Skip the takeout! These Slow Cooker Chinese Meatballs and crisp vegetables simmer in a thick, sweet pineapple-soy glaze for an easy dinner recipe with just 15 minutes of prep. It's a perfect family-friendly meal on your busiest days.
I have yet to meet a child that doesn't love meatballs, so a bag of frozen bite-size turkey or beef meatballs has become a staple in my kitchen. Whether I use them in Dump-and-Bake Meatball Subs, in Weeknight Meatball and Tortellini Soup, or in my 3-Ingredient Slow Cooker Barbecue Meatballs, they're a versatile option that takes the guesswork out of dinnertime.
And now, I've got one more delicious option to add to my list: these Slow Cooker Chinese Meatballs with bell peppers, onion, and rice!
You know what I love most about this simple Crock Pot dinner? It doesn't taste like a slow cooker recipe!
The sauce is thick and rich (not watered down and thin), and the vegetables are crisp and bright (not soft and mushy)!
After years of testing and re-testing slow cooker dinners, I've learned a few good tricks along the way.
Here are a couple of my favorite tips for the perfect Slow Cooker Chinese Meatballs:
- Use a really thick, flavorful sauce to start with, because the water from the condensation in the pot will thin the sauce as it cooks.
- Wait to add your vegetables during the final hour of cooking time. This way they stay crisp-tender, rather than becoming too soft.
While the pineapple-soy sauce glaze requires an extra few minutes in a saucepan, it's TOTALLY worth the effort. The sweet-and-savory combination is the key to this delicious, flavorful dish!
By simmering the sauce on the stovetop before it goes into the slow cooker, you get an incredibly thick, rich glaze that coats the meat and vegetables and gives the dinner that Chinese restaurant-takeout taste!
And please, please, please -- don't skip the sesame oil! It gives the dish a classic Asian flavor that you just can't duplicate with a different oil.
Serving Suggestions for these Slow Cooker Chinese Meatballs:
- Use a rice cooker (I love this one) to easily prepare a batch of sticky white rice;
- For a speedy solution, grab a couple of pouches of microwaveable rice (such as Uncle Ben's Ready Rice); or
- For a low-calorie option, try cauliflower rice! You can pick up microwaveable bags of frozen cauliflower rice at just about any grocery store.
More easy slow cooker dinner recipes that you might enjoy:
- Slow Cooker Jambalaya
- Slow Cooker Hawaiian Chicken
- Slow Cooker Chicken Teriyaki
- Crock Pot Meatloaf
- Crock Pot Pulled Pork
Slow Cooker Chinese Meatballs
- 1 bag (25 ounces) frozen fully-cooked turkey or beef bite-sized meatballs (I used Butterball bite-size turkey meatballs)
- 4 tablespoons cornstarch
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- ½ cup less-sodium soy sauce
- ½ cup rice vinegar
- ½ cup water
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
- 2 sweet bell peppers, seeded and sliced
- 1 sweet onion, sliced
- For serving: rice or cauliflower rice
- Optional garnish: sliced green onion; toasted sesame seeds
- In a large saucepan, whisk together cornstarch and pineapple juice until smooth. Add soy sauce, vinegar, water, and brown sugar, whisking to combine. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer, whisking constantly, just until thickened (about 3-5 minutes).
- Pour sesame oil in the bottom of a slow cooker. Place meatballs in the slow cooker and pour sauce over top. Cover and cook on LOW for 2 hours.
- Stir in bell peppers and onion. Cook on LOW for 1 more hour, or until vegetables are tender and meatballs are heated through.
- Serve over rice and garnish with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds, if desired.
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