These easy honey garlic meatballs are baked in the oven so that the meatballs are tender and the sweet-tangy-spicy sauce forms a sticky glaze. There are also instructions for making them in a slow cooker. This recipe is surprisingly fast – and works as well for family dinners as it does for appetizers.
For this recipe you’ll need: 93/7 ground beef (93% lean to 7% fat), fresh breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper, eggs, catsup, honey or brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, jalapeno (optional)
Although I usually associate meatballs with spaghetti I find myself making this honey garlic meatballs recipe more often. The flavor absolutely does an Irish jig over your tastebuds. The sauce creates a thick glaze on these tender honey garlic meatballs that really enhances the beef. I like to add a little finely chopped jalapeno to give it that zing that I love so much but you can leave it out if you want to.
Honey garlic meatballs are similar to the ginger ale meatballs that my mom made (gosh I need to reshoot those images!) plus quick and easy to make. For some reason I always think they take longer than they really do.
For much of my life meatballs were our Christmas Eve dinner. Mom made them in one of those newfangled electric frying pans with a crockery insert. It is avocado green and I say “is” because I still have it and use it once in awhile. Anyway, those meatballs would simmer away and the house would fill with a sweet-tangy smell that always made my tummy gurgle appreciatively. She’d serve them with buttered rice and a salad with Christmas cookies for dessert.
When I grew up and moved out we started having all holidays at my house with me doing the cooking – Mom preferred to garden or clean or do about anything rather than cook. Still, Christmas Eve was always at her house and it always included meatballs.
I like to make them ahead and keep them in the freezer – much more flavor and fewer weird ingredients than the commercial ones but you could use those if you wanted to.
Tips for Perfect Meatballs Every Time
When I make meatballs I undercook them slightly. If I am going to freeze them for heating up later I’ll cook them to an interior temperature of 145F. If I am cooking them to eat immediately I cook them to 155F and let them sit on the counter for 5 minutes or so while I finish dinner prep. During that time the temperature continues to rise until it’s at a perfect 160F and the meatballs are not tough or overcooked. In this recipe, the meatballs are going to simmer a few minutes in the sauce so they’ll finish cooking then.
- Although some people feel that fattier meats yield a more tender meatball (80/20) I prefer leaner meats. Try both and see which you like better.
- Some people mix ground meats – beef, pork, veal, lamb. I prefer just beef.
- As a general rule 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat is about right.
- Keep your ingredients icy cold when mixing and forming the meatballs.
- Gently mix with your hands. It just works better.
- Rub a little olive oil on your hands to keep the meatball mixture from sticking.
- Cook a little of your mixture before forming the meatballs and taste it for seasoning. Add more salt as needed.
- Don’t pack them together like snowballs. Gently form the meatball so that it’s as loose as possible without falling apart.
- Make them smaller for appetizers.
- Undercook slightly and let them stand for 5 minutes or so before serving.
- Make a big batch and flash freeze them when they are almost cooked. Once frozen move them to freezer containers. You’ll have meatballs anytime you want them for a fraction of the cost of the commercial kind -and without the weird stuff.
Instructions for Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Meatballs
I realize that some of y’all will want to make these honey garlic meatballs in the slow cooker. It can be done but the one thing I don’t like about it is that the sauce can break and get a little watery. I’d suggest making an extra batch of sauce to have on hand just in case that happens.
It’s also very important, if you’re going to use a slow cooker, to use the leanest beef possible. You don’t want fat floating around on top of the sauce!
To make the meatballs in a crockpot make your sauce as instructed in the recipe and place half of it in the bottom of the slow cooker. Add your uncooked meatballs and then add the rest of the sauce on top. Cover and cook on low about 4 to 6 hours.
YOU MAY NEED…
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This meatball maker comes in two sizes – one for dinner size meatballs and one for appetizer meatballs. It helps to keep the meatballs uniform in size – which means you won’t have any over or under baked meatballs!
Honey Garlic Meatballs Recipe
This easy honey garlic meatballs recipe is a keeper! I use it often when I have to take a meal to someone at church or a potluck of some sort. Make them smaller for appetizers – I like to stick them on cocktail skewers with a candied jalapeno on top.
If you like this recipe please consider giving it a five star rating.
Tangy-sweet glaze with just a touch of heat from optional jalapeños covers tender meatballs. SO easy to make and they are great for family dinners or appetizers, depending on how big you make them.
- 2 eggs
- 3/4 cup milk
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup onion , finely chopped or grated
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1/2 teaspoon pepper
- 2 pounds ground beef , or a mix of ground meat such as pork, lamb, veal, etc
- 2 tablespoons garlic minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup honey
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 1 jalapeno optional
Preheat oven to 425F.
In a large bowl, combine eggs and milk.
Add the bread crumbs, onion and salt.
Mix the beef in with your hands until it is completely mixed in.
Gently shape into balls - larger for dinner servings 1-inch or so for appetizer servings.
Place in a parchment lined baking sheet with sides.
Bake, uncovered, at 400° for 12 minutes or until meat registers 155F on an insta-read thermometer.
Remove from the oven and set aside.
In a heavy skillet, saute garlic and jalapeno in butter over medium heat until tender - do not let the garlic get brown.
Stir in the ketchup, honey and soy sauce.
Bring to a boil.
Reduce heat and cover.
Simmer for about 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Add the meatballs to the sauce.
Carefully stir to evenly coat.
Simmer for 10 minutes more.
If you're picky about onions grate them rather than finely chopping to ensure they get cooked through. This recipe makes about 24 appetizer servings or 6 dinner size servings depending on the size of the meatballs. Nutritional info is for the dinner sized servings.
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This recipe is part of Meal Plan Monday #93 Check it out.