It is a fact that meatballs are universally adored, and these Thai Chicken Meatballs are a juicy, savory flavor boom in your mouth.
These little meatballs are made with ground chicken, aromatic garlic and ginger, green onions, the zest of a lime, a hint of chili, and a fresh pop of cilantro. Imagine sinking your teeth into a perfectly juicy meatball with a zing, a dash of herbaceous freshness, and just the right kick of spice.
Whether you're hosting a gathering or just craving something beyond the ordinary, that is what's fantastic about these Thai Chicken Meatballs - their versatility. They can be a party snack, an appetizer, or part of a main meal! Oh, and they freeze perfectly!
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These notes are here to help make this recipe a success; they cover some but not all ingredients. For a complete ingredient list, check out the recipe card below.
Green onions: Also called scallions or spring onions. These add great savory flavor to the meatballs.
Ginger: Fresh ginger is perfect here, or you can use the squeezy ginger that comes in a tube. Grate it into the food processor to ensure you don't get stringy bits of ginger in your meatballs.
Chilies: The recipe calls for 2 red chilies, which makes it spicy but not super hot. Feel free to use 1 to tone down the heat or 3 to up the kick. Or leave them out entirely if you want a really mild meatball.
Lime: I use lime zest to bring that zing that Thai food has; traditionally, it would be Kaffir lime leaves finely chopped, but they aren't always easy to find, and chopping them small enough is a bit of a pain! The zest of lime adds a great flavor, and then you can cut the lime into wedges to serve with the meatballs.
Ground chicken/chicken mince: I like to buy ground chicken that combines thigh and breast meat as I feel this gives a juicer meatball. But not all grocery stores sell it or label it as such. So use what your local store has.
We've tested this recipe at least 3 times to ensure it works well for you. Have a look at our tips for getting the best dish you can!
- The aromatics get chopped in a food processor, so they are all small and well combined. If you don't have one, use a sharp knife to mince everything together.
- Ginger doesn't chop well in a food processor, so I grate it into the bowl before the machine starts chopping.
- Use the stems of the cilantro/coriander and the leaves; they add extra flavor.
- The meatball mixture is a little sticky; wetting my hands with water (or a little oil) makes it much easier to roll the meatballs in my hands.
- Keep the meatballs small; they should be bite-sized. I use a half-tablespoon measure to get them roughly the same size.
Why You'll Love These Thai Chicken Meatballs
Freezing Thai Chicken Meatballs
You can freeze them before or after you cook them.
Place the cooked/uncooked meatballs on a lined baking sheet and then put them into the freezer for 3 hours until they are hard. Then, you can transfer them to a Tupperware or ziplock bag.
Before cooking: Defrost them overnight and cook as per the instructions.
After cooking: Defrost them overnight and heat them in the microwave for 2-3 minutes until hot. Or poach them in a pan of simmering stock/salted water. (The water needs to be salted, as they will naturally leech out some salt as they poach; adding salt to the water helps to prevent this).
These are all just suggestions and things that have worked in our test kitchen, but it is your dinner, so adapt it to suit your family. That is the beauty of cooking; we can all create our own delicious meals.
- Add extra veg: I will sometimes add some grated carrots to the mixture; it adds sweetness and color. Grated zucchini is great in them as well.
- Change the meat: You can swap the ground chicken for pork or turkey.
- Bake the meatballs: Instead of frying the meatballs, you can put the meatballs on a wire rack over a baking sheet and cook for around 15 minutes until cooked through and golden.
- Poach the meatballs: For an easy soup, use chicken broth infused with chili, ginger, and garlic. Add a splash of fish sauce, then poach the meatballs in the broth. Once cooked, add some cooked noodles and some Asian greens for an easy dinner.
Serving Suggestions for Thai Chicken Meatballs
As an appetizer/party snack, serve the meatballs with chili sauce and some little party forks for people to spear them with. Garnish them with some cilantro/coriander leaves and slices of red chili.
They are great with noodles or fried rice if you serve them as a main meal. Or you can mix them with a green curry sauce or Massaman curry.
For more meatball recipes try:
- Moroccan Lamb Meatballs
- Thai Pork Meatballs (no chili)
- Baked Paprika Meatballs
- Indian Chicken Meatballs
If you make these Thai Chicken Meatballs, please come back and comment. You can also tag me on social media.
Any questions about the recipe? Use the comments section below.
Get the Recipe
Thai Chicken Meatballs
- 3 green onions
- 4 cloves garlic
- 1½ tablespoon grated ginger
- 2 red chillies
- 1 cup fresh cilantro , stems and leaves
- zest of a lime
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 2 tablespoon oil
- Cut the root and the dark ends off the green onions. Then, roughly chop them into 3-4 pieces each.3 green onions
- Add them to the food processor, peeled garlic and grated ginger.4 cloves garlic1½ tablespoon grated ginger
- Cut the ends off the chilies and add them to the processor.2 red chillies
- Blitz the mix until you have a roughly chopped mixture.
- Add the coriander, lime zest and salt.1 cup fresh cilantrozest of a lime¾ teaspoon salt
- Blitz again until you have a finely chopped mixture.
- Add the chicken mince and pulse chop until just combined.1 lb ground chicken
- Fill a bowl with water and dip your hands in.
- Remove about a ½ tablespoon of the mixture and shape it into a small ball.
- Place the ball on a lined baking sheet and repeat. (and repeat......)
- Once you have finished, heat the oil in a large frying pan and cook the meatballs in batches. Keep that pan on medium-high heat and cook them for 3-4 minutes, rolling them about the pan to cook on all sides and prevent them from sticking or burning. After 3 minutes, remove a ball and cut it open to check there is no pink.2 tablespoon oil
- If you make the balls bigger, they will need extra cooking time.
- They can be served hot or at room temperature.
Nutrition is per serving