Thai Meatball Noodle Soup

published Oct 14, 2023
Thai Meatball Noodle Soup Recipe

This flavorful noodle soup with cilantro-pork meatballs hits whenever you need a low-lift, high-reward dinner that delivers.

Serves4

Prep20 minutes

Cook10 minutes

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Side view of noodles being pulled out of soup bowl by multicolored chopsticks.
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

Some days call for an easy, flavorful dinner that comes together in just 30 minutes. This Thai-inspired noodle soup with cilantro-pork meatballs is one of those meals. Whenever I’m in a cooking rut or simply lacking inspiration, I make this soup. It’s that low-lift, high-reward dinner that’s bound to have everyone going back for more. 

If you’re not in the mood for noodles or don’t have any on hand, you can serve it over white rice, add in cubes of soft tofu, or toss in leftover roasted veggies — it’s perfect no matter what. 

Ingredients in Thai Meatball Noodle Soup

  • Ground pork. Using all ground pork ensures that these lightly seasoned meatballs are tender and flavorful. 
  • Cilantro. Adds an herby freshness to both the meatballs and the finished soup. 
  • White pepper. In Thai cuisine, white pepper is a must-have dried spice. Here, ground white pepper adds an earthy and slightly funky (in a good way!) flavor to the meatballs.  
  • Soy sauce and fish sauce. Contributes flavor and depth, as well as salt, to the soup. 
  • Noodles. The recipe calls for dried thin Chinese wheat noodles, but you can really use any cooked long noodles that you like, such as angel hair, glass noodles, or even udon noodles. 
Credit: Photo: Alex Lepe ; Food Stylist: James Park

How To Make Thai Meatball Noodle Soup

  • Make the meatballs. Combine ground pork, ground white pepper, soy sauce, fish sauce, minced garlic, and some finely chopped cilantro in a bowl. Mix with your hands, then form into 1-inch meatballs and place on a baking sheet. 
  • Make the soup. Pour chicken broth into a pot, and add sliced scallions, soy sauce, and fish sauce. Bring to a boil, then plop in the meatballs and simmer until they float. 
  • Cook the noodles and serve. In a separate pot, cook the noodles in boiling water until tender. Drain the noodles and add them directly to the serving bowl. Divide the soup and meatballs between bowls and top with more chopped cilantro. 

Thai Meatball Noodle Soup Recipe

This flavorful noodle soup with cilantro-pork meatballs hits whenever you need a low-lift, high-reward dinner that delivers.

Prep time 20 minutes

Cook time 10 minutes

Serves 4

Nutritional Info

Ingredients

For the cilantro-pork meatballs:

  • 1 pound

    ground pork

  • 3/4 teaspoon

    ground white pepper

  • 1 tablespoon

    soy sauce

  • 1 tablespoon

    fish sauce

  • 5 cloves

    garlic

  • 1/2 bunch

    fresh cilantro

For the noodle soup:

  • 3

    medium scallions

  • 5 1/2 cups

    low-sodium chicken broth

  • 3 tablespoons

    soy sauce, plus more as needed

  • 2 tablespoons

    fish sauce, plus more as needed

  • 8 ounces

    dried thin Chinese wheat noodles, such as Kame

Instructions

For the cilantro-pork meatballs:

  1. Have a rimmed baking sheet or large plate ready. Place 1 pound ground pork, 3/4 teaspoon ground white pepper, 1 tablespoon soy sauce, and 1 tablespoon fish sauce in a medium bowl.

  2. Prepare the following, adding each to the bowl with the ground pork as you prepare it: Mince 5 garlic cloves. Pick the leaves and tender stems from 1/2 bunch fresh cilantro and finely chop until you have 1/2 cup; add 1/4 cup to the bowl, then reserve the remaining 1/4 cup for garnish.

  3. Mix the pork mixture with your hands until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into 25 to 29 (1-inch) meatballs (about 1 tablespoon each) and place on the baking sheet or large plate.

For the noodle soup:

  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil over medium-high heat. Meanwhile, thinly slice 3 medium scallions (about 1/2 cup) and place in a medium pot. Add 5 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken broth, 3 tablespoons soy sauce, and 2 tablespoons fish sauce. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat.

  2. Gently drop meatballs into the soup, reduce the heat to maintain a simmer, and cook until the meatballs float and are cooked through, 3 to 5 minutes. Taste and season with more fish sauce and/or soy sauce as needed.

  3. Add 8 ounces dried wheat noodles to the boiling water and cook according to package directions until tender. Turn off the heat. Drain noodles, then transfer them directly to serving bowls.

  4. Ladle the soup, along with a few meatballs, into each bowl. Garnish with the reserved cilantro.

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate leftover soup and cooked noodles separately in airtight containers for up to 3 days. To reheat, warm soup and noodles together until heated through.