Spicy Thai Meatballs

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Tasty Thai Meatballs are tossed in a sweet, spicy, and sticky sauce for a delicious appetizer that’s great for parties or game day.

A plate of sweet and spicy Thai meatballs.

Last week I was looking for a few appetizer recipes.  I realized that I don’t have a whole lot of appetizers on my blog even though I will often make appetizers and small bites for dinner.

I had bought extra ground beef and thought that some homemade meatballs would be a great appetizer.   I didn’t want to make the traditional grape jelly and chile sauce mixture that I know I’ll be eating at a lot of holiday parties.  I wanted something with a little heat.

I do make a lot of meatballs.  Two of my favorites are my Banh Mi Meatballs or Firecracker Meatballs served over top of rice for a spicy meal. For a game day favorite Easy Pull Apart Meatball Sliders can’t be beat.

This time I decided that a Thai sauce would be really good with meatballs.  Thai cooking has so many different flavors and we love it in my house.

A cutting board with all the ingredients for Thai Meatballs.

What flavors are used in Thai Cooking?

Thai cuisine is known for its vibrant and complex flavors, which balance the taste elements of sweet, sour, salty, bitter, and spicy.  All five flavors are often combined into one dish.

Since I do a lot of Asian cooking I had everything I needed in the house to make the sauce.  I used honey for sweetness, rice vinegar for the sour, soy sauce for the saltiness, and Thai sweet chile sauce for the spicy flavor.


  • ground beef (I prefer 85/15 but 80/20 would be good a well)
  • egg (this binds the meatballs together)
  • breadcrumbs (don’t use panko as it is too thick for the meatballs)
  • garlic cloves (this adds flavor to the meatballs but you don’t have to use it)
  • salt and black pepper
  • Worcestershire sauce (this is always good to add to beef)
  • soy sauce (this is the base of the Thai sauce)
  • Thai sweet chile sauce (we use this on our egg rolls and always have it on hand)
  • rice vinegar (you can also substitute white vinegar)
  • honey
  • cornstarch

To make the meatballs place the egg in a large bowl and beat it.   Add in the ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.   Mix with your hands until just combined.   You do not want to over mix the beef mixture.

A baking sheet with meatballs on it.

can I use frozen meatballs instead of homemade?

You can use frozen meatballs in place of the homemade meatballs.  They will be dried than the homemade meatballs.   You will need to defrost the meatballs before using them in this recipe.  You can use refrigerated, raw meatballs in this recipe and they will work out perfectly.  I prefer making my own meatballs because I can adjust the seasonings to the likes of my family.

Once the meatball mixture is ready use your hands and roll the mixture into 1 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs.  Place them on a foil lined baking sheet with sides.  Be sure to line the baking sheet because the meatballs make a lot of grease.

Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes, turning once, or until they are brown on the exterior and cooked through in the middle.  Remove from oven and make the sauce.

To make the sauce add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, Thai sweet chile sauce, honey, water, and cornstarch to a wok or saute pan.  Heat for 2-3 minutes.

Add the meatballs to the pan and toss to coat with the sauce.   Sprinkle the meatballs with minced chiles or scallions if desired.

A hand holding a meatball on a toothpick.

Can I freeze these meatballs?

You can make the meatballs, cook them in the oven, let them cool, then freeze.  Do not put the sauce on them before freezing.   Simply put them in an air tight container or a freezer bag and freeze for up to 3 months.  When ready to make, make the sauce in the saute pan or wok, add the meatballs, and cook until heated through.

These meatballs are delish and perfect for a party.   Place a toothpick in each one and let guest pick them up and walk around.   They are spicy and slightly sweet and sticky and oh so yummy.

The great thing about the Thai meatballs is that you can also make some rice and serve them for dinner!   They make a great meal along with an egg roll or some wontons.

Pin Image: Text title, A plate of Thai meatballs.

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A plate of sweet and spicy Thai meatballs.

Spicy Thai Meatballs

Thai meatballs are in a sweet, spicy, and sticky sauce.
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Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes
Servings: 16 -20 meatballs
Author: Hezzi-D


  • 1 1/4 lb. ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 c. breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves minced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 Tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 Tablespoons Thai sweet chile sauce
  • 1 Tablespoon rice vinegar
  • 2 Tablespoons honey
  • 1/3 c. water
  • 1 teaspoon cornstarch


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • To make the meatballs place the egg in a large bowl and beat. Add in the ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce. Mix until just combined.
  • Line a baking sheet that has sides with foil.
  • Form the beef mixture into 1-1 1/2 inch meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 20 minutes, turning one time, until they have browned and are cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, combine the soy sauce, Thai sweet chile sauce, rice vinegar, honey, water, and cornstarch in a bowl. Mix well.
  • Pour the sauce into a medium sized skillet and heat over medium heat.
  • Add the meatballs to the skillet and toss to coat.
  • Serve warm.


Recipe adapted from My Food Story
A plate of Thai meatballs with green onions on top.

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