Japanese Tsukune

Japanese Tsukune

Japanese tsukune are meatballs coated with a salty-sweet sauce. It's one of the common grilled items served at Japanese yakitori restaurants. This dish is perfect for your next barbecue cook-out or dinner. The meatballs are soft, bouncy, and smooth in texture. Create your minced meat with your desired protein. Optionally, stuff it with vegetables. Finish with a Japanese staple, the shichimi togarashi spice blend.
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Hands-on time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Japanese
Servings 3


  • 1 lb ground meat chicken, turkey, pork, veal, beef, or mixed
  • 1 egg
  • 4 green onions finely sliced
  • 1 tbsp corn starch or tapioca flour
  • 4 tbsp soy sauce or tamari
  • 3 tbsp cooking wine, dry sherry, or mirin
  • 1-2 tbsp sugar
  • 1 inch ginger grated
  • oil sesame or vegetable

Tsukune Culinary Spice Kit

  • [shichimi togarashi] Toasted sesame seeds, black & white, hemp seeds, seaweed, orange peel, tangerine peel, ginger, Sichuan peppercorn

Suggested Sides

  • Cooked or steamed rice
  • Cooked or steamed bok choy, green asparagus, zucchini, spinach, or broccoli
  • Fresh salad from cucumber and mung bean sprouts



  • In a CUP, mix 3 tbsp soy sauce, 3 tbsp cooking wine, and 1 tbsp sugar.

Prepare Meatballs

  • In a large BOWL, mix onions, ginger, and meat until well combined.
  • To the meat-onion mixture, add 1 tbsp soy sauce, egg, and corn starch. Combine well.
  • Form balls of about 2 inches in diameter or flat patties. (*)

Fry Meatballs

  • In a PAN, fry meatballs over medium heat until they turn brown on all sides.
  • Cover. Cook until meatballs are cooked thoroughly.
  • Remove lid and any oil or cooking liquid. Push meatballs to the sides.
  • Add sauce in the center and keep meatballs on the sides for the following step.
  • Cook over low heat until the sauce reduces and becomes less liquid.
  • Slowly, turn meatballs in the sauce until all are evenly coated with a shiny glaze.


  • Serve the meatballs with your preferred sides.
  • Sprinkle with Tsukune spices.
  • Enjoy!



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Grill: Form balls or small sausages of about 1 inch in diameter and thread them onto skewers. Baste them with the sauce and grill them on both sides.
Noodles: Triple the sauce and add cooked wide noodles in the last step to the PAN.
Stuffed: (*) Add cooked green beans and carrot sticks and form meat sausages around them.
Japanese Tsukune stuffed
Japanese Tsukune stuffed