Recipes,  Main Course

Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs

Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs
Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs

If you are reading this post, it’s probably safe to say you look to the internet for cooking inspiration and you’re not alone. While I must own over 100 cookbooks, I also receive half a dozen email newsletters a day with links to recipes and I often click through in order to gain ideas for something new to make for dinner. These Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs are a direct result of a New York Times cooking section recipe of the same name that showed up in my inbox one morning. I’m not linking to the recipe because it’s behind a paywall, but it’s easily found if you have access.

It’s also not unusual for me to read the recipe and think, well, that looks good, but… In this case, it seemed odd to me that the original recipe had almost no spice or flavor in it. For that reason, I added ginger, sesame oil, a little brown sugar, and most importantly, the traditional Korean gochujang chili paste to the original ingredients. You can find gochujang in any market that sells Korean ingredients or on this Amazon link. I also made the meatballs smaller, only an ounce each. This way they’re easier to eat, look more bountiful on the plate, and are even the perfect size to be served as canapes for a cocktail party.

These meatballs go well with rice, especially when served with the dipping sauce in the recipe below (I like to drizzle some of the sauce over my rice too). I served this with some quick pickled cabbage and carrots, but of course, it would go well with kimchi. I also served some of my cucumber salad with the leftover meatballs for lunch the next day and I think they would be delicious on a Vietnamese bahn mi style sandwich too.

If you aren’t familiar with Korean Barbecue restaurants, here’s a quick primer. And before anyone says it, yes, I’m well aware this isn’t an authentic Korean dish. It’s not meant to be. It’s simply inspired by typical Korean barbecue flavors.

Do these Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs sound good to you? Scroll down to the bottom of the page to leave me a comment or question, I’d love to hear from you!


Recipe for Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs:

Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs
Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs Preparation

Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs

Savory and spicy Korean barbeque style meatballs
Prep Time20 minutes
Cook Time12 minutes
Total Time32 minutes
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Korean
Keyword: beef, meatballs
Servings: 26 Meatballs


  • .5 cup chopped scallions/green onions About 3 each
  • 2.5 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • .5 teaspoon kosher salt
  • .5 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tsp sesame seed oil
  • 1.5 teaspoons Gochujang Korean Chili Paste
  • .5 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1.25 lbs. ground beef use 80/20 (20% fat) for a moister meatball

Dipping Sauce (optional)

  • 4 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons rice wine vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon chili crisp sauce, or sambal oelek, or any other spicy chili sauce you prefer

For Garnish (optional)

  • .5 teaspoon sesame seeds
  • 1 each green onion thinly sliced


  • Heat oven to 425 degrees.
  • In a large bowl, add all ingredients except the ground beef and panko bread crumbs. Whisk together the ingredients. Add the ground beef and the panko bread crumbs to the bowl and combine with your hands until well mixed.
  • Shape the meat into one ounce meatballs. I recommend using a scale to keep the sizing consistent (see notes).
    Meatballs on Scale
  • Place the meatballs on a parchment lined sheet pan at least 1" apart. Makes approximately 25-26 one ounce meatballs.
    Raw Korean Barbecue style meatballs on a sheet pan
  • Bake at 425° until cooked through and lightly browned, about 10-12 minutes.
    Cooked Korean Barbecue style meatballs on a sheet pan


Serve 5-6 warm meatballs with rice or noodles and the dipping sauce. I served this with a quick pickled slaw and later served the leftovers with some cucumber salad.
I highly recommend adding a kitchen scale to your culinary tools if you don't have one. This Nicewell Food Scale is my latest purchase and I think it's absolutely fabulous. It goes up to 22 lbs and low as 1 gram and it's easy to clean! For even easier cleanup, cover your scale with plastic wrap before using.
For easy clean-up, I like these pre-cut parchment paper sheets which fit perfectly on standard half sheet pans.
Korean barbecue style meatballs.
Korean barbecue style meatballs.

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Korean Barbecue Style Meatballs


  • Kate

    This looks and sounds delicious! Won’t be making it soon, though. We just got the big snow storm that has been dumping on people as it heads west. No meat, no meatballs. But, I may just riff off the sauce and use another way. It sounds yummy! I really appreciate the way you cook and write. Thanks.


    I made the original NYT recipe last night and it was almost–but definitely not great. I’m happy to have found your suggested changes. I think these additions (and cutting down the salt as you did) will be great improvements.

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