Recipe: Vietnamese Meatballs (for Pho)

This post is sponsored by La Crema.

Vietnamese Pho Meat Balls | Freckled Italian

My brother and I always cook together whenever we're lucky enough to spend time together (one of my favorite recipes is his tropical crème brûlée), so when he was staying with us for Christmas and New Years, we decided to whip up some homemade pho broth and delicious Vietnamese meat balls. It was the coziest way to start the new year, and we ended up eating it for breakfast, a snack, and dinner later that night--with enough leftover for me to have lunch the next day when he and his girlfriend flew home.

Pho has always been one of my favorite comfort foods--my friend Corri and I used to meet for lunch or get takeout so much that now when I visit Charlotte, we always have to get pho together. I couldn't think of a more relaxing way to celebrate New Years Day than a slow morning with Sean, Jane, Rob, Sophie, and Ender all cuddled up together on the couch as rich, spice-infused broth bubbled away on the stove.


I was surprised by how easy it was to put it all together (although to be fair, Sean did do most of the work setting up the broth), and our meatballs turned out absolutely delicious. Usually you'll find beef meatballs when you order pho, but we decided to use pork instead to switch it up.


  • 1 pound ground beef or pork
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger
  • Salt and pepper, to taste


  1. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix well until everything is incorporated. Use your hands to work the meat mixture together until it becomes slightly sticky (this can take 10-15 minutes). If you have time, place the bowl in the freezer for 20 minutes or so to really let the meat firm up. (You could also use a food processor or electric mixer.)
  2. Roll heaping tablespoons of the mixture into balls with your hands. You want them to be on the larger side of bite-sized so you can pick them up and eat them in one bite or use a spoon to cut them in half easily.
  3. Bring a pot of water to a boil and fill another bowl with ice water. Carefully lower the meatballs into the boiling water and allow them to cook until they float to the surface, then continue to simmer for another 3-4 minutes. (7-8 minutes total.) Remove from pot and transfer to ice water for 3-4 minutes.
  4. When you're ready, reheat the meatballs in pho broth and serve. 
Vietnamese Meat Ball Soup | Freckled Italian

The company was great and the wine, of course, was delicious--we paired our soup with La Crema's Monterey Chardonnay, which is one of my favorites. We set out all the toppings and let everyone doctor up their own bowls the same way you do when you're at a restaurant, only we enjoyed everything from the comfort of my couch, complete with sweatpants and a whole lot of Netflix.

Vietnamese Meat Balls | Freckled Italian

Don't forget to stop by the La Crema blog today to get my pho broth recipe! I hope you love it.