Lion’s Head Meatballs


Chinese New Year is this Friday, so Sunday Funday is celebrating today. I wanted to challenge myself a bit and do something different than the usual stir fry.

Cue Lion’s Head Meatballs.  Lion’s Head Meatballs are called such because of their large size.  These meatballs are often served at banquets or special occasions, probably because they can be a bit labor intensive.

There is a lot of stirring (I had my stand mixer do that), followed by deep frying (I went for a pan fry), and finally a slow braise.  Sometimes the meatballs are served with a sauce and other times with the braising liquid.  I went with the second option and served these with a flavorful broth!


Recipe note:

-Most recipes for Lion’s head meatballs call for a fatty ground pork with as much as 30% fat.  I picked up a freshly ground pack from my local grocery store and hoped for the best.

-The recipe directions I found online called for mixing the pork by hand in one direction for 10 minutes to achieve a paste-like consistency.  I made the executive decision to let the stand mixer do that work for me!

Lion’s Head Meatballs

Adapted from The Woks of Life


1 pound fatty pork (see note)

3 ounces water chestnuts, minced 

1-inch knob ginger, minced

1 green onion, minced

1 egg

¼ cup breadcrumbs

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 tablespoon white wine (preferably shaoxing wine)

1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch

½ teaspoon black pepper

⅛ teaspoon chinese five spice


1 quart chicken broth

6 leaves napa cabbage, white and green parts separated

6 water chestnuts, sliced (optional)

3 green onions, sliced

1 small slice ginger, minced

2 tablespoons light soy sauce

1 teaspoon brown sugar

¼ teaspoon toasted sesame oil

1 small crown broccoli, diced

Place all of the meatball ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment.  Beat on medium low speed until the ingredients are mixed together and take on a paste-like texture.

Meanwhile, heat about 2 tablespoons of canola oil in a skillet over medium heat.  Split the meat into 6-8 large meatballs.  Place in the skillet and brown on all sides.

Meanwhile, heat the chicken broth in a soup pot over medium heat.  Add the white parts of the cabbage, ginger, water chestnuts, green onions, soy sauce, brown sugar, and sesame oil.  As the meatballs finish browning, add them to the broth.  Simmer for 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through.  

Add the broccoli and green parts of the cabbage.  Cook for another 5 minutes and serve.


  1. Great idea to use the stand mixer. I have made lion's head meatballs before but now I want to try again with your technique.

  2. These are going on my must-make list! They sound so yummy and comforting...and I'm pretty much addicted to napa even better! - Faith, Hope, Love, & Luck - Colleen

  3. This sounds incredibly tender, and flavorful!

  4. I'd make the mixer do the work too. I use it also when mixing meat loaf. My hands don't like stirring cold meat. Because of (dare I admit it?) I have some arthritic knuckles. *sob* Using that makes prepping delicious meatballs so much easier.

  5. These look amazing. I have had lions head meatball soup, where there is just one mondo sized meatball in the bowl with a bit of broth. I love your combo of flavors.

  6. My daughter loves meatballs, but I have never made at home. I like ur idea of using mixer to do this, will try

  7. Your meatballs in the wonderful fragrant broth make me want to inhale deeply to see if I can get a warming whiff! Comfort food for sure!

  8. Your Lions head meatballs look absolutely amazing. I love the idea of using the stand mixer and the addition of the broccoli.


Post a Comment

Please comment! I would love to hear from you!