A sticky sweet teriyaki sauce coats tender Thai Chicken Meatballs that are bursting with fresh cilantro and basil flavors! These bite-sized morsels make the perfect addition to other Asian-style dishes or served up on their own for an impressive, party appetizer. This easy, hands-off recipe can be prepped ahead of time and is baked in the oven for the perfect weeknight dinner.

Thai meatballs are served in a white plate with quinoa salad.

Sticky Thai Chicken Meatballs Recipe

I had been dreaming of making these Thai chicken meatballs for years. But it wasn’t until we were mixing up this Thai Peanut Quinoa Salad that this dream finally became a reality.

And boy what a dream come true it was!

The combination of fresh herbs mixed with a tender ground chicken meatball that were then coated in the most delicious homemade teriyaki sauce

It was almost impossible for us to stop snacking on the perfect balance of flavor and texture when they came out of the oven!

While they do pair exceptionally well with other Thai dishes, they also make an awesome appetizer recipe for your next dinner party.

But a quick tip: If you plan on prepping these ahead of time for an easy weeknight dinner, save the sauce for last! They taste best when it’s served fresh.

Ground chicken, fresh herbs, garlic, ginger, soy sauce, breadcrumbs, and seasonings are the main ingredients for this dish.

Ingredients

  • Ground chicken. While chicken is the best option, you can also use ground turkey or even ground pork. Avoid using ground beef or lamb since the flavors will overpower the other seasoning components.
  • Lemongrass paste. This ingredient may seem like it doesn’t matter, but it does! This adds a fresh bite that’s hard to replace. It’s often found in the Asian food section of a well-stocked grocery store or in the fresh herbs in the produce. As a last resort, check Asian markets.
  • Breadcrumbs. Panko breadcrumbs are perfect to bind the meatballs and add texture. Avoid regular breadcrumbs as they will make the meatballs too dense. You can definitely use gluten-free breadcrumbs if needed (I love Aleia’s brand of gluten-free crumbs!)
  • Teriyaki sauce. While you could buy a bottle at the grocery store, it’s easy and so much better for you to make your own homemade teriyaki sauce! All you need is soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, chili garlic sauce, water, and cornstarch.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Thai Chicken Meatballs

Please see the recipe card below for ingredient amounts and more detailed instructions.

1. Combine Ingredients

Add the lean ground chicken, breadcrumbs, whisked egg, chopped basil, chopped cilantro, 1 ½ tablespoon soy sauce, fish sauce, minced garlic cloves, ginger paste, lemongrass paste, fresh lime juice, and zest, and salt to a large bowl.

Use your hands or a spatula to thoroughly mix everything together.

This amazing recipe seems like it has a lot of ingredients in the meatball mixture, but they come together to capture Thai flavors perfectly.

The meatball mixture is stirred with a spatula.

2. Measure Meatballs

Use your fingers, ice cream scoop, cookie scoop, or a large spoon to scoop out 2 tablespoons of the meat mixture. Roll into a ball. Repeat until you have 20 meatballs.

Tip: Rolling Meatballs

If the meatball mixture is sticking to your hands, cover them with some non-stick cooking spray or a drizzle of oil.

The meatball mixture is scooped with an ice cream scoop.

3. Bake in Oven

Spread the meatballs out in a single layer over a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Be sure none of them are touching.

Bake in a preheated 425℉ for 15 minutes, and flip halfway through.

You can also use the air fryer! Cook at 380℉ for 8 to 10 minutes, again turning them halfway through. 

Shaped meatballs are arranged on a baking tray.

4. Make the Teriyaki Glaze

While the meatballs are cooking, stir together the soy sauce, brown sugar, rice vinegar, toasted sesame oil, and chili garlic sauce in a medium-sized saucepan over high or medium-high heat.

Once it’s boiling, reduce the heat to low. Let the sauce simmer for 1 to 2 minutes, just until the sugar begins to dissolve.

Stir together the cornstarch and water in a small bowl to make a starch slurry. Pour it into the saucepan and whisk for 1 to 2 minutes over low heat while the sauce thickens. If you make extra, use it as a dipping sauce!

The Thai sauce is made in a saucepan.

5. Add Sauce and Serve

When the timer goes off for the meatballs, carefully remove them from the oven or air fryer. Brush the golden brown meatballs with the delicious sauce, then return the baking sheet to the oven for another 3 to 5 minutes or the air fryer for 2 to 3 minutes.

Be sure the internal temperature reaches 165℉.

Serve the juicy meatballs with some extra chopped cilantro, lime wedges, chopped green onions, and chopped peanuts.

The Asian sauce is brushed onto the meatballs.

FAQs

What are Thai meatballs made of? 

Typically, Thai meatballs made with a ground chicken base and seasoned with ginger, garlic, and lots of Asian flavors. They’re often tossed in a sweet and savory sauce, as well.

Why are my chicken meatballs spongy? 

The texture of meatballs almost entirely depends on the ratio of ingredients, namely how many bread crumbs you add. Too many or too few will result in spongy or dense meatballs.

Recipe Tips

  • You choose. These sticky Thai meatballs are delicious with ground chicken, but you can easily opt for pork or turkey.
  • Some like it hot. Add some extra garlic chili paste or Sriracha for a little heat, or leave it out entirely.
  • Smells fishy. Surprisingly, it doesn’t! And fish sauce gives these meatballs a rich and deep umami flavor.
  • Top ’em off. Don’t forget the chopped peanuts and cilantro just before serving.
  • Make it early. This dish is perfect for meal prep! Just save the sauce until just before you dig in.
A fork pokes a Thai chicken meatball before eating.

What to Serve with Thai Chicken Meatballs

These meatballs are delicious as an appetizer or as a main dish with a healthy side for a quick lunch or dinner.

Serve them over rice, like Jasmine RiceBasmati RiceCoconut Rice, or White Rice.

Add some veggies, like Roasted Broccoli and CauliflowerSautéed Green BeansAir Fryer Carrots, or Peanut Butter Sriracha Brussels Sprouts.

Thai meatballs are served in a white plate with quinoa salad.

More Thai-Inspired Recipes

If you love Thai-inspired flavor but hate the take-out price tag, then these recipes are PERFECT for you.

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Sticky Thai Chicken Meatballs Recipe

A sticky sweet teriyaki sauce coats tender Thai Chicken Meatballs that are bursting with fresh cilantro and basil flavors! These bite-sized morsels make the perfect addition to other Asian-style dishes or served up on their own for an easy, yet impressive, party appetizer.
Thai meatballs are served in a white plate with quinoa salad.
Yield 20 meatballs
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 20 minutes
Total 40 minutes
An image of an envelope sealed shut with the Evolving Table logo.

Email this recipe!

Enter your email and we’ll send it directly to you.

Ingredients 

Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground chicken
  • ½ cup bread crumbs Panko
  • 1 large egg whisked
  • ¼ cup Thai basil chopped
  • ¼ cup cilantro chopped
  • 1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce regular or Tamari
  • ½ Tbsp. fish sauce
  • 2-3 cloves garlic finely minced
  • 1 tsp. ginger paste or finely minced
  • ½ jalapeno finely minced
  • ½ tsp. lemongrass paste
  • ½ lime juice and zest
  • ½ tsp. salt

Teriyaki Glaze:

  • ¼ cup soy sauce or Tamari sauce*
  • 2 Tbsp. brown sugar
  • 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar
  • 1 tsp. sesame oil toasted
  • 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce or Sriracha sauce
  • ¼ cup water
  • 1 Tbsp. cornstarch

Instructions 

  • Combine Ingredients: Preheat oven to 425 degrees or air fryer to 380 degrees. Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl. Mix together by hand or with a spatula until everything is well incorporated.
    1 lb. ground chicken, ½ cup bread crumbs, 1 large egg, ¼ cup Thai basil, ¼ cup cilantro, 1 ½ Tbsp. soy sauce, ½ Tbsp. fish sauce, 2-3 cloves garlic, 1 tsp. ginger paste, ½ jalapeno, ½ tsp. lemongrass paste, ½ lime, ½ tsp. salt
  • Measure Meatballs: Scoop out 2 tablespoons of mixture and roll into a bowl. (Spray a bit of non-stick cooking spray on your hands or a drizzle of oil if you’re having trouble with the mixture sticking.) Repeat with the remaining meat mixture until you have 20 meatballs.
  • Bake in Oven: Place the meatballs in a single layer on a parchment paper-lined baking sheet or in an air fryer basket. Make sure none of the edges are touching. Bake in the oven for 15 minutes, flipping the meatballs over halfway through. Or cook in the air fryer for 8-10 minutes, flipping the meatballs over halfway through cooking.
  • Make the Teriyaki Glaze: While the meatballs are cooking, add all of the Teriyaki Glaze ingredients, except for the starch and ¼ cup of water, to a medium-sized saucepan over high heat. Bring sauce to a boil and then reduce heat to low. Simmer for 1-2 minutes or until sugar begins to dissolve. Make a starch slurry by whisking together starch and water in a small bowl until smooth. Add starch slurry to the saucepan. Whisk sauce for 1-2 minutes over low heat until it is thickened to your desired consistency. (Sauce will thicken even more once it cools.)
    ¼ cup soy sauce, 2 Tbsp. brown sugar, 1 Tbsp. rice vinegar, 1 tsp. sesame oil, 1 tsp. chili garlic sauce, ¼ cup water, 1 Tbsp. cornstarch
  • Brush meatballs with glaze on all sides and return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes, or the air fryer for 2-3 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 165 degrees.
  • Serve the meatballs with additional chopped cilantro, lime wedges, and chopped peanuts.
Last step! If you make this, please leave a review letting us know how it was!

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 2 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions:
Much like other meatball recipes, you can easily meal prep these up to 2-3 days in advance.  When you’re ready to eat, bring them to room temperature and either pop them in the oven or in the skillet and cook until done.
Storage Directions:
Leftover Thai meatballs will last for up to 3-4 days if stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Place them on a large sheet pan and flash-freeze for 3-4 hours. Once firm, add the meatballs to a freezer-safe bag or container. These meatballs will freeze well for up to a year but frozen meatballs do start to lose their quality after 3-4 months. You can warm up meatballs in the microwave, in a skillet, or back in the oven.
Recipe Tips:
  • You choose. These sticky Thai meatballs are delicious with ground chicken, but you can easily opt for pork or turkey.
  • Some like it hot. Add some extra garlic chili paste or Sriracha for a little heat, or leave it out entirely.
  • Smells fishy. Surprisingly, it doesn’t! And fish sauce gives these meatballs a rich flavor.
  • Top ’em off. Don’t forget the chopped peanuts just before serving.
  • Make it early. This dish is perfect for meal prep! Just save the sauce until just before you dig in.

Nutrition

Calories: 61kcal, Carbohydrates: 5g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g, Monounsaturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 0.02g, Cholesterol: 28mg, Sodium: 350mg, Potassium: 144mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 2g, Vitamin A: 46IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 12mg, Iron: 0.5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

You May Also Like

Thanks for
Stopping By!

I’m London! Join me as we cook up nourishing meals for you and your loved ones and learn a few healthy cooking tips and tricks!

Leave a comment

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

Recipe Rating