Baked Thai Chicken Meatballs

Overhead shot of plate with Thai chicken meatballs and bowl with Thai sweet chili sauce.

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These Baked Thai Chicken Meatballs are easy to make, super juicy and full of the BEST Thai flavors! They’re delicious as a party appetizer or main dish with steamed rice and terrific for meal prep too!


  • 45 grams / 3 small Asian Red Shallots (or use ¼ medium red onion) – peeled, roughly chopped
  • 35 grams / 4 Garlic cloves – peeled, roughly chopped
  • 20 grams / 1-inch piece Ginger – peeled, roughly chopped
  • 16 grams / 1 – 6 fresh Red Chilies (Thai Bird’s Eye or any other small hot red chilies – note 1), to taste – destemmed, roughly chopped
  • 9 grams / 3 Coriander (Cilantro) Roots – roughly chopped (or use 6 coriander stems)
  • 2 Lemongrass Stalks – outer tough layers removed, finely minced (or use 2 tablespoons lemongrass paste)
  • 3 grams / 3 Makrut Lime Leaves (note 2 – substitute with ground dried makrut/kaffir lime leaves) – destemmed, finely minced into a powder
  • 1 large Egg – lightly beaten
  • 500 grams / 1.1 pounds ground Chicken
  • 40 grams / about ¾ cup Panko Breadcrumbs
  • 1 TSP ground White Pepper
  • 1 TBLS Fish Sauce
  • 1 TBLS Low Sodium Light Soy Sauce
  • 1 TSP Sesame Oil
  • 1 TBLS Canola Oil (or other neutral oil or cooking oil spray, for brushing/spraying on foil and rolling meatballs)
  • To Serve (optional): Thai Sweet Chili Sauce, chopped coriander or spring onion (green onion/scallion), sliced red chilies, steamed rice


  1. Prepare the ingredients: Prepare the Asian red shallots, garlic, ginger, red chilies, coriander roots, lemongrass stalks and makrut lime leaves as indicated in the ‘ingredients’ section. Crack the egg into a small bowl and lightly beat with a fork.
  2. Oven prep: Preheat oven to 200°C/400°F. Line a large baking tray with a sheet of parchment paper/nonstick cooking paper or aluminum foil and lightly brush with a little canola oil. (Or you can use cooking oil spray and lightly spray with oil.)
  3. Smash the aromatics: Using a mortar and pestle, pound the shallots, garlic, ginger, red chilies and coriander roosts into a coarse paste. (If you don’t own a mortar and pestle, finely chop them instead.)
  4. Make the meatballs: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, breadcrumbs, egg, smashed aromatics paste, finely minced lemongrass and makrut lime leaves, ground white pepper, fish sauce, low sodium light soy sauce and sesame oil. Mix using your hands or with a large spoon until combined well. Use a 1 tablespoon cookie scoop to measure and dollop the mixture onto a nonstick cooking paper lined large cutting board. Lightly rub a little oil on the palms and inner finger parts. Roll them into balls and place them evenly spaced apart on the prepared tray.
  5. Bake: Place the tray on the center rack of the over and bake for 28-30 minutes, until lightly browned.
  6. To Serve: Serve warm as a party appetizer garnished with chopped coriander or spring onion, sliced red chilies and Thai sweet chili sauce on the side. Or enjoy with steamed rice, in sandwiches, cooked rice vermicelli tossed and chili garlic sauce.



  1. Fresh red chilies. Adjust quantity to taste depending on your heat level preference. You can also omit the chilies completely to make the meatballs mild.
  2. Makrut lime leaves. Also known as kaffir lime leaves, this Thai herb is incredibly fragrant with a citrusy aroma. Look for them in a Thai grocery store or substitute with the ground dried version.
  3. Storing leftovers. These chicken meatballs will keep for 3-4 days in a sealed airtight container in the fridge. Reheat for 30-40 seconds on high in the microwave until hot throughout.
  4. To freeze uncooked meatballs. Shape the meatballs and place them on a baking tray. Pop the tray in the fridge and freeze until solid. Then transfer to freezer friendly bags and freeze for up to 3 months. To bake, thaw first briefly in the microwave for 10-20 seconds. Do this in batches on a plate so that they don’t stick to each other. Then line up the meatballs on a lightly greased foil or parchment paper lined tray. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C/400°F for 28-30 minutes.
  5. To freeze baked meatballs. Line a sealable airtight container with aluminum foil and place the meatballs in it. Use sheets of foil between the meatball layers. Cover and freeze for up to 3 months. You can also just pop them in a freezer friendly zipper bag. Thaw in the fridge overnight and reheat in the microwave for 30 second to 1 minute on high until hot throughout.
  6. To cook in the air fryer. Preheat the air fryer at 200°C/400°F for 3 minutes. Line the basket with a sheet of aluminum foil and spray with cooking oil (or lightly brush the foil with oil). Place the meatballs on it and air fry for 10 minutes, then flip the meatballs and air-fry for another 6-8 minutes until cooked. Use a digital kitchen thermometer to ensure that they’ve reached an internal temperature of 74°C/165°F and are cooked. Transfer to a plate and air fry the next batch.
  7. See ‘Variations’ section in the post above to customize these Thai chicken meatballs.


Keywords: oven baked Thai meatballs, Thai meatballs, Thai chicken meatballs