Lion's Head Chinese Meatballs

Posted: February 1

Time: 30 minutes

Yield: 5 servings

recipe image

Lion's Head Chinese Meatballs get their name from their distinctive, lion-head-like shape. They're a popular comfort food around Chinese New Year's, but they are of course enjoyed at any time of the year. Filled with tangy, sweet, and savory flavors and topped with a magnificent sweet soy sauce, Lion's Head Chinese Meatballs have a celebratory taste that will get you excited for whatever the new year holds!


For the meatballs: • 1 pound ground pork • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs • 2 large eggs • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine or mirin • 1/4 cup green onions, finely chopped, plus more for garnish • 2 tablespoons soy sauce • 1 teaspoon sesame oil • 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar • 1 teaspoon fresh ginger, grated • 1 teaspoon garlic, minced • 1 teaspoon salt • 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper For the sweet soy sauce: • 1/4 cup soy sauce • 1/4 cup chicken broth • 2 tablespoons brown sugar • 1 teaspoon sesame oil • 1/2 tablespoon flour or cornstarch For serving: • white rice, optional, cooked


Step 1

Preheat the oven or air fryer to 375 degrees F.

Step 2

In a large mixing bowl, combine the pork with the breadcrumbs, eggs, cooking wine, green onions, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, 1/2 tablespoon brown sugar, ginger, garlic, salt, and pepper, mixing until well combined.

Step 3

Divide the pork mixture into 5 equal pieces and roll them into meatballs.

Step 4

If cooking them in the air-fryer, place the meatballs in a single layer in the air fryer and cook until the meatballs have an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, about 20 minutes.

Step 5

If cooking the meatballs in an oven, place the meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and cook until it reaches an internal temperature of 160 degrees F, about 40 minutes.

Step 6

In a small mixing bowl, add 1/4 cup soy sauce, the chicken broth, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and the flour, whisking well to combine until the flour and sugar dissolves.

Step 7

Transfer the sauce into a shallow saucepan and heat over medium heat until it thickens, about 3-4 minutes.

Step 8

Add the cooked meatballs to the saucepan, toss well to evenly coat.

Step 9

Serve warm, topped with green onions and white rice.

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