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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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Korean Meatballs in a pan with sauce

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. Incredibly good appetizers, like these easy Korean Meatballs I’m introducing you to today!

Korean Meatball ingredients

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 Korean chili paste that’s sweet, spicy and seriously PACKED with flavor! A little bit goes a long way! It’s an ingredient common in Korean cuisine, 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 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 – You can use regular or rice 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 Make Korean Meatballs

First, you’ll make the meatball mixture by combining ground beef, Gochujang (a Thai chili paste), green onions, an egg, spices and crackers in a large mixing bowl.  

Korean meatballs ready to go into the oven.

Use a cookie scoop to evenly portion the meatballs.  Roll each into a round shape and place on a lined baking sheet.

Bake the meatballs in a preheated oven until the internal temperature of the largest meatball is 160 degrees F.  

Beef meatballs cooked on a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Next, make the Korean BBQ sauce that’ll coat the meatballs.  Combine the soy sauce, cornstarch and vinegar in a small saucepan.

Then add the brown sugar, honey and red pepper flakes and bring the mixture to a boil.  Let it boil for 5 minutes and it’ll turn into a delicious spicy glaze for the meatballs!

​Drizzle the sauce over the cooked meatballs and stir until they’re well-coated.  

Toothpick grabbing a Korean Meatball

Frequently Asked Questions

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!

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 the internal temperature is 160F, it’s ready!

​What to do with leftover Korean BBQ Meatballs

Store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.  This is a great recipe for meal prep!  Add cooked rice, the meatballs and some broccoli to single serving containers for a quick and easy weekday lunch.

VIDEO: How to make Korean Meatballs

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 the meat mixture 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 fluffy white rice (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

Other Delicious Ground Beef Dishes

Ground Beef Casserole

One Pot Mexican Beef & Rice

Walking Taco Casserole

One Pot Spaghetti

Connect with Dance Around the Kitchen!

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

5 from 1 vote

Korean Meatballs

Author: Kelsey
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
7 servings (3 meatballs each)
These sweet and spicy homemade Korean Meatballs are packed with flavor, thanks to lean ground beef, garlic, ginger and one secret Korean ingredient!!



  • 1 pound 80-85% lean ground beef
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 2 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 cup saltine crumbs (or panko bread crumbs)

Sauce + Garnishes

  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 2 tablespoons vinegar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
  • Sesame seeds and additional green onions for garnish


  • Preheat oven to 400°F and line a rimmed baking pan with parchment paper.
  • 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.


Calories: 236kcal | Carbohydrates: 27g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.5g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 66mg | Sodium: 608mg | Potassium: 280mg | Fiber: 0.3g | Sugar: 22g | Vitamin A: 103IU | Vitamin C: 0.4mg | Calcium: 27mg | Iron: 2.2mg
“Dance Around the Kitchen” is not a dietitian or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Hi Kelsey! I found your blog through Brandie – The Country Cook and I am enjoying the recipes that I am seeing and can’t wait to try them.

    I have a question about these meatballs. Hubs and I are intolerant to spicy foods and ingredients, is there something that I can use in place of the Gochujang used in the recipe? TIA!

    1. Hi Donna – I’m so glad you found my site through Brandie. She is such a wonderful person & friend and her recipes are all incredible! These meatballs are SO tasty. Hmmm….there’s really nothing else that will give you the same flavor. I’d recommend sriracha or Thai chili paste, but those will have a good amount of kick, too. I’d try using this mixture: for the 2 Tbsp Gochujang in the recipe, use a combo of 2 Tbsp ketchup + 1/4 tsp chili powder + 1/4 tsp paprika. I’d love to hear how it turns out!! 🙂

  2. 5 stars
    These meatballs are awesome! Could they be baked and frozen for future use? Also, could I make the sauce and freeze that as well?

    1. Yes!! I’d just freeze the sauce separately and combine it all when you’re ready to enjoy! 🙂 ~Kelsey

  3. Teresa Joens says:

    These sound delicious! What are some options to serve them with as a main dish?

    1. We like serving them with rice and a side of broccoli or steamed green beans!