Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs

Try something truly unique and add a bit of Korean flavor to some simple meatballs; these Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs are amazing!

Korean Meatballs with Gochujang Glaze in a Serving Bowl with Broccoli

A couple of months ago I ventured into trying a Korean specialty; Korean Fried Chicken. While the technique was different than the norm, it was the Gochujang red pepper paste in the sauce that really made the dish. I wanted to try something else that might be easier so fashioned these Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs with the same sauce. Success!

I realize that there is a lot of language today about cultural misappropriation; cooks offering up their expertise on dishes that they have grown to love but that are not a part of their own ethnic heritage. I understand that concern in the most egregious of cases, but I also love trying something new and hope my readers will too as I delve into the occasional sharing of some favorite Korean foods.

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I was simply inspired to make Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs because I loved that fried chicken so much. I wanted something easier to make but that had flavors reminiscent of that delicious chicken (and sauce) but without the hassle of double frying chicken.

Sweet and spicy is the truth…and I love that combination of sweet with a bit of heat…and if you like hotter, add more of the red pepper paste!

Gochujang Glaze for Korean Meatballs

The meatballs are certainly flavored with ingredients that give them that Asian flair; most notably ginger, garlic, and soy sauce but seriously, it’s all about the glaze. Here’s what you will need for it: (Complete recipe and directions at the end of this post).

  • Ketchup
  • Gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • Honey
  • Brown sugar
  • Rice vinegar (Sub plain white or apple cider vinegar if you have no rice vinegar)
  • Soy sauce
  • Sesame oil
  • Garlic

This comes together easily too; combine the ingredients for the Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs and form them and place on a cookie sheet to bake in the oven. While they are baking, you can make the sauce. When they’re done, glaze them, garnish them and serve them. I did originally make them for appetizers but on a second night, I served them on top of Basmati Rice for a meal…great both ways!

You can also make them ahead of time and freeze them; either raw or cooked. Either way they’ll be baked in the oven and then glazed with the sauce. I love these so much that I make a double batch knowing I’ll freeze some and can grab a handful on a whim. They are so good, bet you will love them too!

Korean Meatballs with Gochujang Glaze

Little did I know that my idea of combining some ground meat with ginger and other spices and coating it with the same sauce would not be a unique idea…so while some might consider this appropriation, it is not.

I have always said this blog is about sharing the foods I love and we really loved these Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs. I’m sharing them so you can try something new and unique too!

I am grateful to that first recipe that had me try Gochujang Red Pepper Paste (affiliate link). Never in my wildest dreams would I have picked up a container of something fermented that was made with red peppers if not influenced by a friend who insisted I try Korean Fried Chicken, sight unseen. It adds the most wonderful flavor to these sauces. You can find it at a Korean market but I ordered mine online.

These Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs would be perfect for an upcoming get together. Easy to prepare and when serving, can be presented as shown with disposable appetizer sticks so each guest can grab their own. Make a lot; I assure you they will come back for seconds…even thirds!

More of our Favorite Meatball Dishes

PIN IT! ‘Sweet and Spicy Korean Meatballs’Korean Meatballs Finished with Korean Meatballs with Gochujang Glaze

Korean Meatballs with Gochujang Glaze

Sweet and Spicy Korean-Style Meatballs

Spicy meatballs are coated with Gochujang Glaze which is a sauce made with Gochujang; a fermented red pepper paste. Combined with sugar, herbs, and soy sauce, it is beyond delicious!
5 average from less than 50 votes
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Beef
Cuisine Korean
Servings 12 Servings
Calories 191 kcal


  • 1 pound ground beef or combine half ground beef with half ground turkey or ground pork
  • 1 tablespoon gochujang spicy Korean chili paste
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon ginger minced or grated
  • 2 cloves garlic minced or grated
  • 1 scallion minced
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg lightly beaten
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper

For the Gochujang Glaze

  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang Korean chili paste, add 1/2 Tbsp more to make it spicier
  • ¼ cup honey
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil
  • 2 tablespoons minced garlic
  • 1 tablespoon sesame oil


  • Scallions thinly sliced
  • Sesame seeds


  • Preheat oven to 375°F
  • Place all of the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl and, using your hands, mix together until just blended, don’t overmix.
  • Form 1½ tablespoon sized meatballs; place them about an inch apart onto a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake meatballs for 15 to 20 minutes or until just cooked through.
  • Meanwhile combine all glaze ingredients in medium pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat and cook until mixture is slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes. Set aside and let cool.
  • Brush glaze onto meatballs and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds. Serve warm.


If desired, the meatballs can be cooked ahead and refrigerated or frozen. Bake them on a parchment-lined baking tray in a 350ºF oven until warm. No need to defrost, if frozen. They should take about 15-25 minutes to reheat.
Warm the glaze and glaze them after they are removed from the oven. Garnish as suggested.


Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Spicy Korean-Style Meatballs
Serving Size
2 Meatballs
Amount per Serving
% Daily Value*
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
Keyword appetizer, Gochujang, korean, meatballs
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  1. What a delight. I can’t wait to try this. Once again, you have created a recipe that just hits the spot. 😉

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