Gluten-Free Szechuan Meatballs

Prep time: 30 mins
Cook time: 25 mins
Calories: 114

BAKE: 20–25 minutes

The secret to flavorful Szechuan meatballs is to allow the ground beef to marinate so it absorbs the flavors of the gluten-free soy sauce, honey, vinegar and ginger. Be sure to use ground beef that’s at least 90 percent lean. If you use beef that’s less lean, the fat drains onto the pan when the meatballs are baked and much of the flavor drains right along with it. The sesame oil in the marinade is much tastier and less greasy than the fat in the ground beef. This recipe can be made egg-free; see instructions.


gluten free szechuan meatball recipe

Jean Schwarzwalder


1/4 cup gluten-free soy sauce or tamari
1/4 cup gluten-free rice vinegar
1/4 cup toasted sesame oil
2 large eggs, room temperature, beaten
2 tablespoons honey
2 tablespoons fresh ginger, minced
2 tablespoons cornstarch
1 + 1/2 teaspoons hot sauce, optional
1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 + 1/2 pounds 90% lean ground beef


1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together soy sauce, vinegar, sesame oil, eggs, honey, ginger, cornstarch, hot sauce (if using) and pepper until well combined.

3. Add ground beef. With clean hands or a large fork, mix gently to combine sauce with ground beef. After mixing, let beef absorb other ingredients by covering the bowl and letting it sit at room temperature 10 to 15 minutes.

4. Divide meat mixture and roll into balls 1½ inches in diameter. Arrange meatballs 1 inch apart on prepared baking sheets.

5. Place in preheated oven and bake 20 to 25 minutes or until nicely browned and cooked through. Serve immediately.

For Egg-Free Szechuan Meatballs, omit 2 eggs. Reduce sesame oil to 3 tablespoons. In a small saucepan, combine 2 tablespoons golden flax meal with very warm soy sauce or rice vinegar in the recipe. Let sit 5 minutes to thicken and cool. Use this mixture to replace the eggs in step 2.

gluten free on a shoestring

Jean Schwarzwalder

Each meatball contains 114 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 48mg cholesterol, 256mg sodium, 3g carbohydrate, 0g fiber, 2g sugars, 9g protein, 2Est GL.

Recipes excerpted from Gluten-Free on a Shoestring: 125 Easy Recipes for Eating Well on the Cheap, (2nd edition) by Nicole Hunn. Copyright © 2017. Available from Da Capo Lifelong Books, an imprint of Perseus Books, LLC, a subsidiary of Hachette Book Group, Inc. Photography by Jean Schwarzwalder.

Yields 18 meatballs
1 meatball contains 114 calories, 7g total fat, 2g saturated fat, 0g trans fat, 48mg cholesterol, 256mg sodium, 3g carbohydrates, 0g fiber, 2g sugars, 9g protein.


  1. Not sure if you are answering questions from comments here but hopefully! The picture of this recipe shows meatballs that appear to have a glaze on them, but there is no glaze in the recipe.What is on the meatballs?

    Thank you!


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