Sweet And Sour Meatballs

5 from 2 votes
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Sweet And Sour Meatballs are a knockout meal with unique sweet and savory flavors. A family favorite and ready in 30 minutes. This makes a great meal prep meal and gets better as leftovers.

Grey ceramic bowls with white rice, meat balls and sweet and sour sauce. Lots of bell peppers and a dish towel.
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Why Make Easy Sweet And Sour Meatballs

This meal comes together in about 30-40 minutes (depending on how quickly you work in the kitchen) It’s a great weeknight meal. It doesn’t take long and requires minimal effort.

This dish has crispy fresh veggies sautéed in it which offers great nutrients. The meatballs are homemade so you know exactly what goes in them, they are insanely good.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs makes for a great meal prep, it holds up well and the sauce and meatballs heat up great. Also try my Kung Pao Shrimp and Beef Fried Rice, both meals have a similar vibe and ease.

Ingredients Needed

Fresh veggies and sauce ingredients needed to make the recipe on a counter.

Lean Ground Beef. I go for 90/10 ground beef. 

Panko Bread Crumbs. These are Japanese breadcrumbs made from steamed, crustless loaves of bread. They are more flaky than traditional breadcrumbs. 

Eggs. This is use to bind the meatballs together 

Chicken or Beef Broth. Broth is used for the base of the sweet and sour sauce. 

Rice Vinegar. My favorite vinegar! It’s a little sweeter than most and makes a wonderful addition to the sauce. 

Canned Pineapple. We will use the sauce and the pineapples. 

Ketchup. This gives the sauce a tangy, savory depth of flavor. 

All other ingredients and measurements can be found in the recipe card towards the bottom of this post. 

Recipe Variations Substitutions 

Ground Beef. Use ground turkey or chicken if preferred. Cook to internal temperature of 165º. You can also try my Turkey Meatball Recipe in place of the beef.

Broth. Use chicken or beef broth, they can be used interchangeably in this recipe and will both work well. 

Panko. Feel free to use traditional bread crumbs if needed. 

To Make This Recipe Gluten Free; use tamari or coconut aminos in place of the soy sauce. Use arrow root in place of the corn starch. 

Steps To Make This Recipe

Steps to make the recipe in glass mixing bowls, meatballs and a skillet.

Step One. If serving with rice, start the rice according to the package. This typically takes 20 minutes to cook. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Form the meatballs into small golf ball size meatballs, add them to a parchment lined air fryer or a baking sheet if baking in the oven.

Step Two. If air frying, cook on 375º for about 7 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 7-10 minutes. If baking in the oven on a cooking sheet, Bake on 375º for 15 minutes, flip the meatballs and bake for another 10-15 minutes.

Step Three. In a large wok or pan, heat the oil over medium/high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook for 5-8 minutes.

Step Four. In a medium bowl, combine all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients together (except the corn starch slurry, this will be added later) whisk well. Set aside.

Grey Skillet with sweet and sour sauce and meatballs in it.

Step Five. Pour the sweet and sour sauce mixture in the skillet and stir well. Once it comes to a simmer, add the corn starch slurry (corn starch and water mixed). Let it simmer until the sauce gets thick and glossy.

Step Six. Add the cooked meatballs and pineapple chunks to the skillet or wok, toss everything together well. Cook for another 2 minutes to bring the meatballs to heat then remove from heat. Serve over rice, option to garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro.

Recipe FAQs

Are Sweet And Sour Meatballs dairy free?

Yes, this dish is totally dairy free. Since the meatballs are homemade, they don’t have cheese or any milk products in them.

What does sweet and sour sauce taste like?

Sweet and sour sauce features a balanced combination of sweet and tangy flavors, making it a versatile condiment that can be used in various ways to enhance the flavor

What if I made my sweet and sour sauce too sweet?

balance out the flavors by adding in more acidic ingredients like more vinegar or ketchup. If the dish is too sour, you can add a sweetener like more brown sugar or pineapple juice

Recipe Tips

Use a cookie scoop. For the most uniform and evenly cooked meatballs, use a small cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to make them all exactly the same size and shape if needed.

Don’t overcook the meatballs. Use an instant-read digital thermometer to ensure that the ground beef meatballs have reached an internal temperature of at least 160°F (74°C) before serving them! Keep in mind they will cook slightly more if they are added to the sauce too soon.

Other Easy Weeknight Meals To Try

If you loved this recipe let me know! Also, follow me on Instagram & Pinterest for even more fun recipes to make you feel good from the inside out. Thanks for being here.

Grey ceramic bowls with white rice, meat balls and sweet and sour sauce. Lots of bell peppers and a dish towel.
5 from 2 votes

Sweet And Sour Meatballs

Sweet And Sour Meatballs are a knockout meal with unique sticky sweet and savory flavors. A family favorite and ready in 30 minutes. 
Prep: 10 minutes
Cook: 20 minutes
Total: 30 minutes
Servings: 4

Equipment

  • large deep bottomed skillet or wok
  • mixing bowls

Ingredients 

  • 1 cup long grain rice, uncooked
  • 1-1.5 lb lean ground beef, *see notes
  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs, *see notes
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ tsp red pepper flakes, *see notes
  • ½ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 tsp oil for sautéing
  • ½ cup yellow onion, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small green bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small orange bell pepper, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • ½ cup canned pineapple, diced, *save the juice for the sauce.

Sweet And Sour Sauce

  • 4 Tbsp rice vinegar
  • 2 Tbsp soy sauce
  • 1 cup chicken or beef broth, low sodium
  • ¼ cup brown sugar
  • cup ketchup
  • 1 Tbsp tomato paste
  • cup pineapple juice
  • 1 tsp cornstarch + 1 tsp water to make a slurry. , Just whisk together well

Instructions 

  • If serving with rice, start the rice according to the package. This typically takes 20 minutes to cook. Combine all the meatball ingredients in a bowl. Form the meatballs into small golf ball size meatballs, add them to a parchment lined air fryer or a baking sheet if baking in the oven.
  • If air frying, cook on 375º for about 7 minutes, turn them over and bake for another 7-10 minutes. If baking in the oven on a cooking sheet, Bake on 375º for 15 minutes, flip the meatballs and bake for another 10-15 minutes. 
  • In a large wok or pan, heat the oil over medium/high heat. Add the onion and bell peppers and cook for 5-8 minutes.
  •  In a medium bowl, combine all the sweet and sour sauce ingredients together (except the corn starch slurry, this will be added later) whisk well. Set aside.
  • Pour the sweet and sour sauce mixture in the skillet and stir well. Once it comes to a simmer, add the corn starch slurry (corn starch and water mixed). Let it simmer until the sauce gets thick and glossy.
  • Add the cooked meatballs and pineapple chunks to the skillet or wok, toss everything together well. Cook for another 2 minutes to bring the meatballs to heat then remove from heat. Serve over rice. *option to garnish with fresh parsley or cilantro. 

Notes

*ground turkey will work in place of beef.
*traditional bread crumbs will also work. 
*omit if you are sensitive to spice! 
To make this recipe gluten free, use tamari or coconut aminos and arrowroot in place of the cornstarch. 
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days. You can freeze these for up to 2 months.   
 

Nutrition

Serving: 1.25cup | Calories: 566kcal | Carbohydrates: 74g | Protein: 33g | Fat: 15g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 6g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 168mg | Sodium: 1403mg | Potassium: 775mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 26g | Vitamin A: 1034IU | Vitamin C: 46mg | Calcium: 90mg | Iron: 5mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Author: Bailey
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes
Course: dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Japanese
Servings: 4
Calories: 566
Keyword: 30 minute, Beef, dinner
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4 Comments

    1. Thank you greatly for the feedback! I appreciate it.

  1. 5 stars
    Great recipe! I made it for my in laws and we all gobbled it up (no left overs!). My only complaint is that i wished I doubled the recipe! Will be making these again very soon, thank you.

    1. Hi There! thrilled to hear you enjoy this recipe. Thanks so much!