If you need an easy recipe for game day, or just like to try new recipes for dinner, these Teriyaki Meatballs are for you! Full of flavor and ready in an hour, they can’t be beat.
These meatballs are a great twist on classic cocktail meatballs and elevated beyond just throwing frozen meatballs into a slow cooker with BBQ sauce. They are freezer friendly and also can be simmered in a slow cooker for parties and events.
The homemade teriyaki sauce offers a sweet umami flavor, but creates a velvety coating you’ll want on everything. While most folks might think these are perfect as an appetizer (and they are!) we made them into a meal by serving it over white rice or fried rice.
Teriyaki Meatball Ingredients
The meatball ingredients are really so simple, you might have all the ingredients on hand! If not, they are easily found at your local store.
- Ground beef – Although for some recipes I like to use lean ground beef, for these homemade meatballs, I like to use an 80/20 split. It makes them more tender.
- Egg – Any time a recipe calls for an egg, just assume it is referring to a large egg. You want this one to be lightly beaten.
- Bread crumbs – We used regular, unseasoned bread crumbs, but panko can also be swapped in. I prefer to not use homestyle or Italian style because the seasoning blend added doesn’t lend well to the other flavors of the teriyaki sauce.
- Garlic – I always prefer to use fresh garlic. The pre-minced jarred version doesn’t pack as much flavor as fresh garlic does.
- White onion – If you have picky eaters, you can leave this out. But the onion adds both moisture and flavor to these tender meatballs.
- Kosher salt – Different salts measure differently, so keep that in mind when choosing the salt you use. I prefer kosher.
- Teriyaki sauce – You can always buy a bottle of store-bought teriyaki sauce at the grocery store, but I like making my own teriyaki sauce. The sauce ingredients include: mirin, soy sauce, rice vinegar, sesame oil, brown sugar, garlic cloves and fresh ginger.
- Garnish – You can enjoy these juicy meatballs as is, or you can top them with garnishes. I like to use sesame seeds or sliced scallions (also known as green onions.)
How to Make Teriyaki Meatballs Recipe
These meatballs really could not be simpler. So easy that they’re perfect for a party or a weeknight dinner.
- Prepare oven and baking dish. Preheat oven and coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- Make meat mixture. In a medium mixing bowl, break ground beef into small pieces. Toss with beaten egg, plain bread crumbs, minced garlic and onion and Kosher salt.
- Roll into balls. Roll into 1 ¾ inch balls, placing into prepared baking pan. You should have about 20 meatballs.
- Bake. Bake on prepared baking sheet. Remove.
- Make teriyaki sauce. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine light brown sugar, ketchup, white vinegar, soy sauce, ground ginger and water, whisking until smooth. Bring to a low simmer.
- Make cornstarch slurry. Whisk together cornstarch and remaining water until smooth. Whisk into sauce and continue to simmer until sauce thickens, becomes a deep brown and is glossy. Simmer on low to reduce slightly.
- Add meatballs. Drain and discard from any excess fats and liquids in the pan.
- Simmer. Simmer on low heat with meatballs for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
I like these meatballs just the way they are, but feel free to make them your own. Here are a few suggestions:
- Meat mixture – If you don’t want to make ground beef meatballs, you can use ground turkey for teriyaki turkey meatballs, or ground chicken for chicken meatballs instead.
- Flavor – If you’d like to add a little sweetness to these easy teriyaki meatballs, try adding a splash of pineapple juice to the mixture.
- Serving – Instead of enjoying these delicious teriyaki meatballs as a dinner over a bed of rice, these also make a great appetizer. Keep them warm in a crock pot and serve with toothpicks at a party.
Storage and Freezing
Storage: Leftover teriyaki meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three to five days.
Freezing: Place meatballs in a freezer bag or airtight container in the freezer in a single layer. They will stay good for up to four months.
More Meatball Recipes
- Sesame seeds
- Sliced scallions
- Preheat the oven to 350°F and coat a 9×13 baking dish with cooking spray.
- In a medium mixing bowl, break the ground beef into small pieces. Toss with the beaten egg, plain bread crumbs, minced garlic and onion and Kosher salt.
- Roll the ground beef mixture into 1 ¾ inch balls, placing into prepared baking pan. You should have about 20 meatballs.
- Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes. Remove.
- In a medium saucepan over medium heat, combine the light brown sugar, ketchup, white vinegar, soy sauce, ground ginger and 1 1/4 cup water, whisking until smooth. Bring to a low simmer.
- Meanwhile, whisk together the cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup water until smooth. Whisk into the sauce and continue to simmer until sauce thickens, becomes a deep brown and is glossy. Simmer on low for 3-4 minutes to reduce slightly.
- Add the meatballs, draining and discarding from any excess fats and liquids in the pan.
- Simmer on low heat with meatballs for 25 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes.
- Garnish with the sesame seeds and scallions.
- If you've tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was in the comments or star ratings.