Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbecue Meatballs

Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbecue Meatballs Recipe 🍍


  • 2 pounds frozen meatballs
  • 1 cup barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup pineapple juice
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes (optional)
  • 1 can (20 oz) pineapple chunks, drained
  • Fresh parsley for garnish (optional)


Prepare the Sauce:

  1. In a large bowl, whisk together the barbecue sauce, pineapple juice, brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, black pepper, and red pepper flakes (if using).

Combine Ingredients in Slow Cooker: 2. Place the frozen meatballs in the slow cooker. 3. Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs, ensuring they are well coated. 4. Add the drained pineapple chunks to the slow cooker, mixing gently to combine.

Cook: 5. Cover and cook on low for 4-5 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, until the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is thickened. 6. Stir the meatballs occasionally to ensure they are evenly coated with the sauce.

Garnish and Serve: 7. Garnish with fresh parsley before serving, if desired. 8. Serve warm and enjoy!

Additional Information:

  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 4-5 hours on low or 2-3 hours on high
  • Total Time: 4-5 hours 10 minutes or 2-3 hours 10 minutes
  • Servings: 6-8 servings

Secrets to help you achieve the perfect Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbecue Meatballs:

  1. Use High-Quality Meatballs: Whether store-bought or homemade, using high-quality meatballs ensures better texture and flavor.
  2. Sear Meatballs First: For extra flavor, sear the meatballs in a hot pan before adding them to the slow cooker. This step is optional but adds a nice caramelized exterior.
  3. Don’t Skip the Pineapple Juice: The pineapple juice adds a unique sweetness and tenderizes the meatballs. Make sure to include it.
  4. Balance Sweetness and Spice: Adjust the amount of brown sugar and red pepper flakes to balance the sweetness and spice according to your taste.
  5. Use Thick Barbecue Sauce: A thick barbecue sauce will coat the meatballs better and create a richer sauce.
  6. Fresh Pineapple Chunks: Use fresh pineapple chunks if possible for a more vibrant flavor. If using canned, make sure to drain them well.
  7. Soy Sauce Quality: Use a good-quality soy sauce for a richer umami flavor.
  8. Even Coating: Stir the meatballs occasionally to ensure they are evenly coated in the sauce.
  9. Avoid Overcooking: Monitor the cooking time to avoid overcooking, which can make the meatballs dry.
  10. Low and Slow: Cooking on low heat for a longer time helps develop deeper flavors and keeps the meatballs tender.
  11. Thicken the Sauce: If the sauce is too thin, thicken it with a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water) during the last 30 minutes of cooking.
  12. Use Fresh Garlic and Onion: Freshly minced garlic and onion can enhance the flavor compared to powdered versions.
  13. Add a Dash of Vinegar: A small splash of apple cider vinegar can add a nice tangy balance to the sweetness.
  14. Garnish with Fresh Herbs: Garnish with fresh parsley, cilantro, or green onions for a pop of color and fresh flavor.
  15. Adjust Saltiness: Taste the sauce before serving and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper if needed.
  16. Serve with Accompaniments: Serve the meatballs with rice, mashed potatoes, or crusty bread to soak up the delicious sauce.
  17. Add Bell Peppers: For added color and flavor, throw in some diced bell peppers halfway through the cooking process.
  18. Keep Meatballs Uniform: Ensure all meatballs are the same size for even cooking.
  19. Freezing Meatballs: If using homemade meatballs, freeze them before adding to the slow cooker to help them hold their shape during cooking.
  20. Let Stand Before Serving: Let the meatballs stand in the slow cooker, with the heat off, for about 10-15 minutes before serving to allow the flavors to meld.

By following these secrets, you’ll be able to create the perfect Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbecue Meatballs every time. Enjoy your flavorful and tender meatballs!

FAQs about Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbecue Meatballs

  1. Can I use homemade meatballs instead of frozen?
    • Yes, you can use homemade meatballs. Just ensure they are fully cooked before adding them to the slow cooker.
  2. What type of barbecue sauce should I use?
    • Use your favorite barbecue sauce. Sweet or tangy varieties work well with the pineapple.
  3. Can I use fresh pineapple instead of canned?
    • Yes, fresh pineapple can be used. Just make sure to cut it into chunks.
  4. How do I make the sauce thicker?
    • If the sauce is too thin, you can thicken it by cooking uncovered for the last 30 minutes or by adding a cornstarch slurry (1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water).
  5. Can I add vegetables to this dish?
    • Yes, bell peppers and onions can be added for extra flavor and texture.
  6. Is it okay to use low-sodium soy sauce?
    • Yes, low-sodium soy sauce can be used to reduce the salt content.
  7. Can I make this dish spicier?
    • Yes, increase the amount of red pepper flakes or add a few dashes of hot sauce.
  8. How long can I keep leftovers?
    • Store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.
  9. Can I freeze the leftovers?
    • Yes, the meatballs can be frozen for up to 2 months. Thaw and reheat before serving.
  10. What can I serve with these meatballs?
    • Serve with rice, mashed potatoes, or as an appetizer with toothpicks.
  11. Do I need to defrost the meatballs first?
    • No, you can add the frozen meatballs directly to the slow cooker.
  12. Can I use turkey meatballs instead?
    • Yes, turkey meatballs can be used as a leaner alternative.
  13. What if I don’t have pineapple juice?
    • You can use apple juice or orange juice as a substitute.
  14. How can I make this recipe gluten-free?
    • Use gluten-free soy sauce and check that your barbecue sauce and other ingredients are gluten-free.
  15. Can I use honey instead of brown sugar?
    • Yes, honey can be used as a substitute for brown sugar.
  16. Do I need to stir the meatballs while cooking?
    • Stirring occasionally helps ensure even coating and heating, but it’s not strictly necessary.
  17. Can I cook this recipe on the stovetop?
    • Yes, you can cook it on the stovetop over medium heat, simmering until the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is thickened.
  18. Can I add ginger for extra flavor?
    • Yes, adding a teaspoon of grated fresh ginger can enhance the flavor.
  19. What can I use instead of parsley for garnish?
    • Cilantro or green onions can be used as alternative garnishes.
  20. Can I make this recipe vegan?
    • Use vegan meatballs and ensure all other ingredients are vegan-friendly.

By following these tips and answers, you can create the perfect Slow Cooker Pineapple Barbecue Meatballs that will be a hit at any gathering! Enjoy your delicious and easy meal!