Adobo Meatballs Recipe: great Filipino meatballs with sauce

                by Joost Nusselder | Updated:  December 20, 2020

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We live in an Adobo-crazed country, and for good reason.

Like this Adobo Meatballs, Preparation is simple, it does not cost much to make a batch that will easily feed a family, and the ingredients are readily available – just good quality meat, vinegar, soy sauce, garlic, cracked peppercorns, and water.

That’s it. Nothing too fancy.

Adobo Meatballs Recipe

Time and heat take care of the rest – the longer you braise it, the better it tastes. In the end, you get rewarded with tender meat that is equal parts salty and sour.

Favorite Asian Recipes video

And the great thing about Adobo is that it is perfect for storage and even better when you eat it a day or two after you cook it. It won’t spoil, as long as it is stored in a cool, dry place.

After a while, however, Plain Adobo can get boring, so it comes as no surprise that people look for alternative ways to serve what has been touted as the Philippines’ national dish.

Arguably, Adobo, in its many incarnations, remains iconic and always delicious. One way to jazz up your usual adobo dish is to turn it into meatballs.

Plus, you can use any leftovers in everyone’s favorite Crispy Adobo Flakes.

Adobo Meatballs Preparation Tip

Adobo Meatballs may sound a little weird, but it works. You get to enjoy the adobo taste that you love so much, but with a different texture and presentation.

This is perfect for when you have lots of leftover adobo (and admit it, this is almost always the case).

It is also an ideal make-ahead dish because you can prepare the adobo days before, stick it in the fridge, and just transform it into meatballs when you need it.

Adobo Meatballs

Adobo Meatballs Recipe

Filipino adobo meatballs recipe

Joost Nusselder
Adobo Meatballs may sound a little weird, but it works. You get to enjoy the adobo taste that you love so much, but with a different texture and presentation.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins
Course Main Course
Cuisine Filipino
Servings 15 pcs


for the meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef (1/2 kilo)
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ½ tsp pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic crushed
  • ½ cup bread crumbs
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 5 drops tabasco sauce
  • 2 tbsp ketchup
  • 1 egg

for the adobo sauce:

  • 1 cup beef broth
  • 3 tbsp white vinegar
  • 5 tbsp soy sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic pressed
  • 1 large chopped tomato
  • ½ onion thinly sliced
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 3 bay leaves
  • ½ tsp pepper or pepper corns
  • ¼ tsp hot pepper flakes or 1 chopped chili


  • Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.
  • Place the ground beef in a mixing bowl.
  • Add in the breadcrumbs, egg, ketchup, garlic, Worcestershire sauce, tabasco, salt, and pepper. Using a wooden spoon, mix until partially combined.
  • Mix all of the ingredients into the meat.
  • Spray the baking sheet with baking spray.
  • Scoop up a handful of the mixture (a couple of tablespoons) and roll it into a ball.
  • Place the meatball on the baking sheet and repeat the process for the rest of the mixture.
  • Place the meatballs in the preheated oven and bake them for about 25 minutes.
  • In the meantime, pour some oil into a pan over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the onion, garlic, and tomato.
  • Saute and stir for 2 or 3 minutes until the tomato is soft.
  • Add in the beef broth, soy sauce, vinegar, bay leaves, pepper corns, hot pepper flakes, and sugar. Allow it to come to a boil. Do not stir it.
  • After a boil, give it a stir. Add the meat balls in and spoon some of the sauce over them.
  • Reduce the heat to medium and allow it to simmer, occasionally spooning some sauce over the meatballs, for about 15 minutes.
  • Put the meatballs on some steamed or fried rice and spoon the sauce over the top.
  • Serve and enjoy your spicy meatballs adobo.
Keyword Adobo, Beef, Meatballs
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

You can follow this Video on how to Cook Adobo Meatballs. It’s an amazing video by Nette Cooking:

As with normal Adobo, this works very well with lots of hot white rice. And like normal meatballs, it goes well with ketchup or, if you are feeling adventurous, why not have it with sweet chili sauce?

You can even take it up a notch and serve it on top of spaghetti with adobo sauce. The possibilities are exciting.

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Also read: Pancit Luglug Recipe with shrimp and crackling pork

Joost Nusselder, the founder of Bite My Bun is a content marketer, dad and loves trying out new food with Japanese food at the heart of his passion, and together with his team he's been creating in-depth blog articles since 2016 to help loyal readers with recipes and cooking tips.