Sticky Thai Meatballs
Tender baked meatballs loaded with fresh, bold, Thai flavors, smothered in a sticky sweet/savory sauce that is truly finger-lickin good! Great over rice, in lettuce cups, or enjoyed with just a fork, they’re the perfect party appetizer!
Party food recipes like these bacon wrapped little smokies are great for game days, holidays, and pretty much any gathering. Party guests love finger foods and dips! We LOVE easy, family-favorite recipes like my Bacon Ranch Cheese Ball and this Everything Bagel Pigs in a Blanket. This is one of my Appetizer recipes you’ll definitely want in your collection!
THAI MEATBALLS RECIPE
Stuck in a food rut? I think we’ve all been there. Our families like a certain kind of food, so that’s what we make… and make… and make. But after a while, our tastebuds are screaming for something new; something exciting.
That’s where these amazing sticky Thai meatballs come in. They’re the perfect little bites of powerful flavors, from a cuisine you or your family may not be as familiar with.
Perfect for parties, these little meatballs are popable, and oh so delectable. Your guests will keep coming back for more and asking you for the recipe, I promise!
We love to have them as a main dish as well, served over some steamed rice, noodles, or in lettuce cups for a low-carb dinner.
Versatile and packed with flavor… can’t get much better than that!
HOW TO MAKE STICKY THAI MEATBALLS
- Prepare baking sheet and oven. Preheat to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Mix meatball ingredients. In a mixing bowl, mix beef, onion, garlic, ginger, curry paste, fish sauce, egg and seasonings.
- Scoop into balls. I like to use a cookie scoop to make sure my meatballs are approximately the same size (so they cook evenly), then oil my hands to roll them into tight balls. Add to baking sheet.
- Bake. Bake for 20 minutes.
- Make sauce. Whisk sauce ingredients together while meatballs are baking, and simmer until thickened and reduced by about half, 7 minutes.
- Brush meatballs. Brush sauce over meatballs, or use a spoon and drizzle it on.
- Bake again. Bake sauced meatballs another 5-7 minutes.
- Garnish and serve.
ADDITIONAL COOKING TIPS
Thai green curry paste traditionally includes fresh green chilies, shallots, lemongrass and Thai sweet basil. You can find it in the International Foods section of grocery stores.
Thai Kitchen brand is a popular and readily available brand here in the Midwestern US. If you’ve never used it; don’t be scared.
It has an amazing herby spice flavor that’s hard to describe, but it adds SO much flavor to these meatballs, as well as anything else you might want to use it for. It’s great in fried rice, soups, stir-frys, and more!
I highly recommend using parchment paper, or nonstick foil for this recipe. Since the meatballs are baked, then brushed with sauce and baked more, there’s a high chance of things sticking to the baking sheet. Make things A LOT easier on yourself with parchment paper. Trust me on this one, I may have learned this the hard way!
VARIATIONS OF THIS RECIPE
- PROTEIN – these meatballs can be made with pork, turkey or ground chicken. The flavors work interchangeably, and the baking time won’t change.
- CURRY PASTE – if you prefer red curry paste, feel free to swap that for the green in this recipe.
- MAKE IT A MEAL – while these meatballs make an amazing appetizer, we like to make a meal out of them! They’re fabulous over some white or jasmine rice, or my Thai Noodles! Or try my Thai Coconut Rice for a flavor explosion!
- GARNISHES – since we only like a little bit of spice, I kept the garnishes tame, only adding green onions and sesame seeds. Sliced or chopped Thai chiles are a fabulous addition, but they tend to be pretty hot, so use caution. Using the scoville scale for peppers’ heat, Thai chiles are about 15x hotter than a jalapeno.
- PAN-FRIED – if you prefer to cook your meatballs in a skillet instead of baking them, you absolutely can. Add a bit of vegetable oil to a skillet and heat over MED HIGH heat. Add meatballs and let them sear on all sides, then lower heat to LOW or MED LOW and let them cook, stirring occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.
MAKING THAI MEATBALLS AHEAD OF TIME
You can assemble these meatballs ahead of time, just make sure to keep them refrigerated in an airtight container.
I also like to make a double batch of meatballs and freeze half of them for another time. You can freeze these meatballs uncooked, or cooked.
When freezing meatballs, or anything small, I like to flash freeze them first. Line a baking sheet with wax paper and add the meatballs so they’re not touching. Freeze for about an hour, or until solid.
Then remove frozen meatballs and all them all to a freezer bag or other airtight container.
If freezing meatballs UNcooked, you can either thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and bake as directed, or bake from frozen, adding 7 minutes to the baking time.
Leftovers should be refrigerated in an airtight container and consumed within 4 days.
SPECIAL EQUIPMENT FOR THIS RECIPE
- Cookie Scoop – the easiest way to get meatballs that are uniform in size.
- Rimmed Baking Sheet – you can use any size baking sheet, but this jelly roll pan is really versatile and what I used here.
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Sticky Thai Meatballs
- 2 lbs. ground beef - I prefer to use 90/10
- 1/2 cup white onion - minced
- 2 - 3 cloves garlic - finely minced or grated
- 1 1/2 tsp fresh ginger - finely minced or grated
- 1 1/2 - 2 Tbsp green curry paste
- 1 Tbsp fish sauce
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 tsp kosher salt
- 1/4 tsp black pepper
- 1/4 cup water
- 1/4 cup beef broth - or use additional 1/4 cup water
- 1 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2 1/2 Tbsp soy sauce - low sodium is preferred
- 2 1/2 - 3 Tbsp sweet chili sauce
- 2 Tbsp honey
- 1 Tbsp rice vinegar
- 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
GARNISHES (all are optional)
- sliced green onion
- sesame seeds
- sliced or chopped Thai chiles - careful, these are HOT
MAKE THE MEATBALLS
- Preheat oven to 425°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- In a large bowl, mix together beef, diced onion, garlic, ginger, green curry paste, fish sauce, egg, salt and pepper.
- Use a small cookie scoop to make approximately 30 equally sized portions. Each one will be about one tablespoon. To make rolling easier, coat your hands with a bit of oil (or nonstick spray) and roll each portion into a tight ball then place them on your prepared baking sheet.
- Bake about 20 minutes.
MAKE THE SAUCE
- While the meatballs are baking, whisk together water, beef broth, and cornstarch in a small sauce pan. Heat over MED heat, then add soy sauce, honey, sweet chili sauce, rice vinegar. Simmer about 7 minutes until the sauce thickens and reduces by about half.
- After meatballs have baked for 20 minutes, remove from the oven and brush meatballs liberally with sauce.
- Return pan to the oven and bake another 5-7 minutes, until sauce is sticky and thick.
- Serve hot, with any desired garnishes, and drizzled with any extra sauce if desired.
- Garlic and ginger paste (from the refrigerated section of the produce department) may be substituted for fresh garlic and ginger.
- Calories listed are for 1 meatball.
Recipe adapted from old Taste of Home magazine