These Vietnamese-Style Chicken Meatballs are great for outdoor entertaining. Baked chicken meatballs made with fresh lemongrass and the flavors of Asia, when paired with a spicy dipping sauce, are the perfect party appetizer.
What’s your favorite party appetizer?
Personally, I think meatballs are the most underrated party appetizer around! Seriously, what is not to love about bite-sized pieces of deliciously cooked, juicy meat? You get all the flavors you want, in small bites, meaning plenty of space in your tum to go back for seconds, thirds, and fourths!
With summer in full gear, I am definitely doing more entertaining at home. The biggest thing I’ve noticed, that has helped me keep my cool in entertaining season, is the age-old saying – work smarter, not harder! In other words, I’ve harnessed the power of making dishes that I can make the day before, so I don’t need to be running around the household like a crazy person the day of the party, sweating over a hot stove (literally, we don’t have air conditioning!). Instead, I can approach the day super relaxed, knowing that I have made half my dishes already. It makes so much more sense!
These Vietnamese-Style Baked Chicken Meatballs absolutely fall into this category. They are so easy to whip up the day before and don’t even need reheating! They’re perfect as a cold or hot appetizer. The same goes for the dipping sauce. Make it the day before and let the flavors infuse overnight to add a ‘wow factor’ to your dish!
Cooking Tips for Baked Chicken Meatballs
The biggest uncertainty that came up when I was creating this recipe was whether I go for baked or pan-fried meatballs. In the end, the baked method was favorable for a number of reasons.
I tested the majority of the meatballs with the baking method and a few with the pan-fried method, and the difference was staggering.
The baked chicken meatballs were so much plumper and juicier than the pan-fried ones. Maybe I’m just really bad at pan frying meatballs, but I found the pan-fried testers came out really dry compared to the baked meatballs. They also burnt a little on the edges before they even had cooked in the middle which wasn’t ideal. I think the absence of sauce meant that they dried a lot quicker in the pan. Usually, meatballs done in a skillet with some kind of sauce are beautiful and juicy, but I personally would stick to the baking method for this party appetizer.
When they were baked, these chicken meatballs were so juicy, kept their shape, and cooked really evenly. They were overall just way more enjoyable to eat and did not last long on the plate!
A hearty appetizer in 25 minutes!
Aside from that, there is nothing else to really mention about making this recipe. You mix the ingredients together in a bowl and roll the meat into little balls before baking. Make the meatballs as evenly sized as possible to ensure an even cooking time. In a hot oven, these take around 20-25 minutes, depending on your oven, but to be sure, always check to see they’re cooked fully before serving as some ovens may differ.
Remember, work smarter not harder when it comes to hosting. Make these delicious and easy baked chicken meatballs your next party appetizer!
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1 whole lemongrass stalk, outer stems removed and finely diced OR sub for 1 tbsp store-bought minced lemongrass
- 2 green onions, finely sliced
- 1/4 cup cilantro, finely diced
- 2 tsp fish sauce
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 1 small egg
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- oil spray (for cooking)
- 3/4-1 tsp sambal oelek OR sub for chili paste
- 2 tsp lime juice
- 4 tsp fish sauce
- 2 tsp sugar
- 4 tsp water
- Preheat oven to 430ºF.
- Place all ingredients for the meatballs, except for oil spray, in a large bowl.
- Use your hands to mix the chicken well, until all combined.
- Take 1 heaped tablespoon of mixture and roll into a smooth ball.
- Make 24 meatballs.
- Place meatballs on a baking tray lined with aluminum foil (see Home Chef Tip for alternative method).
- Spray with a little bit of the cooking oil spray.
- Bake 20-25 minutes. Meatballs should be lightly browned on the outside, and fully cooked and tender in the middle.
- Combine ingredients together and stir.
- To serve, place meatballs in a bowl and serve with the dipping sauce. Use toothpicks for easy eating.
Home Chef Tip - If you own a large and deep baking tray that comes with a wire rack, use this to cook them. Place the wire rack in the baking dish, and then arrange the meatballs on the wire rack. This makes them cook a little more evenly and keeps their nice round shape.
Sambal Oelek is simply a pure chili paste. It can be found in most Asian stores, and some larger supermarkets in the Asian section.
We hope you enjoy these Vietnamese-Style Chicken Meatballs from SoFabFood Home Chef, Georgina from The Home Cook’s Kitchen, as much as we do. If you love this simple and delicious recipe, you can find more like it by visiting our Appetizer Section. For daily recipe inspiration, subscribe to our newsletter, like us on Facebook, and follow us on Pinterest. Enjoy!