These delicious Thai Curry Chicken Meatballs are cooked right in a delicious coconut curry broth seasoned with fresh herbs ginger, and garlic. Perfectly tender, great for meal prep, and freezer friendly.
I firmly believe that meatballs aren't just made for spaghetti and tomato sauce. They have so much versatility and are a perfect vehicle for all kinds of flavors, especially the Asian flavors of curry, ginger, garlic, and coconut milk. Seriously - these spicy Slow Cooker Thai Green Curry Meatballs are so good.
Like many things, this recipe happened by accident. Dinner time rolled around and we were planning on a traditional spaghetti and meatballs made with ground chicken. Shockingly, he came into the kitchen and asked if I wanted to get Thai take-out instead. Since I was already planning on cooking, I quickly grabbed some curry paste and coconut milk and made some quick meatballs in a coconut curry sauce. They were good, but needed something more. More spice, more ginger, more garlic, and more time for the flavors to come together.
Inspired by this meal, I got to work on another version adding everything my quick creation lacked the first time. I added ginger, green onions, garlic, and curry paste to the chicken and the curry sauce. Then to make sure everything had enough time to meld, I cooked the meatballs in the slow cooker. Plenty of time for flavor development. The results were delicious. Tender, juicy meatballs packed with the flavors of our favorite Thai green curry. Serve it with brown rice, quinoa, soba noodles, or spaghetti squash and your favorite Asian-inspired veggies.
Ingredients and Easy Pantry Swaps
Here are the key things you need to make these tasty curried meatballs.
- Lean ground chicken: Ground chicken really soaks up the flavor of the green curry, but you could also use ground turkey or ground pork. Ground beef would work as well but since the flavor of the beef is much stronger, the curry flavor won't be as pronounced.
- Almond meal (or breadcrumbs): To keep this paleo and Whole30 friendly, I used almond meal instead of traditional breadcrumbs. Either will work. You can also add one whisked egg if you prefer using an egg to bind your meatballs.
- Fresh herbs: Don't skip the fresh herbs, they add so much flavor to this dish. The combination of cilantro, basil, green onions, garlic, and ginger is classic in Thai cooking. You could swap in parsley for the cilantro if cilantro isn't your favorite. You could also swap in garlic paste and ginger paste (the kind that comes in the refrigerated tubes) to save time, but I wouldn't use powdered spices.
- Thai green curry paste: The flavor in this dish comes from the curry paste so make sure to choose a high-quality option. Please note that curry paste varies a ton in flavor, so you may need to adjust the amount to get the right flavor. Red or yellow curry paste also works but the flavor will be slightly different.
- Coconut milk: This clams down the intense flavors of the curry and is a crucial ingredient in any curry. For a thicker curry, swap in full-fat coconut milk instead of the light version.
What is Green Thai Curry?
There are so many different types of curry made in Thailand, although the three most popular are green, red, and yellow. Green curry is usually considered the most popular of all the curries and it gets its green color from cilantro, basil, kaffir lime leaf, and green chili peppers. It also normally contains lemongrass, garlic, ginger, shallots, and fish sauce or soy sauce. This Slow Cooker Chicken recipe also uses Thai green curry paste.
Red curry usually contains red chili peppers and chili powder, which gives it a red color. It is used in dishes like this Thai Red Coconut Curry with Chicken. Yellow curry contains turmeric, which gives it the classic deep yellow color.
How to Serve Thai Curry Meatballs?
It's no surprise that these curried meatballs taste delicious over a bed of steamed rice or cauliflower rice to soak up all the delicious curry sauce. It's also delicious with some stir-fried vegetables like this bok choy, Chinese broccoli, or mixed vegetables.
If you want something more creative, these taste delicious wrapped up in lettuce wraps with some chopped cashews or crispy rice noodles. They also pair well with spaghetti squash and zucchini noodles.
Frequently Asked Questions
Here are the answers to the most common questions about making these slow cooker meatballs.
Absolutely! These meatballs come out great with any type of Thai curry paste. Just adjust the amount of curry paste used if the flavor is particularly spicy or pungent.
Depending on the type of ground chicken you buy, it might release too much liquid into the sauce. If this happens, reduce the sauce in the slow cooker for 15-20 minutes until it thickens. If it is still too thin, you can use a cornstarch slurry to thicken the curry sauce.
This recipe freezes well and can be kept frozen for about 3 months. Make sure to store it in an airtight container and for best results let it defrost overnight in the fridge. Gently warm up in a small pot or in the microwave.
Slow Cooker Thai Curry Chicken Meatballs
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- 2 lbs 99% lean ground chicken
- 1/4 cup almond meal (or breadcrumbs)
- 2 tbsp. cilantro, chopped
- 2 tbsp. basil, chopped
- 4 green onions, diced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced (divided)
- 2 tbsp ginger, minced (divided)
- 4 tbsp Thai green curry paste (divided, more to taste)
- Salt and pepper
- 14 oz. lite canned coconut milk
- 1 cup low sodium chicken broth
- 1 jalapeno (optional)
Slowly add the coconut milk to the slow cooker. Taste the sauce and meatballs and adjust as needed. You can add more curry paste to the sauce if you need more heat/flavor since curry pastes vary greatly in flavor. If needed, remove the meatballs and reduce the sauce for 15-20 minutes on high in the slow cooker.
* 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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