January 1, 2020

Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

These sweet and sticky pork meatballs make the perfect appetizer or weeknight dinner. The ground pork meatballs are seasoned with fresh herbs, ginger, and garlic and then tossed in a delicious sweet and sticky sauce. Not only are they delicious, these healthy meatballs are also refined sugar free, gluten-free and Whole30 compliant. They make a flavorful dish that everyone will love!

Healthy Ground Pork Meatballs 

What’s better than a meatball, you ask?

 A flavorful pork meatball that’s just a little crispy, a little sticky, and a little sweet, I say! 

These healthy ground pork meatballs are packed with flavor from fresh ginger, herbs, and garlic and then drowned in a sweet and sticky sauce that’s made without any sugar.

Yes, you heard that right…the sweet and sticky sauce is completely sugar free and Whole30 compliant! 

These meatballs are so easy to whip up and make the perfect dinner party appetizer or weeknight dinner. They are juicy and perfect, and absolutely no one will believe that they’re made without added sugar. 

Keep reading to learn how to make these and then run to the store to grab all of the ingredients and serve them up tonight!

Meatball Ingredients

Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

These juicy meatballs are full of flavor thanks to a few simple, fresh ingredients that really pack a punch. Here’s what you need to make the best pork meatballs:

  • Garlic

  • Ginger

  • Cilantro

  • Crushed red pepper flakes

  • Shallots

If possible, be sure to use the freshest ingredients possible for the best flavor in these meatballs. You really want the flavor to shine through and using freshly minced garlic and ginger makes a difference. 

The Sweet and Sticky Sauce Ingredients

Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

Although the sauce for these meatballs is definitely sweet and sticky, there is no added sugar in this recipe. Instead, the sauce is made by reducing a few key ingredients until it begins to thicken and form a sticky sauce.

Here are the main sauce ingredients:

Coconut Aminos: The base of the sauce is a substitute for soy sauce called coconut aminos. Coconut aminos are made from the sap of the coconut palm tree and are commonly used as an alternative to soy sauce in Paleo and Whole30 compliant dishes.

Unlike traditional soy sauce, they also have a slightly sweet flavor which works to give the sauce a slightly sweet flavor without any added sugar.

Sesame Oil: Sesame oil is another key ingredient in this sauce and really helps to give the meatballs a lovely flavor. 

Fish Sauce: Fish sauce is made from anchovies and sea salt and gives the sauce a savory depth of flavor. If you don’t have a bottle of fish sauce, I highly recommend grabbing some to have on hand for curries, stir fries, or sauces.

How to Serve these Asian Pork Meatballs

Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

What I love about these meatballs is that they work just as well as the star of a weeknight dinner as they do as a party appetizer. All you have to do is serve them individually with a cocktail stick for a crowd pleasing appetizer. 

If you are serving the meatballs for dinner, my favorite way to eat them is over white rice or cauliflower rice with a green veggie like roasted broccoli or sauteed zucchini on the side. The rice helps to soak up all of that delicious sweet and sticky sauce. 

If you like this Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatball recipe, here are few other recipes I know you’ll love!


Sweet and Sticky Pork Meatballs (Whole30, Paleo, Gluten-Free)

  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x
  • Author: Ashlea Carver
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 25
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 4 1x


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground pork

  • 3 cloves fresh garlic, minced

  • 2 tsp fresh ginger, minced

  • 1 tbsp diced shallot

  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1 tsp salt

  • 1 tbsp cilantro, minced

For the sauce:

  • 3/4 cup coconut aminos

  • 1 tsp toasted sesame oil

  • 1 tsp rice wine vinegar

  • 1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes

  • 1/4 tsp fish sauce

  • Juice of one lime


  1. Add the meatball ingredients to a small mixing bowl and use your hands to mix until well combined. Next, use a cookie dough scoop or tablespoon to scoop out the pork mixture and form meatballs.

  2. When the meatballs are formed, heat a skillet over medium heat and then add a tablespoon of avocado or coconut oil. Pan-fry the meatballs on each side for roughly 3-4 minutes until browned and cooked through.

  3. While the meatballs are cooking, make the sweet and sticky sauce. Add all of the sauce ingredients to a small sauce pan. Bring the sauce to a boil and then reduce the heat to low and allow the sauce to simmer until it thickens and coats the back of a spoon. The sauce will thicken even more as it cools.

  4. Add the meatballs to the sauce and stir until they are well coated. Transfer the meatballs to a serving dish and garnish them with green onions and sesame seeds. Enjoy!

Keywords: pork meatballs, Asian meatballs, sweet and sticky pork meatballs, Whole30 meatballs

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Recipe rating

  1. These were SO good. I served with broccoli and white rice
    Very flavorful– I’m definitely making again.

  2. This was amazing! I needed something new to out into my Whole30 rotation, and this was probably the tastiest thing I’ve had this round!

    • Happy to hear that this has become a regular favorite for you, Molly! Thanks for taking the time to leave a review!

  3. This recipe is sooo delicious!! I made the meatballs in my air fryer and then tossed them in the sauce. Thank you!!!

  4. Wow — this was amazing! The whole family gobbled it up. Super delicious and it does not feel Whole30 — I am not missing anything! So much fresh flavor. We even had to skip the fish sauce and sesame oil due to allergies and we didn’t miss them at all. Excellent recipe, I will be checking back to find more treasures! Thank you from the whole family.

  5. We love these! So easy and they have a restaurant-quality taste. These satisfied my craving for Chinese takeout.

  6. I had reached the point where I just didn’t see the point in cooking. My husband and kids aren’t fussed with what I produce, and frankly I’m generally not either. The supermarkets produce such flavoursome ready meals….why bother to cook myself?

    Well, just stumbled across your blog and I’m feeling inspired for the first time in a very long while. Looking forward to getting back in the kitchen and trying out your recipes!

  7. For some reason, I could not get the sauce to thicken up, but the flavor is out of this world! My husband loved it, too. I made it with vermicelli rice noodles and asparagus and it was perfect. I will definitely make it again. Thanks for a great recipe!

  8. Loved loved loved this recipe!! The sauce is to die for a such an easy weeknight meal. Next time I’m going to double the meatball recipe and freeze half. This will be a new regular in our rotation!

  9. This was so delicious and easy. I made it for dinner but would definitely serve this as an appetizer at a dinner party. The sauce is amazing!!

  10. Thanks Ashlea!! This will be my first recipe of yours. I heard you mention it and had to make it 🙂

  11. I made the mistake of not checking my fridge/pantry before I grocery shopped and ended up making this with no shallots and teriyaki instead of soy… and it was still delicious! Can’t wait to try the actual recipe next time. 🙂

  12. Made this tonight and it was amazing! It was so easy to follow along the instructions with how to make it and it was nice to have most of the ingredients already! Thank you for a tasty and healthy recipe 🙂

  13. I think you forgot sugar for the sauce? I didn’t think of it until I was making it and noticing it wasn’t getting thick 🙂

    • There is actually no added sugar in this recipe! That’s the beauty of it! The coconut aminos have natural sugar in them which allows the sauce to get sticky as it reduces. If your sauce is not getting thick it likely needs to cook a bit longer. I hope that helps!

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