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Teriyaki Meatballs

These tender teriyaki meatballs are made of beef and pork. We bake and then simmer the meatballs in homemade teriyaki sauce. Simple and onolicious.

Teriyaki meatballs over rice, ready to eat!
Teriyaki meatballs over rice, ready to eat!

Teriyaki Meatballs

Ready for some really tasty meatballs? ^_^

Teriyaki meatballs are our go-to meatballs in Hawaii. They’re simultaneously sweet and savory (thanks to the teriyaki sauce glaze), and also super tender because we use a mixture of ground pork and beef.

The meatballs are formed into balls (feel free to make any size you prefer), then baked in the oven, and then simmered in homemade teriyaki sauce. Serve it over rice. Rice??? Yes!

On the mainland, people always think of meatballs in a sandwich, or meatballs with pasta. Meatball sub! Spaghetti and meatballs! But in Hawaii, meatballs go with rice.

Cook rice, spoon it into a bowl and top with meatballs. I like to sprinkle green onion and toasted sesame seeds on top. Eat with chopsticks, of course.

Mixing together the meatball ingredients
Mixing together the meatball ingredients

Are These Hawaiian Meatballs?

In Hawaii, we always just call these teriyaki meatballs…but I’ve heard visitors and tourists refer to teriyaki meatballs by a few other names:

  • Hawaiian Meatballs
  • Luau Meatballs

“Hawaiian Meatballs” is incorrect because this isn’t a Hawaiian dish. (There is no such thing as Hawaiian Meatballs..it doesn’t exist.) Teriyaki meatballs is a dish that is from Hawaii. But it’s not Hawaiian food. Hawaiian is culture and ethnicity, it not a place. So a more correct name would be “Hawaii-Style Meatballs.”

“Luau Meatballs” came about because people were served teriyaki meatballs at luaus, and they were forever remembered as luau meatballs…

Locals will only ever call this teriyaki meatballs ^_^

Ginger, garlic, and green onions
Ginger, garlic, and green onions

Teriyaki Meatball Method

There are two parts to this recipe: the meatball and the teriyaki sauce.

First, gather together all the meatball ingredients:

  • Ground pork
  • Ground beef
  • Egg
  • Panko – can use breadcrumbs, but panko is more common in Hawaii
  • Green onions, chopped
  • Garlic cloves, minced
  • Ginger, minced
  • Sesame oil
  • Salt – can replace salt with an equal amount of soy sauce if preferred
  • White pepper (optional) – or use black pepper instead

Get a mixing bowl, and combine all the above ingredients. Mix well (but gently), and then form a dozen meatballs. Bake them meatballs for 20 minutes at 400F.

You can bake the meatballs in a baking sheet, but I prefer baking it directly in a saucepan (make sure your pan can go in the oven before doing this).

Once the meatballs are done baking, place the saucepan on the stove. Turn the heat to medium-low and then pour the homemade teriyaki sauce (more on that in the section below) all over the meatballs. Let the sauce bubble and then simmer.

The sauce will gradually get thicker and start to nicely glaze the meatballs. Carefully stir and move the meatballs around as needed. This part takes about 5 minutes total. Some people like the sauce really thick, and other people like it thinner (to spoon over rice). Both ways work, there is no right or wrong.

And then you are done cooking. Hope you remembered to make rice ^_^

Simmering the meatballs in homemade teriyaki sauce
Simmering the meatballs in homemade teriyaki sauce

Teriyaki Sauce

This recipe calls for teriyaki sauce. You have two options:

Homemade Teriyaki Sauce
We use homemade teriyaki sauce because it’s easy to make and we make it in bulk (there is always some ready for use in the fridge). Hawaii’s teriyaki sauce is different from Japanese teriyaki sauce – the Hawaii version is simpler. Here’s the our go-to teriyaki sauce recipe.

Store-Bought Teriyaki Sauce
These are two popular Hawaiian Teriyaki Sauce options, both can be purchased online (but seriously, making your own teriyaki sauce is very easy…please give that a try if you can):

Teriyaki meatballs over rice, ready to eat!
Teriyaki meatballs over rice, ready to eat!

Common Questions

What to serve with teriyaki meatballs?

Rice! We eat everything with rice in Hawaii. Teriyaki meatballs over rice is amazing…especially when some of the sweet and savory teriyaki sauce soaks into your bowl of rice. Grab a pair of chopsticks and dig in.

How to reheat teriyaki meatballs?

You may reheat in the microwave or steamer.

How long will these meatballs keep?

They’ll keep for 3-4 days in the fridge. They also freeze very well. Good idea to double the recipe and freeze so that you have lunch/dinner on hand whenever you need.

Can I use other types of meat?

Yes! I prefer the half pork, half beef combination. But feel free to use any type of ground meat you prefer. All pork, all beef, and even all turkey. (I keep meaning to make teriyaki meatballs with venison because we get amazing local venison in Hawaii!)

Changing the meat will change the texture, but most of the flavor comes from the teriyaki sauce, so you’ll still keep that classic teriyaki taste.

Teriyaki Meatballs Recipe

See below and enjoy ^_^

Teriyaki meatballs over rice, ready to eat!

Teriyaki Meatballs

Yield: 1 dozen meatballs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

These teriyaki meatballs are super tender and savory. Made of beef and pork, we bake and then simmer the meatballs in homemade teriyaki sauce. Simple and delicious, perfect served with rice!

Ingredients

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400F
  2. Mix together the: ground pork, ground beef, egg, panko, green onions, garlic, ginger, sesame oil, salt and white pepper.
  3. Form into a dozen meatballs. Bake at 400F for 20 minutes.
  4. Place the meatballs in a saucepan. Pour the teriyaki sauce over the meatballs and cook on medium-low heat until the sauce glazes the meatballs.
  5. Eat with rice (can top with green onions and sesame seeds, if you'd like), and enjoy ^_^

Notes

This recipe makes one dozen medium size meatballs, but you can make also form jumbo or mini meatballs (minis make cute appetizers for parties).

Refer to this post for more info on Hawaii-Style Teriyaki Sauce.

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