Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe - Lauren's Latest (2024)

5 from 16 votes


October 7, 2018

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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 Recipe - Lauren's Latest (1)

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 Black 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.
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Looking for more appetizers to serve? Check these out:Basic Salsa Recipe,Pepperoni Pizza Rolls Recipe,Classic Coleslaw Recipe, andCarolina BBQ Pulled Pork Frito Bites.

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.
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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 medium-high heat.
  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.
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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!!
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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:

  • Cilantro Lime Rice
  • Easy Fried Rice Recipe
  • Famous Butter Rice
  • Pan Fried Sesame Butternut Squash Noodles
  • Fresh Spring Rolls Recipe with Peanut Dipping Sauce
  • Sesame Noodle Salad
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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!

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More Meatball Recipes to Love!

  • Easy Meatball Recipe (perfect for any dish!)
  • Spaghetti and Meatballs Recipe
  • Swedish Meatballs
  • Meatball Sub or Hoagie
  • Homemade Freezer Turkey Meatballs

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!

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 mins

Cook Time 1 hour hr

Total Time 1 hour hr 15 minutes 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 to taste
  • black pepper to taste

for the sauce-

  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 tbsp onion finely diced
  • 1 clove garlic grated
  • salt to taste
  • black pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • green onion diced, for garnish

US CustomaryMetric


  • In a large bowl, soak pieces of bread in milk until soggy, about 3 minutes.

  • Add in remaining meatball ingredients and stir together until well combined, being careful not to overwork the meat.

  • 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. Place meatballs into hot pan and brown on all sides.

  • While meatballs are cooking, measure all ingredients for the sauce and whisk to combine in a small bowl. Set aside.

  • Once meatballs are brown (not fully cooked through), remove from pan and deglaze with the sauce, scraping the bottom of the pan to get all of those delicious brown bits.

  • Place meatballs back into skillet and coat in sauce.

  • Cover and cook for about 30 minutes.

  • Garnish with green onion and serve as is as an appetizer or over pasta or rice for a main dish.


Calories: 349kcal | Carbohydrates: 40g | Protein: 29g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 0.4g | Cholesterol: 115mg | Sodium: 795mg | Potassium: 720mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 29g | Vitamin A: 422IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 114mg | Iron: 4mg

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish

Cuisine: American

Keyword: meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe - Lauren's Latest (2024)


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