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.
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!
- Ground chicken or turkey – Both work equally well, it just depends on your preference and accessibility. I prefer chicken, but turkey is often cheaper.
- 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.
- 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!
Pineapple Chicken or Turkey 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
- 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
- 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.