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Teriyaki Meatballs

These Teriyaki Meatballs are juicy, tender, flavor bombs enveloped in a dynamic sticky, sweet, tangy, umami forward homemade teriyaki sauce.  They’re easy to bake in the oven then get bathed in the fragrant sauce for an utterly addicting combo.  You can make these Teriyaki Meatballs ahead of time and keep them warm in the crockpot or freeze them for an easy, stress free appetizer or dinner.  Serve them up with rice or low carb cauliflower rice, stir fried veggies, ramen noodle salad and potstickers for a complete feast!
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Servings 6 servings (45 meatballs)

Ingredients

MEATBALLS

  • 2 eggs
  • 22 Ritz crackers, crushed (scant 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dried minced onion
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, pressed (may sub 1 tsp powder)
  • 1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger (may sub 1 tsp ground)
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef

TERIYAKI SAUCE

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Top with a baking rack and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bow EXCEPT the ground beef. Whisk together with a fork until thoroughly combined. Add the ground beef and gently combine with your hands (don’t over-mix or your meatballs won’t be as tender).
  • Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll into meatballs. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet without touching. Bake at 400 degrees F for 16-20 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, whisk all of the Teriyaki Sauce ingredients together in a large skillet off heat. Once combined, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 2-3 minutes. Adjust to taste by adding additional sugar for sweeter, vinegar for tangier or soy sauce for more umami.
  • Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Serve warm. Alternatively, transfer to the crockpot and keep on the “warm” setting until ready to serve.

Notes

  • *Asian sweet chili saucethis is a non-traditional addition to this homemade teriyaki sauce and it is phenomenal. It is sweet and spicy and packed with flavor from a combination of red chilis, onion, garlic, brown sugar and fish sauce. It can be found in the Asian section of your grocery store. Just don’t confuse this Asian SWEET chili sauce with traditional (hot) Asian chili sauce!
  • Store-bought meatballs: homemade Teriyaki Meatballs are infused with garlic, ginger and soy sauce which is part of what makes them Teriyaki   You can make shortcut Teriyaki Meatballs with frozen meatballs but they won't be as good. If you go this route, consider adding ¼ teaspoon garlic powder and ginger powder to the homemade teriyaki sauce because you will be missing them in the meatballs.  
Make Ahead
  • 100% Make Ahead: make the recipe in its entirety, refrigerate and simply reheat on the stove or crockpot (see instructions below) when ready to serve.
  • Make Meatballs: roll the meatballs up to 24 hours ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap, refrigerate, then bake when ready.  Let the meatballs sit on the counter for 30 minutes to help come to room temperature before cooking.
  • Make Teriyaki Sauce: the sauce can be whisked together and stored in an airtight container up to 5 days ahead of time. Thicken in a large skillet when ready to serve.
HOW TO STORE and REHEAT
  • To storage:  let meatballs cool to room temperature. Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.   If you are going to be reheating the meatballs in the crockpot, remove the entire crockpot ceramic insert and refrigerate.
  • To freeze: let the Teriyaki Meatballs with sauce cool completely. Transfer to a freezer safe bag, squeeze out excess air and seal or transfer to an airtight container.  Freeze for up to 3 months.  Let the meatballs thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.  See post for how to freeze just the meatballs (baked or raw).
  • To reheat in the microwave:  transfer meatballs to a microwave safe plate and microwave for 60 seconds then at 15 second intervals until warmed through.
  • To reheat on the stove: melt some butter in a large nonstick skillet or add a drizzle of olive oil.  Add the meatballs and reheat over medium-low heat, stirring often until warmed through. 
  • To reheat in the crockpot:  lightly spray the crockpot with cooking spray.  Reheat over LOW for 1-2 hours, or until completely warmed through, stirring 1-2 times.