Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs

Traditional Chinese New Year Dish
Traditional Chinese New Year Dish
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For meatballs:
1 lb Ground pork
½ cup Bread crumbs
2 Large eggs
2 tbsp Chinese cooking wine Shaoxing or mirin
¼ cup Green onion finely chopped, plus more for garnishing
2 tbsp Soy sauce
1 tsp Sesame oil
½ tbsp Brown sugar
1 tsp Fresh ginger grated
1 tsp Garlic minced
1 tsp Salt
½ tsp Black pepper ground or white pepper
For sweet soy sauce:
¼ cup Soy sauce
¼ cup Chicken broth
2 tbsp Brown sugar
1 tsp Sesame oil
½ tbsp Cornstarch or flour

Nutritional information

  • For meatballs:

  • For sweet soy sauce:

Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs


Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs are a traditional Chinese New Year dish. These homemade pork meatballs are baked in the oven and then coated with a flavorful sauce. Think juicy, saucy, sweet, and packed with Asian seasonings. The recipe yields 6 large meatballs, but it’s easy to scale up and double the recipe to serve more people. 

Start by mixing all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Shape into meatballs and arrange on a baking sheet. Bake for 40 minutes until the instant-read thermometer reads 160 ºF. Meanwhile, combine all the sauce ingredients and whisk until smooth. Reduce the sauce in a saucepan over medium heat until the desired consistency is reached. Add the meatballs and toss well to coat. Serve these ground pork meatballs nestled into fried rice, steamed rice, or noodles. Enjoy!

To make the Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs, you will need the following ingredients:

Ingridiens for Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs

Steps to make Shanghainese Lion’s Head Meatballs


Heat oven and prepare baking sheet


Preheat the oven to 375 ºF and line a quarter sheet pan with parchment paper.


Make meatball mixture


In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 pound ground pork, ½ cup bread crumbs, 2 large eggs, 2 tablespoons Shaoxing cooking wine or mirin, ¼ cup finely chopped green onions, 2 tablespoons soy sauce, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, ½ tablespoon brown sugar, 1 teaspoon fresh grated ginger, 1 teaspoon grated garlic, 1 teaspoon salt, and ½ teaspoon ground black pepper or white pepper until well blended.


Shape meatballs


Shape the mixture into 6 equal-sized meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.




Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 40 minutes or until the instant-read thermometer reads 160 ºF.


Prepare sauce


Meanwhile, in a small mixing bowl, whisk together ¼ cup soy sauce, ¼ cup chicken broth, 2 tablespoons brown sugar, 1 teaspoon sesame oil, and ½ tablespoon flour or cornstarch until the flour and sugar dissolve. Transfer to a saucepan and heat over medium heat for 3-4 minutes, stirring continuously, until the desired consistency is reached.


Finish meatballs in sauce

Add the meatballs to the saucepan and toss until well coated.



Serve the meatballs warm garnished with green onions over a bowl of steamed rice.

These Shanghainese Lion's Head Meatballs are the perfect dish for your Chinese New Year celebrations. They are easy to throw together and then just baked in the oven. Give this recipe a go, and please leave a comment below with your thoughts!

Bethany is very passionate about maintaining a healthy lifestyle and clean diet. She’s trying to cut meat out of her diet as much as possible and focuses on cooking vegetarian food and fish. Bethany gets a kick from finding ways to add new twists to classic dishes. What’s more, thanks to her Asian roots, she’s great at combining different cuisines to come up with something extraordinary. Bethany’s recipes will inspire you to add new colors and flavors to your everyday meals.

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Total Reviews: 1

These meatballs are awesome and melt-in-your-mouth. Thanks for sharing!

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