These juicy and tender teriyaki pineapple chicken meatballs are smothered in a subtly sweet and tangy homemade teriyaki sauce made with pineapple juice and coconut aminos. They’re a cinch to make, gluten-free, dairy-free, and perfect for a weeknight main dish or a party appetizer!

A side view of a plate of teriyaki pineapple chicken meatballs with cubed pineapple.

If you like Aidells Teriyaki and Pineapple Chicken meatballs or Amylu Teriyaki Pineapple Chicken meatballs, you’ll LOVE my copycat version! My version is insanely simple to make in the oven or air fryer, Whole30-compatible, and popping with flavor!

A pair of chopsticks is grabbing a teriyaki pineapple meatball from a bowl with cubed pineapple.

Better yet, there are no eggs, brown sugar, soy sauce/tamari, or panko breadcrumbs in this pineapple teriyaki meatballs recipe. Your entire gluten-hating family will love them!

Tips for the best teriyaki pineapple meatballs

  • Don’t use super lean ground chicken! If you use ground chicken breast or 99% lean ground chicken, your meatballs will end up powdery and dry. In other words, they won’t taste as good. (Yeah, you can make turkey meatballs using ground turkey, but make sure it’s not super lean.)
  • Don’t use fresh ginger or fresh pineapple! I know everyone thinks fresh is best—but not in this situation. Fresh ginger and pineapple both contain enzymes which break down protein and make your meatballs mushy. Use ground ginger (or cooked minced ginger) and canned crushed pineapple and your balls will be fab!
  • Don’t over-mix the meatball mixture! Overworking the meat will lead to tough meatballs!
  • Use the teriyaki sauce on all the things! You’ll end up with ¾ cup of the sauce, more than enough for 3 batches of meatballs or to spoon on other dishes.

Ingredients

The raw ingredients to make teriyaki pineapple meatballs, a paleo and Whole30 chicken meatball recipe.

Meatballs

  • Ground chicken or turkey
  • Drained crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice: Remember to save the juice for the sauce!
  • Green onions
  • Avocado oil
  • Coconut aminos
  • Umami Stir Fry Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt: My Umami Stir Fry Powder adds a boost of flavor to these meatballs, but you can totally use kosher salt if you don’t have any.
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground ginger
  • Freshly cracked black pepper

Teriyaki sauce

  • Coconut aminos
  • Pineapple juice
  • Garlic powder
  • Ground ginger
  • Fish sauce
  • Arrowroot powder
  • Toasted sesame oil

Optional garnishes

  • Pineapple chunks in 100 % pineapple juice
  • Toasted sesame seeds
  • Green onions

How to make teriyaki pineapple meatballs

Make the meatballs

Heat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle.

In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, crushed pineapple, green onions, avocado oil, coconut aminos, Umami Stir Fry Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, and pepper.

A sequence of nine photos that shows someone adding the raw ingredients for teriyaki pineapple meatballs into a large glass mixing bowl.

Mix the meatball mixture well, but don’t overwork the meat.

Mixing paleo teriyaki pineapple chicken meatball ingredients with clean hands.

Recipe tip

If you’re unsure about the amount of seasoning, use a bit of the meat mixture to form a tiny quarter-sized patty and pan-fry it (or microwave it for 30 seconds). Taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed before forming the meatballs.

Use a 1½-tablespoon disher to scoop out the meatballs. Then, pour a little oil into your palms, and with your hands, shape the mixture into 18 individual 1-inch diameter balls.

Four sequential shots that show someone forming 1-inch wide teriyaki pineapple meatballs.

Arrange the meatballs on a greased rimmed baking sheet.

A closeup of raw teriyaki pineapple meatballs on a blue rimmed baking sheet.

Pop the chicken meatballs in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating at the halfway point. The meatballs are done when the temperature inside measures 165°F or until cooked through.

Cooked teriyaki pineapple meatballs right out of the oven.

Psst! You can also air fry these balls at 400°F for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Make the teriyaki sauce

While the meatballs cook, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together coconut aminos, pineapple juice, garlic powder, ground ginger, and fish sauce and cook over medium heat.

Four sequential photos that show someone adding the ingredients to make a paleo and Whole30 teriyaki sauce into a blue saucepan.

Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes.

Stirring paleo and Whole30 teriyaki sauce in a small saucepan with a yellow silicone spatula.

In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with 2 teaspoons of water to make a slurry. Whisk the arrowroot powder slurry into the simmering sauce and cook until slightly thickened and the sauce coats the back of your spoon. Then, stir in the toasted sesame oil.

Four sequential shots that show someone making an arrowroot slurry to thicken a paleo teriyaki sauce.

Serve the meatballs

Toss the meatballs with about ¼ cup of the sauce.

Drizzling paleo teriyaki sauce on a bowl of teriyaki pineapple chicken meatballs.

If desired, add some pineapple chunks and sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced green onion. Dig in!

An overhead shot of a white plate filled with teriyaki pineapple meatballs and cubed pineapple, topped with toasted sesame seeds and sliced green onions.

Frequently asked questions

What are some ways to serve these chicken meatballs?

You can serve these teriyaki pineapple chicken meatballs as an appetizer or on top of cauliflower rice or salad greens as a complete meal.

Can you air fry chicken meatballs?

Yes! In batches, you can air fry the chicken meatballs in a single layer at 400°F for about 12 to 15 minutes. The meatballs will brown a lot nicer in the air fryer than in the oven!

How do you save leftover teriyaki pineapple meatballs?

Leftover cooked meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months. They freeze and reheat really well, so make a double batch!


Looking for more recipe ideas? Head on over to my Recipe Index. You’ll also find exclusive recipes in my cookbooks, Nom Nom Paleo: Food for Humans (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2013), Ready or Not! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2017), and Nom Nom Paleo: Let’s Go! (Andrews McMeel Publishing 2022)


Teriyaki Pineapple Meatballs (Paleo, Whole30, Gluten Free)

4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time25 minutes
Total Time30 minutes
Servings 4 people
These juicy and tender teriyaki pineapple chicken meatballs are smothered in a subtly sweet and tangy homemade teriyaki sauce made with pineapple juice and coconut aminos. They’re a cinch to make, gluten-free, dairy-free, and perfect for a weeknight main dish or a party appetizer!

Ingredients  

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken thighs or ground dark meat turkey (not the super lean stuff)
  • ½ cup drained crushed pineapple in 100% pineapple juice reserve juice for the sauce
  • 2 tablespoons finely sliced green onions
  • 1 tablespoon avocado oil plus more for forming meatballs
  • 2 teaspoons coconut aminos
  • 1 teaspoon Umami Stir Fry Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon garlic powder
  • ¼ teaspoon ground ginger
  • teaspoon Freshly ground black pepper

Pineapple Teriyaki Sauce

Optional garnishes

  • 1 cup drained pineapple chunks in 100% pineapple juice
  • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
  • 1 green onion thinly sliced

Instructions 

Make the meatballs

  • Heat the oven to 400°F with the rack in the middle.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground chicken, crushed pineapple, green onions, avocado oil, coconut aminos, Umami Stir Fry Powder or Diamond Crystal kosher salt, garlic powder, ground ginger, and pepper.
  • Mix the meatball mixture well, but don’t overwork the meat.
  • If you’re unsure about the amount of seasoning, use a bit of the meat mixture to form a tiny quarter-sized patty and pan-fry it (or microwave it for 30 seconds). Taste it and adjust the seasoning as needed before forming the meatballs.
  • Use a 1½-tablespoon disher to scoop out the meatballs. Then, pour a little oil into your palms, and with your hands, shape the mixture into 18 individual 1-inch diameter balls. Arrange the meatballs on a greased rimmed baking sheet.
  • Pop the chicken meatballs in the oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the tray at the halfway point. The meatballs are done when the temperature inside measures 165°F or until cooked through.
    You can also air fry these meatballs in batches at 400°F for about 12 to 15 minutes.

Make the paleo and Whole30 teriyaki sauce

  • While the meatballs cook, make the sauce. In a small saucepan, whisk together coconut aminos, pineapple juice, garlic powder, ground ginger, and fish sauce and cook over medium heat. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for about 1 to 2 minutes.
  • In a small bowl, mix the arrowroot powder with 2 teaspoons of water to make a slurry. Whisk the arrowroot powder slurry into the simmering sauce and cook until slightly thickened and the sauce coats the back of your spoon. Then, stir in the toasted sesame oil.

Serve the meatballs

  • Toss the meatballs with about ¼ cup of the sauce. If desired, add some pineapple chunks and sprinkle on some toasted sesame seeds and/or sliced green onion.

Video

Notes

  • You’ll end up making up extra teriyaki sauce—enough for about 3 batches of meatballs—so save the leftovers in the fridge for up to 4 days!
  • Air Fryer instructions: Air fry at 400°F for 12 to 15 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Leftover meatballs can be kept in the fridge for up to 4 days or in the freezer for up to 3 months.

Nutrition

Calories: 238kcal | Carbohydrates: 10g | Protein: 20g | Fat: 13g | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

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About Michelle Tam

Hello! My name is Michelle Tam, and I love to eat. I think about food all the time. It borders on obsession. I’ve always loved the sights and smells of the kitchen. My mother was (and is) an excellent cook, and as a kid, I was her little shadow as she prepared supper each night. From her, I gained a deep, abiding love for magically transforming pantry items into mouth-watering family meals.

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8 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    For the best tasting and paleo approved. Your recipes are so good. Thank you. These recipe keep my husband and I eating good, healthy and delicious meals.

    1. Good catch! I fixed it in the instructions and in the post! Add the toasted sesame oil to the sauce after you have thickened it with the arrowroot powder slurry.