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!
Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you purchase the items I recommend through the links I provide, I get a small commission at no extra cost to you. For more info, please see my disclosure policy. Thanks for supporting Fox and Briar!
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!
You may also like
Easy Korean Meatballs
- 1 and 1/2 pounds ground beef 80/20 is best
- 3 green onions very thinly sliced
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 egg lightly beaten
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 tbsp gochujang Korean chili paste
- 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp rice vinegar
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp gochujang
- 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.
Making this tonight but short on time later, could I make the form the meatballs and keep them covered in the fridge until baking?
Hi, that should work! They might need an extra minute or two to bake as they will be cold from the fridge.
Baljinder Dhesi says
Delicious, really easy to make, the whole family enjoyed
Shantae Coley says
Substituted Bison for beef added some quick pickled carrots & cucumbers served with veggies and brown rice. I made this for meal prep and it was very quick and easy to make. I’ll definitely be adding this to my rotation!
Joanne Davies says
These were incredible! and so easy to make. I made Bahn Mi sandwiches with the meatballs.
That sounds delicious!
Delicious!!!! Make a double recipe of the glaze to have some for your rice too.
Hi, I’m curious – when you say ground beef 80/20, is that the meat to fat ratio? I’d be grateful for a response 🙂
Hi, yes that is what it means!
Sheila Williams says
Wondering if they can be mixed up and frozen prior to cooking.
Hi, I think that would be fine. I usually freeze them after cooking for easy meals – I just don’t put the glaze on them before freezing.
These were absolutely delicious! It’s the perfect combination of sweet, tangy, and spicy… and unbelievably easy. I made them once with beef and another time with pork. Both were hits with the whole family. Thank you for the recipe!
Thank you so much for this recipe! I make these for my family during special occasions and they can’t get enough. If they had their way I’d make them all the time lol. I’ve even had Asian people tell me how much they love them. Instead of using brown sugar I use a monk fruit brown sugar substitute and they can’t even tell the difference.
So glad you love them!
Someone who is Korean says
Ugh another. THESE ARE NOT KOREAN. Come on, white girl. Just because you use gochujang in something does not make it Korean. It’s great that you have an appreciation for the ingredients but tiresome that you insist on naming things as if they’re legitimate parts of that culture.
Hi, thanks for taking the time to share your feelings on this. You are correct, this is not a Korean dish. I will be changing the name to reflect that.
I was just about to come here to say the same thing lol. The caucasity….Let’s stop labeling a dish you invent as it belonging to a certain culture just because you use an ingredient from that culture. Yes, the recipe sounds amazing but please don’t call it Korean when it’s not one of their actual dishes. It’s insulting.
Thank you! From a fellow Korean
Marie Buttree says
The white monk fruit in a red bag??
Delish. Doubled recipe, 1/2ed the gochujang in the meatballs and glaze, toasted sesame, quadrupled the glaze and added 1/2 stick of butter to it. Have 5 children, all voted that recipe was a keeper!!!!
I’m so glad to hear that!
I am vegan and I’ve always LOVED Korean meatballs and today I made them with a plant ground as the meat and… my family has DEMANDED I make more LOL! Highly would recommend! Definitely making again!
Oh yay, I’m so happy to hear that!
These were excellent! I followed the recipe exactly except used ground turkey because that’s all I had. We had with rice and kimchi, will definitely make again. Thanks for a tasty and easy recipe!
I’m so glad you loved them!
Jennifer Barker says
I so have to try this. My son is one that will only eat meat. His favorite is my korean beef which is only sliced beef in soy sauce. I have been looking for something to start a Christmas dinner tradition with and this sounds perfect. My question for you, do you see having any issues if I were to make these more into a “giant” meatball dish? Think of it as a personal meatloaf dish with this recipe.
Hi Jennifer – I think that would be fine! They might take a little longer to cook, I would use an instant read thermometer to make sure the internal temp is safe.
I’ve lost count how many times we have made this at our house! The flavor combinations are on another level! I did go to the Korean grocery to get the paste because I was so intrigued. I’m so glad I did! We all loved it, even my kiddos, as it was not too spicy. I served it with the steamed broccoli and my whole family agreed it was so much better than take out!! It’s on the menu tonight and I can’t wait!!
I’m so glad you love it! That gochujang sure does take it to another level, I’m glad you found some!
Monique bell says
Wow! This was so yummy! I made it with pork mince rather than beef and mixed all the ingredients together without the korean paste first so I could make a few meatballs for little miss 3yo that wouldn’t be spicy and then mixed the spice in and made the rest to recipe.
The sauce is so yummy and I think I made about double cuz knew hubby would love it!
So easy to make and fun to use a new ingredient (found at the asian supermarket) I’d never heard of before. Everything else was in my cupboard, which speaks to how easy it is to make with pantry staples!
Big thumbs up from here in New Zealand
Yay, so happy you loved it Monique! Thanks for your comment!