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 minutes
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


Prepare Sauce

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

Prepare Meatballs: Add the Panade to the Meat

  • In a large BOWL, add meat.
  • Add onions and ginger. Knead until well combined.
  • Add 1 tbsp soy sauce, 1 egg, and 1 tbsp starch. Knead until well combined.

Form Meatballs

  • Form balls of about 2 inches in diameter or flat patties.
  • Alternative: Form stuffed sausages [1].

Fry Meatballs

  • In a PAN, fry meatballs over medium heat until they turn brown on all sides.
  • Cover. Reduce heat to medium-low.
  • Cook meatballs until they are cooked thoroughly.

Coat Meatballs with Sauce

  • Remove lid.
  • Discard any oil or cooking liquid.
  • Push meatballs to the sides.
  • Add sauce in the center.
  • Cook the sauce over low heat until some of the liquid evaporated and the sauce starts to thicken.
  • Slowly, push meatballs back into the center and turn them 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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Get Shichimi Togarashi Now
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.
[1] Stuffed: Add cooked green beans and carrot sticks and form meat sausages around them.
Japanese Tsukune stuffed
Japanese Tsukune stuffed
Marceline Reid-Jaques
Marceline Reid-Jaques
Karen Jones
Karen Jones
Wonderful, flavorful meals using readily available ingredients!
ann davis
ann davis
My daughter gave me a subscription as a Christmas present while our families were quarantining together. It was so much fun! It introduced us to several cuisines that were totally new to us. The recipes were easy to follow and the spices were transformative - fresh and pungent and delicious.
Jessica Brown
Jessica Brown
The best way to try new dishes!

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