Banh Mi Meatballs

As an Amazon Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. Read the full disclosure here.

Looking for a twist on the classic Banh Mi?   I have a twist that is going to knock your socks off!  Banh Mi Meatballs served over top of rice is currently my new favorite Asian dish.

Bahn Mi Meatballs with pickled onions

Don’t know what Banh Mi is?  I didn’t either until about 5 years ago when we were out in Portland visiting some friends.  They told us to go to this little Asian market and to make sure we got the Banh Mi sandwiches.   My husband and I agreed and man am I glad we did!  

Translated literally, Banh Mi means bread in Vietnamese.  Typically Banh Mi is served on a baguette sliced lengthwise filled with some type of meat and vegetables.  The vegetables are traditionally cucumber slices, cilantro, pickled carrots and radish, then some type of spicy chilies on top.  

Everything you need to make Bahn Mi meatballs

I’ve never actually made Banh Mi myself because I just didn’t think I could do it justice.  The few times I’ve had it I’ve found it to have so many different flavors that blend together into the perfect sandwich.  So when I saw a recipe for Banh Mi Meatballs I figured I could have all of those flavors in a unique recipe that would be so different from the sandwich version it wouldn’t matter if it didn’t taste exactly the same.

I’m so glad I made these meatballs.   The recipe I found used store bought meatballs but I made mine from scratch and used the carrots, cilantro, and soy sauce found in the Banh Mi sauce which really brought the whole dish together.  Do yourself a favor and make the pickled onions because it only takes a few minutes but it takes this dish to a whole other level. 

Pickled Onions

I made the pickled onions as the meatballs cooked.  They are easy to make and you can leave them in the refrigerator for a week or two to use on other things such as salads and sandwiches.  It’s just red onion, vinegar, sugar, garlic, and salt. 

The sauce is so simple to make.   It’s just sweet chili sauce, soy sauce, teriyaki sauce, and fish sauce.  That’s it but it makes a sticky and delicious sauce that is awesome over top of homemade meatballs.

Bahn Mi Meatballs

Finally you top the meatballs with the sticky sauce, shredded carrots, pickled jalapenos, pickled red onions, and fresh cilantro.  Place everything over top of rice and you are finished!

My husband and I gobbled these up!  The flavors were amazing.   When I make these again I’m making a double batch so we can have plenty leftover for the next day.

Homemade Banh Mi Meatballs

Pro Tips & Substitutions:

  • You can add shredded carrots and radishes to the vinegar mixture with the onions to make them pickled as well.
  • You can use store bought meatballs if you are in a pinch but it will affect the flavor.
  • Want to turn this into a sandwich?   Put the meatballs, pickled onions, carrots, and cilantro on a baguette.
Bahn Mi Meatballs with pickled onions

Banh Mi Meatballs

Yield: Serves 4

Homemade meatballs served with a slighty sweet, tangy, sticky sauce then topped off with carrots, cilantro, jalapenos, and homemade pickled red onions for a flavorful dinner.


For the Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. lean ground beef
  • 2 T. sweet chili sauce
  • 1 T. soy sauce
  • 3 T. breadcrumbs
  • 1 T. cilantro, chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced

For the pickled onions:

  • 1 large red onion, thinly sliced
  • 1 c. vinegar (I used red wine vinegar)
  • 2 T. sugar
  • 1 t. salt
  • 1 t. black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced

For the sauce:

  • 1/2 c. sweet chili sauce
  • 1/3 c. teriyaki sauce
  • 1 T. fish sauce
  • 2 T. soy sauce

For serving:

  • 1 c. shredded carrots
  • 1/4 c. cilantro, chopped
  • 2 T. pickled jalapenos
  • 4 c. cooked jasmine rice


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl combine all of the ingredients for the meatballs and mix until just combined.
  3. Roll the meatballs into 1 1/2 inch balls and place on 2 baking sheets sprayed with cooking spray.
  4. Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, flipping them over after 10 minutes. Remove from oven.
  5. Meanwhile, make the pickled onions by placing all ingredients for the onions in a small saucepan.
  6. Bring the mixture to a boil and then simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature.
  7. Combine all sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes.
  8. Add the meatballs to the saucepan with the sauce and toss to coat.
  9. To serve divide the rice between 4 dishes. Divide the meatballs between the 4 plates and place on top of the rice.
  10. Sprinkle the meatballs with the carrots, jalapenos, cilantro, and pickled onions.
  11. Enjoy!


Recipe adapted from A Farmgirl's Dabbles

Remaining pickled onions can be put in a jar and stored in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.

Bahn Mi Meatballs over rice


Meatball Madness

We share Recipes From Our Dinner Table! Join our group and share your recipes, too! While you’re at it, join our Pinterest board, too!


  1. I have never had a proper bahn mi sandwich ever. But I love all the flavors in them and these meatballs hit all of them! And I bet they’ll be a hit here, too!

  2. I have actually made banh mi sandwiches and have the ingredient collection to prove it, ha ha! These meatballs sound amazing.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *