Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Servings 6 servings

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These Sweet and Sour Meatballs are made with homemade meatballs in a sweet and tangy sauce with pineapples and peppers! Serve over rice to soak up all of that delicious sauce!

See the step by step recipe video down in the recipe card.

overhead image of sweet and sour meatballs with sauce in white pan

These Sweet and Sour Meatballs are our last meatball recipe this month, and I couldn’t be more excited!

Earlier this month I shared:

But sweet and sour sauce is always a favorite here!

This sauce is rich, tangy and full of flavor! It is similar to this Crockpot Sweet and Sour Chicken and these Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Smokies, which are perfect for those days you’re going to be out!

close up image of meatballs in pan with peppers and pineapple

There are a few steps to these Sweet and Sour Meatballs, but I promise you they’re worth the end result!

How do you make sweet and sour sauce from scratch?

I’ve made a lot of different sweet and sour sauce recipes through the years and it has taken me some time to hone in on my favorite.

This homemade sweet and sour sauce is rich, tangy, and full of flavor — and doesn’t include any ingredients I don’t normally have on hand!

For this sweet and sour sauce recipe I use:

  • a can of pineapple chunks with juice — and the size is a little flexible here but I try to find a small one!
  • Garlic
  • Ginger
  • Granulated sugar
  • White vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Soy Sauce (low sodium)
  • Corn starch
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Variations and Substitutions for this recipe:

  • Meatballs: I’m no stranger to the dinner rush so I’m not going to tell you you can’t use store-bought frozen meatballs. But when you do have time, I beg you to try these homemade meatballs! They are so flavorful and juicy. If using frozen meatballs, you can throw them right in the sauce from frozen. (See my original meatball recipe post for more tips and substitutions for the meatballs)
  • Canned pineapple: you can use pineapple chunks or pineapple tidbits, but I don’t recommend crushed pineapple. I don’t recommend leaving it out or substituting fresh pineapple, because the juice adds sweetness to the sauce that will be missed.
  • Vegetables: I love peppers with anything sweet and sour, but you could leave them out or add in others.

Can I make these Sweet and Sour Meatballs in the crockpot?


However, I still recommend cooking them first in the oven to ensure that the meatballs stay juicy and the sweet and sour sauce doesn’t become diluted with meat juices.

For best results, cook the sauce on the stove top until thickened and add with the browned meatballs to the slow cooker. Cook on low for 2-4 hours.

overhead image of bowl of rice with sweet and sour meatballs on top

How to make these meatballs ahead:

You can prep these meatballs and cook completely, then cool and store in the refrigerator for up to 4 days.

To reheat, simply place on the stove top on medium-low heat and cook, stirring, for 5-10 minutes until heated through.

Can I freeze Sweet and Sour Meatballs?

Yes, sort of.

You can freeze them and the meatballs and sauce will be delicious when they are thawed, but the peppers get mushy in the freezer.

If you want to make ahead and freeze for a busy day, simply skip the peppers and serve with veggies at dinner time.

What to serve with Sweet and Sour Meatballs:

Since this sweet and sour is packed with flavor, we like to eat with something neutral that can soak it up!

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

5 from 6 votes
These Sweet and Sour Meatballs are made with homemade meatballs in a sweet and tangy sauce with pineapples and peppers! Serve over rice to soak up all of that delicious sauce!
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 27 minutes
Total Time 42 minutes
Cuisine American, Chinese
Course Main Course
Servings 6 servings
Calories 500cal


  • 1 slice soft bread
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 lb ground pork
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • 1 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 1 green bell pepper
  • 398 ml canned pineapple chunks with juice (about 2 cups with pineapple and juice)
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon minced ginger
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/2 cup tomato ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons corn starch
  • 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
  • salt and pepper



  • Preheat oven to 425 degrees F and line a baking sheet with tin foil — optional but helps with clean up! (OPTIONAL: instead of baking, you can also brown on all sides and then simmer in the sauce. I make a big batch at once, which is why I bake them).
  • Tear bread into small pieces and place in a food processor. Process until the bread is in fine crumbs and combine with water. Stir and let sit for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, egg, Italian seasoning, salt, pepper and soaked bread until just combined — don't overmix!
  • Shape into 1.5-2″ balls (I get about 20 this way, but you can get up to 30 if you shape them into 1″ balls) and place 1″ apart on the baking sheet.
  • Bake for 10-15 minutes (longer for 2″ rounds, shorter for 1″ rounds), until a meat thermometer reads at least 160 degrees F in the largest meatballs (a meat thermometer is your best chance at having perfectly cooked meatballs!)
  • Remove from the oven.

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • In a large skillet, saute peppers on oil until crisp-tender.
  • Add garlic and ginger and cook 1 minute.
  • Stir in the pineapple chunks with juice.
  • In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, whisk together the sugar, vinegar, ketchup, corn starch and soy sauce. Add to the pan with the peppers and pineapple.
  • Add the meatballs, and simmer for 5-10 minutes until thickened and meatballs are heated through.
  • Taste and adjust salt and pepper if necessary. If desired for a milder sauce, stir in ¼ cup of water or broth.

Nutrition Information

Calories: 500cal | Carbohydrates: 67g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 19g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 81mg | Sodium: 638mg | Potassium: 461mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 57g | Vitamin A: 870IU | Vitamin C: 49mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 2mg
Keywords sweet and sour meatballs

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Meet Ashley

My name is Ashley Fehr and I love creating easy meals my family loves. I also like to do things my way, which means improvising and breaking the rules when necessary. Here you will find creative twists on old favorites and some of my favorite family recipes, passed down from generations!

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Reader Interactions


  1. Saif says

    The meatball looks gorgeous. The sweetness and sourness really blends together. In the Philippines, we have tons of recipes that is mixed with sweetness and sourness. And this looks familiar.

  2. Irina says

    These meatballs look so cute and tasty that I am going ahead and making them. The flavors are amazing, and I am anticipating the taste 🙂

  3. Sara Welch says

    Quite possibly the best way to enjoy meatballs! Loved this sweet and sour recipe; so much better than anything from a restaurant!

5 from 6 votes (3 ratings without comment)

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