Slow cooker Hawaiian meatballs are made with frozen meatballs, canned pineapple, peppers, onions, and a sweet and tangy sauce. This dump-and-go crockpot recipe makes the perfect appetizer or a main dish that the whole family will love!
You’ve probably noticed that my husband is a fan of meatballs based on how many meatball recipes I have at this point.
Sometimes I make my own homemade meatballs but there are times when life calls for a shortcut. Enter pre-made meatballs.
These tangy hawaiian meatballs are cooked in your favorite bbq sauce, brown sugar, soy sauce, and vinegar. The chunks of juicy pineapple add a Hawaiian flavor and the bell peppers and onions give it extra flavor and texture.
Everyone loves the sweet and sour flavor combination so these are always the first appetizers to go!
They’re great for potlucks, game day, family gatherings, or even just busy weeknights. You’ll always find a reason to serve these babies!
Why you’ll love this slow cooker hawaiian meatballs recipe
Minutes of prep – A true set-it-and-forget-it type of recipe, which makes these meatballs great for even the busiest days!
Best flavor – Crockpot Hawaiian meatballs are made with a sweet, tangy, flavorful sauce coating tender juicy meatballs which makes them utterly addicting.
Great appetizer – This recipe serves about 8 people for a family dinner, but you could easily double this party food to serve even more!
Equipment you’ll need
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe, why you need them, and possible substitutions. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card with measurements.
- Frozen Meatballs – I use a beef/pork blend (as shown in the pictures) but you can use whatever kind you like. Turkey, chicken, or plant-based can also be used.
- Pineapple Chunks – Canned chunks are used for convenience and will need to be drained of the pineapple juice. I also find they’re usually sweeter than fresh pineapple, but if you have fresh cut sweet pineapple, use those chunks instead.
- Frozen Peppers & Onions – Again, for the sake of shortcuts, frozen is where it’s at. Of course, you can chop fresh peppers and onions if you’d prefer.
- BBQ Sauce – Kraft Hickory BBQ sauce is what I use but you use your favorite sauce.
- Soy Sauce – Low sodium soy sauce gets added for a salty, briny, savory element that pairs well with all things meat and sweet!
- White Vinegar – Provides the acid and tang needed to cut through the sweetness of the crockpot Hawaiian meatballs. It’s what provides the sour to the sweet.
- Brown Sugar – Adds a caramel color and flavor and of course the sugary element in the crockpot Hawaiian meatballs.
- Minced Garlic – Extra aromatics deliver extra taste! Since we’re using frozen meatballs we can’t add garlic to the meat mixture, so we’ll add it to the sauce. Make sure it’s minced, not chopped, otherwise, you’ll be finding bits of garlic in the sauce.
- Chopped Scallions – For garnish. Adds a great pop of green!
How to make Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs
This section shows you how to make this recipe, with process photos showing the steps to help you visualize it. For full instructions, including amounts and temperatures, see the recipe card below.
- Step One: Add the package of frozen meatballs, drained pineapple chunks, and frozen peppers and onions to the basin of the slow cooker.
- Step Two: In a mixing bowl, whisk the BBQ sauce, soy sauce, vinegar, brown sugar, and garlic together to form a sauce.
- Step Three: Pour it over the meatballs and stir everything making sure all the meatballs are evenly and well coated. You also want to make sure the meatballs are evenly distributed across the bottom of the slow cooker.
- Step Four: Cover with a lid and cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours. You can cook on low for 5-6 hours if you need the extra time. Garnish with chopped scallions just before serving. Enjoy!
What to serve with Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs
For parties, the easiest way to serve these is to serve crockpot Hawaiian meatballs right out of the slow cooker. That way, all you need to do is provide plates, napkins, and forks and everyone can serve themselves.
If you want to get fancy, you can make a platter of meatball appetizers. Use a toothpick to skewer one ball and one pineapple chunk on top and arrange them so that the toothpick is sticking up. That way people can grab-n-go.
If it’s a meal, serving them over white rice, fried rice, or even coconut rice would be awesome. All you’d need otherwise is a simple side dish like a coleslaw or other salad or vegetable and you’ve got a complete meal.
And for those that can’t get enough pineapple, a pineapple upside down dump cake is a great way to top off a meal!
Tips & Suggestions 🍍
- To add heat to these crockpot Hawaiian meatballs, add 1 teaspoon of red pepper flakes.
- No need to thaw the meatballs or the peppers and onions first. Dump them in frozen.
- If making your own meatballs from scratch, use a small cookie scoop so that they’re no larger than the frozen meatballs. I would also brown them first to get a bit of that extra flavor on the outside.
- When using fresh bell peppers, just remember green pepper is not as sweet as red. Orange and yellow are sweeter than green.
- While you’re at it, stock up on a large bag of frozen meatballs (hello Costco) and BBQ sauce. You’ll never be out of quick and easy last-minute dinner ideas again!
How to reheat and store Crockpot Hawaiian Meatballs
How to store leftovers
Keep whatever’s left of your crockpot Hawaiian meatballs stored in an airtight container in the fridge.
How long will slow cooker Hawaiian meatballs last in the fridge?
You can enjoy leftovers for up to 4 days. Kids love these as an afterschool snack or turned into a meatball sub. You can even use Hawaiian rolls and use a meatball or two to make sliders!
Can I freeze meatballs?
Certainly. Transfer them to a freezer-safe container or bag and keep them frozen for up to 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight, or heat through from frozen.
How to reheat crock pot Hawaiian meatballs
Dump them back into the crockpot to heat through, or the skillet, or the microwave. These aren’t fussy!
If I don’t have BBQ sauce, can I use ketchup instead?
Actually, yes! I suggest adding some Worcestershire sauce in there too to add a depth of flavor, but you can certainly use ketchup if that’s what you have on hand.
Where can I get the best frozen meatballs?
Trader Joe’s and Costco are usually your best bet for not only great-tasting meatballs but also larger quantities. Other than that, the freezer section of your grocery store should carry them.
It can be trial and error trying to find the ones you and your family love. Just make sure to read the ingredients to determine what kind of meat it’s made from.
How can I thicken the sauce a bit?
If you like your sauce even thicker, stir in a bit of cornstarch to the sauce. A cornstarch slurry of cornstarch and water can be added once everything is done cooking. Stir the sauce to make sure it dissolves.
Crock Pot Hawaiian Meatballs
Need more meatball recipes? Try these:
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