Spicy jerk chicken meatballs simmered in a sweet and perfectly sticky pineapple sauce are packed full of flavor and heavenly served over fluffy rice!
There’s a pretty good chance you’re going to want to go live in a pan of these jerk meatballs.
This is one flavor bomb of a skillet with the juiciest chicken meatballs that pack a punch of heat and are smothered in the most incredible pineapple sauce ever.
Heaven in a pan and even better over a mess of hot rice.
If you’ve got a thing for sweet with heat, these meatballs are quickly going to make their way onto your dinner rotation!
The best part is that you can adjust the heat to suit your spice preference. Seriously though, you do not want to miss out on these meatballs!
These Jerk Chicken Meatballs feature…
- Incredibly tender chicken meatballs spiced up with jerk seasonings.
- A sticky fresh pineapple sauce.
- Plenty of hot steamed rice for serving alongside meatballs.
Making the Jerk Chicken Meatballs
(scroll down to the bottom of post for the full recipe)
Ingredients You Will Need
- Ground chicken
- Habanero pepper
- Lime juice
- Soy sauce
- Vegetable oil
- Fresh pineapple
- Pineapple juice
- Brown sugar
Can I Substitute Another Meat?
Yes, you absolutely can! We’ve had success making these meatballs with ground beef and ground turkey.
We personally love the texture and lightness the chicken gives these meatballs, but another ground meat will work perfectly fine in its place.
Note that cook time may vary slightly depending on the type of meat you use.
Tips for Perfect Jerk Meatballs
- Use jerk spices in meatballs – 5-spice powder, nutmeg, and allspice give these meatballs that signature warm, spiced jerk flavor.
- Use fresh garlic and ginger – this adds an unmatchable flavor to the meatballs!
- Pan sear meatballs – this gets a jump start on cooking the meatballs and browns them nicely on the outside.
- Simmer sauce – allow the pineapple sauce to simmer until bubbly and thickened.
- Finish cooking meatballs in sauce – add the meatballs to the sauce and let them finish cooking over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally.
- Top meatballs with fresh cilantro – this adds a last little punch of herby flavor.
Try these ideas for a little bit of a different spin on these meatballs!
- Cut down on the heat – use a minced jalapeno in place of the habanero or skip the pepper entirely for a more mild meatball.
- Try another fruit – mandarin oranges or peaches would be a great substitute for the fresh pineapple.
- Use another meat – as mentioned above, another ground meat would work great in place of the ground chicken.
We recommend serving meatballs over a pile of fresh steamed rice for soaking up all that sauce with extra minced cilantro sprinkled on top.
You can use white rice, brown rice, jasmine rice, cauliflower rice, or even quinoa for serving alongside these meatballs.
These meatballs, y’all. They’re sweet, they’re perfectly saucy, they’ve got just the right level of heat, and they’re guaranteed to become your new go-to meatball.
We make these at least once every few weeks now for very good reason!
Save this recipe using the ‘save to recipe box’ button below. If you make it, please let us know! Leave a comment + star rating below, or take a photo and tag it on Instagram with #wholeandheavenlyoven.
More incredible meatball dishes to try next!
Pineapple Jerk Chicken Meatballs
Jerk Chicken Meatballs
- 1 small scotch bonnet (or habanero) pepper, cored
- 2 medium cloves garlic, peeled
- 1 teaspoon fresh minced ginger
- 1/2 cup lightly-packed fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 tablespoon lime juice
- 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
- 1 teaspoon 5-spice powder
- 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1 lb ground chicken
- 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- 3/4 cup pineapple juice
- 1/3 cup packed light brown sugar
- 3 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 tablespoon minced fresh ginger
- 1 medium clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch mixed with 1 tablespoon water
- Salt and pepper to taste
- 1 cup pineapple, diced in 1/4-in cubes
- Hot rice and additional cilantro for serving
Jerk Chicken Meatballs
- Combine pepper, garlic, ginger, cilantro, lime juice, soy sauce, allspice, 5-spice powder, nutmeg, salt, and pepper in a food processor. Pulse several times until mixture is very finely chopped.
- Scrape processed mixture into a large bowl and add chicken, panko, and egg. Gently knead until combined and form into 1-in meatballs.
- In a large skillet over medium-high heat, heat vegetable oil and swirl pan to evenly coat. Add meatballs to pan and sear on all sides, turning occasionally with a tongs until meatballs are golden brown. Transfer meatballs to a clean plate and set aside.
- Wipe pan clean and add pineapple juice, brown sugar, ketchup, ginger, garlic, and cornstarch-water mixture. Stir sauce over medium heat until bubbly and slightly thickened. Season sauce with salt and pepper to taste.
- Add meatballs and diced pineapple to sauce and toss until evenly coated. Cover pan and allow to simmer over medium-low heat 5-10 minutes until meatballs register 165F. Serve meatballs warm over hot rice with cilantro on top and enjoy!