Delicious Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Ginger-Lime Sauce

As a chef specializing in Vietnamese and Asian cuisine, I have discovered that the combination of fresh ingredients, strong flavors, and traditional techniques can yield some of the most delicious dishes. That’s why I’m excited to share with you my recipe for Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Ginger-Lime Sauce.

This recipe is perfect for those who love the rich boldness of Vietnamese-style meatballs combined with the tanginess of a zesty lime sauce. The dish is sweet, savory, tangy, and spicy all in one bite – a real explosion of flavor!

The clashing textures also make for an enjoyable eating experience – you get crispy lettuce leaves and tender pork meatballs, complemented by a fresh ginger lime sauce. It’s a balanced mix between something cool and crunchy and something warm and juicy.

What sets my recipe apart from others is that I use ground pork instead of beef or chicken meatballs. Pork has more fat than other meats, which makes it juicier when cooked. This juiciness pairs perfectly with the acidic tang from the lime juice in the dish. Trust me when I say that this recipe will melt in your mouth!

So if you enjoy bold yet balanced flavor profiles as well as piping hot juicy meat served on a bed of fresh veggies, then stay tuned for my recipe on how to prepare these Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Ginger-Lime Sauce!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs With Ginger-Lime Sauce
Vietnamese Pork Meatballs With Ginger-Lime Sauce

Every once in a while, we all need a break from our daily routine – and what better way to unwind and indulge than with a delicious and satisfying meal? That’s where these Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Ginger-Lime Sauce come in. Trust me when I say that you’ll absolutely love this recipe, and here’s why.

Firstly, the combination of flavors in these meatballs is nothing short of amazing. The aromas of lemongrass, ginger, and garlic fuse together to create an irresistible scent that will tease your taste buds before you even take a bite! These meatballs are also incredibly succulent and juicy, made with ground pork that has been expertly seasoned with fish sauce and freshly ground black pepper.

Secondly, the ginger-lime sauce is the perfect complement to these Vietnamese-style meatballs. The tanginess of the lime juice pairs beautifully with the sweetness of the sugar, while the fish sauce provides a savory depth of flavor. Top it all off with the zingy kick of fresh ginger, and you’ve got yourself one seriously tasty dipping sauce!

Thirdly, this recipe is incredibly versatile – you can serve these meatballs as an appetizer or as part of a main course. Pair them with some steamed rice or rice noodles for a hearty meal, or serve them up on a bed of bibb lettuce leaves with some fresh cilantro and grated carrots for a light and refreshing salad.

In summary, there’s no reason not to love this recipe. It’s easy to make, delicious to eat, and can be tailored to suit your preferences. Whether you’re craving something indulgent or want something light and healthy, these Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Ginger-Lime Sauce are sure to satisfy your cravings.

Ingredient List

 These pork meatballs may be small, but they are packed with bold Asian flavors.
These pork meatballs may be small, but they are packed with bold Asian flavors.

Ingredients you need to make Vietnamese Pork Meatballs With Ginger-Lime Sauce Recipe

For the meatballs:

  • 2 pound(s) ground pork, Not too lean

  • 1 1/2 tablespoon(s) garlic (minced, about 3 large cloves)

  • 1 tablespoon ginger (peeled & minced or grated)

  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 1 teaspoon sugar

  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • 2 small shallot(s), finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup fresh cilantro (leaves and tender stems only, finely chopped)

For the ginger-lime sauce:

  • Juice of 3 limes

  • zest of 1 lime

  • 1 piece of peeled ginger (about an inch in size), finely chopped

  • 3 garlic cloves, peeled and minced

  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce

  • 3 tablespoons sugar

  • Salt to taste

The Recipe How-To

 Mixing in ginger and lime zest gives these meatballs a fresh and zesty kick.
Mixing in ginger and lime zest gives these meatballs a fresh and zesty kick.

Step 1: Prepare the Pork Meatballs

To make the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine ground pork with minced garlic, minced ginger, and finely chopped shallot. Mix together until well combined. In a small bowl, whisk together fish sauce, sugar, freshly ground black pepper, and the juice of 2 limes. Add the sauce to the pork mixture and thoroughly mix again.

Step 2: Shape the Meatballs

Scoop the pork mixture and shape it into large meatballs (roughly 2 1/2 inches in diameter). In a separate bowl, prepare a mixture of cornstarch and water to help you form round meatballs without sticking to your hands.

Step 3: Grill or Bake the Meatballs

There are two cooking methods that work great for these juicy pork meatballs:

  1. Grilling: Preheat your grill to high heat (about 450-500°F). Brush the grill grates with a bit of oil to ensure your meat doesn’t stick. Lay the shaped meatballs on the hot grill and cook for about 5-6 minutes per side until fully cooked through.

  2. Baking: Preheat your oven to 375°F. Place the shaped meatballs on a lined baking sheet and bake for approximately 20 minutes, or until cooked through.

Step 4: Prepare Ginger-Lime Sauce

While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the dipping sauce by whisking together fish sauce with sugar until well combined. Then add in freshly squeezed lime juice from 3 limes, minced garlic cloves, grated ginger, and freshly ground black pepper.

Step 5: Serve And Enjoy!

Serve the warm pork meatballs with fresh herbs such as chopped mint and cilantro or alongside grilled vegetables like carrots or bibb lettuce. For the dipping sauce, offer a bowl of ginger-lime dipping sauce, along with extra freshly squeezed lime juice. These Vietnamese-style pork meatballs make a perfect appetizer or entrée and pair well with rice noodles or a star recipe – Vietnamese pork kofta, beef, or chicken meatballs, for example.

Substitutions and Variations

 These succulent meatballs are just waiting to be glazed in a tangy ginger-lime sauce.
These succulent meatballs are just waiting to be glazed in a tangy ginger-lime sauce.

Looking to put your own spin on this Vietnamese pork meatballs recipe? Here are some suggestions for substitutions and variations:

– Ground Turkey or Chicken: If you don’t eat pork, you can swap out the ground pork for an equal amount of ground turkey or chicken. You’ll still get the delicious ginger-lime sauce, but with a lighter twist.

– Beef: For a heartier flavor, try substituting ground beef for the pork. The sauce will still complement the meatballs well and give you that authentic Vietnamese cuisine experience.

– Coconut Broth: Swap out the dipping sauce for a creamy coconut broth instead. Pour it over a bowl of rice noodles and meatballs to make this dish even more substantial.

– Meatball Salad: Take this recipe in a lighter direction by serving the meatballs over Bibb lettuce with some fresh carrots, mint and cilantro. Toss everything together with a chili-lime dressing for a filling and refreshing salad.

– My Personal Favorite – Meatball Bun Cha: Inspired by one of my favorite street foods in Vietnam, this version of the recipe features grilled ginger pork meatballs and rice noodles served in a coconut lime sauce. Top it all off with some fresh herbs and sliced green onions for an extra burst of flavor.

Don’t be afraid to experiment with these suggestions or come up with your own creative twists on this recipe. By making it your own, you’ll truly understand why Vietnamese cuisine is so delicious – it’s about combining bold flavors into something truly unique!

Serving and Pairing

 A plate of these golden brown meatballs will be the centerpiece of any dinner party.
A plate of these golden brown meatballs will be the centerpiece of any dinner party.

When it comes to serving and pairing these Vietnamese pork meatballs with ginger-lime sauce, you have a variety of delicious options. To start, I highly recommend serving the meatballs with a side of steamed rice, which helps absorb the sauce’s tangy flavor. Alternatively, you can serve the meatballs on top of a bed of fresh bibb lettuce leaves for an added crunch.

If you’re looking to make a more substantial meal out of this dish, try pairing the meatballs with a classic Vietnamese noodle salad or a refreshing coconut broth soup filled with rice noodles and vegetables. You could also pair it with classic Vietnamese side dishes like julienned carrots and fresh cilantro.

To add even more flavor to the dish, consider adding a drizzle of sweet chili sauce on top or garnishing with some crushed peanuts for an added crunch. For those who prefer spice, you can also slice up some fresh Thai chili peppers and sprinkle them over the top.

Whether you choose to serve them as an appetizer or as part of a larger meal, these Vietnamese-style pork meatballs are sure to be a hit. Their unique blend of flavors and aromas pairs perfectly with many other Vietnamese-inspired dishes and can easily be adapted to suit your taste preferences as well. With a little creativity, you’ll quickly discover that there are endless ways to enjoy this delicious dish.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 You won't be able to resist dipping these juicy meatballs in the flavorful sauce.
You won’t be able to resist dipping these juicy meatballs in the flavorful sauce.

I’ve always found that cooking in bulk makes it easier to prepare meals during the week. That’s why I love this Vietnamese pork meatball recipe – not only can you make these ahead of time, but they also store well and reheat like a charm.

If you want to make these meatballs ahead of time, I recommend shaping them as described in the recipe and placing them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Pop them in the freezer for a couple of hours to firm up, then transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the freezer for up to one month.

To cook from frozen: preheat your oven to 375°F (190°C) and arrange the meatballs on a baking sheet. Cook for 20-25 minutes or until they’re cooked through.

Alternatively, if you’re making these meatballs fresh but simply have leftovers, let them cool completely before transferring them to an airtight container and storing them in the fridge for up to four days. You can reheat them in the microwave for two minutes or until heated through or in the oven at 375°F (190°C) for 5-10 minutes.

The ginger-lime dipping sauce also stores well in an airtight container in the fridge for up to three days. Just remember that fish sauce can have quite a pungent odor – something that can linger if not stored properly. So if you’re using plastic containers make sure they are well-sealed!

One final note: these meatballs are so versatile, and if you end up with more than what you need, consider using them as filling for bánh mì sandwiches or on top of rice noodle bowls. The possibilities are truly endless with this delicious Vietnamese-style recipe.

Tips for Perfect Results

 The perfect balance of salty, savory and tangy flavors make these meatballs a hit.
The perfect balance of salty, savory and tangy flavors make these meatballs a hit.

One of the keys to making these Vietnamese pork meatballs with ginger-lime sauce is all in the preparation. Here are some tips to ensure that your meatballs come out perfectly every time.

Firstly, make sure to mix the meatball ingredients thoroughly. I like to use my hands – it’s messy but effective! This will help ensure that all the flavors are evenly distributed throughout each meatball.

Once you have mixed the ingredients, let the mixture sit in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes before shaping into balls. This will allow the flavors to meld together, making for an even tastier result.

When shaping the meatballs, keep them about 1 1/2 inches in diameter. This size ensures even cooking throughout and a perfect texture when cooked.

When it comes time to cook the meatballs, you want to get a nice sear on them without overcooking the inside. To do this, heat your skillet or grill pan over medium-high heat and don’t overcrowd the pan. Once they are browned on one side, gently flip them over to cook all sides evenly.

Lastly, don’t forget about the dipping sauce! The ginger-lime sauce is essential to bringing out all of the flavors in these meatballs. Be sure to prepare it ahead of time so it has time to chill before serving.

By following these tips, you’ll be well on your way to perfect Vietnamese pork meatballs with ginger-lime sauce every time. Happy cooking!

Bottom Line

This recipe for Vietnamese Pork Meatballs with Ginger-Lime Sauce is a flavorful and easy-to-make dish that will impress your guests and satisfy your taste buds. With its unique combination of herbs, spices, and sauces, it’s a dish that will transport you straight to the streets of Vietnam.

Whether you’re looking for a standout appetizer or a main course that will make a lasting impression, this recipe has got you covered. You’ll love how quick and easy it is to prepare these delicious meatballs and create the tangy ginger-lime sauce to serve on the side.

So why not add some Vietnamese flair to your next meal? With this recipe, you’ll be amazed at how simple it is to create vibrant and flavorful Asian cuisine in your own kitchen. Trust me, once you try it, you’ll be coming back for seconds – so go ahead and give it a try!

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs With Ginger-Lime Sauce

Vietnamese Pork Meatballs With Ginger-Lime Sauce Recipe

This recipe is courtesy of Jonathan Levitt and was recently published in The Boston Globe. Prep time is approximate and includes the prepping for the sauce, bamboo skewers and pork mixture.
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Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Course Appetizer
Cuisine Vietnamese
Servings 50 meatballs
Calories 68.5 kcal



  • 1 piece fresh gingerroot, peeled and finely chopped
  • 3 limes, juice of
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons sugar
  • 3 tablespoons asian fish sauce


  • 2 1/2 lbs ground pork
  • 1 shallot, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons asian fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • black pepper, to taste
  • 2 teaspoons peanut oil (or canola oil)
  • 2 heads bibb lettuce, separated into leaves
  • 3 carrots, sliced into matchsticks
  • 8 sprigs fresh cilantro, leaves only


  • In a shallow bowl, combine the ginger, lime juice, and sugar. Stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • Add the fish sauce. Cover and set aside for 30 minutes before serving.
  • Soak 16 wood skewers in water for 30 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine pork, shallot, garlic, fish sauce, sugar, and black pepper. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour, or for as long as overnight.
  • Light a charcoal grill or turn a gas grill to medium-high. Spoon 2 teaspoons of oil onto a platter. Use the oil to coat your hands. Scoop up a tablespoon of the pork mixture and shape it into a tight ball. Set on the oiled plate. Repeat with the remaining pork. You should have 50 meatballs.
  • Slide the balls onto skewers, placing 3 on each. When the coals are ready, place skewers on the grill and cook for 10 minutes without moving. Turn and continue cooking 10 more minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
  • Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish, setting aside 6 skewers for the noodle dish.
  • Wrap the meatballs in the lettuce leaves, top with carrots and cilantro leaves. Serve with the ginger-lime sauce.

Add Your Own Notes


Serving: 1980gCalories: 68.5kcalCarbohydrates: 1.7gProtein: 4.1gFat: 5gSaturated Fat: 1.8gCholesterol: 16.3mgSodium: 182.6mgFiber: 0.2gSugar: 1.1g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Asian, Meat, Pork, Vietnamese
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