Asian-inspired pork meatballs are light, tender, and bursting with flavor. They're great on their own or with rice and also make an amenable addition to everything from salads to noodles and soups to sandwiches.
Why we love this recipe
I adapted these easy pork meatballs from my dumpling filling. Those (and really all homemade) dumplings are kind of a big deal to make, but their flavors are so savory and dreamy that they deserve the chance to get out more.
These baked pork meatballs:
- Are absolutely packed with savory flavors
- Stay beautifully light and tender
- Couldn't be easier to make
- Are ready in 30 minutes
- Keep, reheat, and freeze well, making them great for meal planning and batch cooking
P.S. Nearly every culture has a meatball, and these aren't from any of them — but they are mind-bendingly delicious.
What you'll need
Here's a glance at the ingredients you'll need to make these Asian-inspired pork meatballs.
- Toasted sesame oil has a deep, savory flavor. It's not the same as the regular sesame oil that you might use for cooking. Although it's heat-sensitive, it does fine in the oven here because it's mixed with the other ingredients.
- Making fresh breadcrumbs is as simple as cutting the crusts off a couple of slices of standard sandwich bread and whizzing them in a food processor. I've pictured whole wheat here because that's what we had on hand. Any kind will do. To make this recipe gluten-free, use gluten-free breadcrumbs and soy sauce.
- Use reduced-sodium soy sauce or consider omitting the salt
- Scallions are ideal, but you can substitute a large, minced shallot if that's what you've got
- Cilantro contributes moisture as well as flavor, so if you're a detractor, don't skip it entirely. Substitute flat-leaf parsley instead.
My favorite sources for meat & pantry staples
For years, I've been sourcing our meat from ButcherBox. We love this curated meat delivery service, which provides grass-finished beef, heritage breed pork, organic chicken, and more from small farms direct to the customer. You can learn more in my extensive Butcher Box review and unboxing.
I love Thrive Market for a wide variety of products. Often described as one part Whole Foods, one part Costco, they're a membership-based online market for healthier products at discounted prices. Plus, they're mission-driven, engaged in the community, and not currently owned by a giant corporation. You can learn more in my Thrive Market review and unboxing.
How to make them
Here's what you'll do to make a great batch of pork meatballs. You can see all the steps in action in the video that accompanies this post, and get the details in the recipe card below.
- Beat the eggs in a large mixing bowl and then stir in all the other ingredients except the ground pork.
- Add the pork and mix gently but thoroughly with a fork, lifting the mixture rather than compacting it as you stir.
- Use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop to portion the mixture if you have one, and gently roll each portion into a ball with your hands.
- Bake on a parchment-lined baking sheet for 15 minutes at 400°F, until cooked through but still moist and tender. That's it!
Expert tips and FAQs
Yes, these pork meatballs can be made in advance and reheated in the oven or toaster oven, or even on half power in the microwave. This recipe makes a big batch that can be stored in the fridge for up to a week or frozen for up to a year.
Yes, these flavors also work beautifully with ground chicken or ground turkey. There's no need to change anything else in the recipe if you're making one of those substitutions.
How to serve them
We find these Asian-inspired pork meatballs to be very versatile. Since they don't quite belong anywhere, they kinda fit in everywhere. Here are some of our favorite ways to serve them:
- In a rice bowl (made with sushi rice)
- On a bánh mi style sandwich
- With rice noodles
- In ramen
- With sesame noodles
- In a salad with a dressing like this one
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup fresh breadcrumbs
- ½ cup minced fresh cilantro leaves
- 4 scallions, thinly sliced
- 2-inch piece fresh ginger, peeled and minced
- 8 garlic cloves, minced
- ¼ cup low-sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon fine sea salt
- ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ teaspoon red chili flakes
- 2 pounds ground pork
- Preheat oven to 400°F with two racks close to the center. Line two rimmed sheet pans with parchment.
- In a large mixing bowl, lightly beat the eggs with a fork.
- Add the breadcrumbs, cilantro, scallions, ginger, garlic, Tamara, toasted sesame oil, salt, pepper, and chili flakes. Use the fork to mix well.
- Add the pork. Using the fork, gently but thoroughly mix, without packing the ingredients together.
- Using a two-tablespoon cookie scoop, portion the mixture into 32 balls, rolling each lightly between your hands to make it round. Arrange on prepared baking sheets.
- Bake for 15 minutes, until cooked through and still very tender.
- Toasted sesame oil has a deep, savory flavor. It's not the same as the regular sesame oil that you might use for cooking.
- Making fresh breadcrumbs is as simple as cutting the crusts off a couple of slices of standard sandwich bread and whizzing them in a food processor. Two slices of bread tends to make about a cup of crumbs. If you like, you can substitute ¾ cup panko. To make this recipe gluten-free, use GF breadcrumbs and soy sauce.
- Scallions are ideal, but you can substitute a large, minced shallot if that's what you've got. Cilantro contributes moisture as well as flavor, so if you're a detractor, don't skip it entirely. Substitute flat-leaf parsley instead.
- These meatballs can be made in advance, and they will keep well tightly sealed in the fridge for up to a week. They also freeze well.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 113Total Fat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 4gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 183mgCarbohydrates: 3gFiber: 0gSugar: 0gProtein: 8g