Thai-Style Meatballs with Pork and Rice


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Meatballs and dipping sauce on a white plate

Savory and with a hint of curry spice, Thai-Style Meatballs with Pork and Rice are pan seared to get crispy and golden on the outside and perfectly cooked inside. Dip them in Thai peanut sauce for a crowd-pleasing appetizer or serve them in lettuce cups for a fresh, flavorful dinner.

My girls are in the homestretch of the road to two-years-old which I’m thinking should be called the meandering age.  They understand so much (like whoa, watch what you say around them much) and they’re pretty good at following instructions.  When the mood strikes.

But when the instruction is to follow me down the sidewalk to get the mail or into the grocery store or say…off the playground and into the car.  That’s when the meandering is at its finest.  That’s the time to pick up some rocks.  Throw some sticks.  Wave at passing cars.

You know, stuff.

browning meatballs in a cast iron skillet

And as much as it means it takes us forever to get anywhere (forever), there’s something pretty great about this stop-and-smell-the-roses toddler thing.

Though one thing that has proven to get Molly and Clara to pick up the pace lately is the promise of Thai meatballs. Or “meebah” as we like to call them around here. A plate of these, a bowl of this stuff for dipping, and we’ve got two happy little girls.

Thai Meatballs in lettuce cups with peanut sauce

These Thai-Style Meatballs have also proven to make happy adults.  They have been best enjoyed these past few weeks while we hover around the kitchen counter, dipping them in Thai peanut sauce and licking our fingers.

Still looking for something to take to that big game on Sunday? (You know the one.) Thai-Style Meatballs are sure to be a hit!

Inspired by Popular Thai Street Food – Issan Sausages

This recipe wasn’t in our initial plan for Thai food month, but Frank wisely suggested that we add it. The inspiration came from one of our all-time favorite Thai street food snacks, Issan Sausages (Sai Krok Issan). Sai Krok are fermented sausages made from pork and rice. Fermentation is what gives them a bit of a sour flavor and makes them incredibly addictive. That and the fact that the bits of rice on the outside edges get super crunchy when the sausages are fried before serving.

Sai Krok have this sour, crunchy mouth-watering quality that means I could eat 15 without hesitation.

Thai Meatballs in a lettuce cup with peanut sauce

For the Thai meatballs you see here, we certainly weren’t going to ask you to ferment anything, or have you stuff sausages, but we wanted to recreate that mouth-watering quality. To achieve that flavor and texture, these meatballs include both cooked rice and rice vinegar. Mix them up with a few other seasonings and saute them in oil for a Thai-style meatball that makes us feel like we are back snacking on the streets of Bangkok.

Make Ahead – Freezer Friendly Food

Like pretty much all meatballs, these are a make-ahead, stock-your-freezer dream. Roll the meatballs a day or two in advance and store them in the refrigerator. (You’ll want to cook them right before serving them to retain the crisp exterior you get when you saute them.)

OR, roll and cook them according to the instructions and then freeze. Defrost in the fridge for a day before using them. To prepare them you can microwave them until warmed through, or saute them in oil again briefly which will help to crisp the exterior up again.

Thai Meatballs with Pork and Rice in a cast iron skillet

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meatballs and dipping sauce on a white plate
5 from 2 votes

Thai-Style Meatballs with Pork and Rice

Savory and with a hint of curry spice, Thai-Style Meatballs with Pork and Rice are pan seared to get crispy and golden on the outside and perfectly cooked inside. Dip them in peanut sauce for a crowd-pleasing appetizer or serve them in lettuce cups for a fresh, flavorful dinner.
Prep: 30 minutes
Cook: 8 minutes
Total: 38 minutes
Servings: 6 servings


  • Mixing Bowl
  • Large Skillet
  • Splatter Screen


For Meatballs:

  • 1 1/2 pounds Ground Pork
  • 1 cup Cooked White Rice
  • 1 small bulb Shallot, minced
  • 1 Tablespoon Red Curry Paste
  • 2 teaspoons Rice Vinegar
  • 1 teaspoons Ground Coriander
  • 1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • 2-4 Tablespoons Oil

For Serving:

  • Boston Leaf Lettuce Leaves (or iceberg lettuce leaves)
  • Thai Peanut Sauce, for serving
  • Roasted, Unsalted Peanuts


  • Combine all ingredients for the meatballs, except oil, in a large mixing bowl. Mix with your hands until evenly combined. Roll into 2-inch balls and refrigerate until ready to cook. Can be refrigerated for up to a day.
  • Heat oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. When oil begins to shimmer, add meatballs (working in batches if they don't easily fit in the pan). Cook meatballs, shaking the pan frequently, until golden brown on the outside and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Be careful as the meatballs cook - they will splatter and pop, so use a splatter guard or cover the pan lightly with foil to prevent too much splatter.
  • Serve the meatballs with peanut sauce for dipping. You can also serve them in lettuce cups with extra peanuts for crunch.


Print and attach the label below so cooking instructions are ready when you are!
meatballs with pork and rice freezer label


Serving: 6g | Calories: 378kcal | Carbohydrates: 8g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 29g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 82mg | Sodium: 258mg | Potassium: 342mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 403IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 25mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Author: Jess Smith via Inquiring Chef
Cost: $8.00
Calories: 378
Keyword: easy snack, easy Thai recipe, gluten free
Like this? Leave a comment below!Jump to Comments

And speaking of the little meanderers. Here they are just this morning, taking 13 hours and 47 minutes to follow me into the gym.
Molly and Clara_Feb 5

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About Jess Smith

Jess is the recipe creator and photographer at She spent nearly a decade as the Chief Recipe Developer for the award-winning meal planning app Cook Smarts. Her colorful, healthyish recipes have been featured in popular online publications including Parade, Hallmark, and HuffPost.

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  1. These look delicious. I’m curious if you happen to have an alternative for the dipping sauce you can suggest? My home is peanut free due to severe peanut allergies. Thanks in advance!!!

    1. Hi Cindy – are you all okay with other nut or seed butters? This is also great with cashew or even sunflower butter!

  2. 5 stars
    Hey, Jess. Obviously, I have not been around in a while! 🙂 Back in KC, eh?

    Love the look of these. Perfect for any SB 50 spread today!

    1. Hi Debra – I’ve been wondering where you disappeared to, though I’ve been pretty MIA myself! We’re back in KC for the moment and freezing!

  3. Oops… did you know that the small photo included with the recipe is the pic of the girls??? Just thought that might be an error. Although if I print off the recipe (which I WILL, omg) to cook it, I won’t mind looking at the little cuties while I make this! haha.

    1. Hi Norma – yes, one whole shallot is what you’ll need for the recipe. Sometimes shallots pull apart into a couple cloves, but just use the whole thing for this recipe.