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30 minute Better than takeout Weeknight Sticky Sesame Ginger Chicken Meatballs. Easy homemade Asian inspired chicken meatballs with ginger and sesame, tossed in a sweet, spicy, and extra sticky soy pomegranate sauce. Serve over steamed rice topped with plenty of sesame seeds for a fun and healthy dinner any night of the week. And the best part…these meatballs are made quicker than any take-out meal, and they’re so much healthier too.

overhead photo of Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs with hands on bowl and chopsticks picking up meatball

Every fall I tend to get stuck in a bit of a “cozy” food rut. I hate to say “rut” because I’m LOVING all my cozy, warming, hearty, creamy, and pasta filled recipes so much. BUT not every day of the week needs a bowl full of gnocchi or a creamy, cheesy soup

Well, I mean, I wouldn’t complain about that, but the point is, it’s nice to switch things up. Which is where these meatballs come in. These meatballs are different, they’re saucy, so flavorful, and require almost no time to make. Ok, 30-ish minutes, but they’re QUICK and EASY and the sauce is addicting. I wanted to include this recipe as one of my “better than takeout” recipes. But then I wasn’t sure if Asian meatballs are really a takeout thing?

Either way, these remind me of really good takeout style food. But they’re much quicker (30-35 minutes) and so much healthier than ordering out. 

And, I know I’ve said this pretty much every time I share a new meatball recipe, but geez, I really cringe at the word meatball. It’s just not the best sounding word, you know?

overhead photo Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs on baking sheet before adding sauce


Let me run you through the details of these meatballs

For the meat, I used ground chicken, but ground pork or turkey will work just as well. I seasoned them up with plenty of green onions, ginger, and garlic. If you don’t want to get your hands too messy, you can always use a cookie scoop to portion out the meatballs into 2-inch golf balls. Once they’re ready to bake, I oven-baked them on a sheet pan alongside broccoli and vegetables for added color. Plus, I just love the idea of a one-pan dinner. And if you can cook your meat and vegetables at the very same time, why not?

While the meatballs bake, make the sauce. Now here’s the truth, the sauce is really why you should make this recipe. It’s honestly so addicting. Sweet, tangy, a touch spicy and once boiled down, super sticky. The secret ingredient is one of my autumn favorites, pomegranate juice. I know it might sound odd, but please, don’t doubt me here. The pomegranate juice adds sweetness, tanginess, and deep dark color too. It’s one of my favorite ingredients to use within Asian inspired recipes. Plus, I always love the added pop of color, especially this time of year when the pomegranates are so pretty.

overhead photo of Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs on baking sheet with squash

The sauce takes only a few minutes to thicken up on the stove. It’s usually ready by the time the meatballs have finished cooking.

Then just toss the sauce with the meatballs and you are done. Yes, that’s it. Nothing fancy here, just simple cooking, but very delicious (pretty healthy food).

overhead close up photo of Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs in bowl of rice

Serving suggestions??

Steamed rice, plenty of green onions, toasted sesame seeds, and pomegranate arils. Then drizzle with a generous amount of the extra sauce…because saucy meatballs are the only way to go. If you want to level up the heat, you can add an additional teaspoon sriracha to your sauce.

Tip…double the recipe and save the leftovers for quick and easy lunches. Just put the leftover meatballs in an airtight container in your fridge or freezer. The meatballs would also be great atop a chopped spinach or kale salad or served with rice noodles or with cauliflower rice and a side of green beans.

Also? These would be a really fun and delicious appetizer for upcoming holiday parties. Little sticky meatballs served on skewers? Yep, perfect finger food for a party.

And if you’re looking for something fresh and healthy…ish for dinner this week, make these meatballs. Or Invite your best friends over for Asian night and impress them with your homemade sticky meatballs.

Add a good Halloween movie and you’ll have the perfect night in!

overhead photo of Weeknight Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs with chopsticks on bowl

If you make these weeknight sticky ginger sesame chicken 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!

Watch the how to video:

Weeknight 30 Minute Sticky Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Servings: 4
Calories Per Serving: 435 kcal

Nutritional information is only an estimate. The accuracy of the nutritional information for any recipe on this site is not guaranteed.



  • 1. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment.
    2. Add the chicken, green onions, ginger, garlic, and a pinch of pepper to a bowl. Mix until just combined. Coat your hands with a bit of oil, and roll the meat into tablespoon-size balls (will make 15-20 meatballs) placing them on one side of the prepared baking sheet. The mix will be wet, but it will firm up in the oven. Add the broccoli or winter squash (see notes) to the other side of the baking sheet and toss with 1 tablespoon oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer to the oven and bake for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are crisp and cooked through.
    3. Meanwhile, combine the 1 tablespoon oil, the soy sauce, pomegranate juice, hoisin sauce, honey, vinegar, and crushed red pepper flakes in a medium saucepan. Set over medium-high heat and bring the sauce to a boil. Boil 5-8 minutes, until the sauce thickens and reduces by about 1/3. Remove from the heat.
    4. Pour about half the sauce over the meatballs, tossing to combine. Return to the oven for 2-3 minutes, until the sauce coats the meatballs.
    5. Serve the meatballs and sauce over bowls of rice topped with additional green onions, pomegranate arils, and sesame seeds. Serve the broccoli on the side.


Homemade Hoisin: in a small bowl, combine 1/4 cup low sodium soy sauce, 2 tablespoons creamy peanut butter, 2 tablespoons honey, 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar, 1 tablespoon molasses, 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 spice powder, and a pinch of black pepper. 
To Freeze the Meatballs: Bake as directed, then freeze on a parchment lined baking sheet in a single layer for 2 hours. Transfer to a freezer-safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight in the fridge or simmer in the sauce over low heat for 20 minutes, until thawed, adding water if needed to thin the sauce.
To Freeze the Meatballs in the Sauce: Spoon the meatballs and sauce into a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. To serve, thaw overnight in the fridge, then warm on the stove until heated through, about 15 minutes, adding water if needed to thin the sauce.
If Using Winter Squash: the squash might need 15 minutes additional cooking time. I recommend roasting the squash for 15 minutes before adding the meatballs, then add the meatballs to the sheet once the squash is tender. 
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  1. 2 stars
    These were a total bust for me. The meatballs were extremely dry, though I did use turkey meat, not ground beef, so the lean turkey meat was probably too lean for this recipe. As others said, the sauce did not become sticky or adequately thicken and in fact smelled like it was burning if boiled too long. It would have been better to let it simmer for a long time. I liked the components of the sauce (pomegranate juice and soy sauce), so maybe this combination can work for another recipe.

  2. 4 stars
    I’ve made these twice and followed the directions carefully. They were tasty but I could not get my sauce to be sticky. I cooked it a while. Longer than the recipe even said and it did reduce but didn’t get syrupy. I doubled the recipe.

    1. Hi Christine,
      Awesome!!😎 Thanks so much for giving this recipe a try and sharing your feedback, so glad to hear it turned out well for you! Doubling the recipe is going to require a much longer cook time to get the sauce to reduce:) xT

  3. 5 stars
    I tried this recipe tonight and it turned out really good! The only thing I changed is that I added some flour to the sauce because it didn’t seem to be thickening. Thanks for the recipe! I’ll plan to make it again!

    1. Hey Julie,
      Happy Wednesday! ⛅️🌈 I’m so glad to hear that this recipe worked well for you and I appreciate you giving it a try! xx

    1. Hi Jessica,
      Sorry to hear that this recipe was not enjoyed, thanks for giving it a try and sharing your feedback! xx

  4. 5 stars
    I’ve made this recipe at least 6 times. It’s simple and delicious, and is perfect meal prep for the week. I’ve used ground chicken and ground pork. Both come out great. Once I ran out of rice and put the meatballs and sauce in a pita with julienne carrots and shredded lettuce, and it worked well, too. I always roast carrots as a veggie, and have tried broccoli, sugar snap peas, and zucchini. Perfect every time matter what.

    1. Hey Abby,
      Happy Sunday!!🏈 I appreciate you making this recipe so often and sharing your review, so glad to hear it always turns out well for you! xx

        1. Hey Patti,
          Awesome!!🌼 I love to hear that this recipe turned out well for you and appreciate you giving it a try! xT

        2. 5 stars
          I make this recipe all the time. I have never made the meatballs though, I always use frozen meatballs. It makes it somewhat of a pantry meal – I usually have frozen meatballs, and if there’s broccoli or some roast-able vegetable around I can pull this out.

  5. 5 stars
    We love a meatball with rice and veggies for an easy dinner, and then leftovers for an easier lunch. This was outstanding! We’ve have a lot of other meatball recipes that are on rotation and it’s so nice to have a new one that is SO good. If your sauce didn’t thicken, make sure you have it at a rolling boil for a good 8 minutes. Once you take it off the heat, let it sit and it will thicken more. We used green beans instead of broccoli and the addition of the sesame seeds on top give it such a nice touch.

  6. 5 stars
    This is so good! The meatballs are so flavorful – they remind me of the filling of a delicious potsticker. The combo of the sauce and meatball is perfect. I have just enough leftover for a delicious lunch tomorrow. Another home run, Tieghan! 🥰❤️‍🔥

    1. Hey Barbi,
      Happy Sunday!!🎃 I truly appreciate you making this recipe and sharing your feedback, I am so glad to hear it was enjoyed!

  7. 5 stars
    Thank you!!!! This recipe is DELICIOUS. I made with turkey meat, orange juice, brown rice and added carrots, peppers and asparagus (before they went bad) to the broccoli and it was so gooood!
    Also didn’t have rice vinegar and used the apple cider vinegar instead. Thanks for all the swap recommendations, I’m from Lima, Peru and made it here, so sometimes is hard to get some of the same ingredients. 🙂

    1. Hey Lucia,
      Happy Wednesday!👻 I love to hear that this recipe was enjoyed and appreciate you giving it a try and sharing your feedback! xx

        1. Hey Janice,
          Happy Monday!! So glad to hear that this recipe turned out well for you, thanks a bunch for trying it out! xx

  8. 5 stars
    This recipe got a lot of mixed reviews. However, my family devoured it! My kids are 2 and 5 and they ate tons, as did my husband. No leftovers!

    I made the meatballs (unbaked) and sauce in the morning and kept everything in the fridge until dinner and it turned out great! Even baking the meatballs straight from the fridge worked.

  9. 4 stars
    This was delicious! It will be a do-over on our menu. I ended up adding cornstarch to thicken the sauce and that worked perfectly. I would recommend adding the meatballs, after baking, to the saucepan instead of the sheet pan. A lot less messy that way.

  10. 5 stars
    This was so delicious. I used ground beef instead of chicken & my husband and 3 year old devoured it! I also forgot to buy hoisin sauce, but I just added a bit more honey and a tad bit of peanut butter and it came out just fine!

  11. 4 stars
    I tried this recipe and we really enjoyed it. We will definitely try it again. My sauce didn’t thicken up like I was hoping. Should I have boiled it more? Rolling boil vs a low boil? Thanks for making a great quick week night meal!

    1. Hey Lauren,
      Thanks so much for making this dish! To thicken the sauce, I would definitely do a rolling boil if needed! I hope this helps for next time! xx