These Hawaiian Meatballs with chicken and sweet & spicy sauce are insanely flavourful and the perfect family friendly weeknight meal that only takes 30 minutes to prepare!
You know when you’ve got a hankering for take-out but you just don’t want to pay the cray Uber delivery fees? Yeah, welcome to my daily struggle.
So in order to satisfy my weekly craving for some tasty sweet & spicy food (while also saving big time on service fees), I make an effort to ensure that I have all of the ingredients I need to make the meals I crave – and do it really fast!
These skillet Hawaiian Meatballs were a huge hit in my family because they combine the sweetness of pineapple with the richness of coconut. I swear its like a flavour bomb went off in my mouth, and I certainly ain’t mad about it.
Why This Recipe Works
So beyond the fact that these Hawaiian meatballs are packed with delicious sweet & spicy flavour, they also make for a great weeknight meal because they are:
- High in protein
- Only take 30 minutes to prepare
- Require less than 15 ingredients
- Family friendly
- Uses up pantry staples
Chicken Meatballs – To make the Hawaiian meatballs, we use ground chicken, egg to bind, unsweetened shredded coconut, green onions, garlic, ginger, and tamari or soy sauce. You can absolutely substitute the chicken for ground beef, pork, or veggie meat.
Sweet & Spicy Sauce – To make the sauce we combine 5 simple ingredients including broth, tamari, sweet chili sauce, minced pineapple and cornstarch for thickening.
Garnish – I like to top these off with a bit of sesame seeds and green onion. But you can also garnish with a bit of cilantro or extra shredded coconut.
How to Make This Recipe
Step 1: To a bowl, mix together the chicken, egg, panko, coconut, green onions, garlic, ginger, salt, tamari and pepper. Form into 12 (about 3 tbsp) balls.
Step 2: Add one tablespoon of oil to a skillet over medium high heat and add the meatballs. Brown on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side
Step 3: Transfer meatballs to a prepared baking sheet.
Step 4: Add a teaspoon of oil to the pan and briefly heat bell pepper and snap peas for about 2-3 minutes.
Step 5: Add veggies to the baking sheet with the meatballs. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
Step 6: Meanwhile, make the sauce in a bowl by mixing together the broth, tamari, sweet chili sauce, pineapple and cornstarch. Set aside.
Step 7: Add in the garlic and ginger to a skillet and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add in the prepared sauce and cook on medium low until bubbling. Add the pineapple and cook for 1-2 minutes.
Step 8: Once meatballs are cooked through, carefully toss them and the vegetables in the sauce. Serve with rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
If you are in a rush, you can totally skip the first step and pop the meatballs into the oven right away. However, I prefer to brown them slightly so they get some nice colour and a bit more flavour.
Bell peppers and snap peas are our veggies of choice for these Hawaiian meatballs because they give off a lovely crunch, but this recipe is super versatile and you can definitely use whatever veggie you have on hand! This recipe would work well with broccoli, mushroom, and carrots.
I would also definitely recommend adding the meatballs at the end once the sauce has had a chance to bubble and thicken. This prevents the meatballs from getting soggy in the sauce.
You can serve these Hawaiian meatballs on rice or cauliflower rice with sesame seeds and green onions. You’re welcome lovers!
I have not tried but you could swap in a flax egg and vegan meat if you want to give that a go. If you do, please let us know what happens below in the comments!
Absolutely, you would just want to make sure to use gluten free panko and tamari and double check that your sweet chili sauce is free of any additives with gluten.
Great idea! I love cocktail meatballs, and these sweet and spicy Hawaiian meatballs would be a huge hit!
You know your toddler’s spice tolerance better than I do but I can say that my 2 year old loved the Hawaiian meatballs and the sauce.
More Recipes You Might Like
We are huge meatball lovers! Here are some of my favourite meatball recipes.
- CHEESY HIGH IRON MEATBALLS
- GLUTEN FREE HUMMUS MEATBALLS
- VEGETARIAN WHITE BEAN “MEAT BALLS”
- CRANBERRY TURKEY COCKTAIL MEATBALLS
Hawaiian Meatballs with Sweet & Spicy Sauce
- 1 tbsp + 1 tsp extra virgin olive oil divided
- 1 lb extra lean ground chicken
- 1 large egg beaten
- 3/4 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup unsweetened finely shredded coconut
- ½ cup green onions finely minced
- 2 cloves garlic finely minced
- 1 1/2 tsp ginger grated
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp reduced sodium tamari
- ½ tsp ground pepper
- 1 red bell pepper cut into chunks
- 1 ¼ cup snap peas
- 2 tsp green onions thinly sliced
- ¼ tsp sesame seeds
- Preheat oven to 400F and grease baking sheet with cooking spray.
- To a bowl, mix together the chicken, egg, panko, coconut, green onions, garlic, ginger, salt, tamari and pepper. Form into 12 (about 3 tbsp) balls.
- Add one tablespoon of oil to a skillet over medium high heat and add the meatballs. Brown on each side, about 1-2 minutes per side and transfer to baking sheet.
- Toss the bell pepper and snap peas with the remaining teaspoon of oil and add to the baking sheet. Bake for 7-10 minutes or until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 F.
- Meanwhile, make the sauce in a bowl by mixing together the broth, tamari, sweet chili sauce, pineapple and cornstarch. Set aside.
- Add another teaspoon of oil to the original pan and add in the garlic and ginger. Cook for 1-2 minutes, then add in the sauce. Cook on medium low until bubbling.
- Add the pineapple and cook for 1-2 minutes, then once the meatballs are cooked through, carefully toss them and the vegetables in the sauce.
- Serve with rice and top with green onions and sesame seeds.
Have you tried these Hawaiian meatballs with chicken? Let me know your thoughts down in the comments!
Abbey Sharp is a Registered Dietitian (RD), regulated by the Ontario College of Dietitians. She is a mom, YouTuber, Blogger, award winning cookbook author, media coach specializing in food and nutrition influencers, and a frequent contributor to national publications like Healthline and on national broadcast TV shows.