Weeknight style 30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles. Pan-seared gingery chicken meatballs tossed with plenty of spicy Thai style chili sauce, bell peppers, peanuts, and basil. Serve these sticky chicken meatballs over toasted sesame rice noodles and top with mango chili sauce plus fresh herbs. Every bite is sweet, spicy, and hinted with basil – delicious. Major bonus? This comes together in no time at all, just about 30 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights when you’re looking for something exciting, but easy too.
I didn’t mean to share two Thai chicken recipes in one week but I’m just very into the Thai recipes right now. Well, actually, what’s really got me going is my oldest brother, Creighton. As I’ve been saying on repeat, Creighton has been quarantining with my parents for weeks. He loves Thai, meatballs, and really anything saucy, so I’ve been making a lot of his favorites.
And these meatballs? They have his name written all over them. If you don’t love meatballs, or you’re not into Thai, I am so sorry. Maybe check out yesterday’s cauliflower gnocchi? Or last week’s crockpot carne asada tacos? Plenty of other options for you!
So yes, Creighton may have influenced this recipe, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love it. Because you guys, I really love this recipe. It’s quick, it’s easy, and it feels very fresh, springy, and even kind of summery with all those fresh herbs. So with that, I’m jumping right into the process.
First, let’s talk about the sauce.
You all know how strongly I feel about sauces, a flavorful sauce adds so much to a dish. And when it comes to Asian style recipes, sweet, spicy, and extra sticky are my favorites. Today’s sauce is a mix of pantry staples…soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, sambal oelek (chili sauce), and fresh lime juice and zest. While the lime is not technically a pantry staple, they’re a produce that many people often stock in their fridge.
To help thicken up the sauce I added a bit of cornstarch. You can omit this if you’d prefer, but your meatballs will be just a little less sticky.
Once the stir fry sauce is made, I also like to make a quick mango chili sauce. I use all of the same ingredients, minus the water and cornstarch, and plus some diced mango. I LOVE this extra sauce for serving, but some may feel it’s not needed. So, I’ll leave that up to you…but if it was up to me…I’d make the extra sauce.
The sticky Thai Meatballs.
Now that the sauce is all ready to go, make the meatballs and finish up this recipe.
The meatballs are a pretty simple mix of ground chicken, garlic, ginger, and lots of black pepper. Roll this all together, then pan-fry the meatballs in a bit of olive oil to get them nice and crispy on the outside. At this point, add in the shallots, bell peppers, and peanuts. Let this cook a bit, then pour in that stir fry sauce and simmer away until thickened.
This doesn’t take long at all, so watch the sauce closely. You don’t want it to thicken up too much.
While all that is cooking, prepare the noodles. Then toss with a little olive oil and toasted sesame seeds for crunch. By the time the noodles are done cooking, the meatballs should already be finished, and yes, dinner is complete.
Spoon the noodles into bowls, then spoon the sticky meatballs over and add the sauce from the skillet. Finish each bowl off with all the fresh herbs you can find. I used lemon mint, basil, and cilantro, but you can use your personal favorites. If I had to pick just one, I would go with cilantro, second choice basil.
Yes, this is that simple and that quick-cooking. Honestly, this will take you no more than thirty minutes to make. I know it feels like a lot of ingredients, but promise, this comes together quickly!
Notes and substitutions…
For the bell peppers, you can really use whatever vegetable you have on hand. Broccoli would be my top pick, then asparagus. But you could also use bok choy, carrots, and even toss in some cabbage. Really, use whatever you’ve got or whatever you love most.
I like to use vermicelli rice noodles, but you could use any variety of rice noodles or even Italian style pasta. And while I love serving these meatballs over noodles, I’m sure steamed rice would be equally great.
And well, that’s kind of it! Simple, simple, but extra saucy, extra sticky, and one of those dinners you’re (hopefully) going to have on repeat.
Looking for other Asian recipes? Here are some favorites…
Lastly, if you make these 30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles, 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!
30 Minute Sticky Thai Meatballs with Sesame Noodles
Calories Per Serving: 442 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 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 2-3 tablespoons sambal oelek (chili paste)
- zest and juice of 1 lime, plus more for serving
- 1 pound ground chicken, pork, or turkey
- 1 inch fresh ginger, grated
- 2 cloves garlic, minced or grated
- black pepper
- 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil plus more for rolling
- 2 medium shallots, sliced or chopped
- 2 red or orange bell peppers, chopped
- 1/4 cup raw peanuts
- 1/2 cup fresh basil and or cilantro, roughly torn
- 8 ounces rice noodles
- 1 tablespoon toasted sesame seeds
- 1 cup diced mango or mango chili sauce, for serving (see notes)
- 1. In a glass jar, whisk together 1/3 cup cold water and the cornstarch. Add the soy sauce, rice vinegar, honey, chili paste, lime zest, and lime juice.2. Add the chicken, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl. Mix until combined. Coat your hands with a bit of oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon-size balls (will make 15-20 meatballs).3. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and add 2 tablespoons oil. When the oil shimmers, add the meatballs and sear until crisp, about 4-5 minutes, turning them 2-3 times. Remove the meatballs from the skillet. To the skillet, add the shallots, peppers, and peanuts, cook another 2-3 minutes, until the peppers begin to char. Pour in the honey/soy sauce mix. Add back the meatballs. Bring the sauce to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until the sauce thickens slightly, about 5 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the basil.4. Meanwhile, cook rice noodles according to packaged directions. Drain and toss with a couple drizzles of olive oil and the sesame seeds. 5. To serve, divide the noodles among bowls and top with meatballs. Serve with additional herbs, limes, and mango chili sauce (if desired). Enjoy
Mango Chili Sauce: combine 1/4 cup honey, 2-3 tablespoons sambal oelek, 2 tablespoons rice vinegar, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, zest and juice of 1 lime, and 1 cup diced mango.