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These easy homemade baked meatballs take just 40 minutes to make! They are baked in the oven, then simmered in a flavor forward Korean inspired sauce and garnished with sesame seeds and sliced green onion.
Serve over rice for dinner or with toothpicks as a tasty appetizer at your next party!
Why you’re going to love these Korean BBQ meatballs:
- The flavors are outrageously good. These Korean beef meatballs are hand rolled, homemade, beef meatballs loaded with Korean flavors and cooked in a Korean inspired sauce. Ingredients that are typically used in Korean cooking include soy sauce, ginger, garlic and green onion – and the gangs all here in these meatballs!
- They’re so easy to make! There’s just a handful of common pantry ingredients (most of which are used in the meatballs and then repeated in the sauce) and they take just 40 minutes to throw together!
- They make a quick and easy weeknight dinner OR a delicious party appetizer. Serve these meatballs over white rice when you’re having friends over for dinner next week. Or transfer the meatballs to a crock pot and serve them with toothpicks at your next holiday party!
How to make Korean meatballs:
Add ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, green onion, hoisin sauce, an egg, salt and pepper to a large bowl.
Use hands to gently combine the ingredients.
Use a cookie scoop to make uniform balls.
Lightly oil your hands and give the meatballs a quick roll to make them perfectly round.
Bake them on a cooling rack on top of a baking sheet.
While the meatballs are cooking, saute jalapeno and garlic in olive oil.
Then add soy sauce and rice vinegar.
Then stir in brown sugar, hoisin sauce, Dijon mustard, salt and pepper.
Add meatballs and simmer for about 10 minutes.
Garnish with sliced jalapeno, sliced green onion and chopped cilantro. Serve with rice.
How to make Korean beef meatballs ahead of time:
These Korean meatballs are super easy to make ahead of time! As with most of my recipes, I like to make a big batch over the weekend and then enjoy them all week for lunch or dinner. If you’re planning to make them ahead for a party or family dinner, follow the suggestions below.
- Make ahead and refrigerate: You can mix the meatball ingredients ahead of time and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. Then when you’re ready to cook, just roll the meatballs and bake, then get working on the sauce.
- Make ahead, cook and refrigerate: Follow the directions in the recipe below and store cooked meatballs and sauce in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 1 week. When you’re ready to eat, transfer meatballs and sauce to a large pot on the stove over medium heat. Heat, stirring occasionally until meatballs are heated through. You could also heat the meatballs and sauce on high in a slow cooker for 20 minutes or until heated through.
- Make ahead and freeze: Follow the instructions in the recipe below for cooking the meatballs, but wait to cook the sauce until the day you plan to eat. Let meatballs cool, then store in an airtight container in the freezer for up to 2 months. Allow them to thaw overnight in the fridge the day before cooking. Make sauce according to recipe directions and simmer thawed meatballs in the sauce until they are heated through.
Why you should bake meatballs instead of pan frying them:
- They will stay round and won’t get flat spots. It’s not like meatballs HAVE to be perfectly round and they’ll still be tasty even if they aren’t. But, baking them allows them to hold their round shape without having to constantly roll them around in a pan.
- They will cook evenly. We’ve all gotten distracted and walked away from a pot on the stove before – it just happens! However, if you walk away from a pan of sauteing meatballs, you’ll end up with meatballs that are burned on one side and raw on the other. Baking them on a cooling rack allows the air to circulate all the way around the meatball which means it will cook each meatball evenly without drying them out.
- They’ll soak up more of that delicious Korean flavor when they are baked in the oven and then finish cooking in the sauce. A quick 10 minutes in the oven will almost cook the meatballs through but not quite. This means when you simmer them in the sauce they’ll continue to soak up all that flavorful Korean barbecue taste.
Tips for making Baked Korean Meatballs:
- Don’t over mix the beef. Your hands are your best kitchen tools – use them to mix the ingredients until just combined. Over mixing the meat mixture will lead to tough, chewy meatballs – which should be avoided at all costs!
- Along those same lines, don’t pack the meatballs too tightly! This will also lead to tough, chewy meatballs. Be gentle yet firm when scooping and rolling your meatballs and you’ll get a perfectly tender meatball every single time!
- Use a cookie scoop to get uniform meatballs. A cookie scoop is the quickest way to get equal sized meatballs. They’re inexpensive and extremely useful.
- Coat your hands with vegetable oil or olive oil before rolling the meatballs into round balls. This will prevent the meat from sticking to your hands and will also help brown the outside of the meatball a little bit more.
- Use a high quality, grass fed beef for better flavor. The better the beef, the better the flavor, so opt for a (preferably local) grass fed, high quality ground beef. The extra money you’re spending is going to translate into a more flavorful dish.
Frequently asked questions:
- Can I use a different protein other than beef?
- Of course! Ground beef really stands up to the rich, strong Korean flavors well, but chicken or turkey would be a great option too! Use whatever you’ve got in the fridge; just make sure it’s ground meat.
- What should I serve with Korean beef meatballs?
- This one is totally up to you! When I’m making this meal for dinner I like to serve it with rice and plenty of sliced green onion. But it’s also the perfect party appetizer!
- For the appetizer option, I’d serve the meatballs on a rimmed serving platter and drizzle them with sauce or keep them warm in a crock pot. Before serving garnish with sesame seeds and fresh chopped cilantro. I like to serve my meatballs with toothpicks also!
Other appetizers your family will love:
- Bourbon Whiskey BBQ Meatballs
- Spinach & Artichoke Dip
- Olive Oil & Balsamic Vinegar Bread Dip
- A Simple Cheese Board
- Pan Fried Pork Dumplings
- Curry Pork Meatballs
Quick and easy hand rolled, homemade baked meatballs simmered in a flavor forward Korean inspired sauce. Serve with rice for dinner or with toothpicks as a tasty appetizer at your next party!
- 1 lb. ground beef
- 1/2 cup bread crumbs
- 3 tablespoons milk
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1” knob ginger, minced
- 1/2 jalapeno, ribs & seeds removed, minced
- 1 green onion, thinly sliced
- 1 tablespoon hoisin sauce
- 1 egg
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
- 1/2 jalapeno, minced
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons hoisin sauce
- 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
- Kosher salt
- fresh cracked pepper
- sesame seeds
- sliced green onion
- sliced jalapeno
- Heat oven to 450 degrees and line baking sheet with parchment paper, then place a cooling rack on top.
- Add ground beef, bread crumbs, milk, garlic, ginger, jalapeno, green onion, hoisin, egg and a moderate pinch of salt and pepper. Use hands to mix just until well combined and do not over mix.
- Use a tablespoon cookie scoop to scoop 30 meatballs onto the cooling rack on the baking sheet.
- Coat your hands in a thin layer of olive oil and roll the meatballs between your palms to make them uniformly round. Return them to the cooling rack, placing them about an inch apart.
- Bake for 10 minutes.
- While the meatballs are baking, heat oil in a large pan over medium heat. Add jalapeno and garlic and cook for a minute.
- Turn heat to low and stir in soy sauce, rice vinegar, brown sugar, hoisin, mustard and a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Add baked meatballs to the pan and simmer over medium low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and thinly sliced green onion!
Don’t over mix the beef. Your hands are your best kitchen tools – use them to mix the ingredients until just combined. Over mixing the meat mixture will lead to tough, chewy meatballs – which should be avoided at all costs!
Along those same lines, don’t pack the meatballs too tightly! This will also lead to tough, chewy meatballs. Be gentle yet firm when scooping and rolling your meatballs and you’ll get a perfectly tender meatball every single time!
Use a cookie scoop to get uniform meatballs. A cookie scoop is the quickest way to get equal sized meatballs. They’re inexpensive and extremely useful.
Coat your hands with vegetable oil or olive oil before rolling the meatballs into round balls. This will prevent the meat from sticking to your hands and will also help brown the outside of the meatball a little bit more.
Use a high quality, grass fed beef for better flavor. The better the beef, the better the flavor, so opt for a (preferably local) grass fed, high quality ground beef. The extra money you’re spending is going to translate into a more flavorful dish.
Keywords: Korean BBQ meatballs, baked meatballs, Korean barbecue meatballs, Korean style meatballs
This post was originally published in November 2018. It was updated in September of 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best Korean beef meatballs every single time!