Teriyaki Meatballs

Multiple Choice Question:
How many meatballs can my five-year old eat at one sitting?
a) 1
b) 3
c) 5
d) none, he thinks meatballs are icky

If you guessed C then you are correct and have just won a million dollars. Ok, not really on the million dollars but what you do win is the satisfaction of knowing an important food fact about my son – it may get you somewhere in life!

I make meatballs a lot. Like these pineapple meatballs (oooh, delicious) or these sweet and sour meatballs (my husband’s personal fave) or these meatballs with cream sauce (my top pick). We’ve even been known to get all crazy and put them on a sandwich (only dare to look at this post if you want to see how lousy my pictures were when I first started blogging!).

Because my husband not only loves meatballs but adores teriyaki – it was only a matter of time before I combined the two.

What To ServeI served these meatballs over couscous and the results were fantastic. The velvety teriyaki sauce coats the tender, juicy meatballs in a layer of saucy gloriousness and the result is so delicious that I had to tell my five year old he couldn’t eat more meatballs than his current age.

Teriyaki Meatballs

Yield: Makes about 16 meatballs

Teriyaki Meatballs


  • 2 pounds ground beef (at least 90% lean) or lean ground turkey
  • 2 eggs
  • 2/3 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 3 tablespoons milk
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/2 cup cold water


  1. For the sauce, in a medium bowl mix the soy sauce, 1 3/4 cups water, ginger, garlic powder, brown sugar, and honey together. In a separate small bowl, dissolve the cornstarch into the 1/2 cup cold water. Set both bowls aside.
  2. For the meatballs, in a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients except for the ground beef and mix well. Add the ground beef and mix until combined. Form ground beef mixture into 1 to 1 1/2-inch meatballs. In a 12-inch nonstick skillet, heat two tablespoons oil over medium heat until the oil is rippling and hot. Add the meatballs to the hot skillet and brown on all sides, turning with a pair of tongs. The meatballs don’t need to be completely cooked through, just equally browned on all sides.
  3. When the meatballs have browned, pour the sauce ingredients over the meatballs and gently turn the meatballs to coat them in the sauce. Heat the sauce until just simmering and add the cornstarch/water mixture, carefully mixing so as not to break apart the meatballs as you combine the cornstarch mixture with the teriyaki sauce. Simmer the meatballs and sauce over medium heat, maintaining a constant simmer but not cooking at too high of a boil, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce is thick and smooth (if the sauce becomes overly thick, add a tablespoon of water at a time to thin), about 10-15 minutes, turning the meatballs every two or three minutes to ensure even cooking. Serve over rice or couscous.

Recipe Source: My Kitchen Cafe (teriyaki sauce inspiration from here)

94 Responses to Teriyaki Meatballs

  1. Samantha R says:

    We had these the other day for dinner – they were awesome! Thanks for the great recipe!

  2. Melanie says:

    Steph – thanks for your comment letting me know that you liked these! I hope you like the other meatball recipes, too.

  3. Steph says:

    These were awesome. I made them last night for dinner. The recipe is easy to cut in half too. Now I can’t wait to try out the other meatball recipes – thanks!

  4. grace says:

    atta boy! i have a feeling i’d put him to shame, as i can see myself eating five at one time. yeah, it’d be a mouthful, but i could do it. :)

  5. Melanie says:

    Tracy B – I’m happy you found my blog and am glad the recipes haven’t disappointed so far. Thanks for letting me know!

  6. Melanie says:

    Cheme’-I don’t think you are lazy – just practical…and that’s not a bad thing! I’m glad you liked the teriyaki sauce with the meatballs.

  7. Tracy B says:

    I just found your blog this week and have already made 3 of your recipes… the tortelli Chicken casserole, the Teriyaki Meatballs and the oatmeal pancake mix. Everything is delicious! Thank you for sharing your time and talents. You’ve inspired me to cook (and blog) again :)

  8. Evelyn says:

    Can’t wait to try these! Your sweet & sour meatballs are already a favorite in our house. I’m sure these will be added to the list!!

  9. Kara@ Creations by Kara says:

    Yummo! Love your meatballs in cream sauce, and I can’t wait to try this one. :)

  10. Cheme' says:

    I had to make these for lunch today and they were delcious! I was too lazy (too many kids = no time) to make the meatballs from scratch, so I used frozen ones. But the sauce is so good! I also love all of your other recipes that I have tried. On my list is your caramels that someday I will find time to make. Thanks so much for sharing all these great recipes! I really appreciate it!

  11. Jordan says:

    I am making these Monday for sure. I am excited because I have never eaten or made couscous, but I can tell I’ve missed out!

  12. Memória says:

    These meatballs look amazing!! YUM!!

  13. teresa says:

    like they say on dora, yum yum yum, delicioso!

  14. Barbara says:

    Wow. Those look fabulous! I like teriyaki too and aren’t you lucky your son and husband do as well.
    No way could I eat my age in meatballs! 😉

  15. The Double Dipped Life says:

    These look divine! Let’s hope that my son eats his age in meatballs!

  16. Cammee says:

    I’m laughing at the “can only eat meatballs to your current age” comment! I guess this is good news for me!

  17. Sara says:

    I need to print this recipe right now…my hubby would love these! Yum.

  18. AmandaS says:

    Yum! I was just looking for something to serve at a little party at my house. These will make the menu!

  19. Melissa G says:

    Awesome – I’m always looking for different ideas for meatballs. We have a bunch in our freezer that I pre-made, then froze. Just to add some sauce & cook!

  20. bchmomx3 says:

    They look great! Have you ever stuffed meatballs with cheese for spaghetti? My kids love them. I have also made them smaller..bite size.

  21. Sook says:

    I made these tonight! It was excellent! Thanks for the recipe. :)

  22. Melanie says:

    Samantha – glad you liked these. Thanks for letting me know!

    Sook – I’m excited that these meatballs were a hit – hopefully your little boy liked them, too!

  23. Shirley @ Kokken69 says:

    Hi Sook, thanks for posting this recipe. I have always wanted to make this. We have a Japanese franchise outlet here in Singapore that sells all these Yakitori stuff.. the sauce was the item to die for and I always wondered about it. Now, thanks to you, I have a starting point! :)

  24. Melissa says:

    I made these tonight – they were great!! Thanks for the printable on it too.

  25. Melanie says:

    Shirley – I saw that Sook posted these on her blog as well and am glad you found your way over here.

    Melissa – glad you liked these! Thanks for letting me know.

  26. Mother Rimmy says:

    Sook sent me over here. Great recipe. I’ll be trying it for sure!

  27. camille says:

    Don’t know why it took me so long to try these, but we LOVED them! Thanks!

  28. Melanie says:

    Thanks, Camille!

  29. Lauren says:

    I just made this tonight with your cous cous, and this might be the best dinner I’ve had in a long time. YUM! THanks!

  30. Melanie says:

    Lauren – that is high praise! Thank you.

  31. Rachel says:

    I made these for the second time last night, and my husband and kids loved them. Anything slightly Chinese-y makes my husband happy!

  32. Melanie says:

    Rachel – glad these made your husband happy!

  33. Nicole says:

    HEy Mel!
    I’m making this tonight, but you say to add the cornstarch in with the sauce, and then say to do a seperate bowl of cold water and cornstarch… you only have 1 cornstarch listed so I’m confused. Do you put the 3 T in with the sauce and then again with the cornstarch? Let me know

  34. Mel says:

    Nicole – good question! I’m surprised you are the first to catch this. I’ve edited the recipe. You still want to dissolve the cornstarch and 1/2 cup water in a small bowl. I eliminated cornstarch from being thrown in with the first group of ingredients. Hope that helps!

  35. Nicole says:

    I was suprised too! Thanks! Well the meatballs turned out great (even with the small whoops- apparently nobody else made that mistake). I love all your meatball recipes because my kids eat them like crazy! Also I actually made these with elk meat (our freezer is stocked from Kevs hunt trip this fall), so if anybody asks it tastes just as great with elk meat too :)

  36. Mel says:

    Nicole – glad these worked out despite the error in the recipe. Thanks for the tip on elk meat…I bet there are quite a few around that have that in their freezer, too!

  37. Kensi says:

    These are fantastic!! The whole family loved them. Thanks to these meatballs my son now thinks that I am a chef! haha. Thanks again for another fantastic recipe. I think this blog is going to become my cookbook for life!

  38. AngelaMarie says:

    WOW another great recipe from your site that my whole family loves. I think i may have added too much brown sugar but I was the only one who noticed, everyone looooved it. It was a lot for our family of 4 (one is still eating baby food…) so we had it for lunch the next day. I just had mine with calrose rice, my fav. Thanks for the great recipe!

    • Mel says:

      AngelaMarie – I’m really happy that these meatballs were such a hit with your family (and that you were still able to enjoy them for lunch the next day). Thanks for letting me know!

  39. Kaleena says:

    I cheated and used some frozen pre made meatballs in the freezer; tossed them in the crockpot, whipped the sauce up on the stovetop, poured it over the meatballs in the crockpot and transported it to dinner. Then amazingly watched my 2 year old eat probably 15…..!!! Okay maybe not 15 but he was downing them quick! Loved the recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Kaleena – you are so cute and funny. I’m glad these were a hit (especially with your darling 2-year old). Thanks for letting me know your changes!

  40. Kimiko says:

    I tried these last night. I halved the recipe since it was just 2 of us…but now I wish I made the full recipe so I could have some leftover! They were gooooooood! I made them with couscous and asparagus. I will definitely be making these again…I especially love the sauce!

    • Mel says:

      Hi Kimiko – thanks for being so faithful about checking in and commenting on the recipes you’ve tried! I’m glad you liked these teriyaki meatballs!

  41. Ruchita says:

    I made this for dinner the other day and they were a big hit! I halved the amount of meat, but kept the amount of sauce the same. I served them with rice. My husband even had some for breakfast the next day. :-)

    I did not have bread crumbs on hand, so I used crushed up Club Crackers instead.

    On a side note, I got rid of the last of my Progresso bread crumbs b/c they had high fructose corn syrup in them. Really? That stuff is in everything. I’m going to look for a different brand or just make my own.

    Thanks again for another great recipe!

    • Mel says:

      Ruchita – thanks for checking in on this recipe and including your changes. HFCS in bread crumbs? Seriously? Aargh! Good for you for getting rid of them. I usually keep the crusts of my bread in the freezer to grind up for bread crumbs when I need them – and now I know to check labels on store-brands before I buy them, too!

  42. Lisa says:

    Well, I tried this recipe tonight! I was super excited about it and, …. my sauce would not thicken??? Help! I followed the recipe exact! Since the sauce didnt thicken or glaze, my rice was mush! :( Im so disappointed. But I do want to try again!

    • Mel says:

      Lisa – I’m sorry that your sauce didn’t thicken! The trick with cornstarch is to mix cornstarch with a cold liquid (in this case, cold water) and then add it to a hot liquid or bring it to a boil. For some reason, the cornstarch doesn’t thicken if added directly into a hot liquid without being dissolved in a cold liquid first. If you followed that step…well, then I’m not sure why it didn’t thicken! Did you let it come to a full rolling boil after adding the cornstarch slurry?

  43. mia says:

    I just made these for the family plus a guest and it was a big hit! The sauce is mouthwatering and the meatballs were so tender.

  44. […] HERE to get the original recipe or stay here to see my […]

  45. Brittany says:


  46. Stacey says:

    OMGosh…who’d a thunk a meatball could be so lovable?! Fantastic! Thank you!

  47. StephenC says:

    I’m old enough to be your boy’s great grandfather and I doubt I could eat 5 meatballs. Well, maybe I could if I ate nothing else.

  48. […] it is one of those easy-to-fix dinners that all family members can enjoy. I got this recipe from “Mel’s Kitchen Cafe” a while ago and has become one of our family favorites. Please click on the link to get the full […]

  49. Anna says:


    Could I try baking the meatballs in the oven? Would I still need to brown the meatballs? When would I pour the sauce over the meatballs?


    • Mel says:

      Anna – I’ve never baked these in the oven but I suppose you could (hoping the sauce still thickens up). I would still brown the meatballs and then place them in a baking dish. I would also thicken the sauce up on the stove, pour it over the meatballs and bake at 350 for maybe 20 minutes (checking often)?

  50. Heidi says:

    I am an avid follower of your blog; you are the first place I go when I’m looking for a new recipe. Last night I made these meatballs, and I have got to tell you that they are the best darned meatballs that I have ever tasted. The funniest part was about half way through the meal, one of my boys turned to me and asked, “Did you get this recipe from Mel’s blog?” (you’ve gained a reputation for yourself in my house!), to which I answered “Yes!”. My eight year old responded with “Ahhh…we love Mel around here, don’t we Mommy!”

    Thanks for the great recipes!!!

  51. Leah says:

    Loved these. I’ve also used the teriyaki sauce part in other dishes, like yesterday I threw some stew meat into the crock pot with the teriyaki, then added some steamed veggies and rice. So tender and yummy!

  52. Kristina says:

    I made these for dinner tonight! Yum! The roommate declared these as “make-again-able.” I froze the meatballs a week about two weeks ago, pulled them it to defrost in the fridge last night, and mad the sauce when I got home from work today. Served over brown rice, they were amazing! Thanks for another great recipe! (btw- left out the garlic due to allergies, and they still had great flavor!)

  53. Becky says:

    These were terrific! I really dislike the grape jelly/meatball combo, but love teriyaki sauce, so imagine my delight when I found this recipe! My mom even liked these, even though she says she doesn’t like teriyaki sauce (she dislikes a lot of things, so I usually lie and say they’re not in what I made ;-). Thanks for a delicious recipe!

  54. Michele says:


    I used your sauce recipe for my mini teriyaki meatballs and they were delicious! I will be posting it on my blog soon and of course I will put a link to you!

    Thanks for a great recipe!

  55. Reva D. says:

    Hi, I jus stopped in to let yall kno I used this recipe tonight for dinner and it came out excellent. I only made 9 meatballs but the recipe still worked. Thank u!

  56. Jenny White says:

    Thank you for a recipe that doesn’t say “bottle of teriyaki sauce” !!!! :)

  57. Jenny White says:

    Delish!!! Everyone enjoyed…even my picky son. :)

  58. Rebecca Mathieu says:

    Wow! These were delicious & were a huge hit with the whole family! These are definitely going in to our regular dinner rotation. I served with white rice & roasted sesame green beans. Thank you for a terrific recipe.

  59. steve says:

    I put frozen meatballs in the crockpot, then poured the teriyaki sauce over the meatballs, giving them a good mix, and planning on cooking for quite a while on low. I made the sauce in a sauce pan and simered for about 10 min. I then added a little more corn strach than the recipe called for, but this sauce thickens nicely. looking good so far.

  60. Brenda says:

    Can I use the teriyaki sauce as dipping sauce for sushi?

  61. Beckie says:

    I LOVE your site…You have become a staple in my kitchen!! We’ve loved ALL of the recipes we’ve tried.

  62. Mickie says:

    Hey Mel- just wanted to let you know that I substituted Turkey Burger and it worked pretty darn well! They were a TEENY bit on the dry side, but not bad at all. I am not sure how to change that but I would still make them again with the Turkey Burger the way they were.

    Do you every substitute Turkey Burger in any of your recipes?

  63. Dee says:


    Can these be made in a crockpot?

  64. Mel says:

    Dee – I don’t know because I’ve never tried it. Good luck if you do!

  65. Carla says:

    Yum! Have made this twice now….once with meatballs, once with chicken breast pieces. Next time I’m going to try the sauce with medium-rare sirloin and broccoli.

  66. Trish says:

    These were soooo good. My granddaughter didn’t adhere to the “rule” of meatballs to age… She ate 7 and she is 3, (and doesn’t eat a whole lot of meat.) What a hit!! Will absolutely be making these again and again. Considering on making a batch and taking them to a house party next weekend! Thank you for a great recipe that is super easy to prepare!

    Trish :)

  67. Misty says:

    Very yummy dish, the family loved it :D! Thank you~

  68. Mysty says:

    I loved your Teriyaki sauce recipe! I liked it so much, I wanted to drink it. Seriously. :) I had everything on hand which is always a plus AND it thickened up nicely. I subbed the ground beef for ground turkey as I just got a stellar deal at the grocery store. The meatballs were moist and I liked that there was extra sauce to put over the cous cous. I halved the recipe since it was my first time trying it, but next time I will follow your amounts exactly and will try to freeze.

  69. Katie says:

    Sweet Caroline these were great!! I was hooked the first time I Made your sweet and sour chicken! I love your site, thanks for sharing!

  70. Jennifer says:

    These were awesome! Thank you! Since i didn’t have any worchestershire sauce, I replaced it with the teriyaki sauce mix and it added nice flavor to the meatballs. I also added some parsley and chopped green onion. This will make a great potluck dish also!

  71. Theresa says:

    These were /fantastic/, and so easy to make. My whole family loved them– even my mom, who doesn’t usually like ground beef at all. XD

  72. Audra says:

    Another GREAT recipe! Thanks again! :)

  73. Cate Bailes says:

    We just ate these tonight and the critics rated it a 9.5, a 8.5 and a 7.5 ( out of 10). This is high praise in our house and even the lowest scorer ate all on her plate. I’ll be serving up these again.

  74. Shelly says:

    I tried this and they are great. Also made rice. After I browned the meatballs, I removed them and put them into a crockpot. Made the sauce and poured it over. I also covered with about four cups chopped veggies. I used carrots, celery, red, yellow and orange peppers, and onions. Cover on high about 45minutes. As tir veggies into sauce and serve. Awesome!! Thank you for sharing!!!!

  75. Teresa says:

    Mel, these were so delicious. We enjoyed them so much. I used all ground turkey breast and omitted the salt, but those were the only changes I made. The sauce was really excellent and I love how it was a perfect consistency to coat the meatballs. I made them with steamed carrots and steamed brown rice. I just love all of your meatball recipes!

  76. Melissa says:

    I am making the whole batch and going to freeze some. They are delicious but I am saving some for next time. :) Should I brown them and then freeze? I figured I wouldn’t want to freeze them uncooked, right? Thanks!

  77. Tara says:

    Made this tonight for dinner! It was delicious! Another great recipe! Thank you!

  78. Heather says:

    I haven’t made anything this great in so long. And the meatballs are perfect and the couscous UNBELIEVABLE.
    Thank You

  79. Stef says:

    When I make this the sauce is more like a glaze. Thoughts?

  80. Whitney says:

    I made these tonight and cooked them waaaaay longer than the recipe says to because I couldn’t get the meatballs brown all the way through. Are they supposed to be pink inside? I don’t know what I did wrong. Flavor was good, but the sauce did not benefit from the ultra-long cooking time.

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