Learn how to make the Hello Fresh Firecracker Meatballs at home. The whole family will love these juicy meatballs packed with Asian flavors, drizzled in a homemade firecracker sauce. Serve them over a bed of warm coconut rice with a side of crisp green beans.
With a perfect balance of heat, sweetness, and savory goodness, this dish is sure to become a new favorite in your fall and winter recipe rotation. Enjoy rice bowl recipes? Try this ground turkey teriyaki bowl, fiesta lime shrimp bowl, or honey garlic salmon rice bowl next.
Why You'll Love This Firecracker Meatball Recipe
Makes a great appetizer for a dinner party or game day. Forego the rice and green beans and just serve the meatballs and sauce.
Great option for a quick dinner the whole family will love.
Bowls are also a great way to meal prep. Prepare parts of the meal ahead of time and combine them all together when you're ready to enjoy.
Grab These Ingredients
Here are the simple ingredients for this easy firecracker meatballs recipe. Most are pantry staples and easy (and affordable) to find in grocery stores. Jump down to the recipe card at the bottom of the post for exact measurements.
- Sesame oil: Olive oil is a good substitute.
- Sesame seeds: These are optional, but add a little texture and authentic Asian cuisine flare.
- Jasmine rice: Feel free to use a different white rice if you don't have Jasmine rice on hand.
- Full-fat coconut milk: You can usually find this in the baking aisle or the Asian food aisle.
Firecracker Meatballs and Green Beans
- Panko breadcrumbs: This gives a nice crunchy texture to the outside. Grab gluten-free panko bread crumbs if needed. Regular breadcrumbs will also work for this recipe.
- Milk: Use any kind of milk.
- Ground beef: We used 85% lean. You can substitute with lean ground turkey.
- Scallions: Substitute with green onions if needed. Follow our tips for how to cut green onions.
- Ginger: You can find it in the produce section by the garlic. Just peel and grate it! Sub this for garlic powder.
- Garlic: Fresh cloves are the best for adding flavor.
- Kosher salt: Kosher salt is the best for cooking.
- Crushed red pepper flakes: These are optional and add a little more heat.
- Olive oil: Substitute with avocado oil if needed.
- Green beans: Fresh green beans are best. Trim the ends.
Spicy Firecracker Sauce
- Mayo: If you want a healthier version, follow our recipe for the best paleo mayo.
- Sour cream: Use dairy-free if needed.
- Sriracha: Buffalo hot sauce is a good substitute.
- Coconut Aminos: Substitute with soy sauce if needed.
- Honey: For some natural sweetness. Substitute with maple syrup or brown sugar.
- Rice vinegar: Substitute with apple cider vinegar.
- Red Chili Flakes: or Korean Chili Crunch to taste
Recipe testing notes: The first time we made these, we used too much ginger and too many breadcrumbs. The meatballs were almost too soft and the ginger was too strong, so we pulled back on both and they turned out much better!
How to Make Firecracker Meatballs
The full printable recipe is below, but let’s walk through the steps with some photos and a video so you have a clear idea of what to expect. This firecracker meatball recipe is really easy and these step-by-step instructions will make sure they turn out every time.
Make the Coconut Rice
Add the sesame oil to a medium skillet over medium heat. Stir in the sesame seeds and cook to toast for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15-18 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.
Option: make Instant Pot coconut rice instead.
Make the spicy sauce. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium bowl, placing it in the fridge until you're ready to serve. Omit the sriracha and red pepper flakes if you don't like spice, or try this easy yum yum sauce.
Make the Meatballs and Veggies
Make the meatballs. Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl, pouring the milk over top and letting it sit for 5 minutes. Chop the garlic and scallions, separating the white of the scallion from the green ends, and mincing the white bulb ends. Add the beef to the breadcrumbs along with the scallion whites, ginger, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Combine the meat mixture with clean hands.
Add to the sheet pan: Shape them into 1 to ½-inch balls, placing them in a single layer on one half of the large baking sheet. Place the green beans on the other half of the sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle them with 1 Tablespoon of olive oil and add salt to taste, then toss to coat.
Bake. Drizzle the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the meatballs. Bake in the preheated oven on the top rack for 14-16 minutes? (or until the internal temperature of the meatballs reaches 165°F). The green beans should be browned and tender.
Serve and enjoy. Fluff the rice and divide it into bowls. Top with the baked meatballs, green beans, and a generous drizzle of firecracker sauce. Finish with the reserved green onions, extra sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, or Chili crunch.
Ultimately, the choice between using milk, eggs, or both depends on your personal preference and the specific texture and flavor you want to achieve in your meatballs. If you want softer, more tender meatballs, milk can be a great choice to add moisture and tenderness. For well-formed, firm meatballs, eggs are excellent binders that help maintain the meatball's shape. If you want a balance of tenderness and structure, use both milk and eggs in your meatball mixture.
Baking meatballs in the oven allows for even cooking and is generally considered a healthier cooking method compared to frying because it requires less oil. Plus, once the meatballs are in the oven, you can leave them to cook without much attention, making it a convenient option.
Cooking (or pan-frying) meatballs gives them a crispy exterior, creating a flavorful crust. It's also generally quicker than baking, which can be useful when you need a quick meal. And if cooking them in a sauce, they absorb the flavors of the sauce, creating a harmonious taste profile.
Yes, you can overmix a meatball mixture, which can affect the texture of your meatballs. It happens when you work the meat mixture too vigorously or for too long. To avoid overmixing, mix gently and just until everything is evenly distributed. Avoid excessive stirring or kneading and even cook a small test batch first to assess the texture and flavor before forming all the meatballs.
One of our favorite ways to throw together dinner is in a rice bowl recipe! The best part about them is that they're so versatile. Switch up the main ingredients based on what you have at home or what you're craving. Here are some additional toppings and ingredient variations:
- Make it low carb: Lay the cooked meatballs on cauliflower rice or wrap them in lettuce wraps.
- Firecracker chicken meatballs: Make your meatball mixture using ground chicken or try ground pork or ground turkey.
- Switch up the veggies: Instead of green beans, serve them alongside roasted broccoli and carrots.
- Make it dairy-free: Use dairy-free milk and sour cream.
- Gluten-free: use gluten-free breadcrumbs, like Aleia's.
Freezing and Storing Tips
Store the meatballs, rice, and green beans in a separate airtight container from the sauce so the dish doesn't get soggy. Place in the fridge for up to 4 days or store in a freezer-safe container for up to 2 months in the freezer.
If you make this recipe, I’d love for you to give it a star rating ★ below. You can also tag me on Instagram so I can see it!
More Favorite Meatball Recipes
- 1 Tablespoon sesame oil olive oil, or avocado oil
- 2 Tablespoons sesame seeds
- 1 cup Jasmine rice rinsed and drained
- 1 cup full fat coconut milk
- ¾ cup water
Firecracker Meatballs and Green Beans
- ¼ cup panko breadcrumbs gluten-free if needed (we used Aleia's)
- ¼ cup milk any kind
- 1 lb ground beef 85% lean
- 4 scallions sliced and divided
- 2 teaspoons fresh grated ginger (Note 1)
- 4 cloves minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes optional
- 3 tablespoons olive oil divided
- 1 lb fresh green beans ends trimmed
- ¼ cup Mayo we used Primal Kitchen
- ¼ cup sour cream dairy-free if needed
- 2 Tablespoons Sriracha or buffalo sauce plus more to taste
- 3 Tablespoons coconut aminos or soy sauce
- 1 Tablespoon Honey
- 2 teaspoons rice vinegar or apple cider vinegar
- Red chili flakes or Korean chili crunch to taste
- Large rimmed baking sheet
- Preheat the oven to 425°F and arrange the oven rack to the top position. Gently grease a large sheet pan with olive oil or line with parchment paper.
- Make the coconut rice. Add the sesame oil to a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Stir in the sesame seeds and cook to toast for 1-2 minutes. Add the rice, coconut milk, water, and salt and stir to combine. Bring it to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce the heat, and simmer for 15-18 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the rice is fluffy.
- Make the meatballs. Add the breadcrumbs to a large bowl and pour the milk on top. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Now is a good time to chop the scallions and garlic. Separate the scallion white from the green ends and mince the white bulb ends. Save the green ends to garnish.
- Add the beef to the breadcrumbs along with the scallion whites, ginger, garlic, salt, and red pepper flakes. Use clean hands to mix until well combined.
- Use a large cookie scoop to form the meatballs into 1 ½-inch meatballs. You should have 20-22 meatballs. Place them in a single layer on one side of the prepared baking sheet.
- Place the green beans on the other half of the sheet pan in a single layer. Drizzle with 1 Tablespoon olive oil and sprinkle with salt to taste. Toss to coat. Drizzle the remaining 2 Tablespoons of olive oil over the tops of the meatballs.
- Bake in the preheated oven on the top rack for 14-16 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165°F and the green beans are browned and tender.
- Make the sauce. While they’re baking, mix together all of the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Fluff the rice and divide it into bowls. Top with the baked meatballs, green beans, and a generous drizzle of firecracker sauce. Finish with the reserved green onions, extra sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, or chili crunch.