Make Ahead

Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs

April  2, 2013
32 Ratings
Photo by James Ransom
Author Notes

For the Super Bowl this year, my husband wanted to make some Korean chicken wings he had seen in a magazine. When I saw the recipe, I wasn't expecting gochujang (Korean chili paste) to be an easy ingredient to find (or pronounce), but it turned out it was incredibly painless to locate at my local big-box store. The wings turned out great, but I now have a pretty sizable tub of gochujang sitting in my fridge.

Not one to let food go to waste, I've made it my mission to use that stuff up. It's actually pretty versatile, and has a nice spicy and smoky flavor. A little bit goes a long way toward giving an otherwise boring dish a little Korean flair. Along the lines of "party food" like chicken wings, I thought this stuff would work in meatballs, too (my recipe is adapted from a recipe from Spoon Fork Bacon). These meatballs are spicy and smoky and delicious. —foxeslovelemons

Test Kitchen Notes

WHO: Foxeslovelemons is a food writer from Detroit.
WHAT: Our new favorite cocktail party appetizer, with a kick of spice to keep things interesting.
HOW: Just mix, fry, bake, and brush on a sweet-spicy glaze.
WHY WE LOVE IT: We know they're a classic, but let's face it: your meatballs are probably stuck in a white-bread rut. This is how you break them out of it. —The Editors

Watch This Recipe
Spicy Korean-Style Gochujang Meatballs
  • Prep time 20 minutes
  • Cook time 15 minutes
  • Makes 20 meatballs
  • Meatballs
  • 3 green onions, very thinly sliced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground white pepper
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil, for pan-frying
  • Glaze
  • 1/3 cup apricot preserves
  • 2 tablespoons gochujang (Korean chili paste)
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon soy sauce
  • Garnishes: sliced green onion and toasted sesame seeds
In This Recipe
  1. Preheat oven to 350° F. In large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients except oil. The key to good meatballs is not to over mix them. Just gently combine the ingredients until everything is evenly distributed. Form the mixture into golf-ball sized meatballs.
  2. Heat oil in large skillet over medium-high heat. In batches (don't crowd the pan!), brown the meatballs on all sides. Transfer meatballs to rimmed baking pan and transfer to oven. Bake 10 minutes or until internal temperature reaches 160° F.
  3. Meanwhile, in small saucepot, combine all glaze ingredients. Cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until mixture is slightly thickened.
  4. To serve, brush meatballs with glaze and sprinkle with green onion and sesame seeds.
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150 Reviews

Chapman H. February 24, 2021
These meatballs are a spicy delight and I immediately saved the recipe- thank you so much!
Original_steve February 10, 2021
This was an excellent recipe. We did not have apricot preserves and green onions. But we substituted with a mix of peach rum jam and prune juice and chives. Turned out so delicious that I plan to make them again very soon.
Linda D. February 8, 2021
Absolutely fabulous! Thank you!
Avas January 25, 2021
I made this adhering to the recipe to a t and I loved it and would make again. Thank you.
Nicole January 18, 2021
I am able to use conserves instead of preserves for the apricot?
Kaite December 24, 2020
So tasty! It now holds a spot in my Favorites Collection. Quick and easy to put together. I used pork instead of beef and decided not to brown in a pan as I was feeling lazy. I baked them for roughly 15 minutes and then turned on the broiler to brown them a bit. Definitely see myself making these to eat with lettuce cups.
Kayaktal December 7, 2020
These are amazing! I think I may have made them a bit on the small side, as I had plenty for dinner but had leftover meat mixture. So I baked a mini meatloaf with a fresh batch of the sauce on top! Try it - you won’t regret it! Served with white rice & stir fried bok choy w/coconut aminos.
Karen S. April 20, 2020
These were so good! I made the recipe exactly as written and served them over veggie fried rice. Definitely recommend
Yuber21 April 4, 2020
A little late to the party here, but could I adapt this to a crock pot? I'd still brown the meatballs and then combine them with the glaze in the crock pot for a while?
Renee B. April 4, 2020
I made them for a big party and kept them warm in a chafing dish without any trouble. I think the crock pot would be the same.
Helen C. August 28, 2019
I make this for dinner as a meatloaf and triple the recipe. The only changes are swap ground turkey for beef and Bibigo's gochujang sauce for paste (this is milder). Bake at 375F for 1 hr 10 mins until reaches internal temp of 165F in metal loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Meatloaf gets nice and crusty on top and sides. Spoon glaze over slices. Serve with calrose rice and broccoli.
Lindsay S. May 10, 2019
I’ve made these a lot, I like to add sesame oil to the mixture
Josie A. March 9, 2019
I just found this recipe. I made it with ground pork, because that is what I had. These are DELICIOUS, thank you !
Julie January 7, 2019
Could this be made into a meatloaf? If so, what alterations would need to be made?
Joan H. January 7, 2019
I was recently thinking the same thing. I’ve made the meatballs many times and I don’t see why the recipe couldn’t be made into meatloaf. I’ve been planning on doing just that. The glaze would be perfect poured on top of the meatloaf.
savedbytheapron May 21, 2019
Did you end up trying this? I would be interested to hear how it turned out!
robin L. December 30, 2018
Several years after making these forvthe first time, they are still i
one of the best appetizers to bring to a party! We brought them (a double batch) to a holiday party recently, and they were devoured within an hour. The host loved them so much that he grabbed someone else's standard cocktail meatballs and tossed them into the yummy sauce left over from these!
Renee B. December 21, 2018
We are hosting a party tomorrow and have so much to do that day. To save time (and sanity) can these be baked the day before then rewarmed and topped with the marinade at the party? We are quadrupling the recipe and will place them in a chafing dish. I plan to make them 2/3rd size for appetizer portion.
LeAnn November 4, 2018
This is now a weeknight favorite—hubby asks for it at least once a week. I’ve shared it with friends who say exactly the same thing.
Ann B. June 9, 2018
These are full of flavor, easy to make and have just a bit of zing.
lbn March 7, 2018
These were fantastic. Huge hit at the party I made them for. I also skipped the browning step and just baked on wire racks in the oven for 20 minutes at 350. I made the meatballs the day before, and then the day of I just tossed all the glaze ingredients and the cold meatballs in a pan and heated everything through and let it cook a bit. Easy peasy and extremely delicious
boymeetsgirlmeetsfood February 4, 2018
I made this a few weekends ago with a few tweaks, and they were a hit at our potluck! I upped the ginger in the meatballs and also added birds eye chillies, used chicken instead of beef and blitzed up fresh mango instead of apricot preserves because they’re in season in AUS right now. Will definitely be making this again, loved it!!
Therese August 6, 2017
They were good but nothing beyond. I doubt I'll make them again.