Last updated on January 6th, 2020 at 11:58 am
These pineapple ginger meatballs are tender and juicy and super easy to throw together for a party. The sweet and sticky pineapple glaze will keep you licking your fingers long after they are gone!
On the subject of Asian Pineapple Ginger Meatballs, also sometimes called Hawaiian meatballs, have you ever noticed how fast they go when anyone puts them out as part of a “Pu Pu” platter? Those meatballs go faster than the egg rolls or the chicken wings even.
The sweet sour and spicy sauce sets them apart. Pineapple ginger meatballs twinkle and gleam with that fruity and fragrant glaze. The steam rising out of the bowl carries the floral citrusy notes of pineapple. The fresh ginger teases with a touch of heat.
They are so tasty and comforting; you feel like you are getting a massage just eating them. If there is food involved, that is my kind of massage!
In case you haven’t noticed, I am a fan of meatballs. They make great tapas. Easy to make and you can go so many directions with them. Almost enough to boggle the mind.
Of course, you don’t have to lose your meatball sized marbles thinking about it. Because I have meatball recipes to help you keep it together.
Just take me to the Pineapple Ginger Meatballs Already!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious easy Hawaiian Meatballs recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
Making Pineapple Ginger Meatballs
While I suggest making the pineapple ginger meatballs with ground beef, you really can use any ground meat. Chicken and turkey work well, though I prefer turkey since it has more flavor. Also, lamb works really well too, but some people think lamb is too gamey. Go with your favorite!
In truth, you could coat an old baseball with this glaze and it would still be tasty.
For the meatballs, go with a traditionally seasoned meatball, as not to interfere with the flavors of the glaze. If you prefer to make yours from scratch I have a great frozen meatball recipe that will get you on your way.
Give the meatballs some light seasoning of salt and pepper too and roll them up into golf ball sized portions. That size can sit on a toothpick without breaking it.
Make sure to brown and thoroughly cook the meatballs before you add them to the pineapple ginger glaze.
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How to make a Pineapple Ginger Glaze
These meatballs are sweet but you want them to be more like meat candy than candied meat. Meaning, if they are too sweet, then there’s no point serving them as tapas. You might as well put them out as dessert.
The glaze has only a few simple ingredients:
- pineapple juice
- soy sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- brown sugar
- fresh ginger
To make the pineapple ginger meatball glaze, start with cornstarch.
Why use Cornstarch instead of Flour to make the Glaze Sauce?
Cornstarch is pure starch and flour still has proteins and fiber in it. That is the reason flour works for bread but you can’t make bread out of just cornstarch. Also, cornstarch works way better at absorbing water, which is why it causes the sauce to thicken.
If you used flour instead, you could still achieve a thick sauce, but you have to use so much flour that it will taste like you are eating paper mâchè.
Also, using cornstarch creates the sort of glossy appearance that makes the meatballs look much more appetizing. And who doesn’t want a tasty AND gorgeous meatball?
Adding your wet ingredients to your dry ones works best to keep the lumps from forming so I combine the brown sugar and the cornstarch together.
Then I add the vinegar, soy sauce, fresh ground ginger, and pineapple juice. I rarely find powdered ginger that has the same heat and fragrance as fresh ginger. In any event, you definitely want enough heat and flavor from the ginger to balance the sweetness of the pineapple.
Take your cornstarch and juice “slurry” and make sure it is stirred completely. Nothing worse than lumps of cornstarch in your glaze. People look at it and think some sort of mold has developed.
Pour the pineapple ginger glaze over the frozen meatballs, stir to coat them evenly, and cover. Cook on low for 2 hours. This will give you a slightly thickened sweet and sour glaze that sticks to your meatballs like a grass skirt to sweaty legs!
Other great Pineapple Ginger Recipes to try!
- Pineapple Ginger Prosecco Punch
- Hawaiian Chicken Kabobs
- Aloha Bacon Wrapped Sausage Bites
- Sweet and Tour Chicken Take Out
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Pineapple Ginger Meatballs Recipe
- 26 ounces frozen meatballs
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
Pineapple Ginger Sauce
- 2/3 cup rice wine vinegar
- 3 tablespoons soy sauce
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 1 cup pineapple juice
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger
- Place the meatballs in your crock pot or slow cooker
- Prepare the pineapple ginger sauce
- Combine all the ingredients in a bowl and stir to combine
- Pour the sauce over the meatballs
- Stir to coat the meatballs
- Cook on low for 2 hours or on high for 1 hour
- When ready to serve, sprinkle with sesame seeds and sliced green onions
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 15 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 214Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 4gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 507mgCarbohydrates: 20gFiber: 1gSugar: 15gProtein: 8g
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