Vietnamese-Style Meatballs with Chili Sauce

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vietnamese meatballs

My husband calls these Vietnamese-style meatballs “flavor bombs.” Serve them over rice for a quick weeknight dinner.

Vietnamese Style Meatballs

My husband calls these Vietnamese-style meatballs “flavor bombs” (which, by the way, is a good thing). I can’t say that they’re completely authentic, but they do have that combination of fresh, bright, and pungent flavors that makes Vietnamese food so enticing.

For a quick weeknight supper, wrap the meatballs in lettuce cups or serve them over rice. For an appetizer, arrange the meatballs on a platter and spear with them with toothpicks. Either way, drizzle the sweet-spicy-sour chili sauce over top and sprinkle them with fresh herbs, scallions, and chopped peanuts. They’ll go quickly!

What you’ll need to make Vietnamese-Style Meatballs

how to make vietnamese meatballs

How to make Vietnamese-Style Meatballs

In a large bowl, combine the eggs, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, scallions, lime zest, cilantro, and mint.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

Whisk to combine.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

Add the beef, pork, and panko.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

Using your hands, mix until evenly combined.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and arrange on an unlined baking sheet. The mixture will be a bit sticky; dampen your hands every so often while rolling the meatballs if necessary.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

Bake for 25 minutes, flipping once with a metal spatula halfway through the cooking time, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

Meanwhile, make the sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved and not stuck to the bottom of the bowl.

how to make vietnamese meatballs

Serve the meatballs drizzled with the sauce and sprinkled with scallions, cilantro, mint, and peanuts.

how to make vietnamese-style meatballs

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Vietnamese-Style Meatballs with Chili Sauce

My husband calls these Vietnamese-style meatballs “flavor bombs.” Serve them over rice for a quick weeknight dinner.

Servings: 22 to 24 small meatballs (Serves 6)
Prep Time: 20 Minutes
Cook Time: 25 Minutes
Total Time: 45 Minutes


For the Meatballs

  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tablespoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
  • 3 scallions, finely chopped (about 1/4 cup), plus a few more for serving
  • 2 teaspoons lime zest, from 2 limes
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro leaves, plus more for serving
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh mint, plus more for serving
  • 3/4 lb 85% lean ground beef
  • 3/4 lb ground pork
  • 1 cup panko
  • 1/2 cup chopped unsalted peanuts, for serving

For the Sauce

  • 2 tablespoons Asian chili sauce, such as Sambal Oelek, or Asian chili garlic sauce (available in Asian aisle of most supermarkets)
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1/4 cup lime juice, from 2 to 3 limes
  • 1/4 cup sugar


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the eggs, fish sauce, garlic, ginger, red pepper flakes, scallions, lime zest, cilantro, and mint. Whisk to combine. Add the beef, pork, and panko. Using your hands, mix until evenly combined. Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized balls and arrange on an unlined baking sheet. The mixture will be a bit sticky; dampen your hands every so often while rolling the meatballs if necessary. Bake for 25 minutes, flipping once with a metal spatula halfway through the cooking time, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through. (If the meatballs stick a bit to the pan, simply slide the metal spatula underneath them and they should release.)
  3. Meanwhile make the sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl. Be sure the sugar is completely dissolved and not stuck to the bottom of the bowl. Taste and add more chili sauce if desired.
  4. Serve the meatballs drizzled with the sauce and sprinkled with scallions, cilantro, mint, and peanuts. (Be judicious with the sauce; it's very strong in flavor.)
  5. Make Ahead: The meatballs can be made completely ahead of time and refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for 2 to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The meatballs can be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve them, reheat them in the microwave.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

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  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 488
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 9 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 2 g
  • Protein: 30 g
  • Sodium: 2046 mg
  • Cholesterol: 141 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • These are amazing! I made a double batch last night in order to freeze a bunch for future meals, and we also had some for lunch today. My boyfriend just said, “These are the best meatballs I’ve ever had,” so I can’t recommend them more highly.

    I made a second batch of the chili sauce today and used up the limes last night, so I replaced the lime juice with rice vinegar and it was still a great sauce.

    • — Gracie Bingham on November 25, 2020
    • Reply
  • Easy to follow recipe. Prepared as indicated. Complex, delicious flavors. A wonderful change from the meals I normally prepare.

    • — Niki on November 13, 2020
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    • Hi Niki,
      Where did you find the recipe?? I can only see the ingredients on line and no recipe. Also, no recipe for the dipping sauce. 🙁

      • — Caroline Tolmie on November 17, 2020
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      • Hi Caroline, at the very top of the page, under the recipe name, you’ll see an orange/red button that says Jump to Recipe – if you click on that, it will take you directly to the recipe. Hope that clarifies!

        • — Jenn on November 18, 2020
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  • Would it be possible to make this recipe with just ground pork (its all I have in the freezer at the moment)? Thank you.

    • — C. West on October 27, 2020
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    • Sure – hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 28, 2020
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  • Every Sunday our 12 year old chooses a recipe which he then prepares for us for dinner (with our help, of course). Last Sunday he chose these Vietnamese meatballs which were a HUGE hit. Not only did he enjoy making them but we all also LOVED eating them. Our fussy eater helped himself 4 times and then had some more for lunch the next day. We truly love all your recipes, especially this one. When we don’t know what to make for supper, my family says “Ask Jenn “….and I always do!!!

    • — Nathalie on October 20, 2020
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  • Could these be served as an appetizer in a crockpot? Would I coat them with the sauce? Thanks SO much! LOVE your recipes!!!

    • — Laura on September 29, 2020
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    • So glad you like the recipes, Laura! I don’t think these would be a great option for a crockpot. I’d probably just serve them on a platter with the sauce on the side for dipping.

      • — Jenn on September 29, 2020
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  • Made these meatballs for my family and they loved them. A big hit. Thank you

    • — Lynne on September 23, 2020
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  • This recipe is delicious and super quick! The sauce in this recipe is incredible. I am an avid cook/foodie and I absolutely love your cooking style and visit your site often. PS: My boyfriend and I are also calling this recipe the “flavor bombs” lol

    • — Wenndy Sanchez on September 20, 2020
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    • 🙂

      • — Jenn on September 21, 2020
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  • Another perfect recipe from Jen! This is my go-to place when I want a recipe that I don’t need to adjust, add to, or change. Jen’s recipes are always perfect just the way she writes them.These Vietnamese meatballs were out of this world!! My family absolutely devoured them and asked me to make another batch before they were even done with dinner! So much flavor! Don’t be afraid of the Asian fish sauce — it smells terrible before you cook it, but believe me, the flavor it adds is amazing.

    • — Lisa on September 12, 2020
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  • I thought these were super delicious and my family loved them as well. I’ve recently come across several of your recipes and have enjoyed them all. I now look through your recipes for new ideas on what to make. I have not yet been disappointed. Thank you for taking such care to perfect your recipes. I am so happy to have discovered you!

    • — Yvonne on August 22, 2020
    • Reply
    • 💓

      • — Jenn on August 22, 2020
      • Reply
  • I have made many of your recipes since I found your site while searching for a pancake recipe. By far my favorite recipe site. Everything I have made has turned our delicious and I am making the Baja Fish Tacos tonight, and will be making the Street Shrimp Tacos later in the week.
    Thank you for sharing these awesome recipes!!!!

    • — David Barker on August 16, 2020
    • Reply
    • So glad you like the recipes! 🙂

      • — Jenn on August 16, 2020
      • Reply
  • I made these last night for supper and they were great! I couldn’t find ground pork in the store, so just used all beef, but they were still very good. The only change I made was to omit the fish sauce in the sauce. Never had fish sauce before, but at least the brand I bought (Thai Kitchen) is very fishy and I don’t care for it. I put it in the meatballs because I figured that all the other ingredients would cover it up enough, but was afraid it would overpower the chili sauce with the fishiness so I left out. Anyway, I thought the chili sauce was fantastic. The lime in it really brings it to the next level. I might start adding that sauce to other Asian dishes as well. Thanks for another fantastic recipe!

    • — Cindy on July 29, 2020
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  • Made this tonight…..yum! I felt like I was in a restaurant having food I’d never think I could make. I followed the recipe exactly, (except for some strange reason I could not find ground pork at my grocery store, I used sweet sausage instead). My picky family loved it. Nice kick to it, but then the sweetness of the lime….. can’t wait for my left overs tomorrow!!

    • — Gia on July 28, 2020
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  • We love Asian food and these meatballs were no exception. I used 1 lb of pork and 1 lb of beef- 3 eggs and 1 1/4 cup panko. Everything else I followed the recipe with Jasmine rice. Yum yum yum!
    Love your recipes- thank you!
    I did add a little rice vinegar to the sauce as it was a little sweet. Thought about adding sriracha too- will do that next time. Great app for a party; not that anyone is having those these days!
    PS I’ve never cooked with pork before and I have to say- it was great!

    • — Amy Morris on July 20, 2020
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  • Yep, we thought these were great! We had extras, froze them and had them as yummy appetizers. I’m curious if we can use impossible meat in place of the beef?

    • — Tori on July 19, 2020
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    • Hi Tori, Glad you liked these! I’ve nver worked with any sort of meat substitute so it’s hard to say for sure how it will translate – sorry! If you do try it, I’d love to hear how it turns out!

      • — Jenn on July 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • As usual, your recipes NEVER EVER let me down – these Vietnamese-Style Meatballs with Chili Sauce are absolutely DELICIOUS! (Seriously, every single recipe of yours that I’ve made has become a family & guest favorite – thank you so much Jenn! You rock.)

    I didn’t have fish sauce or ground pork on hand, so I subbed regular soy sauce for the fish sauce and just used 1 1/2 lbs. of ground beef for the meatballs; I also subbed regular soy sauce for fish sauce in the Chili Sauce too – I kept every other ingredient & amounts the same as your recipe and everything is DELICIOUS!!

    I made Basmati rice and a large veggie stir fry as sides, and when making the stir fry I splashed a little of the Chili Sauce in with my stir fry oil, and YUM YUM YUM – Oh yeah.

    • — Sandra G. McNichol on July 10, 2020
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  • Jenn, you advice to be judicious with the sauce due to the bold flavors. I disagree, I like to drink it 🤣😄 SO GOOD

    • — Emily Maria Lewis on July 3, 2020
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  • We didn’t think these were great. Well the kids ate them but didn’t say anything. Definitely not super quick. I don’t think I’d make them again. The peanuts gave a really nice texture though.

    • — Judy on June 30, 2020
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  • I have made these many times this spring and summer; definitely my new favorite Asian meal. Would not change a thing about this recipe.

    • — Darra on June 28, 2020
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  • Outstanding flavor

    • — Susan DeWitt on June 5, 2020
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  • These were SO good. Thank you!!

    • — Amy Hill on May 28, 2020
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  • LOVE this recipe. Very tasty..even my toddler and 10 month old loved it….without the chili sauce of course!

    • — Danielle K. on May 24, 2020
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  • This was amazing!! I made this tonight and my husband said it was best thing I have ever made. It very easy to make and such great flavors! Thank you!!

    • — Caroline P on May 17, 2020
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  • These are unbelievably delicious and a wonderful Asian take on meatballs.
    I didn’t have fresh cilantro but used about two teaspoons of coriander powder since the seed of the cilantro is coriander. Although great with rice, I’d serve them with ramen or even in a Bahn Mi sandwich with pickled vegetables.

    • — K Gaylin on May 15, 2020
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  • These were truly the bomb! Everyone gobbled it up. Instead of ground beef, I used ground chicken – same ratio. Excellent and will make it again!

    • — Judith on April 28, 2020
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  • When you mentioned that your husband called them “flavour bombs”, I knew I had to give this recipe a try even though my husband does not care for any type of meatballs – go figure….
    Due to some shortages, I could only find ground chicken – no mint and no eggs. These are the tweaks I made and they still turned out absolutely deelish – hubs gave them an 11 out of 10 :). For the egg, I subbed in 2 flax eggs, used extra cilantro for the missing mint and added some sambal olek to the ground chicken to kick in some more flavour. These were beyond amazing and will be a regular part of our rotation. Thanks again for another winner Jen – you are a lifesaver!

    • — Xena on April 27, 2020
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  • If I’m out of sriracha and don’t have the asian chili sauce, is it crazy to use Frank’s hot sauce?

    • — jane simon on April 24, 2020
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    • I haven’t made them with this – it’s likely to give them a different flavor profile and some more heat, but technically it will work. Please report back if you make them this way!

      • — Jenn on April 25, 2020
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      • I’m reporting back on the use of Frank’s hot sauce in place of the Asian chili sauce in the recipe for the sauce. I don’t know what it would’ve tasted like with the Asian chili sauce, but it was pretty good with the Frank’s! Looking forward to trying the recipe as written next time. Thanks Jenn – the meatballs were a big hit!

        • — jane simon on April 26, 2020
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        • Glad they turned out nicely — thanks for reporting back! 🙂

          • — Jenn on April 27, 2020
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          • Made these tonight with ground Turkey- amazing! I didn’t have fresh garlic but subd a tsp of ground garlic and it was delicious! I’ll definitely be making these again! Don’t forget the sauce!

            • — Mara on May 13, 2020
  • I’ve been wanting to make these for a while, but I was worried my kids would turn their noses up at all of the green ingredients. I finally made them last night, and everyone loved them and asked to keep them in regular rotation. Thanks for another great meal to add to my repertoire!

    • — Lorie DeMarcay on April 16, 2020
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  • Made this a few times now and it is flavoursome and easy to make. I especially like the fact that you cook the meatballs in the oven and not in a frypan. Have passed the link on to several friends

    • — Ngyla Clarke on April 3, 2020
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  • My son was away at college and made these and sent me a picture! He is home now and made these for us. We had most of the ingredients but we used lime juice, ground ginger and worcestershire sauce instead of fish sauce since we are limiting our grocery store runs. They still came out great. We doubled the sauce (fantastic!) so that we can use it on other dishes this week. We served them over rice with a side of broccoli. Such a big flavor payoff with such an easy recipe. We will definitely make these again.

    • — Kimberly on April 2, 2020
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  • Hi, Do you have suggestions for substitutions for panko (for those on GF diet)? Thanks!

    • — Amy Zeng on April 2, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Amy, it’s fine to use gluten-free bread crumbs. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 2, 2020
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  • I made this for the first time and its a HIT!!!! Only thing extra i added was a bit of chilli flakes to the meatballs. Thanks so much for sharing this! <3

    • — Lovetorecreate on March 11, 2020
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  • Made this for dinner last night and was really pleased!! This is such a simple and delicious recipe. Thank you!

    • — Trina on March 9, 2020
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  • Can I shape the meatballs, put them in the fridge and bake them off 2 hours later?

    • — Emily on March 3, 2020
    • Reply
    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 4, 2020
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      • OMG this was sooo delicious! There are some meatballs left and I want to have them for breakfast haha I served it with rice and your vietnamese slaw (without the chicken) Another HUGE winner from OUAC

        • — Emily on March 6, 2020
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  • This is a perfect recipe. Super delicious and simple and the meatballs don’t even stick to the unlined baking sheet. Bonus! I left out the mint because I didn’t have it, and I reduced the fish sauce in the balls by 1 tbsp because I thought it would be salty enough. I’ll try it as written next time. Love it! Make it. You won’t be disappointed!

    • — Iris on March 2, 2020
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  • Served with rice vermicelli, chopped romaine, cucumbers, mint, cilantro, peanuts, and extra lime juice. 😋

    • — Angela on February 17, 2020
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  • These were awesome and I actually followed the recipe! I might have added more lime juice to the sauce but that might be the only substitute. I will be making these again!

    • — Lisa on February 11, 2020
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  • Just made the Vietamese-style meatballs – simply delicious, will definitely make them again. I think they will become a regular feature. I love your recipes. Thank you Jenn

    • — Deborah Driver on February 7, 2020
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  • Delicious! Added sliced radishes as a topping. Great flavor.

    • — Gretchen on February 6, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn – We truly enjoy your recipe for Vietnamese style meatballs, so flavorful. I want to add a salad to go alongside and am wondering what you think of pairing the Asian Slaw with Ginger Peanut Dressing. Or perhaps you have a different recommendation? Thanks for your advice! 😊

    • — Del on February 1, 2020
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    • I think the Asian slaw sounds like a great choice (and glad you like the meatballs)!

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2020
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      • Thanks Jenn, you are amazing! 🙂

        • — Del on February 3, 2020
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        • 💓

          • — Jenn on February 3, 2020
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  • Made this tonight and my husband and i devoured it. Really delicious and will be on our regular menu. Also nice to have something special that easily fit into my WW diet.

    • — Penny on January 3, 2020
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  • These are awesome. I’ve made these as an appetizer for my wife’s family’s Christmas the last two years and they are a huge hit!

    • — Matt on December 29, 2019
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  • Just made this tonight and it was a HUGE hit with the family! The flavors were such a welcome change from our usual weeknight dinners. Just delicious and fun!

    • — Marigold on October 9, 2019
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  • These look incredible. I don’t eat pork, however, so can I substitute chicken or just add more beef?

    • — tania on October 1, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Tania, I’d just use more beef. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on October 1, 2019
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  • This is sooo very good! I followed the recipe as written but did a meatloaf instead! I used the baking instructions from the Italian Meatloaf on this site. Perfect! I absolutely LOVE the flavors in this…I paired with the Asian Ginger Slaw…wonderful! I am using this for meal prep this week and am so happy🤩

    • — Jean Bishop on September 29, 2019
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  • These were so good and full of flavor! Everyone loved them. I served them with the perfect jasmine rice recipe. Next time I will make a double batch to freeze for later.

    • — Janet on September 22, 2019
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  • Hi, these stuck like crazy when I tried to flip them. Would they still brown if I used non stick foil? Thanks

    • — Donna on September 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sorry to hear these stuck! It’s fine to use non-stick foil – the meatballs will still brown.

      • — Jenn on September 13, 2019
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  • Fabulous as usual, Jenn! Flavor is amazing! Thanks again!

    • — Charlene on August 26, 2019
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  • Love to try the Vietnamese Meatballs but concerned about using fish sauce with iodine allergy What could be used as a substitute?

    • — Ramona on August 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Ramona, There’s no perfect substitute for fish sauce. You can use soy sauce in place of it though. The meatballs will still be good, but won’t have that signature Vietnamese flavor. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on August 13, 2019
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  • Had the opportunity to use mint out of my garden for this recipe. Loved the flavours!

    • — June on July 19, 2019
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  • Really great! Perfectly tender, flavorful meatballs and sauce adds a great zing. Paired with some stir-fried veggies- delicious!

    • — Anne M. on June 27, 2019
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  • I Thickened the sauce a bit and made it into a glaze. These were delicious.
    Another home run!

    • — Mel on June 20, 2019
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  • Jenn, my little market that has everything, even pomagranate molasses, does not have asian chili sauce. They have something called sweet chili sauce (Tsang). Is that the same thing or do I have to start hunting?

    • — Carol on May 13, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Carol, Sriracha would be a decent substitute here. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on May 14, 2019
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  • I couldn’t find fish sauce at the store. What do you recommend I use in place of fish sauce. (Fish sauce is also not my favorite. )

    • — Kristine on April 29, 2019
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    • Hi Kristine, There’s no perfect substitute for fish sauce. You can use soy sauce in place of. The meatballs will still be good, but won’t have that signature Vietnamese flavor. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on April 29, 2019
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  • This was delicious! While I don’t often cook, I decided to try this out and they are indeed full of flavor, I do think that adding the sauce makes a big difference as well. I was able to freeze them and have them ready for dinner, and these are also toddler approved! <3 Delicious!

    • — Laura Elena on April 13, 2019
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    • five stars!

      • — Laura Elena on April 13, 2019
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  • “Flavor bombs” for sure. Made these the first time for me and my fiancée, who is a chef himself, and they came out amazing. Recently, we had a dinner party of 6 people and I thought these would be great to serve. We served them on the table and our guests were able to add what they like. We had lettuce cups and jasmine rice along with the chili sauce, crushed peanuts and scallions. Everyone either made them with lettuce cups, rice or both. They were a big hit with everyone. What I like about this dish is that it can be served as an appetizer or you can make it into a meal. As for the prep-there are quite a number of ingredients (which is common in Vietnamese style dishes) which does make this a little more time consuming (have to get better with my knife skills;) However, it is worth it, because they are so flavorful! This is one of my favorite recipes by Jen. Some of my other favorites are the turkey meatloaf, potato leek soup, corn with lime, sugar, cilantro and baked ziti.

    • — Michelle on April 11, 2019
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  • I made this recipe exactly as written and my family LOVED it. My kids gobbled them up. I was worried that the peanuts would seem weird to them but actually really liked them. The sauce has just the right amount of kick. I served them with rice and a salad.

    • — Elizabeth J Clary on April 11, 2019
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  • I like Vietnamese dishes and I can handle subtle fish sauce flavor, but when I was making this recipe the fish sauce smell was overpowering. I was hoping the smell and flavor would be more subtle once the meatballs cooked, but it was overpowering. I would recommend this recipe for anyone who loves the taste of fish sauce. My 2 year old devoured the meatballs but the rest of the family wasn’t a fan. I’m sure it had partly to do with the brand I used – Polar Fish Sauce maybe is just too pungent?

    • — Lea Ann on March 26, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Lea Ann, sorry you found these to be disappointing! There is a lot of variation in brands of fish sauce. If you need fish sauce again for a recipe, the brand I like best is Red Boat. I buy it at Whole Foods. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 28, 2019
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  • This was delicious and full of flavor! I made a few adjustments: honey instead of sugar, buffalo instead of beef, and added cucumber at the end to brighten the dish. Would definitely make again!

    • — Jennifer on March 19, 2019
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  • Hi Jenn,

    Do you think these meatballs would be good on the BBQ, or do you get the best results in the oven? If the BBQ is a go, what temp and time would you recommend? We have our first really beautiful weekend coming up here and I would love to do these on the grill!


    • — Bry on March 15, 2019
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    • Hi Bry, I think these would be fabulous on the grill. I’d follow the instructions from this grilled meatball recipe. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on March 16, 2019
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      • Made these meatballs following your other recipes BBQ instructions and they were great! Made with the suggested sides of jasmine rice and thai crunch salad (which we have enjoyed many times). I also made a half batch of the meatballs with only 1 teaspoon of fish sauce for my 10 month old (to reduce the salt) and he loved them! The leftovers will be going into the freezer for easy weekday meals. Thanks Jenn!

        • — Bry on March 18, 2019
        • Reply
  • I made these meatballs tonight – followed the recipe exactly and they were AMAZING! Especially the sauce which you pour over at the end, with the peanuts – incredibly tasty! Thanks Jenn – this one’s a keeper.

    • — Rita in Munich on March 15, 2019
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  • Absolutely AMAZING! These are so flavourful. Really loving the step by step layout of your recipes. I’ve been trying a new one each Sunday for the last few months and every recipe is a hit! Thank you thank you!

    • — Heather on March 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • Made it without the cilantro and peanuts. Also made the chilli garlic sauce from scratch but all in all, they live up to their flavour bomb promise. Ate with some German mashed potatoes for a filling brunch. Highly recommended.

    • — P Man on February 22, 2019
    • Reply
  • Oh I hate doing this but…………I had such high hopes for this recipe. I followed it exactly but the over-powering flavour of the fish sauce totally ruined it. The meatballs & the sauce would have been so much better without the fish sauce, there was just too much of it. So sorry I didn’t like it.

    • — Jillian on February 10, 2019
    • Reply
  • These meatballs were fantastic. Never disappointed with your recipes, Jenn. The only thing I did different was to cut the Asian Chili Garlic sauce to 1 tablespoon (rather than 2) because of your comment about using the sauce judiciously. It was pleasantly spicy enough for everyone. Served over white rice. We all loved it.

    • — Connie on February 6, 2019
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  • As usual, this was a great recipe. However, as much as our family loved the meatballs, the sauce was WAY TOO SALTY. Not sure of the culprit-probably fish sauce or soy sauce. Next time I’d flavor adjust the sauce and probably use far less soy. Otherwise, YUM!!

    • — Lizz on February 6, 2019
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  • I’m dying to try these, but is there a different item that you can use in place of lime (or lemon)?

    • — Sam on February 6, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Sam, you can just leave the zest out of the meatballs and replace the lime juice with rice vinegar in the sauce. Hope you enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 7, 2019
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  • What do you think about substituting ground oatmeal for the panko? Thanks.

    • — Dianne on February 3, 2019
    • Reply
    • Sure, Dianne, I think that should work. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 3, 2019
      • Reply
  • Amazing ! Thank you for this recipe, even my husband loved it and he normally do not like asian dishes. This is a new favorite! I left the mint out since I am normally not a fan of that in cooking but I will try it next time.

    • — Linda on January 29, 2019
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  • Amazing. Made them as written with the exception of the peanuts. Great, as usual. If I wanted to omit the pork, what is the best meat option?

    • — MrsDLA on January 27, 2019
    • Reply
    • Glad you enjoyed! I’d use more beef. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 27, 2019
      • Reply
  • These meatballs are wonderfully flavorful. I made smaller meatballs as an appetizer for a holiday party. I served them in a mini crock pot with some of the sauce in the bottom of the pot and more on the side for dipping. It was a huge hit!

    • — Ann O on January 23, 2019
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  • Absolutely delicious recipe! I prepared it exactly as written. I served mine with roasted riced cauliflower ( to sop up all the amazing sauce). I also roasted green beans in olive oil, tossed them in a bit of the sauce when I removed them from the oven, and added them to our bowl of meatballs and cauliflower rice. So so good!!

    • — AndieW on January 22, 2019
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  • This was outstanding! My kids are half Vietnamese and they said “this tastes just like Grandma and Grandpa made it”! Couldn’t find mint so didn’t use it. Served with eggrolls and jasmine rice. This is a 5 star recipe. I will double it next time.

    • — Steph on January 21, 2019
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  • So am I correct in saying that you don’t heat the sauce up. You just serve as is over warm meatballs and rice

    • — Helen on January 11, 2019
    • Reply
    • Correct! (Although feel free to heat it up if you’d prefer it warm.)

      • — Jenn on January 11, 2019
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  • Delicious! I made this tonight for me and my husband and I wish I doubled the recipe so we could have more. I could not find fish sauce at our local grocery so I used oyster sauce instead, gave it a sweet flavor.
    Also I cheated a little and used a garlic hosin VH sauce to drizzle on top of the meatballs instead of the recipe sauce which I’m sure is delicious.

    • — julia on January 9, 2019
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  • I found these meatballs dry. could i use less panko?

    • — Pat on January 9, 2019
    • Reply
    • Hi Pat, you could decrease the panko a little, but if you decrease it too much, the meatballs won’t stick together and will get tough. Try cutting it back by a few tablespoons and see if that helps. You may also want to remove the meatballs from the oven a minute or two earlier. Hope that helps!

      • — Jenn on January 9, 2019
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    • Don’t use lean meat. That’s probably why they were dry.

      • — Anna wixom on March 24, 2019
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      • Delicious! I do add Sriracha, extra nam pla and homemade lemongrass paste to mine. I love them over jasmine rice topped with the mint/cilantro/scallion/jalepeno slices/crushed peanuts and a homemade Sriracha Lime mayo!
        I make these about once a month, I’m always craving them!

        • — Pamela on July 16, 2019
        • Reply
        • Oh, I also add Vietnamese pickled carrot and daikon to my bowl as well!

          • — Pamela on July 16, 2019
          • Reply
  • These were delicious! I don’t usually like bothering with so many ingredients with my little kiddos whirl wind around the house but it was worth it! I did not have fresh ginger so I substituted about of teaspoon of dried. Probably could have used more dried ginger as I didn’t detect much. I had to be careful to measure the sauce ingredients; I have to take extra care to not be sloppy with tart / sugar combinations it or needs tweaking. So be sure to measure lime and sugar exactly! I used RedBoat fish sauce this time; I’ve used Dynasty brand in the past which smelled foul fishy rather than dank fishy ( I mean dank in a good way ;)) so buy the better fish sauce! Will make these again and double the recipe next time.

    • — Audrey Puckett-Hendry on January 7, 2019
    • Reply
  • This was awesome. I made it with the recommended side dish – the fruit in ginger sauce thingy shown in the pics. My wife took one bite of the first meatball and said, “This is an 11”, which reminded me of Spinal Tap. She was so jazzed that she tweeted a pic of the meal, with a link to this website to be polite about it LOL Well, here it is: . Anyway, I made the dish precisely to the recipe, which I rarely do, and it came out perfectly. Like, seriously perfectly. I wouldn’t change a thing. Can’t wait to have it again.

    • — Larry on January 3, 2019
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  • These were really good. I was a bit alarmed at the amount of fish sauce because i usually only use very little in other recipes(1/2-1tsp) and its well, pungent, but i proceeded lol and did not regret it. I love big flavor and these babies brought it. I used a Leaner ground beef because thats all i had but mixed with the pork ,i think,helped it not come out too dense or dry.

    • — Mia Giarmarco on January 2, 2019
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  • I have made these meatballs several times. I love the fresh mix of flavors! I recently made these meatballs slightly smaller and served them along with the dipping sauce as an appetizer. It was the hit of the party!

    • — Ann O on December 26, 2018
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  • Can these be made with other meats than pork?

    • — Jennifer on December 25, 2018
    • Reply
    • Sure, Jennifer – you could use veal, beef or chicken.

      • — Jenn on December 26, 2018
      • Reply
  • Made the meatballs and they are delicious. The sauce however, was so. salty. it couldn’t be used. Even tried boiling it with potatoes to reduce the saltiness with no luck. Any thoughts on why this could have been? Would tripling the recipe have made a difference?

    • — Diana on December 24, 2018
    • Reply
    • Hi Diana, Sorry you found the sauce too salty. I don’t think you did anything wrong; this is a salty, strongly flavored sauce and it is meant to be used sparingly – a drizzle is all you need.

      • — Jenn on December 25, 2018
      • Reply
  • So so yummy and full of flavor! I was excited for leftovers!

    • — Mallory on December 22, 2018
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  • We have served these wonderful meatballs over rice and also as part of a “banh mi” bar at parties – with pickled veggies, sriracha mayo, fresh jalapeno, cilantro, etc. Always a huge hit! We love “big” flavors” and the only changes we generally make are to increase the garlic and ginger as well as adding fresh chopped basil to the meatballs. Basil, mint, and cilantro are kind of a trinity for us when cooking with this flavor profile.

    • — Kim Yuskiewicz on December 20, 2018
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  • Just made these… I had to improvise a little because i didnt have all the ingredients, but it still turned out DELICIOUS…. I used lemon juice instead of lime, dried parsley and dried coriander for cilantro, jarred ginger, red onion instead of green onions, and I only used beef, no pork. So yummy even without the sauce.

    • — Missy J on December 18, 2018
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  • Utterly awesome. Made the recipe as offered. Couldn’t have been more pleased. Truly “flavor bombs.” Thank you for another new item in our regular rotation. I am thrilled with this new recipe!!

    • — Libby on December 3, 2018
    • Reply
  • so I loved all of the flavor in these meatballs but my family wasn’t wild about them because they were dry. Did I cool them for too long? The ground meat I used was the ground by my husband so I don’t know the fat content. Would adding some whole milk yogurt help?

    • The ground beef could’ve been the culprit if it didn’t have enough fat. Also, if you left the meatballs out uncovered for a while, that may have contributed to their dryness. (I don’t think adding yogurt is necessary.) Hope that helps!

  • Oh Fish Sauce. How I loathe you. Every brand I try, every bottle I open… sigh. (Or don’t, as the smell… it just creeps me out.)

    This recipe is, as all of your recipes are, wonderful.

    However: Fish Sauce. Do you have a recommended brand because Thai Kitchen, Tasty Thai… three other bottles from the local import store written in the appropriate language which I am not learned enough to read and asked what was a best fish sauce… yeah… none of them seem to add the depth and saltiness you are going for without the overpowering dead fish smell I seem unable to shake.

    That said, don’t be deterred anyone else. These are awesome, my spouse and KIDS gobbled them up, but they weren’t here when I made them and perhaps that is my entire problem.


    • Hi Karin, They are all pretty stinky but if you can find Red Boat, that’s the best one. I just saw it at Whole Foods. 🙂

  • Word of the Day: Judicious
    I love it! Great recipe! I’m happy I was and used low sodium soy sauce. Came out great for us high blood pressure ridden lot. Thank you for a new dish to put in rotation.

  • Very flavorful and tasty! Would make double and freeze half next time. Only negative would be that we found them a bit salty. Maybe will try with low sodium soy next time, or a different brand fish sauce.

  • This recipe is so bomb! Thank you for sharing with us chef. I was wondering if there’s any way to incorporate the sauce into the meatballs?

    • Glad you like these, Santiago! I don’t really think there’s a way to incorporate the sauce into the meatballs – I’d just stick with drizzling it on top.

  • Any tips on making these meatballs in bulk and more importantly, in advance? Would love to make these for a potluck!

    • Hi Jamie, Depending upon how far in advance you want to make these, they can be refrigerated or frozen. They can be made completely ahead of time and refrigerated in a tightly sealed container for 2 to 3 days. Reheat them in the microwave. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to serve them, reheat them in the microwave.

  • My husband made a declaration that these meatballs were the best thing ever to be cooked in our kitchen! Thank you for restoring my spouses faith in my cooking. Sometimes I hit, sometimes I miss, and I’m delighted to say that everything I’ve made off of this website has been a hit out of the ballpark. I’m loving cooking again. Much appreciated.

  • My grocery store doesn’t have Asian chili sauce and I’m dying to make this recipe! Do you think I could use sweet chili sauce instead?

    • Actually, I think I better substitute would be sriracha (and you could also add some red pepper flakes for heat. Hope you enjoy the meatballs!

  • Fantastic meatballs! I use a tiny bit of the sauce as a dressing on a salad*. With the meatballs, I do a satay sauce: pan fry onions, add garlic, several tablespoons of crunchy peanut butter sauce. Remove from the stove-top and use hand held blender. Then add coconut milk to get consistency you are after.
    (*big handful of mint leaves and coriander leaves; salad leaves; blanched greens of any type; long thin strips of cucumber – all elements patted dry and don’t add the dressing until immediately prior to serving)

  • Made these tonight exactly as written, and concur with everyone: they are delicious. My husband was concerned that the pork wouldn’t be cooked enough after the time was up, so I added 10 extra minutes to the cookingtime and then let them sit in the turned-off oven for another 10 minutes. They were as moist and perfect as they had been at the original time, so I’m guessing the pork makes them almost indestructable. Served them with the cauliflower fried rice, which was also great. But next time would try to start earlier or snag a helper, as there was quite a bit of prep involved. Thanks for another excellent recipe.

  • I made these meatballs exactly as the recipe is written and they are definitely a flavor bomb! And good advice to be judicious with the sauce, as it is very strong but so good! My family has requested that I make them again, soon, but double the recipe. I served the meatballs with jasmine rice and egg rolls. For dessert we had the No-Churn Key Lime Pie – another hit with my family!

  • I just had to try this recipe which the author described as “flavor bombs”. The meatballs were great. I served them over rice. This has been added into the family cookbook. Thanks.

  • Delicious meatballs and flavour bomb dipping sauce. My boyfriend and I sometimes substitute the dipping sauce with Nuoc Cham (Vietnamese dipping sauce) when we have the meatballs in vermicelli.

  • These Vietnamese meatballs are a huge hit in our house! We made them as the recipe said and served them with some jasmine rice and minted cucumbers. Delicious!

  • Another fantastic recipe Jenn! I made it exactly as written and everyone in our family loved it, including our 2 teenagers. I wouldn’t change a thing in this recipe. I appreciate that you mentioned going easy on the sauce, as it is so packed with flavor! Thank you for sharing such a delicious recipe!

  • Delishous! 😋 I substituted ground chicken for the beef, otherwise I followed the recipe exactly. My family loved it! Thank you Jenn.

  • I made this with ground turkey mince, it was really tasty with rice noodles. Thanks for a great recipe!

  • I made this last weekend with ground duck. I followed recipe but used Korean sGochujang sauce for the sauce . I served with quick microwave sticky thai jasmin rice. It turned out absolutely delicious. My husband was raving about it. I will definitely make again. As usual, thank you for another wonderful recipe

  • These were a huge hit with my family! Even my young boys (ages 3 & 18 months) gobbled them up!!!! I doubled the batch so I have a ton for freezing which is great for a quick weeknight dinner! My husband is already asking when we can have these again! I made them exactly as written, served them over rice and made a side of stir fried Asian green beans. Deeeeeeeelish!!!!!!

  • I made the Vietnamese meatballs with chili sauce about a month ago because I had almost all of the ingredients and wanted to make something new. They were delicious! My husband really enjoyed them and there was enough for leftovers. I also put a few in the freezer and the sauce is in the refrigerator ready to use the next time.

  • These meatballs were easy to make, quite tasty and freeze well. Toddler-approved. I like to serve them over Japanese rice as shown.

  • These meatballs are fabulous and have become a favorite in our house. We like them served over fragrant jasmine rice with a simple asian style slaw or salad to complement. The combinations of scallions, peanuts and added mint/cilantro with the sauce hit all the right flavor notes, so don’t skimp on these! They also make great hors d’oeuvres when made slightly smaller and leftovers freeze beautifully.

  • Hi Jenn, LOVE your recipes (and that you answer questions!) Could I make these with all beef and, if so, do I need to make any adjustments? Thanks!

    • Hi Deb, so glad you like the recipes! You can use all beef here with no adjustments. Hope you enjoy! 🙂

  • Just removed the meatballs from the oven and they look and smell wonderful! Tested a couple and they are delish! Had to omit the mint because my mint plant disappeared from the flower bed. I think the mint would definitely make them taste that much more flavorful…next time. Contrary to others, I thought they were perfectly seasoned without adding salt. After cooling they will go into the fridge until tomorrow for lunch at my office. Will heat & serve with the sauce over Ginger Fried Rice from Food52’s Genius Recipes. So looking forward to tomorrow! Very easy and quick to make; highly recommended. Thanks!

  • Hi Jenn – should I adjust the cook time if I made the meatballs smaller to serve as appetizers? Thank you 😊

    • Yes, they’re likely to need a bit less time in the oven, but hard to say exactly how long as it depends on how small the meatballs are. I’d check them for doneness at 18 – 20 minutes. Hope everyone enjoys!

  • I made these this evening, exactly as directed. And I used Vietnamese vermicelli as the base. AMAZING!!!! I would not change a thing. The herbs were spot on and my mouth is dancing with flavor. I did add a pinch of salt to my bowl at the end but I love salt.
    Thank you for sharing this amazing recipe.

  • Hi .. wanted to know what if I make these with lamb meat .. would that work out as well? Any additions/subtractions to the recipe if I use ground lamb?

    • Hi Kaveri, I haven’t made these with lamb, but I think it should work with no modifications. I’d love to hear how they turn out!

  • Thanks so much for a wonderful recipe – easy, satisfying, and very flavorful. A big hit at my house. I used ground turkey to make a lighter meatball – I had no problems and still plenty of flavor and texture. Also, since cloves of garlic vary dramatically in size, I used one large clove; that provided enough flavor without overwhelming everything else.

  • This was easy to make and delicious. Loved the sauce

  • This looks delish. May I sub the panko with pork rinds or ground chia?

    • Hi Nia, I think ground chia would work here, but I’m really not sure about pork rinds! Please let me know how they turn out if you try these with either of those alternatives.

  • I made this, but the meatballs didn’t have much flavor (because there is no salt in it). If you make it for an audience that likes very flavorful meals, then perhaps you should add some salt. I added salt and also a little bouillion. That made all the difference. Otherwise, very lovely overall.

    • @martha You added four tbspn fish sauce and a quarter cup soy sauce and thought it didn’t have adequate salt content?

      This dish is amazing and has become a staple in our house.

  • This is a bit of a review, and a question. First, I made this recipe last weekend and thought it was great. Question – I tried fish sauce in another recipe and found it totally overpowering, so I did not include it this time. That sauce was fine without it, but the meatballs were clearly missing a bit of oomph. Do you think a specific brand would be a bit “milder” or is there a suggestion of another ingredient I could try instead?

    • Hi Rossalyn, The fish sauce adds a nice authentic Thai taste to these meatballs, so perhaps that’s what was missing. I’ve had good luck with both Tiparos and Taste of Thai brands. If you want to avoid using fish sauce, you could substitute with soy sauce, but the meatballs won’t have that signature Thai taste – still good, just different. Hope that helps!

  • I love these meatballs. My kids loved these meatballs. My husband didn’t get to try them because they were gone before he got home. They were so delicious. I made exactly as written. I will need to triple the recipe next time and freeze some. I can see these being a quick and easy dinner!

  • I made these last night and my family and I absolutely loved it! I only had 1 lb. trays of ground turkey, so I ended up using 2 lbs. of turkey to make the meatballs. The meatballs were soft and moist 😋 Other than the turkey, I followed the recipe for the meatballs and the sauce. It made a lot of meatballs! The first night we had it on top of somen noodles with sliced cucumbers, the second night we had it in a bahn mi sandwich topped with jalepeno and pickeled vegetables. This recipe is a keeper!

    • — Cheryl Natividad
    • Reply
  • These are so easy to make you can make them after a long days work!
    Absolutely delicious and different from the usual meatball. Sauce is easy too.
    A keeper just like all of the recipes in Once Upon a Chef!

  • These were delicious. I served these as a main dish. However, these would be fantastic as an appetizer, or make Banh Mi sandwiches with some pickled carrots, daikon and hot chili mayo.

  • If I use all pork as you suggested in my first question, would you consider using the baking soda technique to ensure they’re tender? Sometimes pork is not as tender as beef. I tried the baking soda as you directed in your beef chili recipe and was so pleased with the resulting tenderness of the beef.

    • Hi Candy, I wouldn’t think it’s necessary to use baking soda with pork as it’s naturally more tender than ground beef, but I don’t think it would hurt.

  • I just fixed this recipe as written for my husband as a dry run for a dinner party. We both loved it. Then my husband reminded me one of our guests doesn’t eat any beef. Would you recommend using all pork or 1/2 pork, 1/2 turkey or some other meat mix? Thanks for another delicious recipe. You never disappoint.

    • Glad you enjoyed, Candy! I’d go with all pork. 🙂

  • I made this a couple nights ago and the meatballs were so delicious and flavorful (even without the sauce). My one year old couldn’t get enough of it. I will definitely be making this again.

  • Hi Jenn, I am serving these to my toddler so can’t use anything with heat. How should I tweak the sauce to make it kid-friendly? Thanks!

    • Hi Elizabeth, You could just omit the sauce from your toddler’s portion. The meatballs have plenty of flavor in and of themselves. Enjoy!

  • These meatballs look fantastic and I really want to try them out, but I have a problem… I absolutely cannot stand cilantro, the moment I taste it I have to spit it out; it’s just too strong for my liking. Is there any way to substitute the cilantro or can I omit it without losing much of the flavour?

    • Hi Sam, No worries – you can use 2 tablespoons basil or just leave it out.

  • Made this recipe for a dinner party and everyone was so excited to see it/hear what it was. Rave reviews! The meatballs were soft, fragrant, flavorful and the sauce gave it that extra special touch/punch of flavor. Served it with Jenn’s Cauliflower Stir Fried Rice recipe which everyone was equally excited to see and try and loved just a much. Neat to see and hear everyone’s excitement and interest as they ate and commented about how good it was. Extra Bonus: My husband loved his “flavor bowl” of leftover meatballs and cauli rice the next day. Thought he died and went to heaven. Thanks, Jenn!

  • We enjoyed this recipe…it’s very tasty. If you like the taste of a soy sauce & washbi type sauce, you will like this chili/soy sauce. I served the meatballs over a store bought sticky rice and made stir fry broccoli. Also served with pickled ginger.

  • Your husband is right; these are a flavor bomb! One bite and my husband said “Company dish.” Outstanding. Do you think it would be okay to use these as an appetizer? Good luck on your book tour!

    • Glad you enjoyed these and, yes, you can definitely serve these as an appetizer!

  • I forgot to add the 5 stars – haven’t had a recipe from you yet that didn’t rate at least 5. 😊

  • Hi Jenn
    Just wanted to say these meatballs have become another family favourite along with everything else I have tried on your site. My husband thought we should have them at least twice a week lol. Thank you for sharing your expertise. My new cookbook just arrived and I am ready to dive in and start trying the recipes. I have a large cooking family and I am now set on what to get them for gifts this year. I am sure it will become a best seller! If you have a stop in Vancouver that would be wonderful!


  • The meatballs came out moist and delicious. I paired mine with vermicelli (rice) noodles.

  • Great meatballs and sauce – thanks. I served them on top of jasmine rice, and had an accompanying Vietnamese style salad. Australia has some wonderful Vietnamese grocery stores:)

  • Hi Jenn–Can I make and cook the meatballs the night before–then before serving, brush them with the sauce and reheat, serving sauce on the side? Also, I love your pairing suggestions but wonder–would this taste good with your Cauliflower Fried Rice recipe?

    • Yes and Yes! Enjoy!

      • Thank you so much! Can’t wait to make both for company soon. Truly appreciate your expertise and guidance as well as your masterful recipes. Every single one I’ve tried has become a go-to favorite for entertaining.

        • Happy to help! 🙂

  • Thank you Jenn, for this wonderfully flavored and delicious recipe. I love any kind of Vietnamese food, but these meatballs were the bomb. I made a lot of them and froze them. This way they are available anytime.

    P.S. Also really food on the grill

  • Oh my goodness. I’ve had this recipe bookmarked for a couple of weeks now and after having made it, I cannot believe I put off making these succulent meatballs for as long as I did. I paired these meatballs with the jasmine rice (as recommended under the “pair with” tab) and roasted carrot (medallions) sprinkled with coriander. I am not the best rice maker, but I, surprisingly, did very well! There wasn’t much chit-chat tonight at dinner, I’ll tell you that! Too many missed bites otherwise! This recipe is a keeper!!! I’m looking forward to the next potluck and making these bite-sized bits of yummy to share with everyone I know! Thank you, Jenn!

  • HI… So what are the recipe ingredients for the sauce? I’m confused… Thanks

    • Hi Valerie, If you scroll down to the full recipe, the first section has the ingredients for the meatballs and the section immediately below it has the ingredients for the sauce. Hope that clarifies and that you enjoy the meatballs!

  • Wow! Totally amazing and delicious…. If you want to impress your family and friends and are short on time this is the recipe for you;-) Thank you Jen. You are so talented! Congratulation on your beautiful book.

  • Hi
    I want to try this recipe. But I don’t eat pork for religious reasons. Should I substitute it with more beef or do you suggest another type of meat?

    • Sure, Uz – all beef will work. Enjoy!

  • This just didn’t do anything for me. I wish I had a different reaction as I have loved every other recipe I have tried. Can’t put my finger on what didn’t work.

    Am sad.

  • Flavor bombs indeed!!! ABSOLUTELY DIVINE….and delicious too! I’m going to serve them for dinner with friends in 6 days. Since it took me a heck of a lot longer than 20 minutes to prepare these, I’m going to spend tomorrow making up a batch. Would I be better off freezing the meatballs UNCOOKED or cooked, then reheated? p.s. LOVE your new book, Jen. Congratulations!

    • Sorry to hear they took longer than you anticipated to prepare, but glad you enjoyed them! Yes, you can freeze them (I’d suggest cooking before freezing them, but you can go either way.)

      • Thanks Jen, I think my long prep time was due to an old dull box cheese (etc.) shredder. I just ordered a microplane to help speed up the lime zest and ground ginger operation!

        • You will love it!

  • Hi. My question had nothing to do with this recipe, but 1) I’d like to thank you for the step by step pictures you provide. 2) Will you someday do a picture tutorial on buying, peeling (if necessary ), and slicing a shallot? Also, what is the difference between the shallot, the green onion and the purple / red onion and can they be used interchangeably?
    Thank you!

    • — Jeannette Shields
    • Reply
    • Hi Jeannette, Glad you find the pictures helpful. I will add purchasing/slicing a shallot to my list of potential “how-tos.” Thanks for the suggestion! This piece outlines a variety of onions and the best ways to use them.

  • These are soooooo good. Making them for my book club this weekend…with lamb!

  • I made these cocktail sized for a party last night. I drizzled a little of the sauce over the meatballs and served the remaining sauce on the side for dipping. Not a single meatball was left! I had leftover sauce, so I took some of it and mixed it with canola oil, marinated some tuna steaks in it, then grilled the tuna. I served it with rice noodles mixed with fresh pea shoots and the remaining sauce. It was delicious!

  • Wow Jen! What a great recipe love it! Super tasty and easy.

  • I have never been a fan of meatballs…dry, heavy meat bombs with very little flavor. I tried these only because it was your recipe. They were incredibly moist and flavorful and they stayed that way , refrigerated, for
    three meals. I halved the recipe-it’s just me – and it was perfect. I served them on top of white rice with the toppings you suggested …delicious !

    • — Kathy Vukasovich
    • Reply
  • I made this the other night. It was good but not great and it was my fault. Made it again and turned out great. I cannot stress enough how using the correct meat % to use. The first time I made it I used very lean meat. MISTAKE. Use what the recipe calls for…it made all the difference.

  • Could this be made with ground turkey?

    • Sure – just make sure it’s not too lean. Enjoy!

  • The meatballs themselves were really wonderful, tons of flavor! The herbs are really critical, don’t skip! Leftovers reheat well too.

    For the sauce I didn’t have Asian Chili Sauce so I substituted Gochujang, which in combination with the fish sauce made the sauce really funky– probably wouldn’t recommend. So my version was only 4 stars, but I bet it is better with the original ingredients so I still give the recipe 5 stars.

  • Delish! Perfect for a weeknight dinner – served over rice noodles. Omitted the mint because I didn’t have any and the red pepper flakes because I’m not a spiced food fan. Meatballs came out really good! The sauce was excellent and made as directed except used 1 instead of 2 tablespoons of chili sauce to keep the spiciness down. Definitely a keeper. Thanks Jen!

  • Just tried the recipe tonight and loved it!!!! Wouldn’t change a thing and can’t wait to make it again!

  • Just tasted this after making this morning….zesty little sauce, that may be too spicy for young kids, but I loved it! This will make a great dinner over rice for two tonite, and ample batch for the freezer till my cocktail party later this month! Well done, as usual, Jen!

  • I made these tonight after work with my 11 year old daughter and they were so good!! I wouldn’t change a thing about them 🙂

  • Made these meatballs with all ground beef and they turned out great! Full of flavor and very satisfying with some rice. The sauce was also very tasty.
    Thanks for another great weeknight dinner!

  • Another great recipe from Jen – thanks! I used ground chicken breast and they were perfect.

  • My friend and l get together once a week to try new recipes. So far we’ve only been making your recipes and have had great success!!!! Yesterday we made the Vietnamese Meatballs paired with the Thai Crunch Salad with Peanut Dressing. They were both so so delish!!!! Couldn’t stop eating both!!!! I skipped the mint in the meatballs and still they were so full of flavour! Looking forward to your cookbook!

  • I made these last night and they were amazing! I was wondering if the fish sauce would be too strong and both my husband and I thought it was a perfect blend of ingredients. He agreed with your husband that they were a “flavor bomb”. The results of this recipe has increased my confidence in cooking, as most of your recipes do 😀 I can’t wait to get the cookbook that I pre-ordered. Thank you!

  • These are absolutely delicious! My whole family loved them including our 2 year old (minus the sauce).

  • I made this recipe exactly as written. The meatballs were juicy and well seasoned & the sauce added the perfect amount of spice. I will definitely be cooking this again!

  • Hi Jenn,
    Can I make these in a slow cooker and serve them as appetizers? How long would I have to cook them for do you think?

    • Hi Monika, I don’t have a slow cooker, so I can’t say for sure how long it would take, but I think it’s doable. Here are some tips that may help. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you slow cook them!

  • I made these last night with all ground turkey and they were FABULOUS! I also made them with your Thai crunch salad and basmati rice. Everyone loved it! Thank you Jenn!

  • Made these this evening. My lady thought they were fabulous, as did I. The only changes I made was to add 1/3 cup of water to the meatball mix (adding moisture), then I browned the meatballs in an oiled frying pan on 4 sides before I put them in the oven for 15 minutes.
    Served over stir fried rice noodles with sugar peas and green scallions. Delicious meal.

  • Served with rice and steamed broccoli for quick and easy weeknight dinner…definitely a keeper!

  • Sorry, Not really that good! sauce was wonderful but the meatballs themselves! not that great and highly overated. Sorry.

    • not worth making

  • Hi can anyone tell me how spicey it is? Is it kid friendly? Thank you

    • Hi Quynh, The meatballs themselves are not spicy (and you can leave out the red pepper flakes to make them even milder) but the sauce definitely is.

  • I made them with ground turkey tonight and they were delish. My grocery story only had one small package of ground turkey thigh meat left so I had to use ground breast as well (approx .5 lb thigh and 1 lb breast). I agree that all thigh meat likely would have made them even better. I’m trying to avoid beef these days for climate reasons but I can see how delicious they would be made the original way.

  • I did not have mint so I increased the cilantro. I used bread crumbs.

    One of my friends told me to boil my meatballs for a bit as they are usually hard but I made half in the toaster oven (my oven is dead) and half I boiled in chicken broth. Both ways were excellent.

    Thank you for a recipe I can now use so I never have to buy rock-like meatballs ready made.

  • Great recipe! Very unique and tasty. I served it over rice with a side of sugar snap peas. The presentation was beautiful! Two suggestions. Use latex gloves to roll the meatballs. No sticking! I would also line the pan with parchment paper because the meatballs did stick to the pan. My guests ask for the recipe! I did use a pound of both meats and adjusted the other ingredients to compensate.

    • You took the words right out of my mouth! My meatballs also stuck to the pan, so I plan to use parchment next time. And the gloves are a must for mixing and rolling! The recipe tasted great, even my toddler ate it.

  • Well, my husband just went nuts over these meat balls and the sauce! Our new favourite. Absolutely fantastic flavours…!!!can’t wait to serve these as appetizers. Thank you SO much for your amazing recipes, you make me look like a pro in the kitchen. ❤️

  • Hi Jen! Can I use sweet chili (dipping) sauce instead of sambal olek and skip the sugar addition in the sauce or will that mess everything up?


    • Hi Steph, It will absolutely not mess everything up. 🙂 I’d make it that way and then just adjust the flavors as necessary. I’d love to know how it turns out.

  • Best flavor ever! These were delicious and really easy to put together. I made them mid afternoon and then baked them for dinner. My husband said he’d rather eat these than go to a restaurant- high praise! We don’t eat pork, so I replaced that with ground turkey. I roasted broccoli florets with the meatballs for the last 12 minutes and served that along with jasmine rice. A definite repeat.

    Jen, I have two questions for you:

    1. They were a little too salty for my taste. Do you think if I cut back the fish sauce to 2 tbsp that would be ok in terms of flavor? I don’t see anywhere else to cut back on the salt.

    2. I have about 10 meatballs left over. Any suggestions how to serve these on a second night in some sort of wrap or sandwich form? What would you include in the wrap in terms of accompaniments?

    Thank you as always for making me look like a serious chef!

    • Hi Elizabeth, So glad you enjoyed! I think it’s fine to cut back on the fish sauce. You could also use a low sodium soy sauce in the sauce. For leftovers, you might try something like this. Hope that helps!

  • I have never submitted a review on anything before but had to here. This was AMAZING! I made it exactly as the recipe lists and it was a huge hit. Thank you thank you for your fantastic recipes. I am so looking forward to your cookbook.

  • This was wonderful! I love meatballs and Asian flavors and this was a great combo. Meatballs without the sauce was delicious but the sauce made it superb! Thanks for a great recipe

    One side note… don’t mix/roll your meatballs too much. mine came out a bit tough. Also don’t overcook them… oops on me for leaving them in the oven a bit longer than I should. Still tasted great but will make it again and stand close to the oven.

  • Perfect recipe! My husband and I made this last night for dinner and it was a huge success! Better than most of the local Vietnamese food in out city. Super flavorful and because they cook in the oven, very simple to make on a weeknight.
    We served over rice and really enjoyed the chile sauce over the rice to make a delicious “bowl”. I often do not like meatballs because they have a weird texture or too fatty. These were perfect crunchy outside but moist inside.
    We are planning on making these for any future pot-luck occasion. I know these Meatballs would be a huge hit!

  • I made these meatballs last night and they were absolutely delicious! They were packed with flavour in every bite. The meatballs were easy to assemble, roll and bake. Yummy!

  • Is there a substitute for pork in this recipe? Thanks!

    • Sure, Nasar, ground turkey should work as long as it’s not too lean. Hope you enjoy!

      • Thank you Jenn for the reply. A follow-on question! Can I freeze these?

        • Yes, they freeze well. 🙂

  • Can you suggest a vegetable or salad side dish to serve with this? I look forward to trying this recipe!

    • Hi Mary Beth, in addition to the option of serving over steamed rice, the meatballs would pair nicely with this Thai Crunch Salad. Also, there’s a feature on the website– for all main dishes, I suggest one or two sides that I think would work well with them. To see what I’ve suggested, scroll to the top of the recipe page and, immediately under the recipe title, you’ll see a bar with several options, one of which says “pair with.” If you click on this, you’ll see the sides I’ve suggested. Hope you enjoy the meatballs is you make them!

  • DELICIOUS! A lot of chopping but worth it.

  • Another great recipe of yours that I will put into my rotation. My fiance loved it! I used all beef (bc I can’t eat pork) and a bit less fish sauce b/c I feel our fish sauce is super intense ha but it came out great. I will be asking for your cookbook for my birthday!

  • I made the best mistake with this recipe, I grabbed ground lamb rather than ground beef. What a lovely surprise, and it was great tasting. I did not add the pork once I realized I had lamb rather than beef. I have been trying recipes on blogs for years, but since I found your site, this is my go-to spot and I know I can trust your recipes to be fabulous. Looking forward to the new cookbook!

  • Jenn, I made these for dinner tonight and my family absolutely loved them! I have never had Vietnamese style food and this was a great introduction. I used gluten free panko bread crumbs as my wife is gluten intolerant. Thank you for sharing this recipe….sincerely appreciate it.

  • “Flavour Bombs” is correct! I made these ahead in the afternoon for dinner. My husband started “sampling” them, they didn’t make it to dinner time. Another great recipe.

    • Ha! So glad you enjoyed (even if they never made it to the table)! 🙂

  • I’m not a fan of mint. Is it okay to leave it out?

    • Hi Connie, It’s absolutely fine to leave the mint out.

  • These meatballs look delicious. Any recommendations re lowering the amount of sodium in this recipe?

    • Hi Stephanie, To reduce the sodium, you can use low-sodium soy sauce. The fish sauce also adds a lot of sodium; you could replace some or all of it with additional low-sodium soy sauce. Without the fish sauce, however, these won’t have that signature Vietnamese taste. They’ll still be good — just different. Please let me know how they turn out if you try them with these tweaks!

  • Can I make the meatballs a few hours in advance not cooked and bake later? Or better to fully cook ahead of time and reheat in convection oven (don’t have a microwave).

    • Hi Andrea, You can definitely make the meatballs a few hours in advance and bake later. I’d go that route. 🙂

  • Hi Jen,
    Is Fish Sauce the same as Oyster Sauce?

    • Hi Suzanna, Fish sauce is not the same as oyster sauce. You can find fish sauce in the Asian aisle of your supermarket near the Thai/Vietnamese ingredients. Hope that helps!

  • I’m one of those people who can’t stand cilantro. Is there another herb that I can substitute, or should I just leave out the cilantro? Thank you

    • Hi Sandra, It’s perfectly fine to just leave it out, or you could use Thai basil instead. Please lmk how it turns out!

  • What could I substitute for the eggs? Hubby has egg allergy. Thanks!

    • Hi Cherie, I think a store-bought egg substitute would work here. I’d love to hear how they turn out if you try them!

  • The Vietnamese meat balls sound delicious. However, I don’t eat pork or beef. Would ground turkey work? Should I make adjustments to the recipe?

    Greta Peterson
    [email protected]

    • Hi Greta, Ground turkey should work as long as it’s not too lean. Please let me know how it turns out!

  • Looks amazing! Do you think ground turkey or chicken would work?

    • Hi Caroline, ground turkey or chicken should work as long as it’s not too lean. Please LMK how they turn out if you make them with one of these!

  • Hi Jennifer,
    These meatballs sound really good! My husband doesn’t like cilantro. Would coriander make an okay substitute? I know one is an herb and one is a spice, but coriander is the seed for cilantro, so I’m wondering if this could possibly work? Thank you so much! Joanne

    • Sure, Joanne – I think a teaspoon of ground coriander would be a great substitute. You could also just leave it out or sub Thai basil. 🙂

    • Hello Joanne, I think that cilantro and coriander are interchangeable – they both refer to the same plant. In Australia we specify ‘coriander seeds’ if we mean the seeds of the coriander plant, or just ‘coriander’ if we mean the leafy part of the same plant. I think that cilantro is Spanish for coriander. That’s all, Marina

  • I do not like cilantro. Would you suggest a substitution or just omit it? Can’t wait for your cookbook to arrive =)

    • Hi Kim, Yes fine to omit it or sub Thai basil – either way, it will still be delicious. 🙂

    • Love this recipe!! I’ve made it about 5 times now and it’s always delicious! Thank you for sharing!

      • — Melanie on May 11, 2020
      • Reply
  • I don’t normally eat pork What can I use as a substitute. Thanks so much

    • Hi Tony, You can use ground veal or more ground beef. I’d love to know how it turns out if you try it. 🙂

      • Wow. These were amazing. My husband could not get enough of them. Fabulous flavors and the sauce was fantastic. We served it on homemade fried rice. Winner!

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