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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.



  • 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. We love this recipe in our house! I made a little modification to the recipe – I use ground chicken, use a medium-sized cookie scooper to scoop onto a parchment paper lined pan, covered and placed in the fridge for one hour (could probably go longer if prepping everything a few hours ahead of time), then baked at 400 for 25-30 minutes, then broiled for 1-3 minutes to achieve the crispness level when frying them. Then continue to follow the recipe as normal! Way less messy, much healthier, and a prettier presentation than trying to fry them in oil.

    1. Hey Heather,
      Wonderful!! I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! Thanks for sharing your adjustments:) xx

  2. 5 stars
    I’m not sure about the comments but this is a totally winner for me! Loved it paired with the dipping sauce. I took your advice and used an egg to help bind the chicken meatballs and it worked no problem. Will definitely add this to our dinner rotation:) thanks!!!

    1. Hey Jessica,
      Happy Monday!!🌞 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear that it turned out well for you! xx

    1. Hey Sonia,
      Happy Monday!!⛅️ Thanks a bunch for giving this recipe a try, I love to hear that it turned out well for you:)

  3. 5 stars
    this was a winner in my house!! my toddler and baby (and husband for that matter) loved it! I used coconut aminos because I limit my soy intake and I used maple syrup because my baby can’t have honey. it was so good! the dipping sauce was really good with it too. will definitely be in our regular rotation!!

    1. Hey there,
      Wonderful!!🍀 I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for trying it out:)

  4. 5 stars
    I read the comments first and went equal parts soy and honey for the sauce. Everything else was perfect as is.

    1. Hi Jenny,
      Awesome!! Thanks so much for giving this dish a try and your comment, I love to hear it was a hit! 😊

  5. 1 star
    I’ve been a fan of HBH’s recipes for years, but this dish was truly inedible.

    The meatballs had no binding agent and, thus, were not shapable and did not transfer from bowl to pan very well. They were so wet and, for lack of a better word, gloopy that I was unable to ‘dredge’ them and move them around in cornstarch. They flattened out in the frying pan and fell apart around the edges. Does anyone have a solution for this? Breadcrumbs maybe?

    The worst part, though, was the sauce. As an Asian and Pacific Islander, I love salt! I adore soy sauce. But this sauce was way too salty. Not even extra honey could save it. I saw another comment saying to sub half the soy sauce with more water, and I agree.

    Overall, my family wasn’t able to eat this dish and ended up eating a gas station dinner. There are too many additions/substitutions needed to salvage this recipe to try making it again.

    1. Hi Amanda,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear it was not enjoyed. For the meatballs, you could add an egg as a binder. For the sauce, I would try coconut aminos for something less salty. xT

    2. Unfortunately I agree with Amanda. I read this comment and ignored the suggestions. While we still ate the dinner, it was much too salty for our taste. It was also difficult to cook the meatballs without binding agent. However, if you want an indulgent, takeout like dish, this is for you!

    1. Hey Sydney,
      Happy Monday!! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xx

    1. Hey Carson,
      Happy Monday!! I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! xx

    1. Hey Anne,
      I appreciate you making this recipe and I’m thrilled to hear that it turned out well for you! Have a great weekend! xx

  6. 5 stars
    Very good, whole family loved it. Surprised by the comments. I probably added more garlic than called for, and since we have Type1diabetics in the house, I subbed most of the honey for a substitute and doubled the recipe. Will make again!

    1. Hey Heather,
      Happy Monday!! I appreciate you giving this recipe a try and sharing your review, so glad to hear it turned out well! xT

  7. 3 stars
    The recipe turned out like the instructions. The flavor was missing something but could not figure it out. Maybe the meat needs more seasoning? Thanks for the recipe!

    1. Hi Hannah,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback! Sorry to hear you felt like it was missing something! Let me know if you think of what that could be! xx

        1. Hey Amanda,
          Happy Sunday!! Love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! xT

      1. 4 stars
        Loved the dish as a whole and will make again but will definitely substitute half of the soy sauce with water and maybe some of the honey with maple syrup. It was very very salty but so good and will be even better next time with the modifications. Thanks for this great recipe!

        1. Hi Monica,
          Happy Monday!! I am so glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks so much for making it! xT

  8. 5 stars
    I used coconut aminos instead of soy sauce and it turned out so good! I used ground turkey for the meatballs and they were so soft and tasty! The broccoli soaked up the sauce, the perfect flavor bomb. My two and five year old cleared their plates.

    1. Hey Belle,
      Happy Monday!❄️🎄 I appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your review, so glad to hear it was enjoyed! xT

  9. 3 stars
    I used beef since that’s what I had on hand. I definitely would prefer it sweeter and less salty. I did use low sodium soy sauce and it was still too salty. The honey garlic flavor just wasn’t there.

    1. 3 stars
      Tried this tonight. Used coconut aminos instead of soy. Way too salty for me, but my husband loved it! Think next time I might cut back on the soy sauce & maybe use more water & honey?

      1. Hi Diane,
        Thanks for giving this recipe a try, so sorry to hear it was salty for you! If you used coconut aminos that really should have cut down on the salt factor. xx

  10. 3 stars
    The meatballs had good flavor, but the dish as a whole is a massive salt bomb. Definitely heed other raters’ suggestions to use low-sodium soy. Also, the time required is way longer. It takes longer than 20 mins to prep the veg and roll the meatballs by hand, and the cooking time is more like 25+ mins.

    1. Hi Kate,
      Thanks for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so sorry to hear you didn’t love it. Please let me know if there is anything that I can help with! xx

      1. I agree it takes longer than 20 minutes. The chicken was so wet and sticky that it was time consuming to roll the meatballs and to turn them in the pan trying to keep a meatball shape. The meatball flavor was great but I agree the sauce was very salty and there was no honey taste. I think the sauce would be great with some adjustment of proportions- less soy, replace reduced amount with water and add more honey. That said, my daughter loved these, salt and all..