These juicy and flavorful chicken meatballs are the perfect addition to pho, but you can also eat them in lettuce wraps, meatball bánh mì, or even on their own with dip! In this recipe, I’ll show you how to make my authentic homemade Vietnamese chicken meatballs, made from scratch using wholesome and simple ingredients.
Homemade Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs
I love Vietnamese chicken meatballs. They’re filling, nutritious, and are such a great addition to a bowl of chicken pho. The problem with buying chicken meatballs from the store, though, is that I have a hard time finding any that aren’t made with preservatives or MSG. Luckily, making your own fresh chicken meatballs at home is not that hard – and you’ll find it’s a lot cheaper too!
Personally, I also think the taste and texture of these Vietnamese chicken meatballs are much better than what you can get at the store. They’re chewy and springy, with a wonderful depth of chickeny flavor. They also freeze wonderfully, so you can make a big batch and have these delicious meatballs whenever you want – and preservative-free, too.
How to Make the Best Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs
The secret to tender meatballs with a delightful little bounce in each bite is in the temperature of the meat. I freeze the meat for 45 minutes to one hour, just enough for it to be very cold but not frozen, before pulsing it in the food processor. This is a crucial step so don’t skip it!
I also use whole chicken meat (you can use drum sticks, breasts, or thighs) instead of buying pre-ground chicken. This will give you chewy and juicy meatballs instead of crumbly and mushy ones.
What to Eat with Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs
Our favorite way to enjoy these chicken meatballs at home is of course in pho. I love them with chicken pho, topped with fresh bean sprouts and home-grown herbs. Such a comforting and homey meal! It warms you up from the inside out. I make the chicken pho broth with the bones from the meat, which makes it even more economical. You can have them with other broths too. Try adding some into your chicken noodle soup or tomato soup.
I’ve also seen them used as the main protein in bánh mì. If you want to try it this way, don’t forget to make my authentic Vietnamese baguette recipe for the best experience! Or, if you are trying to eat fewer carbs, you can use them in your lettuce wrap or as the protein in your salad. Their juicy, meaty flavor complements vegetables and herbs beautifully.
Finally, you can serve them on their own (or over rice) with a dip! You can try them with spicy chili sauce, sweet and savory hoisin sauce, or tangy nướcchấm!
How to Store Vietnamese Chicken Meatballs
I recommend making your Vietnamese chicken meatballs in big batches because they freeze very well. I usually make 4-6 lbs. worth of meatballs at a time so I always have some on hand!
Be sure to freeze them in small portions so you can just take out the amount you need. They should stay fresh in the freezer for about 3 months. Happy cooking!
Please watch my other video
Vietnamese Chicken Pho Meatballs (Cách Làm Gà Vò Viên)
- 2 lbs chicken
(I use meat from chicken drum sticks here in this video but you can use chicken breast or thighs)
- 1 tbsp Garlic Powder
- 3 tbsp Fish Sauce
- 2 tbsp Sugar
- 1 tbsp Cornstarch
- ½ tbsp Black Pepper
- ¾ tbsp Baking Powder
- 4 tbsp Ice Cold Water
- Put all the ingredients with the meat in a Ziploc bag.
- Massage the bag and give all the ingredients a good mix.
- Put the bag in the freezer for about 45 minutes to 1 hour; you want the meat to be very, very cold but not frozen. DO NOT SKIP THIS STEP. This is the secret to giving the meatballs its signature chewy and springy texture.
- Put in the food processor and PULSE for 20-25 times. You don't want to get the processor to warm up to much as that will get the meat warm. Cold meat is the key to give it a good texture.
- Scrap the meat down and then process the meat for about 1 minute. -Scrap the meat down again and process for another minute.
- If needed, process for another minute.
- Put the processed meat in freezer for about 10 minutes to get it nice and cold again. -Shape the meat into meatball shape by either using 2 small spoons. Or form about 1/2 lbs of meat into a log shape and squeeze the meat out to form the meatballs.
- Put the meatballs on a plate with some water and a few ice cubes. Water prevents it from sticking to the plate and the ice cubes will keep it nice and cold.
- Tip: Get your hands wet with some ice water so meat doesn't stick to your hands. -Bring pot of water to boil.
- Once water is boiling, put in the meatballs and cook for about 7-8 minutes.
- Put cooked meatballs in an ice bath to cool down, then drain water.