Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs
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Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs - Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free. Easy 30-minute meal! Air fryer or oven.

These Whole30 Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs were a fast favorite. Meatballs are a great family-friendly and party-friendly food. This version was inspired by an Instagram live with Melissa Urban. Someone asked how to get better at creating recipes. She said it’s helpful if you learn flavor combinations that go together well, such as chicken and pineapple. My boys love both, so I knew it was a flavor profile I needed to play with.

Why We Love Them

There’s so much to love about these Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs. This recipe check all the boxes! The meatballs are Whole30, gluten-free, dairy-free, egg-free, nut-free, Paleo and Keto.

They are freezer-friendly and a kid-favorite. My boys said they tasted just like the ones they loved from the store but without gluten or added sugar. 

They are a 30-minute meal perfect for for a busy weeknight. I love making them in the air fryer. And, they can also be made in the oven or on the stovetop. 

These meatballs have a delicious sauce that only has 4 ingredients. Yet, it’s sweet and savory and tastes like takeout.

Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs - Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free. Easy 30-minute meal! Air fryer or oven.

Love 30-minute meals? 

I feel like 30-minute meals are all that I have time for most weeknights. Here are some of my other Whole30 family-friendly favorites:

Want more Whole30 30-minute meals? You can find 20 of our favorites here!

Ingredients

  • Ground chicken or turkey – Both work equally well, it just depends on your preference and accessibility. I prefer chicken, but turkey is often cheaper. Can’t find ground chicken near you or it’s expensive? Make it at home! Read this blog post to learn how EASY that can be!
  • Canned crushed pineapple – You can find this in most canned fruit aisles. Look for something that is in 100% juice to keep it Whole30 compatible. And make sure it’s “crushed” pineapple – this will blend into the meatballs better. You will use the juice in the recipe too. I use one of my reusable produce bags to help squeeze out all the juice. Getting out all the juice will also help these meatballs hold together better. 
  • Salt – Just regular table salt.
  • Paprika 

Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs - Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free. Easy 30-minute meal! Air fryer or oven.

  • Onion powder and garlic powder – Either “powder” or “granulated” will work. I prefer granulated garlic and onion lately, but both work well flavor-wise.
  • Coconut or avocado oil, if using stovetop method.
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Pineapple juice – Use the drained pineapple juice from the can of crushed pineapple. This will give your sauce an awesome sweetness.
  • Minced fresh garlic – You can mince it yourself, or buy minced garlic in the produce section that is already jarred
  • Coconut aminos – Coconut aminos are a soy-free variation of soy sauce. Full of flavor and great for sauces!

 

This recipe is a sample from my cookbook Whole Food for Your Family, which has 100+ budget- and family-friendly recipes. You can learn more or grab a copy of my cookbook HERE!

whole food cookbook

Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs - Whole30, Paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, nut-free, egg-free. Easy 30-minute meal! Air fryer or oven.

Pineapple Chicken or Turkey Meatballs

Autumn @wholefoodfor7
An easy family-friendly Whole30 main dish that comes together in 30 minutes!
4.97 from 30 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Servings 20 meatballs
Calories 51 kcal

Ingredients
 

Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken or turkey
  • 1/2 cup canned crushed pineapple from a 14oz can drained and juices reserved
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 2 tablespoons coconut or avocado oil, if using stovetop method

Sauce

  • 2 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh garlic
  • 1 cup pineapple juice reserved from canned crushed pineapple
  • 1/4 cup coconut aminos
  • 1-2 teaspoon cassava or arrowroot flour, or potato starch optional, to thicken

Instructions
 

  • If using the oven method, preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and a cooling rack, if you have one.
  • Make the meatballs: In a medium bowl, combine the ground meat, drained crushed pineapple, salt, paprika, onion powder, and garlic powder. Mix well.
  • Shape the meat mixture into 1 1/2-tablespoon balls.
  • OVEN METHOD: Place the shaped meatballs on the cooling rack or parchment paper. Bake for 25 minutes, or until browned and no longer pink in the center.
  • STOVETOP: In a large saucepan, melt the coconut oil or add the avocado oil over medium heat. Place as many meatballs as will comfortably fit into the pan, making sure each has some space around it. Cook until the meatballs are browned on all sides and are no longer pink in the center, about 15 minutes.
  • AIRFRYER: Lay the meatballs in a single layer in the basket. Cook for 15 minutes at 350 degrees, or until they are cooke through with no pink in the center.
  • MAKE THE SAUCE: While meatballs are cooking, make the sauce in a medium pot. Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 2-3 minutes. Stir in the pineapple juice and coconut aminos. Increase the heat, bring the mixture to a boil, and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 20 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced to 1/2 cup. You can use sauce as a thin glaze or thicken -> OPTIONAL: Combine 1 teaspoon flour with 1 teaspoon water and add to sauce. Cook on medium heat until thickens. Repeat if needed to thicken.
  • When the meatballs are done, toss them with the sauce and serve.

Video

Notes

TO FREEZE: Freeze in a single layer on a cooling rack or baking sheet lined with parchment. Once frozen, store in the freezer in a sealed container for up to 3 months. 
Can't find ground chicken near you or it's expensive? Make it at home! Read this blog post to learn how EASY that can be!

Nutrition

Calories: 51kcalCarbohydrates: 3gProtein: 4gFat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 0.4gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0.01gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 140mgPotassium: 145mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 28IUVitamin C: 2mgCalcium: 5mgIron: 0.3mg
Keyword budget-friendly, dairy-free, easy, gluten-free, kid-friendly, main dish, paleo, whole30
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

63 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    Another instant winner for dinner! Easy to make, comes together quickly. No special ingredients. Family loved. Will make again and again.

    Reply
    • “Instant winner” – I love that! Glad you found it easy to make, with basic ingredients, and a family hit. So happy it’s one you are already planning on making again. Thank you for the rave review!

      Reply
  2. 4 stars
    These were really yummy and all of the family enjoyed them. Will definitely make again. Not hard at all either which is a must for me haha.

    Reply
    • I love an easy yummy dinner option! Glad they are ones you want to make again. Thank you for the review!

      Reply
  3. 5 stars
    My girls loved these! What’s the best way to reheat the meatballs once frozen? Thank you!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad your girls loved this recipe – yay! And great question. A few ways you can reheat them: in the microwave (quick and easy), in the air fryer, or on the stove. For all of those methods, use a lower heat – the lower heat will allow it to heat up without burning due to the sauce. Enjoy!

      Reply
  4. 5 stars
    My family loved this recipe. One pound of meat made 23 medium sized meatballs. It was super easy to make. I cooked them in the oven for about 20 minutes, but probably could have done less time. Next time I would double the recipe for my family of 4 because we wanted more! I might even triple the sauce recipe because we love sauce and I drizzled it over our cauliflower rice too.

    Reply
    • YESSSS that this was a family hit your family wanted more of. Glad you found it easy and just couldn’t get enough of the sauce. Thank you!

      Reply
  5. 5 stars
    I made these from your cookbook last night and not only was it quick and easy, they turned out amazing!! So delicious, great recipe!!

    Reply
    • YESSSS that these were easy, quick, AND delicious!! So happy this recipe delivered for you. Thank you so much for the review!

      Reply
  6. 5 stars
    Made these last night for my family, they all agreed and decided next time: 1. I Double, maybe even triple the recipe.( one of my boys went back for THIRDS) and 2. This should be a weekly staple.
    Fantastic recipe, easy to follow and a much needed “new” meal for our family.

    Reply
    • I love that after the first time making this recipe, your family is ready to make it regularly and in mass quantities, lol – awesome! Happy to hear it was a win and thank you for the review!

      Reply
  7. Sooooo delish! I could drink the sauce! I served these with burnt broccoli and rice and it was perfect!

    Reply
    • I’m so happy you loved it! Thank you for the review : )

      Reply
  8. 5 stars
    I made this recipe with ground turkey and paired it with white rice, everyone loved them! So easy and fast to put together. One of our new favorite quick meals.

    Reply
    • I’m so happy you found this one fast, easy, and delicious! Yay for an easy family dinner win! Thank you for the review : ).

      Reply
  9. 5 stars
    Delicious! Made these last night. What a hit. So easy. The sweetness hit just right. We made these with ground turkey and served with almond green beans. Will definitely be making again soon. Saw some other comments about a double batch and freezing. Wish I had read those first, then I could have had some leftovers!

    Reply
    • I’m so glad this recipe was a hit! You know it’s good when not only do you want to make it again, you are ready to double batch. Thank you for the review!

      Reply
  10. My family isn’t pineapple lovers, but I am! I decided to make this and be a little sneaky about it. They all LOVED it though! We are having this one again for sure!

    Reply
    • I love that you snuck the pineapple in on them, lol, and that they still loved it! YES that it is one you want to have again. Thank you!

      Reply
  11. 5 stars
    These were fabulous, and my granddaughter ate them with toothpicks, and somehow that made them even more delicious! lol

    Reply
    • Haha, I love that the toothpicks just made it all the more enjoyable. So happy you and your granddaughter enjoyed them! Thank you for the review!

      Reply
  12. 5 stars
    What a fantastic recipe! Enjoyed every bite as did my family. Another one in the rotation!

    Reply
    • Wahoo that these were good to the last bite! I’m so happy it is one you want to slide into the regular rotation – love it. Thank you!

      Reply
  13. 5 stars
    I just tried this recipe with the ground chicken and it is amazing!! Winner winner chicken dinner!!!

    Reply
    • WOOT WOOT! Happy this was a winner – so glad you love this one. Thank you!

      Reply
      • 5 stars
        We had no leftovers, and it’s just two of us in the house!! These were so good and so easy. I cooked my meatballs on the stovetop, and I ended up adding the sauce to the skillet with the meatballs, and then mixed my cooked green beans in with the meatballs and sauce. We then had that mixture over white rice and it was SO GOOD. I will definitely make it again. I’m thinking I could make this even easier and quicker by skipping the meatballs and just doing a ground turkey and pineapple skillet.

        Reply
        • I love that this was an easy meal you two devoured! Such a great simple and delicious one. And I love hearing your thoughts on how you made it even simpler. Thanks for sharing and for the review!

          Reply
  14. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious!! They’ve become a regular in our house

    Reply
    • That’s an awesome combo – easy + delicious! I’m so happy this one checked both boxes and now you enjoy on the regular. Thank you for the review!

      Reply
  15. 5 stars
    This recipe is super easy, healthy and tasty! I have some picky eaters in my mouse and everyone loved these, so much so that I didn’t have any for leftovers for work the next day. I guess I will double the recipe next time! These will definitely be on rotation in our house now.

    Reply
    • Picky eater approved? That is the best kind of win! I love that they just devoured it and now you are ready to not only make it again but double-batch it. Thanks for the review!

      Reply
  16. 5 stars
    This was DELICIOUS!!! My only complaint is I didn’t double the recipe for more meatballs! It really does only take 30 minutes and it is done; I will be adding it to my families rotation of meals.

    Reply
    • WOOT WOOT that you found this one to truly be quick, easy, and delicious! Thrilled it is going into the regular rotation. Thank you!

      Reply
  17. 5 stars
    I make this at least twice a month alternating between ground chicken and ground turkey. It is quick and always tastes delicious. They also reheat well, which is important for me because I struggle with enjoying leftovers!

    Reply
    • I’m so happy these are delicious enough that they are enjoyed as leftovers as well – that’s a sure sign of an awesome recipe. Thrilled you make these on the regular! Thanks so much for the review 🙂

      Reply
  18. 5 stars
    One of our new favorites! Can’t believe they are whole30!

    Reply
    • Gotta love a recipe that’s nourishing AND delicious! I’m so happy it’s a new favorite. Thanks for the review!

      Reply
  19. 5 stars
    My toddler has been on a typical “food strike” and she ate 6 of these and asked for more!! So easy and flavorful and perfect for my whole family during my January whole30

    Reply
    • Oh man, feeding kids can feel so complicated sometimes! It makes my momma heart happy to hear this one was such a hit with your family and especially toddler. YES! I hope it’s one your family will come back to again and again. Thanks for the review!

      Reply
  20. 5 stars
    So yummy! And, better yet, so easy! Thank you for another excellent, family favorite.

    Reply
  21. 5 stars
    Autumn, you did it again!! Another one to add to my recipe arsenal of epic recipes!! You are a true life saver!

    Reply
    • WAHOO! I love it when one of my recipes goes into the regular rotation. Such a big compliment. Thank you so much!

      Reply
  22. 5 stars
    These were a hit in my family! I wasn’t sure how my husband was going to react because he can be weird about cooked pineapple, but he was the biggest fan. Even got my 9yr old on board! #winning Adding these to our rotation of favorites to make again!

    Reply
    • WOOT WOOT! Gotta happy dance when one of my recipes makes it into the family rotation. I’m thrilled to hear it and that it won everyone over, even the hubby. YES. Thanks so much for the review!

      Reply
  23. 5 stars
    These were soooooo good and so easy! I loved that there were a few options depending what you wanted to do! And the sauce was just so good I could have drank it!

    Reply
    • Oooo yes, that sauce is SO delicious! We won’t judge if you drank it, lol ; ). And thrilled this was a delicious, easy, flexible win for you. Thanks for the review!

      Reply
  24. 5 stars
    So dang good and easy! I made this for my family and it went over so well! My toddler loved it. My grandmas asked for the recipe she enjoyed it so much!

    Reply
    • WAHOO! Love that it was so enjoyed by everyone from the toddler to grandma. You know it’s good when grandma wants the recipe. SO GREAT. Thank you for the review!

      Reply
  25. 5 stars
    This is a family favorite and on repeat in our home. Perfect for make ahead or meal prep so great for busy weeks or lunches with leftovers (if there are any…I started making double batches when I wanted these for lunches). Highly recommend giving this one a try!

    Reply
    • WAHOO! I’m so so happy this is one you love and make regularly! And agreed on double-batching. Thanks for the review!

      Reply
  26. 5 stars
    My husband and I have started getting the meal subscription and have decided we would at least try the recipes once. This one surprised us both. It was delicious!

    Reply
    • I’m so thrilled this one won you over! Happy it was enjoyed. Thanks for the review!

      Reply
  27. 5 stars
    Everyone in the family loved these! Easy, healthy and delicious!

    Reply
    • YES! So happy it was an easy family hit! Thanks for the review : )

      Reply
  28. 5 stars
    These are amazing! I have made these a few times for my family now and they are now a new family favorite!

    They are sweet and savory. I made them with a side of rice. Can’t wait to try another recipe. Thank you Autumn 💜

    Reply
    • I LOVE that these are a new family favorite! YAAAY!

      Reply
  29. 5 stars
    I just made these tonight for dinner for my husband and I and they were absolutely amazing! We eat both ground chicken and turkey but something about pineapple and chicken just called to me. Just the perfect amount of sweetness from the pineapple gives these meatballs they’re fabulous flavor! These will definitely be on rotation for sure!

    Reply
    • WOOT WOOT! So happy you loved these and want them on the rotation – thank you!

      Reply
      • 5 stars
        I made these tonight for my husband and I ,they were absolutely perfect! I made them with ground turkey, paired with rice cauliflower it was a quick, easy made from scratch meal that was perfect for a summer day. We will definitely make these again. Thank you so so much!!

        Reply
        • So happy this was an easy dinner win! Thank you!

          Reply
  30. 5 stars
    Hey Autumn, I made this last night for my family and they loved it. I made it early in the day so dinner was done and just warmed it up for dinner time. I have a 6 yo, 3yo, and 1yo and it has felt impossible to cook a meal that the whole family likes, and this one did it! I served with @pinchofyum’s coconut rice, some steamed broccoli and a can of pineapple. 🥳

    Reply
    • HOORAY! I’m so happy it was a family win – I know how hard it can be to find those. Woot woot!!

      Reply

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