These Hawaiian meatballs are tender and juicy and super easy to throw together for a party. The sweet & sticky pineapple ginger glaze will keep you licking your fingers long after they are gone!
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On the subject of Asian Pineapple Ginger Meatballs, also called Hawaiian meatballs or Waikiki Meatballs, have you ever noticed how fast they go when anyone puts them out as part of a “Pu Pu” platter? They go faster than the egg rolls or the chicken wings even.
The sweet sour and spicy sauce sets them apart. They twinkle and gleam with that fruity and fragrant pineapple ginger glaze.
The steam rising out of the bowl carries the floral citrusy notes of the 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.
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What kind of meatballs do I use?
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 one, as not to interfere with the flavors of the glaze. If you prefer to make yours from scratch I have a great homemade 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.
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.
Hawaiian Meatball Glaze Ingredients
- pineapple juice
- soy sauce
- rice wine vinegar
- brown sugar
- fresh ginger
Why use cornstarch instead of flour to make the sauce?
Cornstarch is pure starch and flour still has proteins and fiber in it. Also, cornstarch works way better at absorbing water, which is why it causes the sauce to thicken.
Also, using cornstarch creates the sort of glossy appearance that makes the them look much more appetizing.
And who doesn’t want a tasty AND gorgeous meatball?
How to make Hawaiian Meatballs
First: To make the pineapple ginger glaze, start with cornstarch. 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.
Second: 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.
Third: Pour the pineapple ginger glaze over the frozen meat balls, 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!
Enjoy!! If you want to serve these as a meal, serve them over some rice with a little of the pineapple ginger juice, sliced green onions, and toasted sesame seeds.
For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
The only limit is your imagination when it comes to cocktail meatballs. Want more recipes? Check out this list!
To see the rest of the list of 40+ Best Meatball Appetizers check out this post.
Looking to make these a full meal? Check out What to Serve with Meatballs for delicious side dish ideas.
If you love this recipe as much as I do, please write a five-star review in the comment section below (or on Pinterest with the “tried it” button – you can now add pictures into reviews, too!), and be sure to help me share on facebook!
More Easy Party Foods
- Chicken Bacon Ranch Sliders
- Chinese Char Siew Style Meatballs
- Hawaiian Pizza Sliders
- Hawaiian Popcorn Snack Mix
- 26 ounces frozen meatballs
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds for garnish
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions for garnish
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
*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!
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
This nutrition information was generated via a third party, Nutritionix, and can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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