This Chinese Chicken Meatball Soup has juicy meatballs in a flavorful tomato broth. It's easy to make with simple pantry ingredients and is super wholesome and comforting. Ready in just one hour!
I've been making this Chinese Chicken Meatball Soup for years now, you just can’t beat it. It's perfect for chilly fall nights or late summer when tomatoes are at their best, and the weather is getting cooler.
The broth is flavorful, the meatballs are incredibly juicy and tender, and the recipe is very simple. The most time-consuming part is rolling out the meatballs, but other than that, it's smooth sailing.
⭐ Tips For Making Meatballs
- Grind Your Own Meat: It lets you control the meat's quality and fat content. The cheap, fatty cuts are the best for meatballs. I recommend chicken legs, thighs, or drumsticks.
- Use Egg and Cornstarch: They act as binders, making it easier to shape the meatballs. Cornstarch is especially handy because it absorbs excess liquid, keeping the meatballs juicy during cooking.
- Bake the meatballs: A quick 20-minute at a high temperature adds a dark brown crust rippling with flavor through the Maillard Reaction.
🥩 How to Grind Your Own Meat
For starters, you'll need a meat grinder or, if you have a stand mixer, a meat grinder attachment:
- Choose Your Meat: I use any combination of chicken legs, thighs, or drumsticks. They have an excellent ratio of fat to meat, ensuring juicy meatballs.
- Prepare the Meat: Use a butcher's knife to remove the bones and chop the meat into roughly 2-inch chunks. Pro tip: Save the bones for making chicken stock.
- Load the Grinder: Place the meat into the top opening of the meat grinder. If you're using a stand mixer attachment, make sure it's securely attached.
- Grind Away: Use the pushing tool to guide the meat through the grinder.
For the tomato soup:
- Chicken Stock: If you have homemade chicken stock, that's preferred. If not, you can use low-sodium chicken broth or chicken bouillon powder.
- Tomatoes: You can use fresh tomatoes or a 14-ounce can of whole tomatoes.
- Aromatics: The key flavors come from onions and ginger.
- White Vinegar: Livens up the entire soup. Feel free to taste and add more, depending on your preference.
For the chicken meatballs:
- Ground Chicken: You can buy pre-ground chicken or grind your own. Grinding your own meat is a bonus because you can use leftover bones for chicken stock.
- Binders: We use eggs, breadcrumbs, and cornstarch to hold the meatballs together. This makes them easy to shape and keeps them from falling apart in the soup.
- Aromatics: Green onions and ginger add delicious flavors.
- Seasonings: We keep it simple with soy sauce, oyster sauce, sugar, and white pepper. Soy sauce and oyster sauce add salty and savory depth, sugar balances the rich flavors, and white pepper adds a bit of spiciness.
- Add ½ cup of shredded carrot and 1 cup of frozen corn kernels to the meatball filling to give it more nutrition and extra texture.
STEP 1: Add chicken stock, tomatoes, onion, ginger, salt, and vinegar to a large pot and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and let it simmer for 60 minutes. In the meantime, you can make the meatballs.
STEP 2: In a medium bowl, mix ground chicken, breadcrumbs, green onions, ginger, egg, cornstarch, oyster sauce, soy sauce, white pepper, and sugar until well combined.
STEP 3: Shape the mixture into 25 meatballs, approximately 2 tablespoons each.
STEP 4: Preheat your oven to 450°F, and bake the meatballs for 18-20 minutes until they are fully cooked and have a nice brown color on top.
STEP 7: Add the meatballs to the soup and let them simmer for 5 minutes. You can remove the onion halves if you don't like it. Serve the soup immediately with rice and green onions sprinkled on top.
🥡 Storage & Leftovers
Storing: Allow the chicken meatball soup to cool to room temperature, then store it in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.
🍽 Looking for more recipes?
Chinese Chicken Meatball Soup
- scallions (chopped)
- Add all soup ingredients to a large pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, reduce the heat and let it simmer for 60 minutes. In the meantime, you can make the meatballs.
- Preheat oven to 450°F and arrange a rack on the upper middle level.
- In a medium bowl, mix all the meatball ingredients until well combined.
- Shape the mixture into 25 meatballs, approximately 2 tablespoons each.
- Bake the meatballs for 18-20 minutes until they are fully cooked and have a nice brown color on top.
- Add the meatballs to the soup and let them simmer for 5 minutes. Serve immediately with rice and scallions sprinkled on top.