Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs made with lean ground chicken, quinoa, and a healthy homemade teriyaki sauce all in less than 30 minutes.
Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs are a healthy twist on your favorite teriyaki dishes made with a combination of lean ground chicken, cooked quinoa, green onions, garlic, and a simple homemade teriyaki sauce. If you love Asian dishes, you also have to try this Kung Pao Chicken and Mongolian Beef.
Last week I shared this homemade teriyaki sauce recipe and many of you reached out asking about the meatball dish in the background. Originally I didn't think to share it since it is just a basic chicken and quinoa meatball that I decided to smother in teriyaki sauce, but since you asked - here we go! And I am actually excited to share it because it's a really good meatball recipe and everything tastes good in teriyaki sauce.
Let's start with the meatballs. I use this meatball recipe all the time with my 18 month old since it's so much easier for her to eat quinoa mixed into a meatball than on its own. Usually, I throw in some shredded veggies too. It's a basic combination of ground chicken, turkey, or beef with cooked quinoa, an egg, green onions, garlic, and a touch of soy sauce.
Since I am always looking for quick meals for her, I usually make up a big batch and we will all have them for dinner. Then I will freeze the leftovers to pop out when I need something quick and easy. We eat these with all kinds of dishes from pasta to stir-fries to sandwiches. They are really versatile and you can always mix up the spice blend to make something that pairs perfectly with your meal.
So last week when I was staring at a vat of the homemade pineapple teriyaki sauce, I immediately thought of these meatballs. Plus I had just made a huge batch for the freezer, so I knew it meant minimal meal prep. Once the meatballs were cooked, I tossed them with the teriyaki sauce and we had it over brown rice with some steamed broccoli. So easy and so good. We were licking our plates to get the last of the sauce.
Can I make slow cooker chicken teriyaki meatballs?
This recipe can be made in the slow cooker but it won't save you very much time since you will still have to brown the meatballs and make the teriyaki sauce. To make this in the slow cooker, start by making the meatballs. Then you can quickly brown them in a pan with a little oil. This helps the meatballs to stay together in the crockpot.
Then make the teriyaki sauce on the stovetop according to the directions below. Then simply add the meatballs and sauce to the slow cooker and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
Sometimes I will do this when we are having a party so that the meatballs stay warm and are ready at the right time. They can be served right out of the slow cooker if you keep it on warm. Normally I will set up the chicken teriyaki meatballs with some brown rice or noodles, lettuce wraps, carrots, sliced jalapenos, cucumbers, and green onions for people to make their own lettuce wraps or bowls.
Tips and Recipe Ideas
- While I used ground chicken for the recipe, you can use ground turkey, beef, or pork and the meatballs will turn out delicious. Usually, I use whatever I have at home or whatever is on sale at the store.
- If you don't have time to cook the quinoa, check in the freezer section for precooked quinoa pouches. They only take about 3 minutes in the microwave. Just let it cool before adding it or don't cook it quite as long as the package suggests. It's precooked, you just need it to defrost.
- For a gluten-free version, make sure to choose a gluten-free soy sauce or use coconut aminos instead for the meatballs and the teriyaki sauce.
- These freeze great so consider making a double or triple batch. I find the best way to freeze them is to lay them flat on a baking sheet and let them freeze for 1-2 hours until there is no moisture. Then pop them into a zpiloc bag and you can grab as many as you need without having to worry about them sticking together.
Side Dish Ideas
There are so many options for side dishes for these meatballs. I like to reach for some brown rice, rice noodles, or cauliflower rice and then make an Asian inspired veggies. Some of our favorites are
- This Sesame Cauliflower that is roasted with sesame oil, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger until browned and caramelized.
- These Simple Asian Stir Fried Vegetables that are ready in 10 minutes and perfect for leftovers or meal prep.
- This 10 Minute Cabbage Stir Fry is a great lower carb side dish instead of using rice or noodles.
- It's also delicious with a big green salad or serve with lettuce wraps and your favorite toppings.
Looking for more healthy Asian recipes?
- Sheet Pan Asian Chicken Stir Fry
- Healthy Fried Rice
- Healthy Korean Ground Beef and Vegetables
- Egg Roll Bowl
- More healthy Asian recipes
Here are some of the tools and products I used to create this recipe:
- Since quinoa can be expensive in the grocery store, I usually buy it in bulk from Amazon or Costco. It's significantly cheaper than the grocery store and with a shelf life of 1-2 years, you don't have to worry about it going bad before you use it.
- Inevitably someone will ask what healthy teriyaki sauce options are out there if you don't want to make your own. Unfortunately it is difficult to find a sauce that qualifies as healthy, but look for something with reduced sodium that uses natural sugars and products. I have also heard good things about this low carb option, but I haven't tried it myself. It only has 10 calories per tablespoon and 1 gram net carbs.
Chicken Teriyaki Meatballs
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- 1 lb ground chicken (99% lean)
- 3/4 cup cooked quinoa
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 1 large egg
- 3 tbsp. reduced sodium soy sauce (for sauce)
- 1 tsp. black pepper
- 1/2 tsp. ginger
- 3 tbsp. pineapple juice (for sauce)
- 1.5 tbsp. water (for sauce)
- 1.5 tbsp honey (or brown sugar) (for sauce)
- 1 tbsp rice wine vinegar (for sauce)
- 1 tsp. cornstarch (for sauce)
Meanwhile, combine the remaining sauce ingredients in a small pan. Bring to a boil and stir well to make sure honey dissolves into the sauce. Turn heat down to medium and cook for about 5 minutes, stirring often, until the sauce is thick and coats a spoon nicely. Taste and season if needed. Make sure to watch the sauce since it can burn quickly.
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.
The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.
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