Asian Sesame Party Meatballs
Yield: 26-28 regular or 36-40 cocktail meatballs
These party-perfect bites are saucy, tender and bursting with irresistible Asian flavors. Serve over rice for a crowd-pleasing entree.

For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2 eggs
  • ½ cup unseasoned panko breadcrumbs (use GF panko or crushed Rice Chex as needed)
  • ⅓ cup grated or minced onion
  • 2 teaspoons toasted sesame oil
  • 1 heaping teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • ½ teaspoon each kosher salt and fresh black pepper

For the sauce:

  • ½ cup (120ml) hoisin sauce
  • ½ cup (120ml) low-sodium soy sauce or tamari
  • ½ cup (120g) ketchup
  • ⅓ cup (75g) lightly packed brown sugar
  • ¼ cup (60ml) dry sherry*
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 teaspoons sriracha sauce (or to taste)
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh garlic

Optional garnishes:

  • 1-2 tablespoons sesame seeds (I lightly toast in a dry skillet to bring out flavor)
  • 1-2 green onions, thinly sliced


  1. Preheat the oven to 450℉. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with foil, and spray the foil with nonstick cooking spray. (When cooking meatballs, I often use parchment instead-no need to grease.)

    Mix all of the sauce ingredients together in a medium-size bowl and set aside. Prep-ahead tip: the sauce may be mixed 2-3 days in advance, covered and refrigerated.

    In a large bowl, mix together the meatball ingredients. Helpful hint: I like to mix all of the ingredients except the meat first. Then it’s easier to incorporate the mixture evenly into the meat without overworking. Shape the mixture into 1½-inch balls (for regular meatballs) or 1-inch balls (for cocktail-size), placing them on the prepared baking sheet as you go. Tip: you’ll need to place them fairly close together to fit on the sheet. Bake regular-size meatballs for 15-17 minutes and cocktail size for 10-12 minutes. It’s okay if they aren’t fully cooked through at this point, although they likely will be. Prep-ahead tip: I have covered and refrigerated for several hours before baking. Optionally, you could bake the meatballs, cool and refrigerate. When ready, simply proceed with the recipe.

    Slow cooker option: Coat the insert of a 4-quart slow cooker with nonstick spray. Add the baked meatballs to the cooker and pour the sauce over top. Lightly toss the meatballs with a spoon to evenly coat with the sauce. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours or until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is bubbly.

    Oven option: Alternatively, you may bake the meatballs in a covered baking dish or Dutch oven. As above, add the meatballs and gently toss with the sauce. With this method, you can cook, covered, for 2 hours at 200℉ or 1 hour at 300℉.

    When ready to serve, you may transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl or serve directly from the slow cooker or baking dish. Garnish with the sesame seeds and green onions, if using.


*Though I don’t use sherry often, I keep it on hand for use in the occasional recipe. It has the potential to add great flavor, and a bottle will keep for years stored in a cool, dark place. Make sure to purchase a bottle labeled “dry,” and while you want something that’s good enough to drink (even if you don’t drink it plain), you need not spend a fortune.

What size meatballs to make? If serving the meatballs with toothpicks as a passed appetizer or as a part of a buffet, I recommend the smaller size. If you’d like to offer guests something heartier and will be serving with plates and forks, the larger size may be preferred.

More recipes at