This Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs recipe is delicious! It is easy to make and only takes a few minutes to throw in the crock pot. When it’s ready, serve it with steamed rice and vegetables on the side for dinner. And I love that this could be a great freezer meal to have on hand for busy days. Prep the ingredients and place it in re-sealable freezer bags, then on days when you know you won’t have a lot of time for dinner, grab it out of the freezer and dump it into the crock pot.
I like to make my own meatballs, but on busy days I use store-bought meatballs. We’ve tried a lot of meatballs and our family favorite is the Farm Rich Italian Style Meatballs. They are big and have a delicious flavor. If you want to make your own homemade meatballs, which are also very good, the recipe to make homemade meatballs is below.
If you want more freezer meals like this Hawaiian Meatballs recipe, check out these 7 Make Ahead Freezer Meals here.
Before you make the homemade meatballs or the Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs recipe, here are some questions and answers that might be helpful.
CAN YOU PREP MEATBALLS AHEAD OF TIME?
Yes you can. Make and cook the homemade meatballs the day before then place them in the fridge. You could also freeze them for 2-3 months. When ready to make this Hawaiian Meatball recipe, take the meatballs out of the fridge or freezer and put them in the crock pot with the other ingredients.
You can also freeze uncooked meatballs in the freezer for up to one month. Just be sure to thaw them in the fridge before cooking.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have time for the crock pot or you forgot to put the ingredients in the crock pot that morning, you can cook this recipe on the stove. With fully cooked meatballs, the recipe just needs heated up and allowed to simmer for 5-10 minutes.
If this recipe was made into a freezer meal, cooking it on the stove also works. Just thaw the recipe in the microwave and then transfer the ingredients to a pot and cook it on the stove till heated through simmering for 5-10 minutes.
DO MEATBALLS FREEZE WELL? AND SHOULD YOU COOK MEATBALLS BEFORE FREEZING THEM?
The nice thing about freezing meatballs is that you can freeze them either uncooked or cooked. And meatballs freeze great. Uncooked ground meat is freezer-safe for up to three to four months, and cooked ground beef is safe for two to three months.
It’s up to you whether you want to cook meatballs before freezing them. The nice thing about having cooked meatballs in the freezer is that it’s faster to get dinner on the table if you can pull out the already cooked meatballs.
Before freezing uncooked or cooked meatballs, you’ll want to flash freeze them first before placing them in the freezer. This helps to prevent the meatballs from clumping together. To flash freeze, place the uncooked (or cooked) meatballs onto a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, then place the baking sheet in the freezer for 1-2 hours. Once the meatballs are frozen, transfer them to a re-sealable freezer bag, label the outside with the contents and date and place the bag in the freezer.
HOW DO YOU COOK FROZEN RAW MEATBALLS?
Take the frozen raw meatballs out of the freezer and place the bag in the refrigerator to thaw overnight. For THAWED meatballs that are about 1-inch in diameter, place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
If you don’t have time to thaw the meatballs in the fridge the night before, you can still cook frozen raw meatballs in the oven. However, raw meatballs will need 5-10 minutes longer in the oven than thawed ones. So for FROZEN RAW meatballs that are about 1-inch in diameter, place them on a baking sheet with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.
Be sure to make sure they reach a safe internal temperature of 165 degrees. If you don’t have a meat thermometer, you can check if the meatballs are done by cutting the meatball open and making sure there are no traces of pink inside or the inside of the meatball is really hot to the touch.
Here’s how to make Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs, as well as how to turn it into a freezer meal.
PRO TIP: If you don’t have time to thaw the Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs in the fridge, you can place all of the FROZEN contents of the freezer meal bag into the crock pot and cook it on low for 6-8 hours. There’s no need to thaw it when it cooks in the crock pot that long.
Slow Cooker Hawaiian Meatballs
- 1-2 pounds Farm Rich Italian Meatballs Precooked and frozen
- 20 ounce pineapple tidbits can Set juice aside to use later
- 1 green bell pepper diced
- 1 cup brown sugar
- 2 Tbsp cornstarch
- 2/3 cup vinegar
- 2 Tbsp soy sauce
- Place the meatballs, drained pineapple tidbits, and diced bell pepper in the crock pot.
- In a bowl, mix the brown sugar and cornstarch. Add in the pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Mix well.
- Pour the sauce on top of the meatballs.
- Cook in crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or on low for 6-8 hours. Serve with rice.
- TO MAKE A FREEZER MEAL:
- Place the meatballs, drained pineapple tidbits and diced bell pepper in a large gallon-size Ziploc bag.
- In a bowl, mix the brown sugar and cornstarch. Add in the pineapple juice, vinegar, and soy sauce. Mix well. Pour the sauce into a small Ziploc bag and seal.
- Place the small bag of sauce inside the large bag with the meatballs. Seal the large bag.
- Write the date on the bag and label it with instructions to cook everything in a crock pot on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8 hours. Place bag in freezer.
Here’s the recipe to make delicious homemade meatballs.
How to Make Homemade Meatballs:
- 1 lb. ground beef or ground turkey
- ⅔ cup cracker crumbs or bread crumbs
- ⅔ cup onion, chopped
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup milk
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- 1 teaspoon ginger
- To make the meatballs, mix together the ground beef/turkey, cracker crumbs, onion, egg, milk, salt, pepper, and ginger.
- Roll them into 1-inch diameter balls and place on a baking sheet with parchment paper. Bake at 375 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
- The meatballs can be prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge or freezer.