Skip to Content

Sesame Garlic Meatballs

This Sesame Garlic Meatballs recipe features tender meatballs in an amazing sweet and savory sauce. Big bold flavors make this easy meatball recipe so delicious! Serve them as an appetizer or as a main dish.

Stainless steel skillet full of glazed meatballs with green onions and sesame seeds on top.

From my Crock Pot Italian Meatballs to my Sicilian Meatball Soup with Cabbage, I’ve never met a meatball I didn’t like.

There’s something so undeniable about a flavor-infused tender ball of meat that’s swaddled in some form of sauce.

Well, I’m here to tell you these sweet and savory sesame garlic meatballs are the perfect appetizer or main dish for just about any occasion.

They come together in about 30 to 40 minutes, and they include a magical array of flavors.

Grain-free, soy-free, and refined sugar-free, this simple meatball recipe is made with all wholesome ingredients. For my friends who follow a paleo diet, these meatballs are paleo friendly.

Once the meatballs are cooking in the skillet, they cook very quickly. In this sense, the only time-intensive parts about this recipe are preparing the sauce and mixing up the meatball ingredients. 

If this is your first time making meatballs, I promise the process is actually quite easy. After you’ve made your first batch of meatballs, the preparation gets much quicker as you become more familiar with the process.

stainless steel skillet with sesame garlic meatballs inside, ready to serve.

Let’s chat about the simple ingredients for this amazing meatball recipe. You can find the whole ingredients list at any grocery store.

Garlic Meatball Ingredients:

Ground Beef: For the most flavorful meatballs, use 80/20 beef, which has higher fat content. If you like keeping fat and calories lower, feel free to use lean ground beef (90/10 or lower).

Tapioca Flour (or gluten-free all-purpose flour or breadcrumbs): Providing a lovely spongy texture to the meatballs, we need some type of flour or breadcrumbs.

I make grain-free meatballs by using tapioca flour. You can also use gluten-free all-purpose flour or regular breadcrumbs (see recipe card below).

Fresh Green Onions, Fresh Garlic, Fresh Ginger: The addition of finely chopped green onions, minced garlic, and fresh ginger infuses the meatballs with beautiful, vibrant flavors.

If any of these ingredients don’t appeal to you, you can skip it but I recommend all three for the best result.

Sea Salt and Black Pepper: Season the meatballs to taste using salt and pepper.

Avocado Oil (for Frying): To cook the meatballs in a skillet, we need a quality high-temperature cooking oil.

I like avocado oil because it has a neutral flavor, a high smoke point, and it is a great source of omega-3 fatty acids. I don’t recommend using olive oil because it will surely burn.

Sesame Garlic Sauce Ingredients:

Sesame Oil: Bringing sesame flavor to the meatballs, we need toasted sesame oil. This ingredient is difficult to replace with any other ingredient due to its unique flavor.

Coconut Aminos: In case you’ve never heard of coconut aminos, it is a soy-free alternative to soy sauce that comes from coconuts. It is naturally sweet with umami flavor, so it serves both the sweet and savory role in the sauce. 

Rice Vinegar: Providing a tangy counterbalance to the sweetness of the coconut aminos, rice vinegar is the sour to the sweet. You can use lime juice instead of you prefer.

Fresh Garlic Cloves: A couple large cloves of garlic get minced up and used in the sauce for big bold flavor.

Sriracha: I like adding sriracha for a little spice. Omit the sriracha if you don’t enjoy spicy food, or increase the amount if you’re all about the spice. 

Recipe Adaptations:

  • Replace the tapioca flour in the meatballs with ⅓ cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour or ½ cup panko breadcrumbs.
  • Use teriyaki sauce instead of making the homemade sauce. Veri Teri is a great option, as is store-bought paleo teriyaki sauce.
  • ​Swap out the ground beef for ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork. If you use a leaner meat like ground turkey or chicken, you will also need to add one egg and 2 tablespoons of avocado oil as the meat will turn out dry otherwise.
  • Make your own homemade sauce with Asian flavors using soy sauce and hoisin sauce.
  • If you aren’t into ginger, you can skip it. If you have a difficult time finding fresh ginger, use 1 teaspoon of ground ginger.
  • If you have fish sauce on hand, add 1 to 2 teaspoons to the sauce mixture, and reduce (or omit) the amount of salt you add.
  • Add red pepper flakes to the meatball mixture to make spicy meatballs.

Now that we’ve covered the basic ingredients, let’s make this delicious meatball recipe!

How to Make Sesame Garlic Meatballs:

Add all of the ingredients for the sesame garlic sauce to a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to use.

Marinade for salmon bites in a measuring cup.

Transfer all of the ingredients for the meatballs to a large bowl. Use your hands to mash all of the ingredients together until everything is well-distributed throughout the meatballs.

sesame garlic meatball ingredients in a stainless steel mixing bowl to make meatballs.

Note: If you have a stand mixer, feel free to mix the meatball mixture in your eclectic mixer using the paddle attachment.

Heat two to three tablespoons of avocado oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice) over high heat in a large skillet. I use a 12-inch nonstick skillet, but a large cast iron skillet works great too. Allow the oil to heat up for a few minutes, until it is sizzling hot.

Form 14 equal-sized meatballs out of the meatball mixture. If you have a cookie scoop, feel free to use it but I find rolling the meat with my hands ensures the meatballs hold together nicely.

Stainless steel bowl full of raw meatballs, ready to be cooked.

Carefully place the meatballs on the surface of the hot skillet in a single layer and sear for 2 minutes. Flip meatballs to the other side and brown for another 2 minutes.

Meatballs cooking on a skillet in oil.

Pour the sauce into the skillet. It should immediately come to a boil. You can reduce the heat to medium-high heat or medium heat if the mixture gets too out of control.

Allow the meatballs to continue cooking, flipping once or twice, until they have reached your desired level of doneness, about 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened.

If you’d like, you can use a meat thermometer to test the temperature of the center of the meatballs. I aim for about 160 degrees Fahrenheit so that the meat is cooked through for those who like their beef well done, but the meat is still juicy.

Skillet full of glazed meatballs.

Serve meatballs as an appetizer, or as a main dish with side dishes. You can garnish them with sesame seeds and more green onions if you’d like. I enjoy these meatballs as a complete meal with brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

Store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week.

If you prefer baking meatballs in the oven, you can spread the meatballs over a sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 minutes.

What to Serve with Meatballs:

If you’re using meatballs as a main dish, here are some serving suggestions.

Rice: Serve them with steamed white rice, brown rice, or even fried rice. I suggest my Cilantro Lime Rice or my Pineapple Fried Rice

Vegetables: I always encourage adding fiber in the form of fresh veggies to every meal. My Garlic Herb Roasted Vegetables and my Stir Fry Vegetables Recipe are two of my favorites because they include a lot of variety. Air Fryer Green Beans are also a quick, healthy side dish for meatballs.

Salad: A delicious fresh green salad provides a lovely complement to the otherwise rich meatballs. I suggest my Pear Apple Avocado Spinach Salad with Candied Walnuts Feta and Balsamic Vinaigrette or my Blueberry Avocado Sunflower Seed Chopped Salad. 

Cauliflower Rice or Spaghetti Squash: For a low-carb option, make my Jalapeno Ginger Cauliflower Rice or Roasted Spaghetti Squash

Rice Noodles: Either cook up regular rice noodles or make a batch of Thai Stir Fry Noodles.

Garlic sesame meatballs in a skillet in a sticky sauce. Sprinkled with green onions and plenty of sesame seeds.

Whip up this paleo meatball recipe for game day or enjoy it as your main course any night of the week!
The next time you find yourself craving Asian meatballs, these homemade meatballs are here to impress. The sticky sauce is the best part, as it levels up the total flavor and also provides an amazing glaze.

I’m betting the whole family will adore these sesame meatballs for an easy weeknight dinner or as a great appetizer. 

If you love meatball recipes, also try some of my favorite meatball recipes.

More Meatball Recipes:

Saucy meatballs, let’s go!

Stainless steel skillet full of glazed meatballs with green onions and sesame seeds on top.
Print Recipe Pin Recipe Save Recipe
5 from 3 votes

Sesame Garlic Meatballs

This delicious sesame garlic meatballs recipe is grain-free, paleo friendly, soy-free, and refined sugar-free. Easy to prepare for a show-stopping appetizer or main dish!
Prep Time24 minutes
Cook Time8 minutes
Course: Appetizers, Main Dishes
Cuisine: American
Servings: 14 Meatballs
Calories: 353kcal
Author: Julia

Ingredients

Meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • cup tapioca flour*
  • 2 green onions finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 1 Tbsp fresh ginger peeled and grated, optional
  • ½ tsp sea salt
  • ¼ tsp black pepper
  • 2 Tbsp avocado oil for cooking

Sesame Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 Tbsp sesame oil
  • cup coconut aminos
  • 2 Tbsp rice vinegar or lime juice
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • 2 tsp sriracha optional

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients for the sesame garlic sauce to a small bowl or measuring cup and whisk to combine. Set aside until ready to use.
  • Transfer all of the ingredients for the meatballs to a large bowl. Use your hands to mash all of the ingredients together until everything is well-distributed throughout the meatballs. Note: If you have a stand mixer, feel free to mix the meatball mixture in your eclectic mixer using the paddle attachment.
  • Form 14 equal-sized meatballs out of the meatball mixture. If you have a cookie scoop, feel free to use it but I find rolling the meat with my hands ensures the meatballs hold together nicely.
  • Heat two to three tablespoons of avocado oil (or high temperature cooking oil of choice) over high heat in a large skillet. I use a 12-inch nonstick skillet, but a large cast iron skillet works great too. Allow the oil to heat up for a few minutes, until it is sizzling hot.
  • Carefully place the meatballs on the surface of the hot skillet in a single layer and sear for 2 minutes. Flip meatballs to the other side and brown for another 2 minutes.
  • Pour the sauce into the skillet. It should immediately come to a boil. You can reduce the heat to medium-high heat or medium heat if the mixture gets too out of control. Allow the meatballs to continue cooking, flipping once or twice, until they have reached your desired level of doneness, about 2-3 minutes, or until the sauce has thickened. If you’d like, you can use a meat thermometer to test the temperature of the center of the meatballs. I aim for about 160 degrees Fahrenheit so that the meat is cooked through for those who like their beef well done, but the meat is still juicy.
  • Serve meatballs as an appetizer, or as a main dish with side dishes. You can garnish them with sesame seeds and more green onions if you’d like. I enjoy these meatballs as a complete meal with brown rice and sauteed vegetables.

Notes

*If you don’t follow a grain-free diet, you can replace the tapioca flour with ⅓ cup of gluten-free all-purpose flour OR ½ cup bread crumbs.
**or coconut aminos or low-sodium soy sauce

Nutrition

Serving: 1Serving (3.5 Meatballs) | Calories: 353kcal | Carbohydrates: 26g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 71mg | Sodium: 415mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 10g

This post contains affiliate links, which means I make a small commission off items you purchase at no additional cost to you.

Recipe Rating




This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Caroline

Thursday 1st of February 2024

How much rice vinegar or lime juice - I'm thinking 2 tablespoons.

Julia

Thursday 1st of February 2024

Hi Caroline! That's correct - 2 Tbsp. My apologies for the confusion :)

DAVID

Thursday 1st of February 2024

This recipe needs a bit of tweaking. Missing some info. 2 rice vinegar or lime juice. 2 what of these ingredients?

Julia

Thursday 1st of February 2024

Hi David, Thanks for catching that. It should be 2 tablespoons of rice vinegar or lime juice.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.