Paleo Buffalo Chicken Meatballs

This dish was inspired by a Rachel Ray recipe that I found a few years ago in an US Weekly magazine.  Not your typical place to find recipes, right?!  She created meatballs made of ground chicken in a sauce of butter and Frank’s Red Hot to mimic the flavors of buffalo chicken wings.  They are meant to be a healthier alternative, although she still suggests serving them with blue cheese dressing to go with the meatballs, celery, and carrot sticks.  Taylor has never been a fan of blue cheese, so we would normally substitute it with ranch.  I will work on creating a Paleo ranch dressing someday soon, but in the meantime, I wanted to create a way to infuse a ranch flavor directly into the meatballs themselves.

I looked up a ranch seasoning recipe online, and found a version on that I varied and added to the meat mixture.  It kicked up the flavor and complexity of the meatball and greatly enhanced the idea of chicken wings.  I also added celery to the diced onion of the original recipe.  I got that idea from watching Rachel’s 30 Minute Meals show on Food Network.  She was making a buffalo sloppy joe with carrots and celery in the meat mixture, so I wanted to play off of that concept.  I finely diced the celery and onions and sauteed them in a little coconut oil to soften them up while still giving added texture and moisture to the meatballs.  It worked beautifully!  I decided not to use carrots because that would have added a much longer time to the cooking process in order to get them soft enough to put in a meatball.  I’ll stick to serving those on the side.

It was not difficult to make this recipe Paleo.  I simply exchanged the two tablespoons of butter in the sauce for clarified organic salted butter (ghee).  If you do not have organic butter in your kitchen, 1-2 tbs of coconut oil would work just as well!

I hope this recipe makes it into your regular cooking cycle!  I promise that it is super easy and flavorful!  If any of your family and friends enjoy chicken and buffalo sauce, they will love the flavor memory that is evoked in this dish!


I made these for a Super Bowl party, and they were a hit!  I doubled the recipe, and they came out just as delicious.  


  • 1 lb ground chicken
  • 1/2 yellow onion, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 2 small stalks of celery, finely diced (about 1/2 cup)
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1-2 tbs coconut oil
  • 1/2 tsp dried parsley
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/8 tsp onion powder
  • 1/8 tsp dried thyme leaves
  • 2 tbs clarified butter (milk solids removed)
  • 1/2 cup Frank’s Red Hot sauce


  • 1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees
  • 2. Line a baking pan with aluminum foil or parchment paper
  • 3. Heat coconut oil in a large nonstick pan on medium/med-high heat
  • 4. Sautee celery and onion until onion is translucent and celery has softened, 5-10 minutes (capping the pan will help steam the veggies)
  • 5. Turn off heat and stir in minced garlic, set aside to cool a bit
  • 6. In a large bowl, mix ground chicken, parsley, black pepper, salt, garlic powder, onion powder, and thyme with your hands until seasonings are evenly distributed
  • 7. From the skillet, add onion, celery, and garlic mixture, and mix thoroughly with hands
  • 8. Let meat rest for a few minutes, then form into 14-16 meatballs, placing them on the lined baking pan
  • 9. Cook meatballs for 10-12 minutes until cooked through and slightly browned
  • 10. Meanwhile, heat skillet again on low/med-low heat and add clarified butter and Frank’s Red Hot
  • 11. Mix butter and hot sauce and let flavors incorporate while meatballs cook
  • 12. When meatballs have finished cooking, with tongs, add them to Red Hot mixture in pan and toss until coated
  • 13. Enjoy!