Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Do you remember the first time that you had sweet and sour?  Yeah, me neither. It seems, though, that it is a flavor that has always been a part of my life. Basically it’s sugar and vinegar hanging out together like opposites at a rock concert—they come together nicely for a great shared experience.

Today I was really in the mood for sweet and sour meatballs over rice. Do you ever have days like that..the kind of days where suddenly you’re in the mood for some particular food and there is no explanation as to why? I had some specifics today, though.

I did not want pineapple in the sweet and sour AND I definitely did not want anything to do with grape jelly in the sauce. (No offense intended to those who like the grape jelly version of sweet and sour meatballs.) Usually I like to have pineapple in the mix, but not today. Again, I don’t know why.

Aside from these meatballs being great for dinner, they will also work well at a New Year’s party that you may be having in a few days. Just keep them warm in a slow cooker.

This is not a delicate sweet and sour sauce, so it works particularly well with beef. It makes a generous amount of sauce for meatballs made from a pound of ground beef. I made 28 1½-inch meatballs from the recipe below.

Print green and blue-1Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cook Time: 1 hour | Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes

Great for dinner with vegetable sides or as a party appetizer, these meatballs can be made with the your meat of choice.


For the meatballs:

  • 1 pound ground meat (beef, chicken, turkey, pork)
  • 1 large onion, finely diced (about 1 cup)
  • 1 egg
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 slices bread
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

 For the sweet and sour sauce:

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup
  • 1 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 3/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken broth


For the Meatballs:

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. Line a large baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray surface of foil lightly with a non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Stack the two pieces of bread on top of each other. Wet the bread by holding it under a small stream of water. Move it around quickly to completely saturate it. Gently gather the wet bread into a ball and squeeze lightly to express the excess water from the bread. Keep the bread in a ball shape while expressing the water.
  4. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix well.
  5. Form meat into 1 1/2-inch balls and place on foil-lined baking sheet. Place in oven and bake for 20 minutes.
  6. While meatballs are cooking, make the sauce.

For the Sweet and Sour Sauce:

  1. Whisk all sauce ingredients together  in a 3-4 quart sauce pan. Cook over medium to medium-low heat, stirring as needed, until hot and bubbly.
  2. Add the meatballs and stir very gently until the meatballs are well coated with sauce. Simmer over medium low to low heat for 30 minutes.
  3. Serve warm over hot rice. Jasmine rice is a nice choice for these meatballs. If serving as party meatballs, offer colorful toothpicks for self-serving.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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Ham Fried Rice--Very flavorful and super easy to make
Ham Fried Rice
Teriyaki Beef and Rice Bowls
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Garlic-Ginger Chicken and Vegetables Stir Fry
Garlic-Ginger Chicken and Vegetables Stir Fry


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