These Baked Korean Meatballs are sweet, spicy, and full of flavor. This easy ground beef recipe is perfect for a weeknight dinner, and can be made ahead of time. Add this ground beef recipe to your meal plan rotation today!
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Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs
My family has been obsessed with these Korean Meatballs since I started making them. My toddler loves them, and he usually won’t eat meat. And my husband asked me to make a double batch next time! I love the sweet and spicy glaze that really makes these Korean Meatballs special.
How to make Korean Meatballs
These Easy Korean Meatballs use:
- Ground beef – I recommend using 80% for a juicy, flavorful meatball
- Green Onions – be sure to finely mince
- Grated Ginger Root – I use a microplane for this
- Garlic – finely minced, or use a garlic press like I do!
- Panko Breadcrumbs
- Egg – for binding
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Gochujang – Korean Chili Paste. This spicy chili is what makes these Korean Meatballs so good!
Add all these ingredients to a bowl and mix until combined. Don’t overmix the meat mixture or you will end up with tough meatballs.
Shape mixture into 24 meatballs. I use a cookie scoop to make the portioning very easy. Bake meatballs on a baking sheet lined with foil (for easy cleanup) at 350 degrees F for 10-15 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. To avoid overcrowding, use two baking sheets and place 12 meatballs on each sheet. They can be baked at the same time in the oven.
For the sweet and spicy Korean Meatball Glaze
Some recipes for Korean meatballs use apricot preserves for the glaze, but I prefer to use brown sugar to create the glaze. The ingredients for the meatball sauce are:
- Brown Sugar
- Low Sodium Soy Sauce
- Rice Vinegar
Add all sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan. Cook over low-medium heat, whisking often, until thickened, about five minutes. Don’t allow sauce to boil. Remove from heat. Brush on cooked meatballs.
What is Gochujang?
Gochujang is a chili paste made from chili powder, glutenous rice, fermented soybeans, and salt. It adds a depth of flavor to dishes that is hard to replicate. Different brands can vary in spiciness, some are more mild and some are very spicy.
Where can I buy Gochujang?
You may be able to find gochujang in your regular grocery store, as I was. You can also check a specialty Asian grocery store, or buy it on Amazon.
What can I substitute for Gochujang?
The flavor of Gochujang is very unique, so it can’t really be replicated with something else. However, in a pinch you can substitute sriracha or Thai chili paste.
Can Korean Meatballs be made ahead of time?
Yes. Korean Meatballs can be made ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator or freezer.
Make Ahead and Refrigerate
Make meatballs and bake according to instructions, but do not make the glaze yet. Allow meatballs to cool completely. Store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. When ready to serve, make glaze. Reheat meatballs in a sauce pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You will need to do this in batches to avoid over crowding the pan. Once warm, brush meatballs with glaze, garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, serve.
Make ahead and freeze.
Make meatballs and bake according to instructions, but do not make the glaze yet. Allow meatballs to cool completely. Place on meatballs on a baking sheet, then freeze them for at least 30 minutes. Once frozen, transfer to a freezer bag, freeze for up to one month. Before serving, allow meatballs to thaw in the fridge overnight. Right before reheating meatballs, make the glaze. Reheat meatballs in a sauce pan on the stove over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until heated through. You will need to do this in batches to avoid over crowding the pan. Once warm, brush meatballs with glaze, garnish with sesame seeds and green onion, serve.
What do you serve with Korean Meatballs
I like to serve these meatballs with rice and steamed broccoli. You could also make them into Korean meatball lettuce cups by serving them in pieces of lettuce – I like to use butter lettuce for lettuce wraps. These Korean meatballs also make great appetizers served on their own!
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Easy Korean Meatballs
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Line two large baking sheets with foil, set aside.
- In a large mixing bow, add all ingredients for meatballs, mix until just combined. Don't overmix or the meatballs will be tough.
- Roll mixture into 24 meatballs. Using a cookie scoop makes it easy to get evenly sized meatballs. Place 12 meatballs on each baking sheet. Transfer to oven and bake 10-15 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 160 degrees.
- Meanwhile, make the glaze. Combine brown sugar, soy sauce, rice vinegar and gochujang in a small sauce pan over medium heat.
- Whisk together until combined. Continue to cook and whisk occasionally until sauce thickens, about 5 minutes. Don't allow sauce to boil, reduce heat if needed.
- When meatballs are done, remove from oven. Brush with glaze. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions if desired, and serve.