Flavor-packed chicken meatballs glazed with homemade teriyaki sauce. Here I will show you how to cook the meatballs in an air fryer, or oven, or go traditional by shallow frying in a pan. Serve as an appetizer or as a main dish for dinner.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- Delicious and flavorful chicken meatballs–it’s so good even without the glaze. Even your kids will love it!
- You can cook the meatballs in three different ways–choose whatever is convenient for you.
- The teriyaki sauce has the perfect balance of sweetness and saltiness. A perfect compliment to the meatballs.
How to Make It: Overview
It’s the easiest chicken meatball recipe. Here’s how I make it:
- Make the meatballs–basically, just combine all the ingredients in a large bowl, mix and shape into balls.
- Make the sauce–just a quick simmer to dissolve the sugar and boost the umami flavor.
- Cook the meatballs
- Glaze and serve!
If I were being honest, I think shaping the meatballs would be the most time-consuming step. But, don’t worry there’s an easy way to do it and I will share it with you here in SCR.
Chicken Meatballs Ingredients
Here’s what you need to make the most flavorful chicken meatballs:
- Ground Chicken – also known as minced chicken. Use ground chicken thighs, if available.
- Soy Sauce – use light or all-purpose soy sauce. Do not use dark soy sauce. It’s too strong.
- Oyster Sauce – for that delicious and deep umami flavor.
- Garlic Powder – you can also use finely chopped fresh garlic.
- Green Onion leaves – for a subtle sweet onion flavor.
- Sugar – you need just a hint to balance the saltiness of the other seasonings.
- Panko breadcrumbs – also called Japanese breadcrumbs. You can find this in the Asian section of most grocery stores or Asian supermarkets.
- Egg – binds all the ingredients and prevents the meatballs from falling apart.
- Sesame oil – the secret to moist and aromatic chicken meatballs.
Teriyaki Sauce Ingredients
This is a teriyaki sauce made of classic Japanese ingredients plus 2 secret ingredients that makes it stand out from other recipes.
- Soy sauce – use regular soy sauce (my favorite is Kikkoman). I don’t recommend dark soy sauce as it’s too strong or low sodium soy sauce as it’s too bland.
- Brown Sugar – I prefer it over white sugar when making teriyaki sauce.
- Mirin – is a popular condiment in Japan made of sweet rice wine. It adds sweetness and gives the signature aroma of teriyaki sauce. You can buy this in many Asian stores or online (link in recipe card).
- Ginger and Garlic – not many recipes use this when making teriyaki but I personally love the layer of flavor they add.
How to Make Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs
Here’s how I make it, plus lots of tips:
Part 1: Make the Meatballs
- Combine all the meatball ingredients in a large bowl.
- The mixture will be very sticky. Mix using a spatula or if you prefer using your hands use a food-safe snug-fit disposable glove. I even tried oiling my hands but it just didn’t work. The mixture stuck all over my hands.
- To easily shape the meatballs, use a small cookie scoop or 2 dinner spoons. Again, the mixture is just too sticky to be rolled in your hands.
Part 2: Make the Teriyaki Glaze
It’s as easy as combining all the ingredients in a small pan or pot. Bring it to simmer over medium heat and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved. Pour onto a small colander mesh to remove the garlic and ginger bits. We want the teriyaki sauce to be smooth and slightly thick.
Part 3: Cook the Meatballs
There are three ways to cook chicken meatballs–pan fry in a skillet or pan, cook in an air-fryer or bake in the oven. My favorite cooking method is air frying. It’s fast, easy, convenient, and mess-free. Of course, if I’m making a big batch, I use the oven.
Part 4: Glaze
To glaze, place the meatballs in a wide skillet and pour the teriyaki sauce. Simmer for a few minutes until the meatballs are completely coated with the sauce.
How to Cook Meatballs in the Air Fryer
Grease the air-fryer basket with cooking oil. Canola, avocado oil, and peanut oil are the best oils for air frying due to their high smoke point. Preheat for 3 minutes at 200c/390f.
Place the chicken meatballs in the air fryer in a single layer. Do not overlap. Spray or grease the balls with cooking oil to prevent them from drying. Tip: Cook in batches if necessary.
Air-fry for 10 to 11 minutes until cooked through. Shake the basket mid-way, around 6 minutes to brown the other side.
How to Cook Meatballs in the Oven
Start off by pre-heating the oven at 200c/400f. Due to its large size, it takes around 15 to 20 minutes to complete the pre-heating process. You can use this time to make the meatballs.
Grease the baking sheet with cooking oil or line with parchment paper. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer ½ inches apart. Spray or brush the meatballs with oil on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.
Tip: To brown the outside of the meatballs, switch the oven to BROIL mode in the last 5 minutes of baking.
Serve these meatballs as an appetizer and enjoy them as a main dish for dinner. Serve with a warm cup of rice, with a side of steamed vegetables like broccoli, cauliflower, green beans, or sauteed mushrooms.
More chicken recipes for dinner
- Pineapple Chicken Fried Rice Thai-Style
- Chicken Alfredo Pasta with Cream Cheese
- Air-fryer Cilantro Lime Chicken
- Chicken with Mushroom Soup Gravy
- Chicken Adobo Instant Pot (20 mins)
- Instant Pot Chicken Adobo
Teriyaki Glazed Chicken Meatballs
- 500 grams ground chicken
- ½ cup onion leaves minced
- 1/2 tsp garlic powder
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoon soy sauce
- 2 teaspoon oyster sauce
- 2 teaspoon sesame oil
- ½ teaspoon sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- black pepper to taste
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup mirin
- 1 tablespoon brown sugar add more if preferred
- 2 cloves garlic grated
- ½ teaspoon grated ginger
- 3 tablespoon water
- ½ teaspoon cornstarch
- toasted sesame seeds
- green onions/scallions finely chopped
- Combine all meatball ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Mix well using a spatula. If using your hands, use an oiled food-safe gloves as the mixture will be very sticky.
- Scoop 1 heaping tablespoon of the mixture for medium size balls. Roll into a ball using an oiled small ice cream scoop or oiled two dinner spoons. You should be able to make 18-20 balls. Transfer to a plate.
- Grease the air-fryer basket with cooking oil (see note 2). Preheat for 3 minutes at 200c/390f.
- Place the meatballs in the air fryer in a SINGLE LAYER. Do not overlap the meatballs. Spray or grease the balls with cooking oil to prevent them from drying. Note: cook in batches if necessary.
- Air-fry for 10 to 11 minutes until cooked through. Shake the basket mid-way, to brown the other side.
To Oven Bake:
- Preheat the oven to 200c/400f. Grease the baking sheet with cooking oil or line with parchment paper.
- Arrange the meatballs in a single layer ½ inches apart. Spray or brush the meatballs with oil on top. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until cooked through.
- Heat oil in a wide pan over medium heat. Add meatballs to the pan and fry until brown all over, about 15 minutes. Don't use high heat to prevent the meatballs from burning.
- Whisk all the ingredients in a small pot. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Bring to a simmer and stir until sauce thickens.
- When the chicken meatballs have finished cooking, pour the sauce over them and toss to evenly coat. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and slice green onions. Serve warm and enjoy!