuesday 24th of September 2019

WOW!!! I really cannot wait to make these meatballs! I love chicken with a kick of spice!

Julie Menghini

Monday 23rd of September 2019

I had a pitcher of beer on the table when I made these for our football party and it was gone in about 5 seconds. These babies are intense but very flavorful!

michele

Sunday 22nd of September 2019

I think my favorite part of this recipe is the ice cold pickle slice on the toothpick you had me use when picking it up! Damn... these were fan flipping tastic! Im making these every tailgate I have this fall!

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