Firecracker Meatballs are a fan favorite, Asian-inspired meatball dish from the popular Hello Fresh meal service. But you don’t have to have a subscription to make them! This recipe uses ground beef, Asian flavors, and a spicy sauce to make this beloved dish right at home.
I love "new to me" recipes. I'd seen a post about the famous Hello Fresh Meatballs and they looked so delicious I decided to recreate them on my own. These spicy meatballs are so easy to make and can be served in so many ways! I love them with large pieces of lettuce for lettuce wraps, wrapped in pita bread for a quick sandwich, or tossed with rice and veggies. They even make a great appetizer if you're looking for something a little different to serve on game day!
Why This Recipe Works
This flavorful dish is becoming one of my favorite meatball recipes. Here's why:
- So delicious. If you love the HelloFresh version of these meatballs, you’ll love this recipe.
- Fast and Easy. These firecracker beef meatballs are super easy to make and bake in the oven in just 15 minutes.
- Versatile. Firecracker meatballs can be served in a variety of ways depending on what you have on hand or what you’re in the mood for.
- Can easily sub out the protein. Not a fan of red meat? Swap it out to make pork, turkey, or ground chicken firecracker meatballs.
- Great for a quick meal or appetizer! These firecracker meatballs are great served over rice and veggies, or with pita bread. Or, you can eat them all on their own as an appetizer with an easy dipping sauce.
This recipe for copycat Hello Fresh meatballs utilizes a lot of pantry staples so you probably already have a lot of the ingredients you’ll need. Here are the stars of the show:
- Ground beef. Choose an 80/20 blend so that your meatballs have enough fat to hold them together. This will also keep them from drying out and will ensure they’re moist and juicy, yet still slightly firm.
- Panko breadcrumbs. You could really use any type of breadcrumbs, but Panko breadcrumbs have a drier and flakier consistency and hold up a bit better when baking the meatballs than traditional breadcrumbs.
- Ginger and garlic. You may be thinking: “I’m used to adding garlic to my meatballs, but ginger?” Yes. This classic Asian flavor compliments the meatballs so well.
- Sesame seeds and crushed red pepper flakes. Both add a slight crunch to the meatballs and the red pepper flakes give this spicy beef meatball recipe a slight kick.
- Soy sauce. Soy sauce adds a nice depth of flavor to these ginger meatballs. Just be careful with your salt - if you’re not using reduced or low sodium soy sauce, reduce the salt you add.
- Scallions. The whites of the scallions give the meatballs a nice spicy-ish, peppery flavor, and the greens of the scallions provide a beautiful garnish to the finished dish.
- Sriracha, mayo, sour cream and honey. Combined, this gives you the most delicious sweet yet spicy firecracker sauce that pairs so beautifully with these firecracker meatballs.
How To Make Firecracker Meatballs
I love an easy weeknight meal, and this is a great one. You can also make this even easier by doing a bit of meal prep ahead of time. Here’s how you make these easy firecracker beef meatballs.
- Create your firecracker meatball mix. Combine the scallion whites, soy sauce, minced ginger, garlic, sesame seeds, red pepper flakes, and panko breadcrumbs in a large bowl and whisk to combine (add salt and pepper to taste). Mix in the ground beef.
- Shape the meatballs. Using your hands, or a small cookie scoop, roll the meatball mixture into 1 ½ inch thick balls and place the meatballs in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. (Spread them out evenly - don't crowd them.)
- Cook. Bake the small meatballs on the middle rack of a 425-degree oven for 15 minutes, or until the meatballs are fully cooked and have a nice even color on all sides.
- Make the savory firecracker meatball sauce. While your meatballs are baking, make the creamy sauce. Combine the sour cream, mayo, honey, and sriracha in a bowl and stir to combine.
- Add your sauce & serve! Toss your baked meatballs with the sauce, then serve over rice or vegetables, or alongside some warm pita bread. Sprinkle the dish with more sesame seeds and the chopped green scallions. Serve any remaining sauce on the side.
Variations And Substitutions
These are truly perfect as is, but if you want to change it up, here are a few things you can try.
- Sub the meat. Not a fan of beef? You can easily transform these into firecracker chicken meatballs using ground chicken, which is a great substitute for ground beef. These tender meatballs can also be made with can also be made with pork or even ground turkey.
- Kick it up a notch. Make these extra spicy by adding a dash of hot sauce to the meatball mixture.
- Change the sauce. The spicy firecracker sauce is truly delicious, but you can switch it out for a peanut sauce, or even a buffalo sauce for something different.
Yes - these meatballs freeze wonderfully and because they’re small they’re easy to thaw out when you’re ready to use them. To freeze, simply bake the meatballs according to the instructions, but do not add the sauce. Allow the meatballs to cool completely, then freeze in an airtight freezer-safe container or zip-top bag. Allow the meatballs to thaw overnight, then reheat them in the microwave when ready to eat and add your sauce.
Yes! Just follow the instructions for forming the meatballs, then cook them in a skillet over medium-high heat until they're cooked through.
You sure can! Shape the meatballs as directed, then arrange them in an even layer in your air fryer basket. Cook the meatballs at 400 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until cooked through.
Store any leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. Leftover meatballs will keep for 3 days.
Yes! These are super easy to make ahead, or even just to meal prep on the weekends. You have two options here:
Option #1: Prep the firecracker meatball mixture ahead of time, then when you’re ready to make them just form the meatballs and bake. If you’re feeling extra ambitious, go ahead and form them into balls before you store them in the fridge. The uncooked meatballs will keep for about 1-2 days.
Option #2: Your other option is to go ahead and bake the meatballs, then store the baked meatballs in the fridge. When you’re ready to serve them, just reheat them in the microwave for a few minutes until hot. Cooked meatballs will keep in the refrigerator for 2 days.
How To Serve
The best part of this Hello Fresh copycat meatball recipe is that you can serve these firecracker meatballs in so many ways. The original Hello Fresh recipe serves them with sesame rice and green beans, which is an option (check out this delicious Garlic Green Bean Recipe!).
However, you’re definitely not limited to that.
Firecracker meatballs also go great with Pita Bread and a salad or try adding them to some easy Asian noodles for a quick meal. I love them in a lettuce wrap for a low-carb option. You could even create a firecracker meatball bowl, by serving them with some jasmine rice (or cauliflower rice!) and other veggies and flavors. There are lots of choices here!
Of course, you can also always serve these meatballs as an appetizer. To do this, refrain from adding the firecracker sauce to the meatballs and just serve it on the side as a dip. This makes an easy and delicious appetizer!
I love these flavorful meatballs, and they have earned a coveted spot in our monthly meal lineup. If you try these easy Firecracker Meatballs (Hello Fresh copycat recipe), let me know what you think in the comments below!
Other Easy Weeknight Recipes
- Kung Pao Tofu
- Miso Chicken
- Smoked Salmon Sushi Bowls
- Creamy Orzo With Rosemary Brown Butter
- Cajun Shrimp Pasta
- Easy Lemon Salmon Pasta
- Chicken And Yellow Rice
- Sweet Potato Shephards Pie
Firecracker Meatball Recipe (Hello Fresh Copycat)
For The Firecracker Meatballs
- 20 oz ground beef (80/20)
- 2 tablespoon sesame seeds (divided)
- 4 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 tablespoon chopped ginger
- 2 tablespoon italian parsley, chopped
- 3 scallions (green onions - white and green parts separated)
- 2 tsp soy sauce (reduced sodium)
- salt and black pepper to taste
- 2 teaspoon crushed chili flakes
For The Firecracker Meatball Sauce
- 4 tablespoon mayonnaise
- 4 teaspoon honey
- 2 teaspoon sriracha sauce
- 4 tablespoon sour cream
- 2 tsp soy sauce
- Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Add the ground beef, half the sesame seeds, garlic, panko bread crumbs, ginger, parsley, scallion whites, 2 teaspoon soy sauce, salt, pepper, and ½ teaspoon crushed chili flakes to a bowl.
- Mix the beef mixture, then, using your hands, roll the meat into small balls, about 1 ½ inches in diameter. You should have enough to make roughly 20 meatballs.
- Place the firecracker meatballs on the lined baking sheet, then place the sheet in the oven, on the top rack, and cook until the meatballs are fully cooked, about 15 minutes. (Flip them halfway through to get a nice even crust on both sides.)
- While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce. Combine the mayonnaise, honey, sriracha, sour cream, and 2 teaspoon of soy sauce. Stir well to combine and set aside.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and toss them with the sauce, or serve the sauce on the side.
- Serve meatballs with pita bread, over lettuce, with rice, or with a side of garlic green beans.