Takeout-style Weeknight Sticky Honey Garlic Meatballs – inspired by classic Mongolian beef. Easy homemade chicken and ginger meatballs, tossed in a sweet, spicy, and extra sticky honey garlic soy sauce. Then served over rice and topped with plenty of sesame seeds for a deliciously fun dinner. Make the meatballs even better with a creamy garlic dipping sauce. Quicker than any take-out meal…and made a little more wholesome too.
Thursday night takeout-style food at home! What if we made this a weekly series? It could be fun, especially since we all know how much my family loves Chinese, Thai, and Korean-inspired dinners. Plus, I have so much fun with a “takeout” inspired meal. It’s always a nice change from our usual pasta and pizza nights.
Creighton has been asking me to make Mongolian beef for some time now. Really anything beef (or lamb). He’s kind of a guys-guy, he wants at least a little beef in every meal.
Since I have a Mongolian beef recipe in the new cookbook, I wondered if there was a fun spin I could take on the quick and easy recipe. Meatballs are something I usually make with a more Italian-style sauce. But a sweet and spicy Mongolian-inspired meatball sounded fun. And like the perfect simple twist on the very popular restaurant entree, Mongolian beef.
Mongolian beef is a very simple dish consisting of thinly sliced steak, stir-fried with garlic, and ginger, then tossed in a sweet soy-based sauce. It’s not usually too spicy, just a touch, but a little sweet and tangy.
The sauce is the key. It’s usually topped with green onions (scallions) and paired with vegetables, then served over rice.
For the meatballs, instead of using steak, I made ginger chicken meatballs.
Here are the details
For the meat, I used ground chicken, but ground pork or ground beef will work just as well. I seasoned them up with plenty of green onions, ginger, and a splash of soy (well, I like to use tamari, which is gluten-free soy sauce). Then I rolled them through cornstarch (or arrowroot powder) to give them a little breading before pan-searing in a skillet.
Similar to how I make this orange chicken, but with meatballs.
While the meatballs cook, mix up the sauce, which is simply soy sauce mixed with honey and water. I then made a quick cornstarch slurry to use to thicken the sauce.
Once the meatballs are seared, pull them out of the skillet, then toss in lots of broccoli. I love to use broccoli here, but bell peppers, asparagus, or even brussels sprouts would all be delicious.
Pan-fry the broccoli for a few minutes, then add the garlic, ginger, and a pinch of chili flakes. Pour over the sauce and add the meatballs back.
Simmer the sauce a few minutes, then pour in the cornstarch slurry and let the sauce cook until it coats the meatballs.
Grab your bowls full of rice and spoon the meatballs and sauce over top. Next, add lots of fresh green onions and sesame seeds.
So quick and easy, but the flavor is perfect. I made mine a little less sweet than the traditional sauce and added double the ginger. Totally delicious.
Here’s a tip, double the recipe and save the leftovers for quick and easy lunches. The meatballs would also be great atop a chopped salad or served over rice noodles.
They’re great as party appetizers too, so the serving options are endless! Of course, around here we love them over rice with lots of vegetables. It’s our kind of “comfort” food.
Looking for other weeknight dinners? Here are my favorites:
Lastly, if you make these Weeknight Sticky Honey Garlic Meatballs, be sure to leave a comment and/or give this recipe a rating! Above all, I love to hear from you guys and always do my best to respond to each and every comment. And of course, if you do make this recipe, don’t forget to tag me on Instagram! Looking through the photos of recipes you all have made is my favorite!
Weeknight Sticky Honey Garlic Meatballs
Calories Per Serving: 536 kcal
Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.
- 1 pound ground turkey, chicken, or beef
- 1 tablespoon tamari or soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger
- 2 green onions, chopped
- black pepper
- 1/4 cup avocado or sesame oil
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1/2 cup tamari or soy sauce
- 1/4 cup honey
- 1 large head broccoli, cut into florets (about a cup and a half of florets)
- 4 cloves garlic, chopped
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- chili flakes
- 1-2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1. To make the meatballs. Combine the meat, 1 tablespoon tamari/soy sauce, 1 tablespoon ginger, green onions, and a pinch of pepper in a bowl. Mix until just combined. Coat your hands with oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon-size balls. The mix will be wet. 2. Place 2 tablespoons cornstarch in a shallow bowl. Dredge the meatballs in cornstarch to coat. Take the remaining 1 tablespoon cornstarch and mix with 2 tablespoons water, set aside.3. To make the sauce. In a glass jar, whisk together 1/2 cup tamari/soy sauce, 1/4 cup honey, and 1/3 cup water. 4. Heat the oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the meatballs, cook until seared all around, about 8 minutes. Remove the meatballs from the skillet.5. To the skillet, add the broccoli and cook until lightly charring, 5 minutes. Add the garlic, ginger, and chili flakes, cook 1-2 minutes. Pour in the tamari/honey sauce. Bring to a boil, boil 3-4 minutes, then add the chicken. Toss with the sauce and cook until the sauce starts to thicken. Pour in the cornstarch slurry and cook another 2-3 minutes, until the sauce coats the meatballs.6. Serve the meatballs and sauce over steamed rice with sesame seeds, green onions, and dipping sauce (recipe in notes).
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Sweet/Creamy Dipping Sauce: combine 1/2 cup mayo, 1 tablespoon ketchup, 1 teaspoon seasoned salt, 1 teaspoon tamari/soy sauce, and 1 clove garlic in a bowl. Thin with 1-2 tablespoons water.