Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs - Real Food Whole Life

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

November 23, 2021

white bowl with chicken meatballs served over white rice on a blue background

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs are a quick 30 minute or easy make-ahead crockpot dinner with ground chicken, crushed pineapple, and a homemade naturally sweetened teriyaki sauce.

Includes simple swaps to easily make this recipe nut-free!

white bowl with chicken meatballs served over white rice on a blue background

about this pineapple teriyaki meatballs crockpot recipe

I don’t know about you, but I love the Aidells Teriyaki & Pineapple Meatballs from Costco.

They have the perfect flavorful combination of sweet, salty and savory ingredients.

But I wanted to create an easy homemade version that would work both for a quick 30-minute meal or that you could make in the slow cooker

Also, to make a healthier version, I wanted these meatballs to be naturally sweetened.

So you’ll see they’re made using no refined sugar and have a gluten-free, soy free and paleo friendly ingredient list.

I love the convenience of a good make-ahead meatball recipe, and this one’s bound to become a new family favorite!

top down view of meatballs with rice and green onions on a blue background

process & tips

The short ingredient list keeps this recipe super simple & straightforward. 

All you have to do is make your meat mixture, roll your meatballs, add them to the pot and let the slow cooker do the work for you!

Here’s my top tips for delicious, homemade chicken meatballs:

First, try not to over-mix the meat mixture or you’ll end up with tough meatballs (and no one wants that).

Second, they don’t need to be perfectly the same but rolling your meatballs into roughly the same size does help them cook more evenly.

Lastly, keep in mind that chicken can be sticky and will not roll the way ground beef does. 

Use a 2-inch cookie scoop if the mixture is too sticky to roll with your hands.

ingredients for pineapple teriyaki meatballs in a clear glass mixing bowl

what to serve with pineapple teriyaki meatballs

You can serve them as a snackable appetizer on gameday, or as a main dish for your next get-together.

If serving as a main dish, serve over rice or cauliflower rice for an easy, healthy, flavor-packed meal that will be a hit with your whole family.

You could even serve them with some simple stir-fried vegetables on the side (such as bell peppers, broccoli, and carrots).

They would also be delicious served in lettuce wraps!

You could top them with toppings like shredded carrots, sesame seeds and thinly sliced purple cabbage.

top down view of chicken meatballs in a black slow cooker pot with white background

ingredients & modifications

Coconut aminos: I often use soy-free coconut aminos in place of traditional soy sauce. Gluten-free tamari can also be used in place of coconut aminos. 

Kosher salt: look for kosher salt with the regular iodized salt at the grocery store. It has a subtler flavor. Use less iodized salt if that’s what you have on hand.

Almond flour: These meatballs are naturally paleo, whole30 and low carb if made with almond flour. For a nut-free option, you can use oat flour in place of almond flour.

Ground chicken: I used dark meat ground chicken, you can use an even leaner ground chicken if you like but it will be drier, less tender and less flavorful. Ground turkey or ground pork also works great in this recipe.

Arrowroot powder: I often use arrowroot powder as a paleo-friendly thickener for sauces and gravy. You can also use cornstarch in its place.

Honey: Honey adds the signature sweetness we’ve come to know and love in a good teriyaki sauce. It also helps to naturally thicken the sauce. I wouldn’t use maple syrup since it carries a strong maple flavor, but you could also use coconut nectar place of honey.

Green onion: I like the flavor of green onion with these ingredients. You could substitute grated onion in its place.

Crushed Pineapple: Together with the green onion, the crushed pineapple is the secret keeping these meatballs moist & juicy. It also adds some natural sweetness. Look for it in the canned goods aisle at your store.

how to store or freeze leftover chicken teriyaki meatballs

Since this recipe can easily be made ahead, it’s perfect for meal prep on busy weeks (or anytime you need to feed a crowd quickly & easily).

These pineapple teriyaki meatballs will keep well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days, in a sealed container.

This recipe also freezes well, store in a sealed freezer friendly container or zip-top bag for up to 2-3 months.

I’m often asked if you can make my slow cooker recipes using frozen meat, for food safety reasons it’s best to thaw your frozen meat fully before adding to your crockpot.

close up of pineapple teriyaki meatballs in a bowl with white rice and green onions on top

more paleo & gluten-free meatball recipes

Buffalo Turkey Meatballs

Easy Crockpot Turkey Meatballs

5-Ingredient Free Meatballs (egg-free, dairy-free, gluten-free)

5-Ingredient Potsticker Turkey Meatballs

Crockpot Mini Turkey Meatball Vegetable Soup

Crock Pot Italian Wedding Soup

this recipe is…

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I hope you’ll make this healthy Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs recipe soon.

If you do, be sure to share it on Instagram and tag me at @realfoodwholelife so I can see!

white bowl with chicken meatballs served over white rice on a blue background
5 from 1 vote

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

Yield 25 meatballs
Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 5 hrs
Total Time 5 hrs 10 mins

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs are a quick 30 minute or easy make-ahead crockpot dinner with ground chicken, crushed pineapple, and a homemade naturally sweetened teriyaki sauce. Includes simple swaps to easily make this recipe nut-free!

Ingredients

Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

  • 2 tablespoon almond flour (or gluten-free oat flour)
  • 2 tablespoon coconut aminos (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple drained, reserve the juice for the sauce
  • 2 tablespoon finely minced green onion white part only (reserve green part for serving)
  • 2 garlic cloves minced or finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 lb ground 93% lean ground dark meat chicken

Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce

  • 1/2 cup coconut aminos (or gluten-free tamari)
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1 garlic clove minced or finely grated
  • 1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger
  • 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder (or cornstarch)
  • 1 tablespoon water

Optional serving suggestions

  • sliced green onion, cooked white or brown rice, cauliflower rice, sriracha 

Instructions

Slow Cooker Instructions

  • To make the meatballs, mix together the almond flour, coconut aminos, crushed pineapple, green onion, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl until well combined. Add the meat, stirring until all the ingredients are well incorporated, clean hands work best, being careful not to overmix.
  • Roll the mixture into 2-inch balls, or use a 2-inch cookie scoop. Keep in mind that chicken can be sticky and will not roll the way ground beef does. Use a cookie scoop if the mixture is too sticky. Set aside.
  • Make the Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce by mixing together the coconut aminos, pineapple juice, ⅓ cup water, honey, garlic, and ginger until well incorporated.
  • Place the meatballs on the bottom of a 6-quart slow cooker. Pour over ¼ cup sauce.
  • Cover and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-5 hours.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, finish the Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce by heating the remaining coconut amino and pineapple mixture in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot powder and 1 tablespoon water. Add to the sauce and simmer on low for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
  • When the meatballs are done, uncover and remove to a serving platter, discarding the cooking liquid. Toss the meatballs with the thickened sauce and serve.

Baking Instructions

  • Heat the oven to 500F.
  • To make the meatballs, mix together the almond flour, coconut aminos, crushed pineapple, green onion, garlic, and ginger in a large bowl until well combined. Add the meat, stirring until all the ingredients are well incorporated, clean hands work best, being careful not to overmix.
  • Roll the mixture into 2-inch balls, or use a 2-inch cookie scoop. Keep in mind that chicken can be sticky and will not roll the way ground beef does. Use a cookie scoop if the mixture is too sticky.
  • Place the meatballs on a greased, rimmed baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes until browned and cooked through, being careful not to overbake or the meatballs will be dry.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, make the Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce by mixing together the coconut aminos, ⅓ cup water, pineapple juice, honey, garlic, and ginger in a medium saucepan. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. In a small bowl, stir together the arrowroot powder and water. Add to the sauce and simmer for 5 minutes or until the sauce thickens to the desired consistency.
  • When the meatballs are done, toss with the thickened sauce and serve.

Notes

This recipe is inspired by Aidells Teriyaki & Pineapple Meatballs recipe.
Nutrition information is calculated using almond flour, coconut aminos, arrowroot powder, ground dark meat chicken, and is for 1 meatball and sauce.
Can also be made with ground turkey or ground pork.
Gluten-free tamari can be used in place of coconut aminos.
For a nut-free version, use oat flour in place of almond flour.
For more ingredients & substitutions, see blog post above.

Nutrition

Calories: 50kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 16mg | Sodium: 147mg | Potassium: 106mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 6IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 4mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition disclaimer
did you make this recipe?Mention @realfoodwholelife or tag #realfoodwholelife!

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