Okay, okay – I have to start this post by addressing the title of the recipe. I know this is not really Hawaiian.

My son, Christopher, actually went to Hawaii last year on a mission trip. He LOVED Hawaii! He loved the people. He loved the land. He loved the food.

The group went to work on a shelter for victims of trafficking, renovating parts of it, and they also worked to plant an entire banana grove for a mission group there. They worked REALLY hard every day, so thank goodness they had the beauty and fun of Maui to enjoy after work. The best part is that EVERY photo looks like a postcard!

Christopher went snorkeling and saw a humongous sea turtle. They went to a waterfall and swam there. Of course, while they were swimming, a dog found Christopher and came to be loved on. Dogs always seem to find my kids and ask to be loved. My daddy is the same way. Animals know a good person when they see one!

He was amazed that you can find fresh, delicious food EVERYWHERE – even at gas stations! Poke bowls, musubi, sushi. It was all made with local and fresh-caught ingredients. And it was all delicious! My boy won’t even touch canned pineapple anymore. He says once you’ve eaten it fresh off the plant, you don’t ever want it any other way.

So when I tell you that I know this isn’t really a Hawaiian dish, trust me. I know. Christopher ate it and liked it, but after the first bite, he side-eyed me and said, “Mama, you know this isn’t really Hawaiian, right?”

Yes, I knew. I called it Hawaiian meatballs because the meatballs are cooked in a pineapple-juice-based teriyaki.

Yes, that’s a stretch. You can call it whatever you want.

Just be sure to call it “dinner”!

Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs


  • 3 pounds of frozen, precooked meatballs
  • 1/2 cup of low-sodium soy sauce
  • 1 cup of pineapple juice
  • 2/3 cup of beef broth
  • 2/3 cup of brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon of minced garlic
  • 2 teaspoons of freshly-minced ginger (I use a tube of ginger paste)
  • 2 teaspoons of sesame oil
  • 1 tablespoon of cornstarch


  • Pour meatballs into a slow cooker.
  • In a bowl, combine all other ingredients by whisking until the cornstarch is dissolved and no longer visible.
  • Pour mixture over the meatballs.
  • Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  • Serve over rice.

Well Duh #1: I used a family-sized bag of meatballs. And you can use turkey or chicken meatballs, if you’d rather. DO NOT use the Italian-flavored meatballs. Those flavors will CLASH with these. Dark things will happen. Just don’t.

Well Duh #2: If you get close to the end of your cook time and the liquid is too…liquidy, there’s an easy fix. You really want it to be thick and glossy. Just stir another tablespoon of cornstarch into a half cup of water until it dissolved. Then stir it into your meatballs and turn the heat to high. In about 30 minutes, it will be thick and perfect!

Well Duh #3: I garnished with very finely-chopped parsley and black and white sesame seeds. That, of course, is optional.

Well Duh #4: Want to make your own meatballs? That’s a great idea, if you have the time. Try this recipe, but don’t add the sauce! https://mamacanilickthespoon.com/ricotta-meatballs/

Well Duh #5: Using your slow cooker in the summer is GREAT way to keep from heating up the kitchen! I even made the rice in the microwave, so there was no extra heat at all!

When I tell you the tribe loved this recipe, I’m not kidding! Everybody had a big bowl of rice and meatballs and I had enough leftover to put two containers in the fridge. This recipe also freezes beautifully!

Hawaiian or not, this stuff is delicious!

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