Paleo Teriyaki Meatballs
Potlucks and parties aren’t complete without mini meatballs! These Paleo Teriyaki Meatballs are made with juicy ground pork, almond flour, and a clean, sugar-free teriyaki sauce. Naturally gluten-free, keto, and Whole30 compliant.
Melt-in-your-mouth pork and beef meatballs + sweet umami teriyaki sauce = one of my all-time favorite party snacks. These teriyaki meatballs are easy to make and perfect for gatherings and game days or as a main course.
The best part? These meatballs are made with paleo and Whole30 compliant ingredients, but your party-goers will never know the difference. Rather than dirty more dishes, a bottle of paleo teriyaki sauce will take care of your sweet and sticky paleo teriyaki sauce needs.
Making miniature meatballs is optional. You can roll the ground pork meatball mixture into any size meatballs, of course -but you’ll need to bake them longer.
🍛 Ingredients You’ll Need
Potential substitutions and a few things to keep in mind while you’re gathering your ingredients:
- Ground Pork: When cooked to 145F (no more, no less), paleo teriyaki meatballs are soft, tender, and incredibly juicy. Truthfully, the teriyaki sauce is an added bonus.
- Egg: Think of the egg as your meatball glue.
- Almond Meal: Almond meal is a common keto, paleo, and Whole30 alternative to bread crumbs. That said, you can also use regular or gluten-free Panko-style bread crumbs here.
- Ginger: I used ground ginger, but if you have a piece of raw ginger root, by all means, use it.
- Coconut Aminos: aka the soy sauce alternative for paleo/Whole30ers. For non paleo/Whole30 purposes, feel free to use soy sauce.
- Toasted Sesame Oil: flavors the pork and adds fat to keep the meatballs super moist and juicy.
- Teriyaki Sauce: I swear by all The New Primal sauces, but the soy-free teriyaki sauce is something truly special. No gluten, soy, and no sugar. ALL iconic teriyaki flavor.
- Garnish (optional): After plating, sprinkle green onions and sesame seeds over top for color and crunch.
📖 How To Make Mini Teriyaki Meatballs
1️⃣ Prepare for baking.
First, turn on your oven and preheat to 400F. Then, line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
2️⃣ Make meatball mixture.
Using your clean hands, mix the ground pork, egg, almond meal, ground ginger, coconut aminos, and sesame oil in a medium-sized mixing bowl until just combined (don’t overwork it).
3️⃣ Roll mixture in balls.
Using your hands again, gently roll the mixture into mini (about 3/4″) meatballs, using about a tablespoon of the meat mixture per ball. Place the meatballs in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet as you work through the batch.
4️⃣ Bake meatballs.
Moving along, transfer the baking sheet to your preheated oven, and bake until the internal temperature reaches 145F (about 12 to 15 minutes). Remove from the oven and let the paleo teriyaki meatballs rest for 5 minutes to lock in all the juices.
5️⃣ Coat in teriyaki sauce.
Finally, it’s teriyaki time! Transfer the meatballs to a large mixing bowl, add the teriyaki sauce, and toss until the meatballs are coated in sauce.
6️⃣ Plate and serve.
Using tongs, plate the mini meatballs neatly on a serving platter and stick a toothpick in each (or serve as an entree with paleo-friendly sides). Enjoy!
👩🏻🍳 Chef’s Tips
- Don’t be scared to get your hands dirty. Your goal is combining the meat with the rest of the ingredients thoroughly without overworking the mixture.
- Placing the bowl of meatball mixture in the fridge for 30 minutes or in the freezer for 10 minutes will make it les sticky and easier to work with.
- Chilling the meatballs briefly before baking will help keep all of the delicious fat and juices in the meatballs instead of melting and making a mess.
- You can also bake the meatballs on a baking rack placed on top of a baking sheet, so all sides of the meatballs are exposed and they bake evenly.
- This recipe is meant to make a ton of mini meatballs or about 24 1-1/2″ meatballs.
🍳 Skillet & Slow Cooker Instructions
Stovetop Teryiaki Meatballs: If you’d rather cook your meatballs in a skillet, by all means, go for it. Keep in mind the stovetop instructions require turning each meatball more than once. If you’re making mini meatballs, that’s a lot of time hovering over the stove. 1-1/2″ to 2″ meatballs are best here.
- Mix all of the ingredients (except for the sauce) and then roll the mixture into meatballs.
- In a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of avocado oil over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook, turning every 1 to 2 minutes, untill the meatballs are golden brown and firm on all sides.
- Then, add the teriyaki sauce to the pan, lower the heat, and gently simmer the meatballs in the sauce until the internal temperature reaches 145F.
Slow Cooker Teriyaki Meatballs: Follow the first two steps from the skillet instructions. Once the meatballs are lightly browned on all sides, add them to your slow cooker with the teriyaki sauce. Cook on low for 2 to 3 hours.
🍽️ Variations & Serving Suggestions
Ground pork substitutions – You can substitute the pork with any ground meat or use a combination of beef, chicken, or turkey.
Make spicy teriyaki meatballs – Craving heat? Add red pepper flakes or sriracha to the meat mixture.
Pineapple teriyaki meatballs – To serve, make a mini meatball kebab. Skewer a cube of pineapple and a meatball with toothpicks.
Serving suggestions – Make these meatballs the main course and serve with sides that align with your health and wellness goals.
- Gluten-free – Serve with hibachi-sides like steamed rice or gluten-free udon noodles, and load up on the stir-fried veggies.
- Low carb & Keto – Prepare a side of steamed broccoli to enjoy with your meatballs. Serve etra sesame oil on the side.
- Paleo & Whole30 – Serve over a heaping pile of zucchini noodles or with a side of cauliflower rice.
🧊 Storing & Freezing
Storing: After cooling to room temperature, place meatballs in an airtight container or resealable bag and keep them in the refrigerator for 2 to 3 days.
Freezing: Once baked and cool, place the baking sheet of meatballs (without any sauce) in the freezer until the meatballs are frozen solid. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe container and freeze them for 2 to 3 months.
Reheating from frozen: When ready to serve, you can add the frozen meatballs and the teriyaki sauce to a large skillet and simmer over medium heat until hot.
Not quite. Coconut aminos are a fantastic soy-free and gluten-free alternative to soy sauce. The flavor isn’t quite as complex as teriyaki sauce. However, Coconut Secret makes coconut aminos with added teriyaki flavor.
Think sweet, salty, and sticky. You can try Bulgogi sauce, oyster sauce, or hoisin sauce instead of teriyaki sauce. Barbecue sauce is also a good option.
Sure. In addition to the New Primal soy-free teriyaki sauce, the following bottled teriyaki sauces are certified gluten-free:
Kikkoman gluten-free teriyaki, Primal Kitchen no-soy teriyaki sauce, and San-J gluten-free teriyaki are the easiest to find in stores.
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Paleo Teriyaki Meatballs
- 1 medium mixing bowl
- 1 large mixing bowl
- 1 baking sheet
- 1 Parchment Paper or foil
- ½ pound ground pork
- ½ pound ground beef
- 1 egg
- ⅓ cup almond meal
- ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 tablespoon coconut aminos
- 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
- ½ cup paleo teriyai sauce like the new primal soy-free teriyaki sauce
- Preheat oven to 400F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Set aside.
- Add everything except the teriyaki sauce into a medium-sized mixing bowl. Mix together by hand until all of the ingredients are combined without overworking.
- Roll the meat mixture into tiny tablespoon size balls. Place each meatball in a single layer on the baking sheet until all of the meat is rolled.
- Bake for 12-15 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 145F. Then, let the meatballs cool for 5 minutes.
- Add the meatballs to a large mixing bowl and toss with the teriyaki sauce.
- Serve with toothpicks as an appetizer or serve with your favorite side dishes as a main course.