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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.

overhead photo of meatballs in bowl with rice and chopsticks

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.

meatballs on plate before cooking

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.

meatballs cooking in skillet

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.

meatballs cooking in skillet with sauce and broccoli

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.

overhead close up photo of meatballs in bowl with rice and chopsticks

Looking for other weeknight dinners? Here are my favorites: 

Spicy Orange Sesame Chicken

Ginger Sesame Chicken and Crispy Brussels Sprouts

French Onion Dumplings

Crockpot Crispy Chicken Tinga Tacos with Avocado Jalapeño Crema

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

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Servings: 4
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.

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  • 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).


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. 
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photo of meatballs in bowl with rice and chopsticks and sauce on table

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  1. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe for two separate weeknight dinners and I am absolutely in love with it. It’s really fast and that sauce is addictive. Thank you Tieghan!

    1. Hey Danielle,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe was a winner, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review! xT

  2. 3 stars
    Help! I want to make this again because the flavor was good but it came out SO salty. I followed the recipe as is and used soy sauce because I did not have tamari. Is tamari less salty than soy?

    1. Hey Rachel,
      Thanks for trying this recipe, sorry it was salty for you! Yes, tamari is less salty than soy sauce, you would want to use low sodium soy sauce next time! xTieghan

  3. 5 stars
    Those were delicious! And under 30 min! I want to make an extra batch next time to freeze!!! At what point in the recipe should I freeze them? I cannot wait to eat the leftovers tomorrow!

    1. Hey Sara,
      Fantastic! I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I am so glad it was tasty for you! I would freeze after step 1. xT

    1. Hi Lou Lou,
      Amazing!! I love to hear that this recipe was tasty, thanks so much for making it and sharing your review:) xTieghan

    1. Hi Lydia,
      Happy Friday! I am so excited to hear that this recipe was enjoyed, thanks a bunch for trying it out! ?xx

  4. 2 stars
    The meatballs definitely need a binder (egg or panko), they were a mess to assemble and to cook. The overall taste was overpowered by soy sauce. Was disappointed at the end :/

    1. Hi Maddi,
      Thanks for giving the recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear it was not enjoyed! xT

  5. Is it possible to bake the meatballs separately instead and then add them at the end to coat in sauce? If so what temp/how long would you suggest?

    1. Hi Maggy,
      Sure, that would work for you, I would bake at 350F for 15-20 until cooked through. I hope this recipe turns out amazing for you, please let me know if you give it a try! xx

  6. 5 stars
    I made these last April for the first time and have made them three times since! They’re perfect. I use ground chicken. Thanks for all the incredible recipes. I live on your website ?. It’s become my favorite thing about meal planning!

    1. Hi Bri,
      Happy Wednesday! I really appreciate you taking the time to make this recipe, I love to hear that it is always a hit! Thanks for your kind message:) xxT

    1. Hi Taylor,
      Fantastic! Thanks so much for making this dish and sharing your review, I am so glad it was enjoyed! xx