Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune)

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When craving sweet and sour with a salty chicken flavor, these meatballs are one of my favorites.

When making these I often make a double batch and freeze half of the meatballs for a quick-lunch meal of when I don’t feel like cooking a full meal. Once you taste these you’re going to wish you’d made more. They are great alone, but go great with one or two other bowls of veggies and rice.

In addition to the garlic sauce below you can add in other dipping sauces for them, such as a sweet and sour or even teriyaki sauce. Having a few dipping options make the eating of these a bit more of an event than just having them plain. You get some options to try to making two to three quick sauces while cooking these up. They really take little to no extra time, but it does mean a few more dishes to clean. In addition, having everyone use chop sticks is always a good break from routine creating a bit more of an experience, though a fork will always suffice.

Adding in cilantro on top of them before serving adds in a bit of “fresh” flavor to the meal and is perfect finishing to make them look fancy…when umm…they’re not. They are meatballs after all.

Getting the ingredients all lined up for this recipe is a great idea. Here they are in all their glory. Sauces, egg, flour, herbs, ground chicken, and veggies (if you count garlic as a veggie) maybe not, but hey the onion is a veggie.

Japanese Chicken Meatballs - Tsukune Recipe Ingredients

Making the soy garlic sauce for the meatballs is quick and easy. Plus the ingredients are basically the same ones you are also using to make the meatballs. The one addition is the oyster sauce. Once you get the sugar to dissolve, it’s good to set it aside, I usually put it in the refrigerator for a few minutes to chill.

Mixing Soy Garlic Sauce Recipe

To make this meal look a little more fancy, place the meatballs in the center of the plate, drizzle some (1-2 table-spoons) of the garlic soy sauce you made over the top. Then finish off with some green, such as cilantro or below you can see I use some chopped green onion as garnish. This extra effort makes it look like some chef dressed in white made it instead of you – fancy.

So below is the recipe with all the ingredients, instructions step-by-step plus a video of me making it. If you try this recipe, let me know how it turned out. Thanks, Delicious Eric.

Japanese Chicken Meatballs

Japanese Chicken Meatballs (Tsukune)

  • Author: Delicious Eric
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 10
  • Total Time: 25 minutes
  • Yield: 10-12 Meatballs
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Cooktop
  • Cuisine: Japanese


Japanese chicken meatballs, known as Tsukune, are great with rice and a nice vegetable salad. A fun evening meal, when you serve with chop sticks and a nice sauce for dipping. Bonus is that they are chicken making them a little more on the healthy side of things.


Chicken Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1 table-spoon soy sauce
  • 1 table-spoon mirin sauce
  • 1/2 small red onion
  • 1/2 inch piece of ginger
  • 1/4 egg
  • 1 tea-spoon sesame oil
  • 1 tea-spoon corn flour
  • Sunflower oil (for cooking)

Meatball Sauce

  • 2 table-spoons soy sauce
  • 2 table-spoons mirin sauce
  • 1 table-spoon oyster sauce
  • 1 table-spoon sugar
  • 2 garlic cloves


Chicken Meatballs

  1. Dice the onion and ginger very fine, particularly the ginger.
  2. In small bowl scramble one egg.
  3. When done in a large bowl add the chicken then all the ingredients listed: 1/3 egg (not the whole egg), ginger, onion, soy sauce, mirin sauce, sesame oil and corn flour.
  4. Lightly mix the ingredients.
  5. Using two spoons form meatballs and place them on a plate or directly into a medium-high heat frying pan with heated sunflower oil.
  6. Cook the meatballs for 3 to 4 minutes on each side. Don’t use a lot of oil just enough to cover the bottom of the pan.
  7. Drain meatballs on paper to absorb any excess oil.


  1. Chop the garlic into chunks, place in small bowl.
  2. Then add remaining ingredients: soy sauce, mirin sauce, oyster sauce and sugar.
  3. Mix the ingredients together until the sugar dissolves.
  4. Set aside to allow the garlic to flavor the sauce.


Think about making a double recipe of this, since it takes a little to get going on this and you can freeze the remaining meatballs for a tasty lunch or quick dinner when you don’t feel like cooking.

Keywords: Meatballs, Chicken, Japanese, Tsukune, Dinner


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