Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs

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Seriously? I could eat a big bowl of these, then go back for more. I’m not saying that I have a meatball problem. Yet.

Made with traditional Asian flavors, these meatballs get a satisfying, subtle heat from a generous amount of chili flakes, ground ginger, and fresh garlic. The sweetness of the sausage balances out the hotness nicely. The best part? Once you’ve made them, they fry up in a few minutes flat, and develop a lovely caramelized crust in the process.

Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs: Serving suggestions

Now, I made my meatballs on the larger side this time. To make them more cocktail-party friendly, make them smaller (the size of a marble) and stick 2 or 3 on a short skewer for easy nibbling.

Here are some other ideas for serving:

+Serve on top of udon with a little sauteed bok choy and baby spinach
+Roll a few up in a rice paper wrapper with fresh lettuce and bean sprouts
+Serve on top of stir-fried veggies and jasmine rice

Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs: A note on ingredients

For the sausage, I buy it already ground because it’s easier. If you can’t find it that way, you could certainly buy fresh sausages and remove the casings. More work, but pretty much the same result.

Ground sweet Italian sausage

Be sure to buy lean ground beef. You’re using ground sausage, which contains a fair amount of fat, so you want to be sure you don’t add too much extra fat. Using lean ground beef will help keep your meatballs flavorful and juicy�not overly greasy.

Lean ground beef

If you can find them, definitely use panko instead of regular breadcrumbs. Panko are Japanese breadcrumbs made from crustless bread, so they’re lighter than regular breadcrumbs. This helps give these meatballs a really nice texture. Get them at your grocery store, Asian markets, or buy them online.

Panko breadcrumbs

Oh, and salt? Don’t add any. (At least until the end, when you make your test meatball to check the seasoning.) Between the sausage and the mushroom soy, your meatballs will likely already have plenty of salt.

Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs

1 1/2 lbs. ground sweet Italian sausage
1 1/2 lbs. lean ground beef
2 cups panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
3 scallions, plus more minced for garnish
3 cloves garlic, mashed
1 tsp. ground ginger
1 tsp. Chinese five spice powder
1 Tbls. chili flakes
1 Tbls. mushroom soy

Makes about 50 golf sized meatballs

Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs: Make the meatball mixture

Grab your sausage and ground beef. Put them in a large mixing bowl.

With your hands (use rubber gloves if you like), mix the meats together to combine. You’re aiming for a fairly uniform mixture, like this:

Add the panko and the eggs to the bowl.

With your hands, mix the egg and breadcrumbs in well to combine. This may take a minute or two, but keep going until your mixture is uniform.

Chop up your scallions. I cut up the 3 that go into the bowl, then did a few more and set them aside for garnish.

Add the 3 chopped scallions to the bowl.

Toss in the garlic, ginger, five-spice powder, chili flakes, and mushroom soy.

Mix again with your hands to combine and distribute everything. (You don’t want to wind up with little clumps of spice in the middle of your meatballs…)

If you like, fry a test meatball to check the seasoning. Just fry a little bit of the mixture in a pan. Taste it and correct the seasoning if need be.

Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs: Form the meatballs

When you’re happy with the seasoning, you’re ready to form your meatballs. Line a sheet pan with wax paper or foil and set it aside nearby. Then grab a little blob of the meatball mixture.

Roll it between your palms to form a ball (just like you would with Play-Doh). How much meat you use is entirely up to you�and how big you want your meatballs to be. I made mine about the size of a golf ball.

Set your meatball on your prepared pan.

Repeat with the rest of the meatball mixture until you’ve used it all up. You’ll wind up with a little meatball army:

Sizzling Hot & Spicy Meatballs: Cook the meatballs

I usually cook a handful of meatballs immediately, then freeze the rest. (Just lay them in single rows in a gallon-size zip-top bag and freeze flat so they hold their shape.)

To cook, set a non-stick pan over medium-high heat for a minute to heat up. When the pan is hot, drop in however many meatballs you like.

Fry for a few minutes like this on one side.

When the meatballs have a nice brown crust on the bottom, flip them over.

Keep frying and flipping like this until your meatballs are evenly browned and are cooked through in the middle. This can take anywhere from maybe 5-8 minutes, depending on the size of your meatballs. Cut into one to check for doneness. It should be brown throughout, not pink.

Depending on how fatty your sausage is, your meatballs will give off a fair amount of fat. When they’re cooked, fish them out of the pan with a slotted spoon. If they’re exceptionally fatty, let them drain on a rack or a paper-towel lined plate.

Garnish with chopped scallions and a little crushed red pepper.

Serve and enjoy!

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Jessie Cross is a cookbook author and creator of The Hungry Mouse, a monster online food blog w/500+ recipes. When she's not shopping for cheese or baking pies, Jessie works as an advertising copywriter in Boston. She lives in Salem, Massachusetts with her husband and two small, fluffy wolves.


  1. These look great! I actually make what we call "meat cakes" (fat hamburger sized meatloaves) with a very similar recipe and then we top them with Wasabi Mayo and put them on nicely toasted hard rolls. I've also done a version with chipotle mayo that we liked quite a bit as well. I finally set up Facebook today and am following your posts there now. I just love your blog!
  2. Those look wicked good, I love meatballs. I don't think I've ever seen ones with an Asian twist like this before, it's a great idea. I'm going to have to steal it. ;)
  3. These look insanely delish! Please tell me what is mushroom soy? I do have an Asian grocery store near me. Just give a clue what it is and what it adds. Thank you
    • Thanks so much for stopping by! OK, mushroom soy is a dark soy sauce that has mushrooms added to it during brewing. It has an earthier flavor than regular soy. I usually buy Pearl River brand, which I can find at most of the Asian markets in Boston. If you can't find it (or don't like it), you could substitute dark soy if you like. Oh, when you're at the market, you might also see something called black soy sauce, which is soy sauce that's been fermented with molasses. This is generally on the sweeter side and much more syrupy. Not sure I'd use it in this dish. Hope that helps! Let me know if you find it and what you think. :D +Jessie
  4. I have never used scallions in meatballs before, this just gave me an idea to try that the next time I make them. I love that you can use pretty much what meat you are in the mood for. So delicious, meatballs are definitely one of my favorite comfort foods
  5. Discovered your blog only recently and am having so much fun browsing the archives and relishing all of the excellent recipe posts and the detailed instructions and photos. I can't wait to try making this, and actually think that on a toothpick they'd make great h'or douvres. Thanks.
    • Oh gosh, thanks a bunch for stopping by and digging around! These would be fabulous if you made 'em a little smaller and toothpicked 'em. :D +Jessie
  6. My friend the Baron just clued me in to your excellent site! I am really enjoying reading your posts and the detailed photos are very much appreciated. Now, I did hassle the Baron the proscuitto/basil wrapped chicken fingers (the thought of a mouthful of basil leave is not a pleasant one), but this recipe for meatballs looks perfect. I am going to cook these critters up! I can't wait to do it, too. This recipe looks just right and who doesn't love meatballs!? Your blog is excellent and I compliment you! Well done! (Pun intended.) Best Regards, Daniel
  7. Had guests over last night and fried up some of these wonderful meatballs. They were perfect and yummy!! Thank you so much for your kick ass blog!