Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

5 from 16 votes

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This Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe is so simple to make and is the perfect appetizer. The odds are you have all the ingredients already on hand!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These Sweet and Sour Meatballs are an amazing and simple dish. Perfectly balanced between both sweet and sour you’ll want to make these SOON.

Main Ingredients Needed

For the Meatballs

  • Sandwich Bread and Milk – I know the milk and bread sound kind of weird, but trust me, these meatballs turn out SO tender because of it.
  • Ground Beef – you could also use pork or a mixture of both.
  • Garlic and Onion – great additions of classic meatball flavors.
  • Egg – to help hold everything together.
  • Salt and Pepper – it is so important to season while you cook versus just doing it afterward. It makes a world of difference.

For the Sauce

The meatballs are going to be cooked in the sauce so it’s super important for flavoring purposes! Here’s what you’ll need:

  • Ketchup, Mustard, and Worcestershire Sauce – three condiments that create a tangy and savory mixture of flavors! So so good.
  • Onion and Garlic – more onion and garlic, the two most basic but flavorful ingredients.
  • Brown Sugar – this brings the sweetness and stickiness to this recipe.
  • Salt and Pepper – once again, season as you go and season to taste.

Looking for more appetizers to serve? Check these out: Basic Salsa RecipePepperoni Pizza Rolls RecipeClassic Coleslaw Recipe, and Carolina BBQ Pulled Pork Frito Bites.Mixing Meatballs

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

It really is quite easy to make these Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Simply mix up the base, form little balls, and cook until brown. Then make your sauce and let simmer for 30-3 hours! The longer they sit the better they’ll taste! For the full recipe, check out the recipe card at the bottom of the post.

  1. Start my mushing sandwich bread and milk all together till it’s all soggy. Weird start to a meatball, I know BUT it makes it really tender. You’ll see!
  2. Once the bread is all good and squished, add in some more ingredients…pretty typical of any meatball-ground beef, onion, garlic, egg, salt, pepper. Squish that all together with your hands and that’s the base for these little babies.

Rolled Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Forming Your Meatballs

  1. Now you can scoop your mixture using a cookie scoop {thanks, OXO!} to divide it evenly. I made mine slightly smaller than golf balls.
  2. Once they’re all nicely portioned, roll them into perfect balls like so! Set these aside. Place a deep skillet on heat and add some canola oil.
  3. Throw in your meatballs and cook to brown them as evenly as you can. And, you’re only trying to brown these guys…not cook them all the way through.

Browning Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Sauce for Meatballs

  1. While those are cooking, put all the ingredients together for the sauce. Again, simple things you all probably have in your fridge. Whisk that all together and wait until the meatballs are done browning.
  2. Once they are, remove the meatballs from the pan, add the sauce and stir to de-glaze and pick up any brown bits at the bottom of the pan. Pop the meatballs back into the sauce, coat evenly and reduce the heat.
  3. Cover and cook these from 30 minutes to 3 hours. Just like with anything else, they taste better the longer you cook them. And the longer you cook them the darker and less ketchup-y the sauce becomes. It’s like magic!!

Sauce Seasonings

Make it a Meal

If you’d like to serve these sweet and sour meatballs as a main dish instead of an appetizer I suggest serving it alongside some side dishes! Here are some ideas:

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Cooking


Any leftover sweet and sour meatballs can be stored in an airtight container, in the fridge, for up to 4 days.


If you wanted to make these in advance, just keep them in your slow cooker for the day of the party and by night they will be all slow-cooked and glazed to perfection. Tender, sweet, and delish!


More Meatball Recipes to Love!

My husband goes CRAZY over these Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Seriously. He ate almost all of them by himself. I would have fought him a little harder if I could eat more than my 3-year-old at any one sitting. One day I’ll eat more than a bird…one day.

Anyways, this recipe is one of my favorite EVER and think you all will love them too! Printable recipe card is below!

Sweet Sour Meatballs the perfect and easiest appetizer ever
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5 from 16 votes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe is so simple to make and are perfect appetizers. Odds are you have all the ingredients already on hand!
servings 4 servings
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 15 minutes


For the meatballs-

  • 2 slices sandwich bread cut into small pieces
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 lb ground beef 80/20
  • 1/4 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • 1 egg
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • canola oil for frying

For the sauce-

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 teaspoons mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tablespoons onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar


  • In a large bowl, soak pieces of bread in milk until soggy, about 3 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients for the meatballs and stir together until well blended.
  • Using a cookie scoop, divide the mixture into approximately 24 meatballs. Roll each individual meatball to be evenly round. Heat large skillet over medium heat with canola oil {I used about 2 tablespoons}. Place meatballs into hot pan and brown.
  • While meatballs are cooking, measure all ingredients for the sauce together and whisk to combine. Set aside.
  • Once meatballs are brown, remove from pan and deglaze with sauce. Stir to remove any dark bits at the bottom of the pan and replace meatballs into skillet and coat in sauce.
  • Cover and cook anywhere between 30 minutes and 3 hours. The longer they cook, the more delicious they become. Serve as is as an appetizer or over pasta or rice for a main dish.


Calories: 488kcal | Carbohydrates: 39g | Protein: 24g | Fat: 25g | Saturated Fat: 9g | Cholesterol: 124mg | Sodium: 786mg | Potassium: 631mg | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Vitamin C: 4.6mg | Calcium: 119mg | Iron: 3.4mg
Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Keyword: meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

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Recipe Rating

115 Responses
  1. heidi

    5 stars
    another fine prize!!i subscribe to your blog. I made these meatballs and they are wonderful. Not usually a big fan of meatballs but I liked these and I make some with cranberry sauce and chili sauce that are always a hit.

  2. Poopsey Marie

    Was planning meatballs as one of the appetizers for a Christmas party I’m planning. These sound like they will fit the bill perfectly!

  3. Charmainne

    I love Calphalon! I have a set of knives and some pots and love them. I need to replace a few non-Calphalon pots I have and these would be perfect!

  4. Donna

    5 stars
    Hi again lauren!
    Checking back in again. Made the meatballs for dinner and they were sooo good! Will have to keep the recipe handy for a fast and easy meal. Thanks again for sharing.

  5. Megan | Eats Daily

    I recieve emails!
    Yummy recipe – my mother-in-law makes mini sweet and sour meatballs during the holidays and I really love them! It grosses me out that there is ketchup involved, but it works!

  6. Katie @ Blonde Ambition

    So true- my aunt’s smokies always get devoured first in our family!! These sound so good. I would be the hero of Christmas if I brought these to go alongside the smokies!

    My boyfriend’s mom has a full SET of Calphalon stuff and I drool over it every time we visit. Lucky you!!

  7. Malissa W

    Sounds just like a recipe my grandmother used to make. I remember thinking that adding ketchup was so weird! I receive your emails. Thanks for another giveaway!

  8. Ginger

    Meatballs are something that I am just now putting in our meal plans and my family seems to enjoy them. I’ll have to try this one out. And I’m a subscriber!

  9. Danielle

    Love meatballs! So simple and easy to make for a party! Usually mine has apricot preserves but these sound delicious!

    All ready receive emails :))

  10. Lauren T

    I loveeeeeeeee meatballs as an appetizer. My favorite is the grape jelly ones that you just throw in the crockpot with a bottle of heinz chili sauce and let it cook and smell up your house. These look really tasty though–I’ll have to try out!

    1. Katie Lynn

      Those are my favorite too! I had to convince someone (who was going to put BBQ sauce on hers!) that this was better. She has come to see my way of thinking.

  11. Marla

    oh these are my faves every year – thanks for the yummy recipe! I actually crave these things with those baked bagel chips. Not pregnant here lol 🙂

  12. Donna

    5 stars
    Hey Lauren!
    You saved me again! LOL. Was wondering what to make for dinner on this dreary day and this sounds like just the ticket. Haven’t made these in ages and they are easy peasy. Yummy too. Thanks for sharing.

  13. Alaina @ Fabtastic Eats

    I love party meatballs..so much more than meatballs and spaghetti too! I can’t wait to try this one out on an upcoming football game!

    1. Donna Dawson

      These meatballs sound amazing!
      It sounds a little like a recipe my
      Cousin and I used to make years ago, minus the Worcestershire sauce! Yummy! Thanks for all these great ideas!