These Teriyaki Pork Meatballs are perfect for meal prepping, and are even better when paired with rice. They're pan-seared in a skillet, then baked to perfection and coated in the most delicious sticky-sweet teriyaki sauce.
Teriyaki pork meatballs are basically the perfect meal prep recipe. I typically don't do a ton of meal prepping since I make a handful of new blog recipes every week, but I must admit that having meatballs on hand is absolutely a good idea.
These Asian pork meatballs are made with ground pork (duh!) and coated in the most delicious teriyaki sauce. It's sticky and sweet and gives these meatballs a ton of flavor, making it one of my favorite weeknight dinners.
Why these pork meatballs are so good
- They're seared over the stove then baked in the oven to ensure doneness.
- The Asian teriyaki sauce is out-of-this-world delicious, but also made with ingredients you already have on hand.
- The meatballs are great on their own, but taken up a notch when paired with jasmine or basmati rice.
- Pork: The recipe calls for ground pork, but you can absolutely substitute it for your favorite ground meat, like ground beef, turkey or ground chicken.
- Soy sauce: Soy sauce is a good staple ingredient for many Asian-based sauce recipes, but you could also use tamari, which is a gluten free soy sauce alternative. Coconut aminos will also work, though if you do that, I recommend using less maple syrup so the sauce isn't too sweet.
- Breadcrumbs: The breadcrumbs help to hold the meatballs together, plus they add a little extra flavor. I like using plain Panko breadcrumbs, and I actually tested these with gluten free panko breadcrumbs and they worked out great! If you can't find Panko/want a sub, any sort of breadcrumbs will work, just make sure they're plain vs. Italian flavored.
- Maple syrup: The maple syrup adds a hint of sweetness to the sauce, and it pairs perfectly with soy sauce, but you could also use honey. Basically, you just want some sort of sugar to help create the correct flavor.
- Cornstarch: Cornstarch is *key* if you want the sauce to thicken (which you do!). Once the cornstarch is mixed with the other sauce ingredients then heated, it'll thicken the sauce so that it's no longer water-y (is there anything worse than water-y sauce?!). If you're looking for a substitution, give arrowroot a try.
- Egg: I always make these meatballs with an egg, but if you want to keep them egg-free, simply use a flax egg instead. Combine 1 tablespoon flaxseed meal with 2.5 tablespoons of water and let the mixture sit for 5-10 minutes until the flax absorbs the water.
Step 1: Cook the rice. If you're pairing these meatballs with rice (which I recommend!), cook the rice over the stove according to the package instructions. At this point you should also preheat the oven to 400°.
Step 2: Add ingredients. Next, add all of the pork, onion, scallion, garlic, egg, soy sauce, and breadcrumbs to a large bowl, then use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together.
Step 3: Make the meatballs. Use your hands to form the mixture into approximately 18 meatballs, placing them directly into a large oven-safe skillet. You may have to do this in batches depending on the size of your skillet.
Step 4: Pan fry. Next, sauté the meatballs for 3-5 minutes in the skillet, or until they're golden brown on all sides. Place the whole skillet into the oven and bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, or until they're cooked through.
Step 5: Make the sauce. While the meatballs are baking, whisk all of the sauce ingredients together in a bowl or glass measuring cup.
Step 6: Combine. Once the meatballs are baked, place the skillet back on the stove over medium-low heat and add the minced garlic. Sauté for 1-2 minutes, then add the sauce and stir until the sauce thickens and the meatballs are coated in the sauce.
FAQs and Expert Tips
- Don't over-mix the meat. What does this mean? If you over-work the meat, the end result will be dry, tough pork meatballs, which we don't want. The same thing applies when actually forming the meat into meatballs. Form them gently, and resist the urge to pack the meatballs too tightly.
- Do a taste test before cooking the meatballs. Yes, I'm serious, but I don't mean that you should eat raw meat. Instead, form a mini meatball and fry it up in a skillet, then taste it and adjust the seasonings as needed. With that said, remember that with this recipe, the majority of the flavor comes from the sauce, so the end result WILL be flavorful.
- Storage: Store leftovers in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
- To freeze: I recommend waiting to add the sauce! Otherwise, the meatballs will get soggy in when you thaw them. Simply cook the meatballs, wait for them to cool, then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 2 months. NOTE: If you're storing in a container, use parchment paper in between the layers so they're easier to thaw.
Can I make these ahead of time?
Yep! You actually have a few options. First, you can mix the meat and then cover the bowl and leave it in the refrigerator for up to 12 hours and then make the meatballs.
Or, you can completely cook the meatballs and store them in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, and then make and add the sauce right before you're ready to eat them.
What should I serve these meatballs with?
Check out these other pork recipes
If you made this recipe, be sure to leave a comment and star rating below. Thanks!
Teriyaki Pork Meatballs
for the meatballs:
- 1 lb. ground pork
- 2 tablespoon yellow onion minced
- 1 scallions finely chopped
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- ½ cup plain panko breadcrumbs regular or gluten free
for the sauce:
- 3 garlic cloves minced
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon maple syrup
- 1 tablespoon rice vinegar
- ½ teaspoon ginger grated
- 1 ½ teaspoon cornstarch or arrowroot
- scallions and sesame seeds optional; for garnish
- Preheat the oven to 400°.
- Add all meatball ingredients to a large bowl and use a spoon or your hands to mix everything together. You want everything to be combined, but you don't want to over-mix it. Then, use your hands to form the mixture into approximately 18 meatballs, placing them directly into an oven-safe skillet.
- Pan fry the meatballs for 3-5 minutes, or until they're golden on all sides. Then, place the entire skillet into the oven and bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, or until they're cooked through.
- While the meatballs are baking, make the sauce: whisk soy sauce, syrup, vinegar, ginger, and cornstarch together and set aside.
- Once the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the oven and place the skillet on the stove over low heat. Add the minced garlic to the skillet and stir for 1-2 minutes.
- Remove the skillet from the heat, then pour in the sauce and stir so that the meatballs are coated in the sauce. The sauce should thicken very quickly -- within 10-20 seconds -- but if it doesn't, then place the skillet back over medium-low heat and heat until the sauce thickens.
- Garnish meatballs with scallions and sesame seeds (optional) and enjoy!
- May sub for ground beef, ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer
- Can use shallot instead of onion
- Can use tamari or coconut aminos in place of soy sauce -- If you use coconut aminos, only use 1 tablespoon of maple syrup
UPDATE NOTE: This post was originally published in February 2020. It was updated with new text in April 2022.