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Sticky Thai Meatballs using a Crockpot Slow Cooker

Recipe by
9 hours
Prep: 1 hour | Cook: 8 hours | Servings: 4-6


  • 3 medium shallots, roughly chopped
  • 4 stalks lemongrass, roughly chopped
  • 3 medium jalapeños, seeded and diced fine
  • 6 medium cloves garlic
  • 1 (3-inch) knob fresh ginger, peeled and cut into ½” pieces
  • 3 tablespoons Asian fish sauce
  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1 cup Thai chili sauce
  • ⅔ cup soy sauce
  • ⅔ cup light brown sugar
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ cup rice vinegar
  • 2 pounds ground chicken
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup thinly sliced scallion, white and light green parts only, divided
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ cup chopped unsalted peanuts
  • ¼ cup chopped cilantro leaves and tender stems
  • 2 tablespoons fresh juice from 1 lime


  1. Combine lemongrass, shallot, garlic, jalapeño, ginger, and fish sauce in a food processor. Blend until ingredients form a paste.
  2. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add half of the paste mixture, reserving the rest for the meatballs. Cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 2 minutes. Stir in brown sugar, Thai chili sauce, soy sauce, and rice vinegar and cook for a minute.
  3. Add water to skillet and bring to a boil, stirring constantly. Reduce to a simmer and cook, stirring occasionally, until reduced by half. Transfer to a Crockpot or 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 paste with ground chicken, egg, panko,  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 of additional panko at a time until it is easier to shape.
  5. Broil meatballs until browned on top, about 7 minutes. 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 cilantro, scallion, chopped peanuts, and lime juice.
  8. Right before serving, sprinkle approximately ¾ of the peanut mixture over the meatballs and stir. Top with the remaining peanut mixture and serve.

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No Fail Recipes