Sticky Mongolian Beef Meatballs
Turn your favorite Asian take out into Mongolian beef meatballs! These meatballs are made with ground beef and are tender to the core. Toss them in a sweet, savory, and sticky glaze and watch the crowd gobble them up for game day!
Please hand me a spoon and let me go to town on that sauce. Okay, but seriously, is it too early to start sharing game day recipes with you?
I’ve got sticky, sweet, and savory Mongolian beef meatballs on the menu today, and they are just about the most addicting thing to come out of the kitchen. These meatballs are ideal to serve your guests if you’re hosting a party for the big game this year.
But also, they work just as well served over a scoop of fluffy rice with steamed broccoli drizzled with a bit of that crazy Mongolian glaze that’s scented with garlic and ginger, and umami-laden with soy. That sauce just hugs the broccoli, coats the rice, and each bite is tender, fluffy, and crunchy perfection.
At this point, you might as well call me the meatball queen. Strangely, in the last six years, I’ve developed a peculiar liking for turning all these classic meals into meatball versions of themselves. There’s cheesesteak meatballs with garlic cheese sauce, chicken piccata meatballs, Greek-style meatballs, Cajun chicken meatballs in cream sauce, General Tso’s Chicken Meatballs, and then there’s by firecracker chicken meatballs that are basically made to be served at your Super Bowl shindig.
But I digress, these are not the last meatballs you’ll be seeing from me. Would you judge me if I told you I’ve already got one in the works for February? But these Mongolian beef meatballs will undoubtedly be made on the regular, especially since I can serve them over rice and with veggies on the side and call it a meal or serve them on their own and call them an appetizer!
What do you need to make Mongolian beef meatballs?
I’m using my standard ingredients for these Mongolian meatballs.
- panko breadcrumbs
- an egg
- minced garlic
- soy sauce
- red pepper flakes/ white pepper
- thinly sliced scallions
- ground beef
How to make Mongolian beef meatballs:
I have a trick that I always share when I share a new meatball recipe, and it works like a charm every time. With all the experimenting I’ve been doing, I’ve also a few more tips along the way!
- You want to make sure that you combine everything but the meat in a bowl first to ensure that you can mix everything through. Then, once you add the meat, you want to mix until the meat is *just combined* without overworking it. When you overwork the meat, you almost always end up with dry, dense meatballs – not what we’re going for here. The texture is much more sublime if you take the time to combine the other ingredients we’re working with first, then add the meat in.
- This is a new one that I’ll be adding to the list. It’s that you want to add the meat, then use a fork to ‘fluff’ it and combine it with the rest of the ingredients. Don’t push your fork down, don’t mash it – that makes a dense meatball. You want to fluff with the fork facing down and just comb the ingredients through. I know, crazy, but it works!
- Use a cookie scoop to help measure the meatballs; this ensures even cooking in the oven! Once you scoop out the mixture, don’t pack it down. Gently roll the meat between the palm of your hands, and it should come together fairly quickly!
What if the meatball mixture starts sticking to my hands, any tips?
I didn’t have this problem with this particular recipe, but if you do, you can wash your hands, pat them dry, then spray a little cooking spray on the palms of your hands and rub them together. Then when you go to grab the meat mixture, it should only stick to itself. If you use a cookie scoop to scoop the meat, you shouldn’t have this problem.
What goes in the Mongolian beef meatballs sauce?
- born sugar
- low sodium soy sauce
- grated ginger + garlic
- sesame oil
- oyster sauce
- hoisin sauce
- red pepper flakes + white pepper
- sesame seeds (for topping)
TIP: It’s essential to use low sodium soy sauce for this recipe as we’re using both oyster sauce and hoisin sauce as well (both ingredients are salt heavy) to it’s crucial to cut back where we can so we aren’t left with an overly salty glaze.
How to make the Mongolian beef meatballs sauce:
- Add all the ingredients except the sesame seeds to a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- Use a whisk to dissolve the sugar and help combine the sauce.
- Bring the sauce to a simmer, then lower the heat to low and let cook for 5-6 minutes. You want to stir frequently, so the sauce doesn’t burn.
- Add the meatballs and toss them in the sauce to coat.
I’m thinking about making these for the big game, can I make Mongolian beef meatballs in advance?
I’m so glad you asked, because yes, you can! I would make the meatball portion of this recipe a day in advance, allow them to cool completely and then store them in an airtight container. Allow the meatballs to sit at room temperature for 30 minutes before you make the sauce. Before serving, make a batch of the sauce (or a double batch if you like things saucy) and just add the meatballs into the skillet, so they heat through once you’ve made the sauce.
How to serve Mongolian beef meatballs:
Honestly, this is totally up to you!
If you’re making these Asian-inspired meatballs for The Big Game, I would say make them as listed, and for every batch you make, double the sauce component, especially if you plan on storing these in a slow cooker on the warm setting – people love sauce! The meatballs are tender and soft, but because we use panko in them, they do soak up quite a bit of that sauce as they sit — moral of the story: when in doubt, MAKE MORE SAUCE.
If you’re making these sticky Asian-style meatballs for dinner, you could:
- serve them over egg noodles
- over brown or jasmine rice
- over quinoa
- with a salad on the side
- with roasted or steamed veggies
That first taste of Mongolian beef meatballs is loaded with sticky, sweet and salty soy-glazed sauce, the meatballs are tender and light, and they practically fall apart in your mouth if you use the simple tips I’ve provided.
So good they could make a grown woman (or man) cry!
- ½ cup EACH: Panko breadcrumbs AND thinly sliced green onions (white only, keep greens for serving!)
- 1 large egg
- 1 tablespoon EACH: minced garlic AND low sodium soy sauce
- ½ teaspoon salt
- ¼ teaspoon EACH: red pepper flakes AND white pepper
- 1 pound ground beef
- ½ cup water
- ⅓ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup low sodium soy sauce
- 4 cloves garlic grated
- 2 teaspoons EACH: sesame oil AND grated ginger
- 1 tablespoon EACH: oyster sauce AND hoisin sauce
- ⅛ teaspoon EACH: red pepper flakes AND white pepper
- 2 teaspoons toasted sesame seeds
- PREP: Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 450ºF. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, set aside.
- MEATBALLS: In a large bowl, combine the breadcrumbs, green onions, egg, minced garlic, soy sauce, salt, and white pepper. Mixed together until totally combined. Then, add the ground beef and mix until *just combined* you don’t want to overwork the meat or you’ll have tough meatballs. Shape the meatball mixture into meatballs using 1 ½ tablespoon (scant) of mix per meatball. I like to make them small since these are appetizers. Line the meatballs on the baking sheet and bake the meatballs for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown and cooked through.
- SAUCE: While the meatballs are baking, heat the ingredients for the sauce (except the sesame seeds) in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Use a whisk to dissolve the sugar and allow the sauce to come to a simmer before lowering the heat to low. Allow the sauce to simmer for 5-6 minutes (you want it to just barely bubble on the surface.) Stir frequently so the sauce doesn’t burn.
- SERVE: When the meatballs are cooked, add them to the skillet and toss them in the sauce to coat. If your skillet is small, you can add ½ of the meatballs, coat and remove them to a serving dish. Sprinkle the meatballs with the toasted sesame seeds and the slivered green onions and serve!
- if you're making these for a party and would like to store them, I suggest doubling the batch of sauce (meatballs soak up quite a bit as they sit.) And placing them in a slow cooker on the 'warm' setting.
- the sauce does thicken naturally as it sits, so if you prepare this early on, you may need a bit more water to help thin it back to a glaze-like consistency.