Mouth-Watering Vietnamese Beef Balls Recipe

When it comes to delicious Vietnamese cuisine, there are few dishes that can compare to the savory and flavorful Thit Bo Vien, or Vietnamese beef balls. Made from a blend of tender ground beef, spices like garlic and white pepper, and a variety of other essential ingredients like fish sauce and potato starch, these bouncy beef balls are a staple in traditional Vietnamese soups and noodle dishes.

At first glance, making your own homemade Thit Bo Vien may seem like a daunting task, but with the right recipe and a few helpful tips, you’ll be whipping up your own delicious batch in no time. So whether you’re hosting a dinner party or just looking for a comforting bowl of soup on a chilly night, this authentic Vietnamese beef balls recipe is sure to satisfy your cravings for bold and rich flavors.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Beef Balls - (Thit Bo Vien)
Vietnamese Beef Balls – (Thit Bo Vien)

There are countless reasons to love Vietnamese Beef Balls – (Thit Bo Vien) Recipe. As a chef specializing in Asian cuisine, I know that this recipe is a true standout for its delicious, rich flavor and bouncy texture that is sure to delight your taste buds.

For one thing, this recipe features an essential ingredient: fish sauce. This ingredient is a staple in Vietnamese cuisine and adds depth and complexity of flavor to the beef balls. With a combination of fish sauce, garlic, fresh ground white pepper, sugar, and baking powder, these beef meatballs bring an explosion of flavors to your palate.

Another reason to try this recipe is its versatility. The Vietnamese beef balls make for a perfect addition to any noodle soup or as a side dish. You can enjoy these delightful beef meatballs with rice noodles, boiled vegetables or even on their own.

And finally, why not try creating variations of the original recipe? Substitute the beef with other meat types such as chicken or pork; add extra herbs such as mint or coriander or experiment with different levels of spiciness by adding chili flakes or sriracha sauce.

It’s no secret that Asian cuisine is known for its unique flavors and delicious ingredients that take our taste buds on an adventure. And with the Vietnamese Beef Balls recipe, you can experience all that and more right from your own kitchen. Trust me; it’s one culinary adventure you won’t regret embarking on!

Ingredient List

“Juicy and flavorful beef balls ready to be devoured!”

Here are the key ingredients you’ll need to make these flavorful Vietnamese Beef Balls:

  • Ground beef (11oz pack, 80% or more lean meat)
  • Potato starch (2 tablespoons)
  • Baking powder (1/4 teaspoon)
  • Sugar (1 teaspoon)
  • Fresh ground white pepper (1/2 teaspoon)
  • Garlic (1 clove, finely minced)
  • Fish sauce (1 tablespoon)
  • Water (2 tablespoons)

Note: Potato starch is an essential ingredient in making bouncy beef balls. It gives the meat mixture a unique texture that can’t be achieved by using regular flour or cornstarch. Fish sauce is another ingredient Vietnamese people use a lot in cooking – it adds savory umami flavor and saltiness to the dish.

The Recipe How-To

“Satisfy your cravings with these delicious Vietnamese beef balls.”

Now that we have all the ingredients ready, let’s move on to the most important part – preparing the delicious Vietnamese Beef Balls (Thit Bo Vien). Trust me; you won’t be disappointed with these bouncy beef balls full of flavor.

Step 1: Preparing the Meat Mixture

Firstly, in a large bowl, mix one pound ground beef with 2 tablespoons fish sauce, 2 cloves of finely chopped garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1 teaspoon baking powder. Then, sprinkle 3 tablespoons of potato starch over the mixture and start kneading everything until it comes together as a dough-like bo vien mixture. The potato starch helps to bind the meat and gives it great texture.

Step 2: Rolling Perfect Balls

Secondly, dust your hands with potato starch and take a small chunk of the beef mixture (about a tablespoon) and roll it into a ball shape using your palm. Repeat until you’ve used up all of the meat mixture. This recipe should make around twelve 2-inch diameter beef balls.

Step 3: Cooking the Beef Balls

Thirdly, bring about 4 cups of water to a boil in a pot. When the water is boiling, gently add the raw beef balls one by one into the pot. Let them cook for 5-7 minutes or until they’re floating at the top.

Once cooked, use a slotted spoon to remove them from the pot and transfer them into an ice bath for about 30 seconds or until they are no longer hot. This will help give them that bouncy texture on bite.

Step 4: Serving

Finally, drain off any excess water off your beef balls and serve them hot in a soup or noodle dish. If you’re serving this dish as your main course, why not try it out with Pho Thit Bo – Vietnamese Beef Noodle Soup?

Congratulations! You have just made some tasty Vietnamese Beef Balls (Thit Bo Vien) which can be enjoyed in many dishes. They even go well as a snack with some dipping sauce if you have any left over!

Substitutions and Variations

“A perfect balance of savory and sweet in every bite.”

If you’re feeling a bit daring and want to put your own twist on this Vietnamese beef balls recipe, there are a few substitutions and variations you can make.

Firstly, if you can’t find fresh ground white pepper, you can use black pepper powder instead. The flavor won’t be the same, but it will still add a nice kick to the meatballs.

Additionally, if you’re looking to make this recipe gluten-free, you can substitute cornstarch for the potato starch without much difference in texture or taste.

For those who don’t eat beef, ground chicken or turkey can be used instead. Keep in mind that the flavor will be slightly different, but it’s still worth trying out!

If you’re feeling adventurous and want to change things up a bit, try adding some chopped cilantro or scallions to the beef mixture for an extra pop of flavor. Or, if you like spicy food, add a small amount of chopped chili peppers.

Finally, if you want to enjoy these Vietnamese beef balls in a different way than just on their own or in soup, try pairing them with rice noodles or stir-fried vegetables for a delicious and complete meal.

Remember – cooking is all about experimentation and finding what works best for you!

Serving and Pairing

“These beef balls are the ultimate comfort food.”

Once your Vietnamese beef balls are cooked to perfection, my favorite way to serve them is in a hot and steamy bowl of pho or other noodle soup. The juicy and bouncy beef balls blend perfectly with the savory broth and make for an unforgettable meal.

If you’re looking for something a bit different, try serving the beef balls over a bed of steaming white rice noodles or mixed with stir-fried vegetables. The versatility of these meatballs makes them an excellent choice for an array of dishes.

As for pairing, I recommend a refreshing Vietnamese iced coffee or jasmine tea to balance out the rich flavor of the beef balls. Alternatively, an ice-cold beer pairs well with the spiciness of these meatballs.

But don’t be afraid to experiment! These beef balls can be incorporated into almost any dish that calls for meatballs. Trust me, they won’t disappoint.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

“Elevate your appetizers game with these mouth-watering bites.”

When it comes to make-ahead, storing, and reheating these Vietnamese Beef Balls, there are a few tips to keep in mind. Firstly, you can make the beef balls ahead of time and store them in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. This makes for a convenient option if you want to prepare them ahead of your dining plans.

Secondly, if you have any leftovers or are making a bigger batch, these beef balls can also be stored in the freezer for up to a month. It’s important to defrost them properly in the fridge overnight before reheating.

When it comes to reheating the beef balls, my preferred method is reheating them by simmering them gently in any broth or sauce for several minutes until heated through. You can also pan-fry them over medium heat until they are crispy and warmed through.

The great thing about these beef balls is that they stay tender and moist even after being reheated. Their delicate texture and delicious rich flavor make them perfect to add as a topping in noodle soups like PHO or as an added protein source for rice dishes.

Don’t be afraid to get creative with how you serve these Vietnamese Beef Balls, whether it’s in soups or as part of a rice bowl. With these simple tips on make-ahead, storing and reheating, you’ll always have deliciously bouncy beef meatballs on hand!

Tips for Perfect Results

“Indulge in the authentic taste of Vietnam with Thit Bo Vien.”

When it comes to making Vietnamese beef balls, the key is to ensure that the final product is bouncy and full of rich flavor. Here are some tips that can help you achieve perfect results every time:

Firstly, use fresh garlic and grind it yourself for optimal flavor. Avoid using the pre-chopped garlic as they can lack the necessary aroma and potency that grinding fresh cloves provides.

Secondly, adding baking powder and potato starch to the beef mixture helps to create a bouncy texture, making the meatballs light and tender once cooked. You can also use cornstarch as a replacement for potato starch in this recipe.

Thirdly, ensure that you use Vietnamese fish sauce as it is an essential ingredient in giving the balls a savory flavor. If you are looking for an alternative, Thai fish sauce can be used as well.

Fourthly, refrigerating the mixture before forming into balls helps keep the meatballs from falling apart while cooking. So don’t skip this step if you want your beef balls to hold their shape and maintain their texture.

Fifthly, when cooking the beef balls in soup or broth, be careful not to overcrowd them in the pot. This can cause them to stick together, affecting their texture and overall taste.

Finally, using quality ground beef is crucial in achieving perfect results. Opt for lean cuts with at least 15% fat content, so that the meatballs have enough fat to remain moist and flavorful.

By following these tips and using high-quality ingredients, you will undoubtedly make delicious Vietnamese beef balls every time!


Now that you know the recipe and all its nuances, you might have a few questions about it. Here are some of the FAQs that I regularly get asked and my answers to them. Read on to find out more about Vietnamese Beef Balls and how to make them perfect every time.

What is pho Bo Vien made from?

Bo vien, a Vietnamese dish made with beef and beef tendon, boasts a delectable flavor profile that is both savory and satisfying. This versatile ingredient is a key component of Vietnam’s iconic pho soup, as well as suitable for grilling, frying, or incorporating into hot pot dishes.

Why are Vietnamese meatballs chewy?

The Bò Viên varieties available at Asian markets are often tough because they contain hàn the, also known as borax. This substance is commonly used in Asian cuisine to provide a chewy, rubbery consistency to dishes, as well as to preserve them.

What is Bo Vien Gan?

Beef balls are a must-have for many Asian soup dishes, especially Vietnamese beef noodle soup or pho, thanks to their robust beef taste and chewy texture. Hakka Bo Vien Gan in bulk, made with beef and tendon, are particularly famous for their superior bite quality.

What is Vien meat?

In this recipe, I will guide you through creating fresh and flavorful Bò Viên meatballs that are commonly used in Vietnamese cuisine as a delicious accompaniment to Pho. You’ll learn how to achieve the signature springy texture that makes them so addictively delicious.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, Vietnamese beef balls (Thit Bo Vien) is a must-try recipe for anyone who loves Vietnamese and Asian cuisine. With its irresistibly bouncy texture and rich flavor, it’s hard not to love this Vietnamese specialty.

By using fresh ingredients like garlic, fish sauce, and ground beef, you’ll enjoy a dish that is not only flavorful but also healthy. Whether you enjoy it in a soup or paired with rice noodles, or cooked beef, you’ll be delighted by the numerous options available.

With these tips and tricks, you’ll be able to create the perfect batch of bouncy beef balls in no time. And if you’re looking for something new to pair with your favorite noodle soup, you won’t go wrong with Thit Bo Vien.

So why not give this recipe a try? It’s packed with flavor, easy to make, and will satisfy your cravings for an authentic Vietnamese dish. Trust me; you won’t regret adding this recipe to your culinary repertoire!

Vietnamese Beef Balls - (Thit Bo Vien)

Vietnamese Beef Balls - (Thit Bo Vien) Recipe

These crunchy little beef balls are very popular among the Vietnamese. They are served mainly as appetizers or added to noodle soups. Chili sauce (tuong ot) is the usual accompaniment, but any hot red pepper sauce can be served alongside.
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Prep Time 35 mins
Cook Time 5 mins
Course Appetizer/Snack
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 60 meatballs
Calories 10.7 kcal


  • 1/4 cup vietnamese fish sauce, plus (nuoc mam)
  • 1 tablespoon vietnamese fish sauce (nuoc mam)
  • 1 tablespoon potato starch, plus
  • 1 teaspoon potato starch
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh ground white pepper
  • 2 lbs trimmed boneless beef shank
  • 4 cloves garlic (crushed)
  • 1 teaspoon oriental sesame oil
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil (for shaping meatballs)


  • In a shallow dish, mix the fish sauce, potato starch, baking powder, sugar and white pepper.
  • Slice the meat into 1/8-inch-thick pieces.
  • Add to the marinade and mix well.
  • Cover and refrigerate for at least 4 hours, or overnight.
  • Before proceeding, transfer the meat to the freezer for 30 minutes.
  • Work with half of the beef at a time; do not overload the work bowl.
  • In a food processor, combine half of the beef with half of the garlic and sesame oil.
  • Process to a completely smooth but stiff paste, about 3 minutes.
  • Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.
  • The completed paste should spring back to the touch.
  • Transfer the paste to a bowl.
  • Process the remaining beef, garlic and sesame oil the same way.
  • Rub some vegetable oil on one hand, and grab a handful of the meat paste and close your hand into a fist, squeezing out a small portion of the mixture, about 1 teaspoon, between your thumb and index finger.
  • Keep rolling and squeezing the same portion between your thumb and index finger until you obtain a smooth rounded ball.
  • Scoop out the meatball with an oiled spoon, and repeat until all of the paste is used.
  • Pour 1 inch of water into a wok or wide pot, place a steamer rack or bamboo steamer over the water.
  • Arrange the meatballs without crowding in a single layer on the rack.
  • Cover and steam for 5 minutes.
  • Serve as an appetizer with chili sauce.
  • These beef balls can also be added to a well-seasoned beef broth, sprinkled with chopped scallions and white pepper and served as a soup (noodles may be added).
  • Note: These meatballs may be frozen.
  • Thaw them thoroughly, then steam or simmer in boiling water until just heated through.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 183gCalories: 10.7kcalCarbohydrates: 0.4gProtein: 0.1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0.1gSodium: 124mgSugar: 0.1g
Keyword < 60 Mins, Asian, Meat, Vietnamese
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