Baked Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs

from 17 votes

Get dinner on the table in 25 minutes or less with a family-friendly recipe for extra-moist Baked Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs tossed in a simple homemade teriyaki sauce.

A dinner bowl containing baked chicken teriyaki meatballs on top of white rice and sprinkled with sesame seeds.

What’s not to love about a good ol’ culinary classic like teriyaki glazed chicken? Swap in baked chicken meatballs for seared chicken breast and you’ve got a 30-minute meal suitable for all ages.

You may be wondering how chicken meatballs can possibly be moist or have any flavor. Allow me to introduce you to my secret weapon: crushed pineapple.

The fruit itself stars in the meatball mixture, while the drained juices are stirred into the homemade teriyaki sauce. A total takeout fakeout.

My other secret weapon for extra-juicy meatballs? A mini muffin pan! All of the juices released as the meatballs cook get soaked back into them.

No mini muffin pan? No problem! Simply coat a baking dish with cooking spray, arrange the meatballs in rows and fire up the oven.

Best of all, these meatballs are baked at a high temp so they’re ready for tossing in minutes, and that means dinner is on your table in 25 minutes or less. Make it a rice bowl with teriyaki chicken or serve over noodles (I highly recommend following the recipe for the noodles in my Chicken Lo Mein, which is super-simple and packed with veggies) and dinner is done!

In search of more homemade takeout recipes? Find inspiration for a takeout-fakeout feast with my go-to recipes, including Easy Beef and Broccoli, Sesame Chicken Egg Rolls and Sticky Pineapple Chicken.

Key Ingredients

Small glass bowls containing ground chicken, panko breadcrumbs, minced garlic, soy sauce, crushed pineapple, brown sugar and milk. Two scallions sit beside the bowls.
  • Milk: Used to add moisture to the meatballs and keep them tender.
  • Panko breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs serve as a binding agent for the meatballs, helping to hold them together and provide a slightly crunchy texture. If needed, you can swap in other unseasoned breadcrumbs.
  • Ground chicken: Ground chicken is lean, but protein-packed and makes these healthy chicken meatballs! You could easily use ground turkey instead.
  • Minced garlic, ginger and scallions: These are your flavor-packed aromatics. You’ll want to mince them well, so they’re evenly distributed amongst the ground chicken meatballs and in the sauce.
  • Low-sodium soy sauce: Plays a dual role in this recipe—it’s a key ingredient in both the savory meatballs and the homemade teriyaki sauce. Similar to my honey garlic chicken recipe, opting for low-sodium soy sauce is crucial to strike the right balance of flavors without the risk of ending up with a dish that’s overly salty.
  • Canned pineapple: Canned, crushed pineapple will also do double duty in this recipe! The fruit’s sweetness nicely compliments the savoriness of the meatballs and the juice balances the pineapple-infused teriyaki sauce’s saltiness. These are sweet and savory chicken meatballs at their finest.
  • Brown sugar: This is your primary sweetener for your DIY teriyaki sauce. Either light or dark brown sugar will work.
  • Cornstarch: Acts as a thickening agent for the sauce. Substitute cornstarch with arrowroot powder or tapioca starch.

See the recipe card for full information on ingredients and quantities.

How to Make Baked Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs

  1. Preheat the oven. Preheat the oven to 500ºF and spray a mini muffin pan with cooking spray.
  2. Make the meatballs. In a small bowl, combine the milk and panko and let sit for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the ground chicken, garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, pineapple, pepper and soaked breadcrumbs. Use your hands to combine everything.
  3. Shape the meatballs. Form the meatballs into 24 pieces, using 2 to 3 tablespoons of the meat mixture per meatball. Place the meatballs into the muffin tin wells.
Unbaked chicken meatballs in a greased mini muffin tin.
  1. Bake. Bake the meatballs for 12 to 15 minutes.
  2. Make the teriyaki sauce. In a saucepan, whisk together the soy sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic and ginger until the sugar’s dissolved. In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water, then whisk into the sauce and simmer until the sauce has thickened and is syrupy.
  3. Coat the meatballs. Add the meatballs to a large bowl, pour the sauce over them and toss to thoroughly coat.
Baked chicken meatballs in a large glass mixing bowl with teriyaki sauce poured on top of them.

Pro Tip: If the meatballs feel far too sticky when you’re shaping them, try wetting your hands.

How to Make Ahead of Time

  • Make and bake the meatballs. Mix and bake the meatballs according to the recipe instructions, then let cool completely. 
  • Make the sauce. Make the teriyaki sauce and let cool completely, too.
  • Store the meatballs and sauce separately. You can stash the meatballs and sauce in separate airtight containers in the fridge for up to 4 days.
  • Reheat. When ready to reheat both, place the meatballs in a 350ºF oven until warmed through and heat the sauce in a saucepan. Toss the meatballs with the sauce and serve.

Kelly’s Recipe Tips

  • Save the Juice: After draining the crushed pineapple, use the resulting juice in the sauce recipe.
  • Don’t Fear the Moisture: The meatball mixture will be very wet while you are shaping it into balls, however, the added liquid from the milk and crushed pineapple helps guarantee the meatballs will be very moist.
  • Use Your Hands: Your hands are your best mixing tool! Just make sure they’re clean before diving in. It can help to hold your hand in the shape of a claw to easily and thoroughly mix the meatball mixture.

How to Store and Freeze

Leftover meatballs will keep in the fridge in an airtight container for up to 4 days.

You can also freeze the meatballs and the sauce separately for up to 2 months. For the meatballs, I recommend placing them on a parchment-lined baking sheet, freezing them individually, and then transferring them to a zip-top freezer bag. Meanwhile, store the sauce in an airtight container and thaw it in the fridge overnight before use. When reheating the meatballs, I suggest using the oven at a low temperature (325ºF) directly from frozen for the best results.

Serving Suggestions

These meatballs go exceptionally well with the following: 

Frequently Asked Questions

Why are my chicken meatballs tough? 

Chicken is a lean meat, so chicken meatballs need a lot of moisture to keep them from being tough. My recipe uses soaked breadcrumbs, soy sauce and crushed pineapple to avoid dry meatballs.

How do you keep chicken meatballs from falling apart? 

Using breadcrumbs can help to bind chicken meatballs together, keeping them from falling apart. Baking them in a mini muffin pan also helps the meatballs to hold their shape until they’re fully cooked.

Can meatballs be made out of chicken? 

Yes, you can make meatballs out of chicken. Ground chicken is very lean (in comparison to beef or pork), so it’s a healthier option.

A bowl with white rice and chicken teriyaki meatballs with sesame seeds sprinkled on top.

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Baked Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs

Get dinner on the table in 25 minutes or less with this recipe for extra-moist Baked Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs tossed in a homemade teriyaki sauce.
Author: Kelly Senyei
4.71 from 17 votes
Baked Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs over white rice in large bowl
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 15 minutes
Total Time 25 minutes
Servings 24 meatballs


For the meatballs:

  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/4 cup Panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 1/2 lbs ground chicken
  • 1 Tablespoon minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
  • 2 Tablespoons minced scallions
  • 2 Tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup crushed pineapple (juices drained)
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper

For the sauce:

  • 1/3 cup low sodium soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1/4 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced fresh ginger
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cornstarch
  • 1 Tablespoon water


Make the meatballs:

  • Preheat the oven to 500ºF. Spray a mini-muffin pan or baking dish with cooking spray.
  • In a small bowl, stir together the milk and Panko breadcrumbs and let sit for 5 minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine the ground chicken, garlic, ginger, scallions, soy sauce, crushed pineapple, pepper and soaked breadcrumbs. Use your hands to thoroughly combine the meat mixture and then shape it into balls using 2 to 3 tablespoons of meat per meatball.
  • Place the shaped meatballs into the prepared pan and bake for 12 to 15 minutes until the meatballs are fully cooked. While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce.

Make the sauce:

  • In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, whisk together the soy sauce, water, pineapple juice, brown sugar, garlic and ginger. Cook, whisking constantly, until the sugar has dissolved fully.
  • In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch with the water to make a slurry. Whisk the slurry into the sauce and simmer until it has thickened to the consistency of syrup, about 5 minutes.
  • Remove the meatballs from the oven and transfer them into a large bowl. Pour the sauce on top and toss to coat. Serve immediately.

Kelly’s Notes

  • After draining the crushed pineapple, use the resulting juice in the sauce recipe.
  • The meatball mixture will be very wet while you are shaping it into balls, however, the added liquid from the milk and crushed pineapple helps guarantee the meatballs will be very moist.
  • Your hands are your best mixing tool! Just make sure they’re clean before diving in. It can help to hold your hand in the shape of a claw to easily and thoroughly mix the meatball mixture.
  • ★ Did you make this recipe? Don’t forget to give it a star rating below!


Calories: 60kcal, Carbohydrates: 4g, Protein: 5g, Fat: 2g, Saturated Fat: 1g, Trans Fat: 1g, Cholesterol: 25mg, Sodium: 186mg, Potassium: 176mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 3g, Vitamin A: 11IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 11mg, Iron: 1mg


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Recipe by Kelly Senyei of Just a Taste. Please do not republish this recipe without my permission. If you'd like to feature this recipe on your site, please rewrite the method of preparation and link to this post as the original source.

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Recipe Rating


  1. 4 stars
    Taste is very good.
    I used more breadcrums. Forming balls would not have been possible without adding more breadcrumbs.

  2. 5 stars
    Delicious , my family were all very impressed with this meal despite being picky eaters.

      1. Hi Christina – It’s hard to say what could have caused your meatballs to be soft. Did you follow the proportions as listed?

  3. 5 stars
    I was going to have these for dinner over rice. I never tried the recipe before. I like to follow recipes exactly and tweek the next time if I need to. We had company unexpectedly show up so I put them in a bowl with the sauce on the side. Everyone loved them. They were all gone in a short amount of time. My husband still talks about them. The recipe needs no tweeking:) They are delicious!

  4. 5 stars
    These are the best. I make them often and with sticky rice and never tire of them. Also make a great appetizer to take to company!

    1. 5 stars
      These meatballs were amazing! Using a mini muffin tin was an excellent idea causing a nice crusty exterior and juicy flavourful interior. So yummy served over cauliflower rice with mushrooms. Will definitely make these meatballs often.
      Thanks, Kathryn

  5. Hi! I was just wondering if these could be done in an air fryer. If so, what temp and for how long?

    1. Hi Cheri! I’ve never used an air fryer to bake these meatballs so I can’t weigh in on the time or temp. Let me know if you give it a shot!

    2. I just made the meatballs and cooked them in my air fryer. They came out perfect. I cooked them at 350 for about 15 minutes.

  6. 5 stars
    My family loves this recipe. It’s part of my regular dinner rotation. We had them for dinner tonight. YUM!!

    1. Hi Margot – It’s hard to say what could have caused your meatballs to be soft. Did you follow the proportions as listed?

  7. 5 stars
    These were great. The only change I made was to 1.25X the sauce recipe to have a little extra to put over the rice. My picky daughter also loved them. Leftovers reheated well the next day for lunch.

  8. 5 stars
    Tasted d-lish. Even my picky daughter went back for seconds (LOL). My sauce didn’t get thick though. Should I have brought it to a boil or maybe add more cornstarch? Either way, it really didn’t matter, everyone loved them.

    1. Made these for dinner tonight, served over a brown rice and quinoa mixture. It was delicious! The meatballs were a great texture!

  9. 5 stars
    Thank you for such a great recipe. I have been struggling to find a lunch my children would eat at school and finally found something they actually will eat. Thanks!

  10. OMG this is a absolutely delicious recipe. I doubled the sauce just because we love extra but no need really. I served with jasmine rice. Next time I’ll do a side dish of broccoli, snow peas and julienned carrots to add color. Watch the time on these and don’t overcook. I cooked mine too long and they were still out of this world delicious! Thank you Kelly

  11. 5 stars
    These are great! Thank you for the recipe. I didn’t have ground chicken available, so I used turkey & pork.

  12. 5 stars
    My family LOVESSSS this recipe, it’s sooo easy and delicious, I almost have to make it 2 or 3 times a months.

  13. Hello,

    I live in France and have noticed that many recipes mention quantities in cups instead of grams. I don’t know how big a cup should be, so maybe you could covert into grams ? Thanks a lot!

  14. I don’t see why you couldn’t make these, freeze the meatballs on a cookie sheet (once frozen transfer to a container or freezer bag) and make the sauce when you are ready to eat them.

    1. Hi Amber! I’ve never tried freezing these meatballs so I can’t say with certainty how they would turn out. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  15. OMG! I just made these and ate them for dinner! So moist and delicious!! I’m not gonna lie, I tasted the meatballs before the sauce was added because I couldn’t wait and they were so flavorful! A lot of meatball recipes, to me, don’t have a lot of flavor and need some kind of sauce. These were so-o-o good. I could eat them alone! (I mean without sauce, but also by myself! Lol) I then made the sauce and we ate them over rice. We sprinkled sesame seeds, green onions, peanuts and cilantro! The cilantro, specifically, really enhanced the flavor! I highly recommend anyone who’s thinking about trying this recipe to do so now!!! Thanks for sharing it!

    1. Thanks, Susan! And yes, you should have ample sauce for serving the meatballs over rice, as that’s how I always serve it. :)

  16. Hi! I’ve got these Aidells teriyaki pineapple meatballs, do you think they would pair well with sauce recipe ?

    1. Hi Nancy! I am not a nutritionist so I am unable to provide nutritional info for my recipes, as I’d have to way to guarantee it’s 110% accurate (which is super important to me!).

    1. Hi Diane! Thanks so much for your comment. I don’t include nutritional info because I am not a certified nutritionist and would have no way to guarantee the info is 110% accurate, which is incredibly important to me!

  17. Excited to try, disappointed. Meatballs fell apart, needs egg to bind together. Will try another recipe would like to make these again.

    1. Hi Ashley – I’m not a nutritionist so I don’t provide that info for my recipes, as I’d want to make sure it’s 100% accurate.

  18. made these tonight and they were delicious! I tossed in some steamed brocolli when I put in the sauce which made it even better!

  19. I’m in Austalia and I don’t know what Panko breadcrumbs are. Am I right in assuming that it is just a brand, and they are dried bread crumbs? To make for a GF person could I use rice crumbs?

    1. Hi there! Panko breadcrumbs are Japanese-style breadcrumbs and they’re extra crunchy and light. You can use any type of regular breadcrumbs instead. I’ve never tried subbing rice crumbs, but it should work!

  20. I really want to make these but my sister is gluten free paleo and I was wondering if there are any good substitutions for the Panko? I know that there is gluten free soy sauce out there so I’m not concerned so much with that component.

    1. Hi Bethanie! You can make your own breadcrumbs with gulten-free bread, or there are also already made gluten-free breadcrumbs available at many supermarkets. One brand I know of is called Gillian’s. Hope this helps!

  21. I made these last night with ground turkey and added some of Penzey’s Bangkok Blend mixture in place of the pepper. I also added 1/2 tsp of baking powder which was a constant on another site and I figured it couldn’t hurt. These were scrumptious. I didn’t have low-sodium soy sauce, and that would have been better. As it was the sauce was salty, and low-sodium would have taken care of that. I added extra honey to compensate and they were still delicious. I also used my own cracker crumbs since I was out of Panko.. They weren’t a bit dry and held their shape. Thank you for this, and everyone at the party I attended thanks you, as well.

  22. In the Teriyaki Chicken meatballs, which Panko breadcrumbs do you use? Are there plain ones? I usually see Italian

    1. Hi Jessica! I’ve never tried this, but I think it would work. My only concern is that the meatballs would get too firm if cooked for too long. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  23. Cooked these yesterday. Taste quite good and are easy to make. Best for Sunday cooking to freeze and eat mid week.

    1. Hi Anne – I’ve never tried freezing these meatballs so I can’t say with certainty how they would turn out. Let me know if you give it a shot!

  24. the meatballs are awesome!! I used Turkey instead but I don’t know why the sauce did not thicken :(. Otherwise very yummy!!! Kids loved it!

  25. Thanks for this recipe! I made it last night and it was awesome. I added a little Sriracha to it for a little kick of spice and it worked out great. Very moist and tasty meatballs.

  26. Hi there! Very excited about making these, but wondering how well they would freeze? I love to prepare in advance, and usually freeze homemade burgers before they’re cooked.

    1. Hi Sophi! I’ve never tried freezing them before so I can’t say with certainty how they would turn out. Let me know if you give them a shot!

  27. Did you recently change the recipe and add pineapple juice? I made these meatballs about a month ago and I know there was no pineapple in the recipe at that time. Could I just omit the pineapple?

    1. Hi Kristin! Nope! There’s always been pineapple juice in the recipe. I’ve never made them without it, but it sounds like it worked :)

  28. Hello! I don’t have a mini muffin pan – should I use a regular muffin pan? Or would they be fine on a normal baking sheet? Thank you!

  29. I made this for dinner tonight. Instead of chicken I used ground turkey and left them in the oven a little longer until the browned a little. Let me tell you, they were a complete hit with the kids!! My husband was out of town and he always complains that when he is not home I make delicious meals, so I guess we will have to make the sacrifice and make them again soon! :)

  30. Oh my goodness, just made these for dinner tonight…AMAZING! They are a little bit of work but soo worth it. Very delicious and Weight Watchers Points Plus friendly! Great recipe!

  31. these meatballs look seriously craving some right now, inspired to give the recipe a go!

  32. What a great idea!!! This would be awesome at a party or any time- really like this twist on classic meatballs!

  33. YUMM! Well, I just found what I am making for dinner this week! I was JUST wondering, too! It’s like you knew! Looking forward to it – sounds easy AND I have a mini muffin pan so that will come in handy! =)

  34. This looks delicious! I love a good meatball recipe with chicken…so tasty this way! Thanks for sharing!

  35. We love chicken teriyaki and these meatballs look like the perfect bite-sized solution when we don’t want to fuss with a more complicated recipe. Thanks for sharing!