Asian Meatballs

Asian Meatballs with soy, ginger, cilantro, and Sriracha are easy to make, full fo Asian flavor, and great for leftovers.

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These Asian Beef Meatballs are packed with flavor and work for so many different dinners. Serve them with fried rice, Asian Noodle Salad, or Healthy Chow Mein.

Ever have one of those days where it just feels like everything is going wrong? You know those days when your hair just won't work out right, you spill coffee all over yourself, your phone dies in the middle of the afternoon with no charger in site, and on and on? Well, I had one of those days recently. I won’t bore you with all the details, except, okay just one more; it’s part of the story, I promise.

After all of these things happened right in a row, I tried to find a way to relax and de-stress. So, I decided to walk to the grocery store about a mile from my apartment to buy chipotles to make these Chipotle Meatballs, one of my favorite meals. (Yes, food definitely always cheers me up.) Except — get this — they were out of chipotles. Ugh! Usually, I feel like no one buys them but me! The cans are typically dusty, and there will always be a few left on the shelf, seemingly just for me.

But today of all days, they were sold out. Just my luck, right? But as it turns out, it actually was lucky because it forced me to create a new recipe with the ingredients that I did have. A recipe, I might add, that just so happened to turned out to be quite delicious.

These simple Asian meatballs (inspired by a Cooking Light article) are a great, simple weeknight meal. We both ate a generous helping of meatballs served over teriyaki veggies and some cauliflower rice. I also think these would be simply grand if made with ground pork, chicken, or turkey as well.

Next time I make these, I would love to add a dipping sauce? If you have any ideas, add them to the comments! Thanks!

Asian meatballs with soy sauce, cucumbers, carrots, Daikon, and sesame seeds on lettuce wraps.

Ways to Serve Asian Meatballs

Here's where I challenge you to think about meatballs in a different way. They are not just for topping on pasta. These delicious balls of meat are also great on:

  • Adding to a tortilla, taco-style. (You knew I was going to go there though right?) Make an Asian-inspired taco by adding two or three meatballs (depending on how big they are) to a soft corn or flour tortilla. Top with some shredded cabbage, and sesame seeds for some crunch and then add some Sriracha for a little extra kick.
  • Make an Asian Meatball sub. Layer the meatballs on one side of a sub bun, then top with your favorite toppings. Anything goes here — kimchi, cabbage, pickled vegetables, bok choy — raid your fridge and see what you can come up with. I would eat this cold or warm.
  • Stir fry up some veggies and top with meatballs. It can be that easy!
  • Make up a big batch of this Asian Peanut Slaw and toss in a few meatballs for a delicious, low-calorie dinner. Slaw is just a fancy word for "salad" — it's okay to eat it in bigger portions.
  • Don't make meatballs with this mixture but instead make burgers! You've already got the meat combined, just patty it up a little bigger and grill. Top with anything mentioned above and you've got yourself an amazing Asian burger.
  • Make Asian lettuce wraps with big pieces of romaine. Top with meatballs and your favorite condiments for a low-carb dish.
  • Swap the chicken in this Asian Noodle Salad dish for meatballs.
  • Zoodles! Add meatballs to a big batch of warm Asian Zucchini Noodles. Regret nothing.

Side Dishes to Serve with Asian Meatballs

While you could make a whole meal out of sides (which I do quite often), it's good to include some protein in there to keep you full. If you're already making these meatballs, why not add one of the following side dishes to round out your meal?

  • The Asian Peanut Slaw (linked above) is a great side dish to add to these meatballs.
  • Cauliflower Rice is easy to make, low-carb, nutrient-dense and so easy!
  • I love fried rice, but I love it more when it's good for you, like this Healthy Fried Rice recipe that would go great with meatballs.
  • Grill up a side of vegetables with an Asian-inspired marinade.
  • Have some leftover Asian Meatballs? Add them to this an Asian inspired pasta salad and pack it all up for a healthy work lunch.
  • Love a little crunch with your protein? Try making these Baked Potato Chips for a healthier version of the typically fried potatoes.

Asian beef meatballs on lettuce leaves with chopsticks and a white napkin.

Why Do My Meatballs Fall Apart When Cooking?

Has this ever happened to you? You make the meatballs according to directions, only to have it completely fall apart when you're cooking them? If not, congrats! It's happened to me a lot. So much so that I felt the need to address it here. Usually, they fall apart because they are too dry and not bound together enough or mixed thoroughly. Or they could be too big. The smaller the meatball, the more likely it is to stay together.

If your recipe calls for a "binder" (like an egg) be sure to use it. I didn't feel the need to add one to this recipe because these have enough wet ingredients to hold together quite nicely without the egg. But feel free to add one if you are encountering difficulties.

However, it's important that you follow the directions, mixing up the ingredients before adding the meat. This will ensure your ingredients are thoroughly incorporated into the meat equally. Otherwise, you could end up with a big chunk of ginger here, too much soy there...or even, a messy meatball that falls right apart.

The Recipe
Asian meatballs with cucumbers, pickled carrots, and lettuce wraps.

Asian Meatballs

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  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 3 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp cilantro, minced
  • 1/2 tbsp fresh ginger, minced
  • 1/4 cup green onions, minced
  • 2 tbsp brown sugar (or Stevia, honey, coconut sugar)
  • 3 tbsp low sodium soy sauce (GF if needed)
  • 1 tbsp Sriracha (or other Asian hot sauce)
  • 1 tbsp sesame oil

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Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.


In a large mixing bowl, mixed together all of the ingredients except the ground beef.


Add the ground beef and mix together with your hands until just combined. Then roll out 20 meatballs. They will be about 1-1.5 inches in diameter.


Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Spray with a touch of cooking spray. Add the meatballs and cook for 4 minutes until browned on all sides.


Finish cooking the meatballs in the oven for an additional 7-8 minutes or until cooked through. You can do this by placing your skillet in the oven if it is oven safe. If not, just pour the meatballs into a glass pan that has been sprayed with cooking spray and finish in the oven.

Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 5 meatballs (152g)
Amount Per Serving
Calories 224
Calories from Fat 31
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 9g
Saturated Fat 3g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 70mg
Sodium 537mg
Total Carbohydrate 11g
Dietary Fiber 0g
Sugars 8g
Protein 25g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.

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About the authorMeet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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