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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!

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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 mins
Cook Time 1 hr
Total Time 1 hr 15 mins


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. dawn

    I just saw this post, tried to enter to win the Calaphon giveaway, and it’s over. It’s Nov 23,2017 11:41a est. So sad..will try the sauce recipe with frozen meatballs. I love your blog, just don’t like to cook from scratch so much, maybe because I don’t have nice quality cookware 🙂

  2. Aimee Porter

    I am going tho make these this weekend for my out of town guests! I have a feeling that they will be in rotation all holiday season long!

  3. lauren

    These meatballs look awesome, and just like ones that my mom used to make in the crockpot years ago. I will def be trying this. Sidenote: the giveaway says it’s over?

  4. Pam Snow

    Thank you for the ‘ Calphalon Giveaway’… I left a new post on MEDITERANEAN GREEK YOGURT DIP! Merry Christmas to you and your family.

  5. Pam

    5 stars
    My family loves these meat balls. I come back here for the recipe again and again. So many recipes I love on your site Lauren, Sesame crispy Beef is a new fav. And oh, the crockpot sloppy joes are a big hit as well. Have also loved the salads…the BLT one and can’t wait to try the pumpkin and cinnamon roll sheet cakes. Thanks for all your hard work in creating easy go-to recipes and sharing your Family stories !

  6. Fabulous Finger Foods For New Year's Eve Parties - Baby Gizmo Blog

    […] Sweet And Sour Meatballs. My mom makes these sweet and sour meatballs from Lauren’s Latest every New Year’s and they are always a huge hit. The sauce on top is amazing and the meatballs are the perfect bite sized amount to pop in your mouth! […]

  7. Deborah

    5 stars
    I made these tonight. We all, even the 14 month old, loved them! This is probably my favorite recipe so far, though we have liked ALL your recipes that we have tried.

  8. Staying Fit While Travelling & I Love Leftovers | This Lean Journey

    […] looking for dinner last night. I was testing out a recipe I’d never had before. I was making Sweet & Sour Meatballs. I’ve never been a fan of meatballs, but the pictures on the blog looked so amazing, I […]

  9. Lauren's Latest » My Favorite Appetizers for New Years Eve!

    […] to throw together and are 3-year old approved. Win win, ya’ll! To start, try throwing these Sweet & Sour Meatballs together this afternoon and letting them hang out in a crockpot until your party. The longer they […]

  10. JackieToo

    These look great! I’m not a fan of spaghetti and meatballs either. I love them separately, but not so much together. I’m off to pin and print. 🙂

    P.S. You have the bestest giveaways! Thanks!

  11. Charlyn

    I am not sure if the comment that I entered in the widget shows up so I will do it here just in case.

    I am subscribed through email.

  12. Kellie

    I am already subbed to your scrumptious emails. Thank you for the opportunity to win the beautiful cookware. Meatballs? Yes please!!!!! Happy Holidays and the best of luck to everyone!