Thai chicken meatballs are packed with authentic Thai flavors like fragrant fresh ginger, garlic, umami fish sauce, and fresh herbs. Serve them with rice and your favorite dipping sauce for a complete meal, or as a fun appetizer.
Authentic Thai meals typically have a balance between salty, sweet, sour, and spicy. I've pulled those elements into these Asian chicken meatballs.
They're a huge hit with my family, so I often make a double batch and freeze one batch for another meal later. Saves on meal-prep time!
Baked Chicken Meatballs
Thai chicken meatballs make an easy dinner because they can be baked, broiled, sautéed in a skillet, or cooked in the air fryer. I prefer baking, or rather broiling them in the oven because it's super fast. Hear me out!
You can bake chicken meatballs: heat the oven to 400ºF, and cook the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes. I find they get cooked through but don't get any caramelization with this method. Try broiling them, that's my preferred method.
I use the broiler, which in most ranges, is the upper element of the oven!
Heat the broiler to high heat. Arrange the oven rack to just about 4 inches below the element.
Line your pan with foil to prevent the meatballs from sticking to the pan and then cook the meatballs for about 4 minutes under the hot broiler. Remove them from the oven, and quickly turn each one. Broil them for another 4 minutes.
They will get a nice golden brown from the hot broiler and cook through quickly from the intense heat of the broiler and the hot oven. Both baking, and boiling at the same time!
Serving Thai Chicken Meatballs
These meatballs are tasty and versatile and can be used in lots of dishes.
They make a great lunch, dinner, or party appetizer with a dipping sauce! Try them for game day or a New Year's party.
Top chicken meatballs with your favorite sauces. Thai peanut sauce, sweet chili sauce (that lovely orange sauce in a jar!), soy sauce, or any of your favorite Thai dipping sauces pair wonderfully with the flavors like ginger, garlic, and cilantro.
If you love spice try a hot sauce like sriracha, or add chili flakes to your peanut sauce!
Ingredients in Baked Chicken Meatballs
- Yellow onion: You can just roughly chop the onion since it is going in the food processor.
- Garlic: I like to buy peeled garlic to save a step, but not the already minced garlic because it doesn't taste the same!
- Grated ginger: You can use a microplane grater to get this nicely pulverized!
- Jalapeño: this only adds a little heat, as jalapeños are typically not too hot.
- Boneless, skinless chicken breasts: A great way to use your supply of frozen chicken!
- Cilantro: The tender stems are totally fine to use and add great flavor.
- Fish sauce: A salty, fermented sauce that adds a needed base of flavor to the meatballs.
- Plain bread crumbs: Regular breadcrumbs are great here, not panko.
- Egg whites: These act as a binder and hold all the ingredients together and give the meatballs a nice texture.
- Oil: Use a high smoke point oil like canola or avocado if you are cooking the meatballs in a skillet.
Steps to Make Chicken Meatballs With Chicken Breasts
Making these chicken meatballs is quick and easy, and you don't need ground chicken! You'll want to have a food processor. (Listen, you can get one for the cost of a meal out these days so no excuses!)
Using a food processor makes whipping up these meatballs an absolute breeze.
Here are some quicks steps to make Asian chicken meatballs for dinner tonight.
1- Start by pulsing the onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeño in a food processor until finely chopped.
Chopping the aromatic vegetables first makes sure they get processed well so they can disperse and flavor the meatballs evenly.
2- Add the chicken, cilantro, fish sauce, and bread crumbs and pulse until well combined. There shouldn't be any large pieces of chicken left. Add the egg whites and pulse a few times.
You don't want to over-mix the egg whites or the meatballs will get tough and not be tender.
3- Scoop the meatball mixture into 2-tablespoon balls using a cookie scoop. Roll the balls into rounds with your hands and arrange on a baking sheet lined with foil and spray with cooking spray.
Cooking these meatballs is quick thanks to the broiler.
Frequently Asked Questions
Uncooked meatballs can be frozen on a baking sheet, then transferred to a ziplock bag and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer as needed when ready to use.
Heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook meatballs in batches, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
More Meatball Recipes:
Meatballs are one of the easiest main dishes to make for dinner, and a great main dish to prep ahead and keep in the freezer. Here are more meatballs to love!
- Classic Porcupine Meatballs with Rice
- Vegetarian Meatballs with Harissa Sauce
- Italian Meatballs with Pesto
- Mexican Meatballs
Let me know how it went!
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Thai Chicken Meatballs
- 1 small yellow onion roughly chopped
- 1 clove garlic
- 2 teaspoons grated ginger
- 1 jalapeno seeded
- 1¾ pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts cut into pieces
- ½ cup packed cilantro
- 1 tablespoon fish sauce
- ½ cup plain bread crumbs
- 2 egg whites
- oil for frying OPTIONAL
- cooked rice OPTIONAL
- In a food processor, combine onion, garlic, ginger, and jalapeno and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add chicken, cilantro, fish sauce, and bread crumbs and pulse until well blended but not quite pureed; no large pieces of chicken should remain. Add egg whites and pulse briefly.
- Heat broiler to high and place rack 4 inches from heat. Line a baking sheet with foil and lightly coat with cooking spray.
- Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop or a ⅛ cup to portion mixture into about 30 balls. Coat hands with water and shape into meatballs. Arrange on prepared baking sheet.
- Broil until meatballs are lightly browned, about 4 mintues. Turn meatballs over and broil another 4 minutes. Serve with rice and desired dipping sauce (see notes).
- Alternatively heat some oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook meatballs in batches, turning frequently, until browned and cooked through, 6 to 8 minutes.
- Uncooked meatballs can be frozen on a baking sheet, then transferred to a ziplock bag and frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge and cook 1 to 2 minutes longer as needed when ready to use.