Teriyaki Meatballs come together in minutes using a few pantry staples and make the ultimate appetizer. Hearty meatballs covered in a sweet, tangy, and sticky glaze will have everyone coming back for more!
Meatballs are easy and make and among some of my favorite appetizers. Not only are they great for a crowd, the are stress-free and use ingredients you probably have tucked away in your pantry.
I love just tossing them in the crock pot and smelling the frozen meatballs cooking in the sweet and tangy sauce for a few hours. Perfect as a party appetizer or for feeding a crowd on game day!
What is Teriyaki?
Teriyaki is term to describe a Japanese cooking technique that involves marinating and then cooking the meat by grilling or broiling.
Teri means luster, which refers to the shiny sweet and tangy sauce and Yaki means grill or broil. Can’t you just smell it already? No wonder my mouth waters at just the mention of it
Here in America we have come to know it as any meat or vegetable cooked in the sweet and salty sauce. That’s where the flavor is.
Teriyaki sauce is made with a sweet component and a tangy component. The sweet comes from sugar and the tangy comes from Mirin (Japanese cooking Wine). We have adapted these flavors with brown sugar and pineapple juice.
Toss in garlic, ginger, and finish it with soy and you have a delicious homemade teriyaki sauce!
Why you need to make Teriyaki Meatballs
- Easy to prep
- Uses pantry staples
- Make Ahead Friendly
- Can be an appetizer or full meal!
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Meatballs – Use precooked meatballs for this recipe. If you are making your meatballs from scratch, be sure they are cooked before proceeding with this recipe. Feel free to use beef, chicken, turkey, or meat substitutes. Just don’t use seasoned or flavored meatballs.
Pineapple Juice – Feel free to use fresh or canned.
Broth – I like beef broth with this recipe as it takes the spices really well. Feel free to use chicken or vegetable if that is all you have on hand.
Brown Sugar – You can substitute dark brown sugar if you prefer. I have not tested this recipe with white granulated sugar.
Cornstarch – This thickens the teriyaki sauce. Don’t leave this out or the sauce will be very thin.
Spices – I use a combination of garlic powder, onion powder, and ground ginger.
Garnishes – Sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds are the perfect garnishes for this meatball recipe!
How to make Teriyaki Meatballs in the Crockpot
First: Coat slow cooker bowl with cooking spray or use a crock pot liner. Add the meatballs.
Second: In a separate large bowl, combine the ingredients for the sauce. Pour over the meatballs and toss to coat.
Third: Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or on high for 1-2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165F and the sauce is thickened.
Fourth: Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions. Keep on warm until ready to serve. Enjoy!
For the full recipe and detailed instructions, please refer to the recipe card at the bottom of the post.
Are Teriyaki Meatballs Gluten Free?
Depending on the type of meatballs you use and the ingredients in the sauce. Most frozen store bought meatballs have “filler” in them that can contain gluten.
Also, soy sauce is not gluten free. Check the labels of all ingredients to be sure.
Can I make them in advance?
You sure can! Make the recipe as written, chill, and refrigerate. To reheat, place in the crockpot on low or heat in a sauce pan on the stove top until warmed through.
You can also mix up the teriyaki sauce and store it in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Just pour over the meatballs when ready.
Leftover: Any leftover meatballs can be stored in an air tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Be sure to cool them before placing in the refrigerator.
Freezer: Cook as written and cool completely. Place in a freezer safe container and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw overnight and reheat.
Reheat: Place back in a slow cooker and heat on low for 1-2 hours or until heated through. You can also place in a sauce pan on the stove top and cook on low until warmed completely.
How to Serve Them
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Meatballs are great on their own as an appetizer. They look great sprinkled with toasted sesame seeds and are easy to eat with a tiny fork or toothpick.
If you prefer to serve them as a meal, they are great in a sub or lettuce wrap, over rice, in a stir fry, or served over noodles.
Tapas Tips & Tricks
- I prefer to cook my crockpot meatballs on low but if you cook them on high, just stir them more frequently as the sugar in the sauce can scorch. Cooking times may vary.
- Serve with some steamed broccoli for a full meal or Asian style tapas!
- Use ground beef, ground chicken, ground turkey, or plant based meatballs.
- Tweak the sauce in this teriyaki meatball recipe by making it sweeter, tangier, or more heat!
The only limit is your imagination when it comes to cocktail meatballs. Want more recipes? Check out this list!
- Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- BBQ Steakhouse
- Hawaiian Meatballs
- Honey Mustard Meatballs
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!
Crockpot Teriyaki Meatballs are easy to throw together and make the ultimate game day appetizer or switch up your usual dinner menu on a busy weeknight.
- 1 (32ounce) bag frozen cooked meatballs
- ½ cup pineapple juice
- ½ cup beef broth
- ½ cup brown sugar
- ⅓ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon sesame seeds
- 3 sliced green onions (for garnish)
- cooking spray
- Spray the bottom of a crockpot bowl with cooking spray and add the meatballs.
- In a medium sized bowl, mix together the remaining ingredients until well combined.
- Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs and stir to coat the meatballs.
- Cover and cook on low 4-5 hours or on high for 1-2 hours stirring occasionally. Check that meatballs come to an internal temperature of 165F and the sauce has thickened.
- Garnish with sesame seeds and sliced green onions if desired.
- Serve as an appetizer or over rice or noodles as a meal.
*If you love this recipe as much as I do, please leave me a comment and rate it 5 stars. Thank you!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 6 Serving Size: 5 ounces
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 145Total Fat: 5gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 12mgSodium: 977mgCarbohydrates: 22gFiber: 1gSugar: 18gProtein: 5g
This nutrition information was generated via a third party. I can not be held liable for any discrepancies in the information provided.
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