Slow-Cooker Sticky Thai Meatballs Recipe (2024)

  • Meatballs
  • Thai
  • Slow Cooker
  • Chicken
  • Chicken Mains


Morgan Eisenberg

Slow-Cooker Sticky Thai Meatballs Recipe (1)

Morgan Eisenberg

Morgan Eisenberg is a creative blogger at Host the Toast. She has an absolute obsession over all things edible.

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Updated August 29, 2018

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Slow-Cooker Sticky Thai Meatballs Recipe (2)

Why It Works

  • An aromatic paste made from lemongrass, garlic, jalapeños, and ginger flavors both the sauce and the meatballs.
  • Gently cooking the sauce in a slow cooker for several hours deepens and softens its flavors.
  • Browning the meatballs under the broiler gives them a more complex flavor, while cooking them just until done in the slow cooker guarantees juiciness.

The key to these slow-cooker Thai-style chicken meatballs is to understand that the sauce gets better as it slowly cooks, but the meatballs don't. To fix that, we first cook the sticky sauce, packed with aromatics like lemongrass, ginger, and chilies, then add the flavorful meatballs right at the end just to cook them through. Crushed peanuts, scallion, and fresh lime juice finish it off for added texture, fresh flavor, and bright balance.

The Secret to Slow-Cooker Thai Chicken Meatballs Is All in the Timing

Recipe Details

Slow-Cooker Sticky Thai Meatballs Recipe

Active60 mins

Total9 hrs

Serves4to 6 servings


  • 4 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped

  • 3 medium shallots, roughly chopped

  • 6 medium cloves garlic

  • 3 medium jalapeños, seeded and minced

  • 1 (3-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch (1.25-cm) pieces

  • 3 tablespoons (45ml) Asianfish sauce

  • 2 teaspoons (10ml)vegetable oil

  • 1 cup (240ml) Thai chili sauce (see notes)

  • 2/3 cup light brown sugar (130g)

  • 2/3 cup (160ml) soy sauce

  • 1/2 cup (120ml)rice vinegar

  • 1 cup (240ml)water

  • 2 pounds (1kg)ground chicken

  • 1 cup (80g) panko bread crumbs, plus more if necessary

  • 1 large egg

  • 1/2 cup (120ml) thinly sliced scallion, white and light green parts only, divided

  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper

  • 1/4 cup (60ml) chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems

  • 1/2 cup (150g) chopped unsalted peanuts

  • 2 tablespoons (30ml)juice from 1 lime


  1. In the bowl of a food processor, combine lemongrass, shallot, garlic, jalapeño, ginger, and fish sauce. Process until the mixture forms a paste.

  2. Heat oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add half of the aromatic paste, reserving the rest for the meatballs. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in Thai chili sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and cook for 1 minute.

  3. Stir in water and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Transfer the mixture to a slow cooker, cover, and set to low for at least 5 and up to 8 hours.

  4. Preheat broiler and set oven rack in upper position. Line a rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil. In a large bowl, combine reserved aromatic paste with ground chicken, panko, egg, and half of the sliced scallion. Season with salt and pepper. Using wet hands to prevent sticking, roll the ground chicken into golf ball–sized balls. If the mixture is too wet to form meatballs, add 1 tablespoon (15ml) of additional panko at a time until it is easier to shape.

  5. Broil meatballs until browned on top, about 7 minutes. (Browning times can vary dramatically depending on oven broiler strength.) Transfer meatballs to a plate, cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate until ready to use; pour any juices from baking sheet into sauce in slow cooker.

  6. Add meatballs to slow cooker for last 30 minutes of cooking, stirring to coat.

  7. In a small bowl, combine remaining scallion, cilantro, chopped peanuts, and lime juice.

  8. Once the cooking time is up, switch the slow cooker to the “warm” setting. Right before serving, sprinkle approximately 3/4 of the peanut mixture over the meatballs and stir. Top with the remaining peanut mixture and serve.

Special equipment

Food processor, slow cooker, rimmed baking sheet


Do not substitute other chili sauces, like Sriracha, as they have different flavors and heat levels from the Thai kind and will drastically alter the flavor of the dish.

This Recipe Appears In

  • The Secret to Slow-Cooker Thai Chicken Meatballs Is All in the Timing
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
27g Fat
71g Carbs
48g Protein


Nutrition Facts
Servings: 4to 6
Amount per serving
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 27g34%
Saturated Fat 6g32%
Cholesterol 193mg64%
Sodium 3241mg141%
Total Carbohydrate 71g26%
Dietary Fiber 5g18%
Total Sugars 32g
Protein 48g
Vitamin C 20mg101%
Calcium 164mg13%
Iron 9mg47%
Potassium 2095mg45%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.

(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

Slow-Cooker Sticky Thai Meatballs Recipe (2024)


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