Simple Crock Pot Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai)

Serve these delcious Vietnamese meatballs with some hot and crusty bread for a quick meal. | runawayrice.comI love the simplicity of crock pot cooking and so decided to take one of my favorite Viet dishes for a little recipe re-do. These meatballs are delicious and so easy to make with a slow cooker. Seriously, you can’t go wrong with crock pot cooking. Even if you let it cook for longer than recommended, they’ll still taste great. The rich, hearty tomato sauce and the delicate crunch from the water chestnuts make for a very unique tasting meatball.

These meatballs are so versatile and can be served as a main dish or appetizer. I also enjoy eating them in a sandwich. Use crusty French bread and add carrot and radish pickles, fresh cucumber and cilantro. Delish!

Watch the video below for instructions.


For the Meatballs
1 lb ground pork (fattier pork makes for a moister, softer meatball)
1/4 cup diced onions
1/2 cup diced water chestnuts
2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro
1 Tbsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp black pepper
1 1/2 Tbsp fish sauce
1 Tbsp olive oil

For the Sauce
1-28 oz can crushed tomatoes
2 cloves minced garlic
2 oz diced onions
1 Tbsp sugar
1 tsp Sriracha sauce


In a large bowl, combine the pork, onions, water chestnuts, cilantro, cornstarch, pepper, fish sauce and olive oil.  Mix ingredients together using your hands.  Do not over work the meat mixture as this will make the meatballs tough.  Use a cake pop baller or large spoon to scoop the meat mixture.  Roll between your hands to form 1″ meatballs.  Place the balls on a large plate or tray.

Set crock pot to low or setting number 2.  Combine crushed tomatoes, garlic, onions, sugar and hot sauce in crock pot.  Stir to combine all ingredients.

Gently drop meatballs into sauce.  Cover with lid and allow to cook for 7-8 hours.

If a thicker sauce is desired, dissolve 2 teaspoons of cornstarch with 2 teaspoons of water.  Pour gravy into the sauce and stir gently.

Yields:  27

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12 Responses to Simple Crock Pot Vietnamese Meatballs (Xiu Mai)

  1. Christine May 19, 2017 at 9:27 pm #

    Have you tried this in a pressure cooker? I’m wondering how long I should cook it for in an Instant Pot!

    • Trang May 21, 2017 at 7:57 pm #

      Hi Christine,
      I cook for 10 minutes on Low pressure cook in the Instant Pot. I make them about the same size as in this recipe. Good Luck!

  2. Anh February 6, 2016 at 7:43 am #

    If cooking in a regular pot on the stove top, is it necessary to fry or bake the meatballs first? (I don’t have a crock pot.) Thanks for sharing your recipes and Happy New Year!

    • Trang February 7, 2016 at 9:00 pm #

      Hi Anh,
      There’s no need to fry or bake the meatballs first if cooking over the stove. Bring the tomato sauce to a boil first and then simmer the meatballs in the sauce for about 35-40 minutes. Stir occasionally and gently so you don’t break the meatballs. Enjoy the recipe and Happy Lunar New Year to you! 🙂

  3. Trang July 3, 2015 at 5:57 pm #

    Hi Aida,

    The roll cake uses the sponge cake recipe and here’s the link:
    Good Luck with the recipe and please stop by and share your results.

  4. Kristen July 8, 2014 at 12:56 pm #

    Can ground beef be used in place of pork?

    • Trang July 9, 2014 at 7:13 am #

      Hi Kristen,

      You can use any ground meat of your choice. I often use beef or turkey. Good Luck with the recipe!

  5. Phuc June 7, 2014 at 5:01 pm #

    I’m absolutely love you recipes they are so so good it’s remind me of my mom cooking. Thank you so much for sharing.

    • Trang June 11, 2014 at 9:41 pm #

      Hi Phuc,
      Thank you so much and I am delighted to hear you like the recipes. Most of these recipes are my Mom’s. I grew up eating her wonderful cooking. I am thrilled to have this place here to share these recipes. If you give any of the recipes a try I’d love to hear about it. Happy Cooking!

  6. Tiffany March 11, 2013 at 10:06 am #

    Can you verify the water chestnuts in your ingredients because I found two different ones on the web. Thank you !

    • Trang March 11, 2013 at 1:34 pm #

      Hi Tiffany,

      Use 1/2 cup water chestnuts. You can always add more if you enjoy the crunchy texture. Thanks for your post!

  7. Mimi October 22, 2012 at 10:00 pm #

    Awesome looking meatballs! They look so good. I’m going to give these a try.

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