These make-ahead Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs are light, lean and bursting with fresh, vibrant flavor. Serve them as an appetizer or main course!
Did you know you folks have a lot of influence on me? I wasn’t planning on posting these Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs until later this week. But I got a comment a few days ago, right after I posted my Lemongrass Cilantro Salad Dressing, that changed my mind. This is what it said:
“Please hurry with the meatball recipe, I am drooling all over my shirt.”
It made Scott and I laugh so hard! But it also changed the line-up of recipes I was planning to share this week. Afterall, a man can only drool so much before his shirt is drenched beyond repair! So here it is, an easy, super-delicious, bursting-with-vibrant-flavor, Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs recipe. I think Wayne (and you) will love it as much as we do!
Ground chicken is easier (and harder) to work with…
Because ground chicken has more moisture than ground beef, chicken meatballs are actually a lot easier to make. I’m not a huge fan of mixing up raw meat with my bare hands. As you can see in this post, I actually have a pair of gloves designated just for meatballs! But with ground chicken, it’s simple to mix up the ingredients up with a sturdy spatula.
That being said, ground chicken meatballs can be a little more difficult to form into nice round balls; again because of the extra moisture. I like to roll the balls in some panko crumbs, which give a nice crunch and also makes the rolling easier.
In addition to ground chicken and panko crumbs, (both within the meatballs and as an optional coating), there’s also finely chopped cilantro, onion and bell pepper, garlic, soy sauce, fresh ginger and lemongrass, a pinch of brown sugar, salt, crushed red pepper and a splash of sesame oil. The combination of these ingredients makes for a delicious burst of Asian flavor in each bite.
Spraying or lightly brushing the meatballs with olive oil is the final step before popping them into a hot oven. Your kitchen will smell amazing (don’t drool on your shirt!) and within 25 minutes you’ll be pulling out a pan of beautiful golden-tinged deliciousness! The tiny bits of red bell pepper and the green cilantro flecks make for a pretty presentation.
Café Tips for making these Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs
- There are lots of ways to serve these Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs:
- As an appetizer: serve on a platter with a small bowl of this Lemongrass Cilantro Dressing or this delicious 5 Minute Easy Peanut Sauce for dipping.
- For lettuce wraps: serve with big leaves of Boston or butter lettuce along with jasmine rice, shredded carrots, shredded red cabbage and either of the sauces above.
- In a summer salad with arugula, fresh corn, thinly sliced red onion, crunchy cucumber slices and the Lemongrass Cilantro Dressing.
- As a Bahn Mi sandwich: serve in crisp, small baguettes with shredded carrots, daikon radish, and red cabbage. Drizzle with the dipping sauce (nuoc cham) included in this Vietnamese Caramelized Pork Bowls post.
- In bowls with jasmine rice, shredded carrots, and red cabbage and sliced avocado. Drizzle with nuoc cham, this 5 Minute Easy Peanut Sauce or this Asian Honey Sesame Dressing.
- Wet your hands lightly before rolling the meatballs. It will keep the mixture from sticking to your hands.
- I like to use a 2-tablespoon cookie scoop for doling out the dough. It makes the process super easy and ensures consistent size meatballs.
- Make bigger or smaller meatballs according to your taste. You’ll have to adjust the cooking time though just a bit. Larger meatballs will take a little longer to cook through and smaller ones, less time.
- Scoop up all of the meatballs and roll them into balls before coating them with panko. This will keep your hands from getting all covered with panko crumbs while you’re trying to roll.
- The recipe calls for lining a sheet pan with parchment paper. I love these precut parchment paper sheets, just the right size for a sheet pan. They are inexpensive and save lots of time.
- If you don’t care for cilantro, these Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs are also delicious with an equal amount of fresh basil.
- Cilantro stems are edible and have lots of flavor! Feel free to use both the leaves and the stems when chopping cilantro.
- Sometimes I use a mixture of half red and half yellow bell peppers for a prettier presentation.
- Want to save last minute stress and strain? Prep these Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs in the morning, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate. Pull them out about 45 minutes before dinner and allow to sit for 15 minutes. Then just pop them in the oven as directed; while you enjoy your guests!
Check out seasonal recipes we’ve posted in June…
2 years ago – Grilled Chicken Nicoise Salad
3 years ago – Asian Barbecued Chicken and Veggie Skewers
4 years ago – Avocado Crema
5 years ago – Banana Pecan Bread with Caramel Drizzle
- 1 pound ground chicken
- ⅓ cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
- ½ medium onion finely chopped
- ½ cup finely chopped red pepper
- ⅔ cup panko breadcrumbs plus more for rolling,if desired
- 1 egg
- 2 medium cloves garlic
- 1 tablespoon soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- 1 tablespoon lemongrass
- 2 teaspoons brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons sesame oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper
- olive oil cooking spray or olive oil
Preheat oven to 425˚F. Line a pan with parchment paper.
Place all meatball ingredients in a medium-large bowl and mix together with a sturdy spatula.
Scoop into 2 tablespoon-size portions then wet hands and roll into balls. If desired, place about ½ cup of Panko crumbs in a medium-size bowl. Roll each ball in the extra crumbs. Place meatballs about 1-inch apart on the prepared sheet pan.
Spray meatballs with olive oil cooking spray or drizzle lightly with olive oil.
Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes or until beginning to turn golden in spots. Remove from oven and enjoy!
See Café Tips above for additional instructions and helpful tips.
Makes 25-30 meatballs
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