Asian Meatballs with Yakisoba

This Asian Meatball recipe is tossed with a soft tangle of delightfully chewy yakisoba noodles, crisp-tender vegetables and Honey Sesame Ginger Sauce and is guaranteed to have everyone licking their plates!

This Asian Meatball recipe with yakisoba is an easy, flexible meal solution for busy weeknights but also 5-star spectacular for company! The Asian Meatballs are juicy, tender, flavor bombs, tossed with my favorite, easy-to use, Fortune Yakisoba Noodles and crisp-tender stir-fried veggies, all enveloped in a dynamic sticky, sweet, tangy, honey sesame sauce punctuated by zesty ginger, punchy garlic and chili sauce. This recipe is a symphony of tantalizing flavors and textures that’s easy to customize with whatever veggies you have on hand. Best of all, the Asian Meatballs get baked while you prep the rest of the ingredients, then it’s just a 10-minute stir fry to dinner!  Serve it up with some potstickerscrispy crab rangoons or egg rolls for pure taste bud magic.

Meatballs are always a dinnertime favorite!  Don’t miss Honey Buffalo Meatballs, Cranberry Meatballs, Cocktail Meatballs, Korean Meatballs  Greek MeatballsTurkey MeatballsTeriyaki Meatballs and more.

How to Make Asian Meatballs Video

top view of Asian meatballs garnished with green onions and sesame seeds
top view of Asian meatball recipe ingredients with Asian meatballs, stir fried vegetables and stir fry sauce

WHAT Noodles should I use?

This Asian Meatball recipe is paired with my favorite noodle brand – restaurant quality Fortune Yakisoba! Yakisoba is made with wheat flour, water and kansui (かん水). Kansui is a salty, alkaline liquid that gives the noodles their delightful chewy, springy texture that holds up so well in stir fries and leftovers. 

Fortune’s Yakisoba Noodles are pre-cooked fresh, then packaged, so they just need a quick reheat in the microwave or hot water, making them SO convenient and easy to use not only in this recipe, but in any weeknight stir-fry, soup, or noodle dish.

WHERE should I buy YAKISOBA NOODLES?

Authentic Fortune Yakisoba Noodles are made in the USA, so you should be able to find them in most grocery stores.  Look for Fortune Yakisoba in the refrigerated produce section near the tofu and Twin Dragon egg roll wrappers.  The noodles come with three packets of yakisoba in each family pack, each with their own ZERO MSG, ZERO CHOLESTEROL seasoning packet. We will use all three noodle packets and one seasoning packet for this recipe.

If you are having a difficult time locating yakisoba noodles, you will definitely be able to find them at an Asian grocery store.

serving Asian meatballs in a bowl with sticky sauce

Asian MEATBALL Ingredients

The Asian Meatballs come together quickly with a handful of ingredients. If you have fresh aromatics on hand, they’re ideal, but this recipe can also be made with granulated onion, ginger and garlic and it will still be incredible. Here’s a closer look at what you’ll need (full measurements in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

  • Ground beef: use lean ground beef so the meatballs will be tender but not greasy.
  • Crackers: crushed Ritz or Saltines add fabulous flavor in place of plain panko or breadcrumbs.  I personally prefer buttery, salty Ritz.
  • Green onions: four minced green onions deliver concentrated flavor without any raw onion taste.
  • Ginger:  ½ tablespoon freshly grated ginger adds a slightly peppery aromatic depth. You may substitute with ½ teaspoon ground.
  • Garlic: 2 cloves of garlic add an oomph of garlic, without being overpowering. You may substitute with ½ teaspoon powder.
  • Egg: one egg will do the trick to bind all the ingredients together.
  • Soy sauce:  two tablespoons add extra flavor instead of using milk.
  • Toasted sesame oiljust a splash adds an exciting nutty flavor. Make sure to use toasted sesame oil and not regular sesame oil.  Toasted sesame oil boasts a strong nutty aroma whereas light/plain sesame oil is a low-flavor oil used for sautéing.
showing how to make Asian meatballs by stir frying the meatballs with sauce and vegetables

For the honey sesame sauce

The sauce ingredients may look a little lengthy, but they are whisked together in minutes!

  • Soy sauce: grounds the sauce with its salty depth. Use low sodium so your recipe isn’t too salty.
  • Oyster sauce:  this adds that extra punch of flavor that cannot be replicated with other ingredients/sauces.  Oyster sauce is a thick, brown sauce with a balance between sweet and salty with an earthy undertone, due to the oyster extracts.  You can find oyster sauce in the Asian aisle of any supermarket for only a few dollars.  Please use QUALITY oyster sauce -you truly can taste the difference and will be sorely disappointed with less quality brands.
  • Honey:  honey sesame is a favorite combination because it beautifully balances the umami of the soy and oyster sauce. You may substitute with granulated sugar if needed.
  • Asian chili sauce:  balances the sweetness of the honey and adds a depth of flavor.  I use Sambal Oelek with the green lid but you can also use your favorite chili sauce.
  • Ketchup: adds a rich tanginess but I promise it won’t make your Asian Meatballs taste like ketchup!
  • Rice wine:  adds a sweetness and depth of flavor. I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for.  The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry. Do NOT substitute rice wine with rice vinegar, they are NOT the same.  Rice vinegar will add an acidic flavor without the sweetness.
  • Toasted sesame oiljust a splash adds an exciting nutty flavor. Make sure to use toasted sesame oil and not regular sesame oil.  

FOR THE Stir Fry

  • Noodles: use the three packets that come in one Fortune Noodles Family Pack, and one seasoning packet.
  • Vegetables:  I used bell peppers, carrots and snap peas, but feel free to use whatever veggies you love or have on hand, taking into account their different cooking times.
  • Green onions: we will use all of the green onions – both the white parts and green parts at different times in stir frying, so just separate them once chopped.  I consider the “white parts” up to where they are noticeably green and beautiful for garnish.  One green onion may include 2-3 green stalks – use all of it.
  • Ginger and Garlic: add a warm spicy, almost pepper taste.  These aromatics awaken and elevate the entire Asian Meatball recipe. If you’re looking to save time and skip some chopping, or you don’t have fresh aromatics on hand, you can substitute the fresh garlic and ginger with powders and add them directly to the sauce. The typical rule of thumb is 3:1, so one part dried to three parts fresh.

HOW TO MAKE this Recipe

These Asian Meatballs with Yakisoba come together very quickly thanks to Fortune’s Yakisoba Noodles. The rest of the ingredients are either quickly combined into meatballs or whisked together to make the sauce; now you’re just a quick stir fry to dinner! Let’s take a closer look at how to make this recipe (full recipe in the printable recipe card at the bottom of the post):

STEP 1: Cook Yakisoba noodles

Fortune Yakisoba Noodles come already steamed, so they don’t require cooking, just reheating to warm through and to loosen the noodles so they don’t stick together.  I recommend following the instructions on the Fortune Noodle packaging:

  • Option 1: Add noodles to a pot of boiling hot water and separate with chopsticks for up to 1 minute. 
  • Option 2:  Puncture the noodle pouch and microwave on high for 1 minute.
showing how to make Asian meatballs by tossing noodles in sesame oil

STEP 2: Make the Meatballs

  • Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large mixing bowl except the beef, and whisk to thoroughly combine. Add the beef and mix with your hands just until combined.
  • Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll the mixture into meatballs. Place meatballs onto a baking sheet topped with a baking rack.
  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 minutes, until they are cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, you can make the sauce and prep the veggies.
a collage showing how to make Asian meatballs by 1) whisking together eggs, breadcrumbs, ginger, garlic and green onions, 2) mixing in beef, 3) forming into meatballs, 4) baking the Asian meatball recipe

STEP 3: Make the Honey Sesame Stir Fry Sauce

  • Whisk all of the ingredients together in a small bowl – that’s it!
showing how to make Asian meatballs by whisking together the meatball sauce

STEP 4: Stir fry

  • Stir fry the bell peppers, carrots and white parts of the green onions for 2-3 minutes, then add the snow peas, garlic and ginger, and green parts of the onions and stir-fry for one minutes.
showing how to make Asian meatballs by stir frying vegetables

STEP 5: Combine

  • Add the sauce to the skillet and bring to a simmer.
  • Add the noodles and toss until warmed through, about 1 minute.
  • Add the meatballs and green onions and toss to combine.
  • Garnish with sesame seeds and dig in!
a collage showing how to make Asian meatballs by adding the sauce, followed by the noodles and then the meatballs
showing how to make Asian meatballs by combining meatballs and sauce
  • Don’t overcook the Yakisoba. Remember, the Yakisoba is already cooked, you just need to re-warm it. So, make sure to set that timer!
  • Toss the noodles in oil. Toss the drained noodles in a drizzle of toasted sesame oil. This will prevent them from sticking together before you add them to the stir fry.
  • Prep the ingredients before you start stir frying. This Asian Meatball recipe is perfect for multi-tasking. You can prep the veggies and stir fry sauce while the meatballs are in the oven. The stir fry process itself just takes minutes – there isn’t time to stop and prep ingredients!
  • Slice vegetables uniformly. This will help them cook evenly.
  • Customize the spice level. You can always start with less chili sauce and add more to taste.  
  • If the meatballs seem dry: Add a splash of milk to the meatball mixture. The mixture should be moist but hold its shape.
  • Don’t overmix the meatball ingredients: Overmixing results in tougher meatballs.
  • Make uniform meatballs: Use a cookie scoop to form your meatballs the same size so they cook evenly. This also makes forming the meatballs quick and easy. If you do not have a scoop, use a measuring spoon to make them roughly the same size.
  • Don’t roll the meatballs too tightly:  Roll the meatballs as loosely as you can without falling apart.  The looser the meatballs, the more tender they will be.
  • Non-stick trick: If the meatballs are sticking to your hands (it’s a good thing, means they are extra moist), lightly grease your hands with cooking spray or cold water.
  • Don’t overcook: Overcooked meatballs are dry meatballs. Cook the Asian Meatballs just to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. The easiest way to tell when they’re done is by using an instant read thermometer. 
showing how to make Asian meatballs by combining Asian meatballs and sauce in a skillet
  • Customize the sauce. Make the sauce your own by adding more or less soy sauce, honey, garlic, ginger, chili sauce, etc.  
  • Mix up the veggies. Use any veggies you’d like in this recipe – it’s the ideal last minute, clean-out-the-fridge meal! Bok choy, mushrooms, broccoli, green beans, spinach, etc. can all be used. Just take note of different vegetable cooking times.
  • Switch protein. Swap the Asian Meatballs for cooked shrimp, chicken, or beef. See my cashew chicken for how I prepare my chicken. You can even toss in any leftover protein.
  • Add tofu. Place firm tofu in a pie plate, top with a heavy plate and weigh down with 2 heavy cans (to release water). Set aside for 10 minutes, then chop into 1-inch cubes.
  • Cracker substitute.  Swap the crackers for your favorite salty cracker or panko breadcrumbs with a pinch of salt.
  • Use powders:  If you don’t have fresh garlic or ginger stocked, you may use garlic powder and ginger powder (substitutions in recipe).
  • Make it spicy:  Add 1-2 teaspoons Asian chili sauce directly to the Asian Meatballs or more chili sauce to the sauce.

These Asian Meatballs with Yakisoba is a meal in itself with plenty of yummy carbs and veggies. You can round out the meal with a salad such as Crunchy Asian Salad, Chinese Salad, or Asian Pineapple Salad, fruit like Perfect Fruit Salad, and/or an appetizer like Potstickers, Pork Egg Rolls, Pineapple Cream Cheese Wontons, or Crab  Rangoons.

Asian MEATBALL FAQS

How do I make sure meatballs don’t fall apart?

Meatballs require both eggs and breadcrumbs (or in this case crushed crackers) to bind the ingredients together.  If you don’ have enough of either ingredient compared to the ratio of meat and liquid, the meatballs can fall apart.  My general rule of thumb for no-fail meatballs is 1 large egg + ½ cup bread or cracker crumbs + 2 tablespoons milk/or other liquid per 1 pound of ground meat. Works like a charm every time!  If your meatballs are too loose to roll, then add additional breadcrumbs. If the mixture is too dry, add a splash of milk.

Why are my meatballs tough?

Meatballs can be tough and dense instead of light and juicy because of three reasons: 1) too little liquid, 2) overworking the meatball mixture, or 3) over-rolling/compacting the meatballs. To prevent tough meatballs, add all of the meatball ingredients to the bowl except the ground meat, stir to combine and then mix the ground meat in with your hands. This method allows you to handle the meat as little as possible. You don’t want to over-mix the meat into a paste, instead, pieces of ground meat should still be visible. Also, take care when rolling the meatballs to use a light touch by not squeezing them too much or rolling them too much.  Leave them airy instead of compact.

Can I use a food processor or mixer to blend the meatballs?

I do NOT recommend using a food processor or mixer to blend the meatballs because you end up with a mixture that is denser.  The goal is to just combine the ingredients together so they are evenly dispersed but not to over mix which can be easy to do with equipment.  Over-mixed meatballs = tougher meatballs.

Can I freeze Asian Meatballs?

Yes, you can either freeze the Asian Meatballs before baking or after baking. 

TO FREEZE RAW MEATBALLS
1. Line meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet so they aren’t touching. 
2. Place entire baking tray with the meatballs in the freezer. If your freezer can’t accommodate your baking tray, then use a small tray and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours, until solid.
3. Transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
4. Label meatballs and store in the freezer for 3-4 months.
5. When ready to serve, thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight then continue to cook per recipe instructions.

TO FREEZE COOKED MEATBALLS:
Once your meatballs are cooked, freeze them while still on the baking sheet:
1. Bake meatballs according to directions; let cool to room temperature.
2. Place entire baking tray with the meatballs in the freezer. You will want to make sure the meatballs are not touching so they don’t freezer together.  If your freezer can’t accommodate your baking tray then use a small tray lined with parchment paper and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours.
3. When your meatballs are frozen enough that they won’t stick together, transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers.
4. Label meatballs and store in the freezer for 2-3 months.
5. When ready to use, let meatballs thaw overnight in the refrigerator.  Reheat per instructions.

top view of Asian Meatballs served in a bowl
eating Asian meatballs by picking up meatballs with chopsticks

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Asian Meatballs with Yakisoba

This Asian Meatball recipe with yakisoba is an easy, flexible, meal solution for busy weeknights but also 5-star spectacular for company! The Asian Meatballs are juicy, tender, flavor bombs, tossed with yakisoba noodles and crisp-tender stir-fried veggies, all enveloped in a dynamic sticky, sweet, tangy, honey sesame sauce punctuated by zesty ginger, punchy garlic and chili sauce. This recipe is a symphony of tantalizing flavors and textures that’s easy to customize with whatever veggies you have on hand. Best of all, the Asian Meatballs get baked while you prep the rest of the ingredients, then it’s just a 10-minute stir fry to dinner!  Serve it up with some potstickerscrispy crab rangoons or egg rolls for pure taste bud magic.
Servings: 6 servings
Total Time: 1 hr 10 mins
Prep Time: 40 mins
Cook Time: 30 mins

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Ingredients

MEATBALLS

STIR FRY

  • 1 17.76 oz. pkg. Fortune Yakisoba Noodles (use all three packages within the pack)
  • 1 tablespoon neutral high smoke point oil (peanut, canola, vegetable)
  • 1 red bell pepper, sliced into strips, then halved if long
  • 1 large carrot cut into matchsticks
  • 2 green onions, chopped 1/4”-inch, white and green parts separated
  • 1 cup snap peas
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (may sub 1 tsp ground in sauce)
  • 3-4 cloves garlic, minced (may sub ¾ tsp powder in sauce)
  • sesame seeds for garnish (optional)

HONEY SESAME SAUCE

Instructions

Meatballs

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Top with a baking rack and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bow EXCEPT the ground beef. Whisk together with a fork until thoroughly combined. Add the ground beef and gently combine with your hands (don’t over-mix or your meatballs won’t be as tender).
  • Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll into meatballs. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet without touching. Bake at 400 degrees F for 18-22 minutes or until cooked through to an internal temperature of 160 degrees F. Meanwhile:

NOODLES

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Once boiling, turn off the heat and add the noodles. Stir the noodles with two chopsticks to loosen and separate for up to 1 minute (no more) – don’t overcook!
  • Transfer noodles to a colander and rinse with cold water. Drain VERY WELL then drizzle with toasted sesame oil to prevent the noodles from sticking together; set aside.

HONEY SESAME SAUCE

  • In a small bowl, whisk the sauce ingredients together; set aside.

STIR FRY

  • Heat 1 tablespoon oil in a large cast iron or stainless steel skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add the bell peppers, carrots and white parts of the green onions and stir fry 2 minutes. Add the snow peas, garlic and ginger, and stir-fry for 1 minute. Add a splash of additional oil if needed.
  • Add the sauce to the skillet, stir to combine and bring to a simmer for 1 minute.
  • Add noodles and toss until evenly coated and warmed through, approximately 1 minute; remove from heat
  • Add the meatballs and green onions and toss to combine. Garnish with sesame seeds if desired.

Video

Notes

  • Fortune Yakisoba Noodles are made in the USA, so you should be able to find them in most grocery stores. We are using the plain noodles labeled, “Japanese Stir Fry Noodles with Seasoning Sauce Base.”  Look for Fortune Yakisoba in the refrigerated produce section near the tofu and egg roll wrappers.  The noodles come with three packets of yakisoba in each family pack, each with their own ZERO MSG, ZERO CHOLESTEROL seasoning packet. We will use all three noodle packets and one seasoning packet for this recipe.
  • Turkey Meatballs:  My expert tip for juicy turkey meatballs is to add 2 tablespoons of Greek yogurt to enhance the juiciness. Also, if you want your poultry to taste like beef, add 2 teaspoons beef bouillon (granulated or crushed cubes) and reduce the salt to ¼ teaspoon. 
  • Frozen Meatballs:  The homemade meatballs are infused with garlic, ginger, green onions, soy sauce and toasted sesame oil which is what makes them Asian Meatballs.  However, you can make this recipe with frozen if needed, you’ll just be missing some of that authentic flavor. If you go this route, make sure you don’t purchase Italian meatballs.  Prepare according to package directions. 
  • Rice wine:. I use “Kikkoman Aji-Mirin: Sweet Cooking Rice Seasoning” which is commonly found in the Asian section of most grocery stores or you can Amazon it. I highly suggest you google image before you head off to the grocery store so you know exactly what you are looking for.  The best substitute for rice wine is pale dry sherry. 
  • Storage:  Due to the springy nature of the noodles, this recipe keeps very well, without the noodles soaking up all of the sauce. Leftovers can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. 

Meal Prep

  • Meatballs: roll the meatballs and place on a lightly greased baking rack set inside a baking sheet. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to two days. Bring to room temperature before popping in the oven.
  • Yakisoba: prepare according to directions, run under cold water and drizzle with toasted oil. Store in an airtight container/plastic bag in the refrigerator for up to two days. 
  • Sauce: whisk the sauce ingredients together and store it in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to one week. Let the sauce sit at room temperature while preparing the stir-fry; whisk again before using.
  • Veggies: chop the veggies and store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.
  • Cook: Within the next 48 hours, proceed to cook the Asian Meatball recipe in minutes!

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8 Comments

  1. Amanda says

    Can I use spaghetti? My kids dont like the yakasoba noodles.

    PS love ALL your recipes!!!!!

      • Ellen says

        Which flavor of yakisoba did you use?

        • Jen says

          Hi Ellen, it is the family pack as pictured that comes with plain yakisoba noodles that is labeled “Japanese Stir Fry Noodles with Seasoning Sauce Base.” Hope that helps!

  2. Sara says

    I cannot find these noodles anywhere. Can you recommend a substitute?

    • Jen says

      Hi Sara, you can use ramen or even spaghetti.

  3. Chrissy says

    I loved this recipe, as did my husband and daughter. I was conservative with the spice level and started with 1 tsp, which was find for my kiddo, but my husband and I added a bit more heat. I will definitely be making this again!

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased your whole family enjoyed it Chrissy!

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