Korean Meatballs

These sweet and spicy homemade Korean Meatballs are packed with flavor, thanks to lean ground beef, garlic, ginger and one secret Korean ingredient!!

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Toothpick grabbing a Korean Meatball

This post is sponsored by Iowa Beef,
but all opinions and text are my own!

Did you know that over 30 million acres of land in Iowa are used for farming? Can you imagine 30 million football fields? Tough, isn’t it?! That’s a lot of space…all used for growing crops and livestock here in the state of Iowa.

As much as I love traveling to the coastlines, big cities and attractions around the US, being here in the midwest, surrounded by agriculture is such a beautiful thing. And although Iowa doesn’t have the largest people population, the number of people we’re feeding (thanks to the thousands of family farms around the state) is astounding!

If you’ve been following along on social media, you know my family recently moved to northern Iowa to be on the family farm. We love it up here! And now being surrounded by cattle pasture, I couldn’t think of a better time to partner with Iowa Beef!

Korean Meatballs on a white plate

As we gear up for the holidays, I can promise three things that will for sure be on the table at our house. 1. Wine (yeah, you know me well!) 2. Dessert (again, you know my sweet tooth!) and 3. Ingcredibly good appetizers, like these Korean Meatballs I’m introducing you to today!

Korean Meatball ingredients


  • Ground Beef – A mid-range lean-to-fat ratio is a great option for meatballs as you want some fat for that nice, juicy texture but don’t need too much. Therefore, I recommend using a ground beef that is 80-85% lean!
  • Gochujang – What is gochujang?? It’s a red chile sauce that’s sweet, spicy and seriously PACKED with flavor! It’s an ingredient common in Korean cooking, but can be found here in the states quite easily. I found it at Walmart and Hy-Vee here in the midwest, but I’m sure you can find it at most large grocery stores! Don’t skip this ingredient – it makes the dish! 🙂
  • Green Onions – AKA Scallions
  • Egg – Use one large or extra large egg for this recipe.
  • Garlic Powder and Ground Ginger – If you have fresh minced garlic and ginger, you can certainly use that instead! Use 4 tsp fresh minced garlic and 4 tsp fresh minced ginger in place of the dried spices.
  • Saltine Crackers – Crush these in a baggie with a mallet or rolling pin. Panko bread crumbs also work great!
  • Soy Sauce – You can use regular soy sauce or low-sodium soy sauce.
  • Corn Starch
  • Vinegar
  • Brown Sugar
  • Honey
  • Red Pepper Flakes – This is optional, but if you like additional spice, it’s a great way to add a little extra punch!
  • Garnishes – Sliced green onions and sesame seeds are the perfect garnish!

How to thaw out ground beef

We live a good thirty minutes from a large grocery store, so I like to stock up on meat and keep it in the freezer. But what’s the best way to thaw it out?

As tempting as it is to thaw meat on the counter, please thaw it out in the fridge. Put it on a plate in the fridge a day or two before you need it so it’s ready when you are!

VIDEO: How to make Korean Meatballs

How do I know when my meatballs are done?

Every oven is different, so my 15-20 minute bake time is a good start. However, it’s really important that you use a thermometer to check the temperature before removing them from the oven. Simply place the thermometer in the center of the largest meatball and once it registers 160F, it’s ready!

Korean Meatballs in a pan with sauce

Tips for making juicy, delicious meatballs

  • Choose the right lean-to-fat ratio – I recommend using a ground beef that is 80-85% lean for meatballs.
  • Don’t overmix – You want to incorporate all of the ingredients, but don’t overmix as that can cause firm, compact meatballs.
  • Don’t overcook – Overcooking can cause more moisture to leave the meatballs. Be sure to remove the meatballs from the oven as soon as they reach 160F.

What to serve with Korean Meatballs

As a main dish – If you’re serving these as part of a main dish, I love serving them over a bed of white or brown rice with a side of broccoli! Yum!

As an appetizer – If you’re serving these meatballs as an appetizer, simply pop a toothpick in each one and serve them warm. You can hold them in a slow cooker to keep them warm, but make sure it’s not too hot! The only thing that could make these spicy little meatballs better is a nicely paired glass of wine! With spicy food, I like a sparkling white wine or rose!

I love making a meal out of appetizers during the holidays (or on game day)! Check out more great appetizers from Iowa Beef here!

Korean Meatballs over rice

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Follow along on PinterestInstagram and Facebook so you never miss a recipe!! And as always, thank you for following along with my blog, making my recipes, liking and sharing on social media and any other way you support Dance Around the Kitchen!  -Kelsey

Korean Meatballs

These sweet and spicy homemade Korean Meatballs are packed with flavor, thanks to lean ground beef, garlic, ginger and one secret Korean ingredient!!
Prep Time 20 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 40 mins
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine korean
Servings 20 meatballs



  • 1 lb 80-85% lean ground beef
  • 1 tbsp gochujang
  • 2 tbsp sliced green onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1/2 c saltine crumbs (or panko bread crumbs)

Sauce + Garnishes

  • 1/4 c water
  • 1/4 c soy sauce
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 2 tbsp vinegar
  • 1/2 c brown sugar
  • 1 tbsp gochujang
  • 1/4 c honey
  • 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes optional
  • Sesame seeds and additional green onions for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400°F.
  • In a large bowl, add ground beef, gochujang, green onions, egg, garlic, ginger and saltine crumbs.
  • Use a wooden spoon or your hands to combine.
  • Scoop and roll about 1 inch meatballs; place on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes or until the center of the meatball reaches 160°F.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. In a medium-sized saucepan, whisk together the water, soy, cornstarch and vinegar. Then whisk in the brown sugar, gochujang and honey.
  • Place the sauce over medium heat, whisking frequently, until it reaches a boil. Let the sauce boil for 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
  • Once the meatballs are out of the oven, add them to the sauce and carefully stir to coat.
  • Garnish with additional sliced green onions and sesame seeds.
Keyword appetizers, meatballs

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