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Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

Site Index Appetizer Beef Beef meatballs Ground beef Meatballs Sweet and sour

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My Mom’s sweet and sour meatballs recipe! These meatballs are baked in the oven in a retro sweet and sour sauce that can’t be beat!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Sweet and Sour Meatballs

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

The success of these sweet and sour meatballs is all due to the sauce – and this is a great sauce. The ketchup is a must have in it, and adds that extra zing! Mike’s mom used to make this for him many years ago and it’s still one of his favorite recipes. The best sweet and sour meatball recipes simply must have ketchup in it, that’s what makes this classic old fashioned meatball recipe the best one you’ll ever taste!

  1. Combine the meatball ingredients : bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, onions and ground beef
    together in a stand mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment and mix on low until combined.
  2.  Roll the meat mixture into meatballs, it makes approximately 24.
  3. Place the meatballs into a preheated 375°F oven.
  4.  After about 20 minutes, take the meatballs out and drain the fat.
  5. Now you can cover those meatballs up with sauce. Pour the sauce over the meatball, covering them
    completely. Finish cooking them until done. This can take up to another 20-
    30 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe Video

Sweet and Sour Sauce ingredients

The sweet and sour sauce is really simple! All you need is:

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

How to Make Sweet & Sour Sauce

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 °F
  2. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium sized sauce pan until fully combined.
  3. Bring to a low rolling boil, and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

 

 Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe Step by Step Photos

Mix the brown sugar, soy,vinegar, water and ketchup in a pot.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Combine the breadcrumbs, egg and ground beef together in a bowl.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Roll the meat mixture into meatballs, whichever size you want. I prefer slightly larger ones, they don’t dry out as quickly.

Pop them into the 375 degrees oven and start them cooking.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Mix your flour or cornstarch in cold water….

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

..and add it to the sauce.Sweet and Sour Meatballs

After about 20 minutes, take the meatballs out for a second, and drain the fat out of them. And to gross you out and demonstrate why I do this, look at the cup of fat that I drained. Eeeew.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Now you can cover those babies up with sauce.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Finish cooking them until done, and they look oh-so saucy and delish like this!

When cooking meatballs I like to insert a thermometer in them and make sure they have reached a temp of at least 165 degrees. With all the beef recalls lately, it’s far better safe than sorry! It’s also good to be familiar with safe internal temperatures.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

I love sweet and sour meatballs on rice, especially bad-for-you, white rice!

You don’t have to commit to eating these on rice, however. If you really want to go all retro, stick toothpicks in these babies and call them an appetizer. I’m thinking that these might make it into my second cookbook as just that : sweet and sour meatball appetizers.

Nothing says classy like a sweet and sour meatball on a toothpick…..

sweet-and-sour-meatballs

Happy cooking everyone! These meatballs are one of THE most popular recipes here on The Kitchen Magpie, and I’m sure it’s because they are a retro delight! Everyone loves a good sweet and sour meatball!

Also, if you love sweet and sour, check out my Retro Sweet & Sour Meatloaf

Happy cooking!

Love,

Karlynn

PIN THIS RECIPE to your DINNER RECIPES Boards and Remember to FOLLOW ME ON PINTEREST!

My Mom's sweet and sour meatballs recipe. These meatballs are baked in the oven in a retro sweet and sour sauce that can't be beat! #meatballs #sweetandsour

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

My Mom's sweet and sour meatballs recipe. These meatballs are baked in the oven in a retro sweet and sour sauce that can't be beat!

5 from 28 votes
Prep Time
5 minutes
Cook Time
40 minutes
Total Time
45 minutes
Course
Main Course
Cuisine
American
Servings
24
Calories
156
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

Meatball Ingredients

  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp minced garlic
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • 1 cup of diced onion   (if you like onion in them)

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1/4 cup distilled white vinegar
  • 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour or cornstarch
  • 3 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 375 °F

  2. Mix the sauce ingredients together in a medium sized sauce pan until fully combined. Bring to a low rolling boil, and cook until it thickens. Remove from the heat and set aside.

  3. Combine the meatball ingredients : breadcrumbs, garlic, salt, pepper, egg, onions and ground beef together in a stand mixer bowl. Use the paddle attachment and mix on low until combined. This makes for the BEST distribution of egg and crumbs through the meat!

  4. Roll the meat mixture into meatballs, whichever size you want. I prefer slightly larger ones, they don’t dry out as quickly. 

  5. Pop them into the 375 degrees oven and start them cooking.
  6. After about 20 minutes, take the meatballs out for a second, and drain the fat out of them.
  7. Now you can cover those meatballs up with sauce. Pour the sauce over the meatball, covering them completely.

  8. Finish cooking them until done, and they look oh-so saucy and delicious. This can take up to another 20-30 minutes depending on the size of your meatballs.

  9. When cooking meatballs I like to insert a thermometer in them and make sure they have reached a temp of at least 165 degrees. With all the beef recalls lately, it’s far better safe than sorry!
  10. I love sweet and sour meatballs on rice, especially bad-for-you, white rice! Serve with the side of your choice.

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

NOTE that  I make a double batch of these now, using two pounds of ground beef! This makes around 24!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 156kcal, Carbohydrates: 12g, Protein: 7g, Fat: 8g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 42mg, Sodium: 296mg, Potassium: 146mg, Sugar: 9g, Vitamin A: 35IU, Vitamin C: 0.7mg, Calcium: 23mg, Iron: 1.1mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

Site Index Appetizer Beef Beef meatballs Ground beef Meatballs Sweet and sour

Reader Interactions

Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Carrie Davies says

    Karlynn, thank you!!! I’ll be honest, I rarely make my own meatballs anymore & have been using your sauce with leftover roast pork, diced or because I love it so much, roast up a small pork loin & chop it up. Still a very fast meal! I do saute a knob of fresh ginger & 2-3 cloves of garlic in a small amount of light oil before adding the the other sauce ingredients. I also add some peppers, white onion & fresh pineapple cubes just before serving because I find that easier than prepping another veg, another pot, etc. I NEVER alter your base sauce ingredients because it’s perfect as written! And I’m with you, this loves white rice!! Thank you for sharing all your recipes!5 stars

  2. Megan says

    The sauce instructions are confusing. Do you say to put all the ingredients into a pot because it’s meant to be cooked first? From what I can tell you don’t include instructions to cook the sauce on the stovetop first so I’m a bit confused as to why it would make sense to combine the ingredients in a pot, and later add in the cornstarch slurry if it’s not being cooked in the pot. Do you just pour the mixed sauce ingredients over the meatballs and it thickens in the baking dish?

    • Carrie Davies says

      Yes, heat all the sauce ingredients. Reserve a small amount of your water to mix a slurry with your cornstarch. Bring it to a VERY slow bubble and simmer at that point a few minutes (after adding cornstarch slurry), stirring almost constantly. It will thicken a bit. I like to add my meat into the sauce & simmer at a low bubble for a few minutes before serving. Don’t simmer too long at this point it the meat will be saturated with the sauce and your flavour combination will get lost.5 stars

  3. Carrie Davies says

    Making this sauce for the 4th or 5th time tonight. I use the sauce with leftover roast pork or cook a tenderloin on purpose and dice it up into bite size chunks. Also add a good nob of fresh ginger, some assorted sweet peppers and fresh pineapple. The sauce if over the top good replacing my mother’s recipe.5 stars

  4. Anne Alcock says

    I printed the recipe off and made it from there. I watched the video afterwards and noticed you put minced garlic in the meatballs; however, our recipe doesn’t call for garlic. I wish I had watched the video first, and now it’s too late because they’re cooking in the oven. Perhaps you should put garlic in the printed recipe?

    • Mary Record says

      I want to try this , in the video , there was salt and pepper and garlic, I hope i guess the right amount, thanks5 stars

  5. Kim says

    This is my fave sauce. I make it the same except put 2 tbps Frank’s Red Hot in it Yum. Everyone always loved them ????5 stars

  6. Raven Wanders says

    I used to love them until i lived in the South. They made the sauce with a jar of chili sauce and jar of grape jelly\U0001f628

    5 stars

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Oooh I have heard of the grape jelly ones!!!

    • Raven Wanders says

      Im not sure if chili sauce is up here but if you can find it is worth a try for the retro meal\U0001f606

  7. Dawn Schwartz says

    Made them yesterday! Love them, thanks Karlynn!

    5 stars

  8. Skyla Bradley says

    Love this one! It’s a family favorite here.

    5 stars

  9. Donna Nielson-Weale says

    I’ve used this recipe … The meatballs were delicious (and so easy to make).

    5 stars

    • The Kitchen Magpie says

      Awesome to hear!! The old classics are always the best, aren’t they?

  10. Sandra Casson says

    I can’ t remember the last time I had these, likely at a 4H function!

    5 stars

  11. Arleigh Gladwin Stockwell says

    I have made this for a couple of potlucks – it’s a winner!

    5 stars

  12. Elisa Boyce says

    Love anything retro. Lol except the casseroles that were fabulously decorated with half wieners lining the top of casserole. \U0001f633

    5 stars

    • Elisa Boyce says

      Lol my mom had a cookbook and that was the cover photo casserole! Never forgotten!

  13. Kathy Elson says

    I made these tonight and they were delish. A new favourite!

    5 stars

  14. Mary Ann says

    Wondering … do you heat the sauce on the stovetop before pouring it over the meatballs? Or does the sauce thicken up in the oven?  Thanks!

  15. Andy Keefe says

    best ever! the sauce is awesome with cubed pork too!!!

    5 stars

  16. Dawn Schwartz says

    This is probably my most made recipe from your site. I can’t get enough of them! Rice and a green veggie and everyone’s happy!!

    5 stars

  17. James Lori Shipley says

    We love the simple recipe I created for these-one can crushed or diced pineapple with juice and brown sugar bbq sauce. Dump over meatballs and heat to serve. We do these for all our parties and will serve with rice and veggies if doing it as a meal. Alternatively make spaghetti sauce and serve with noodles or on skewers with peppers and mushrooms, onions etc. So versatile!!!

    5 stars

  18. pam says

    I followed the recipe and mine are falling apart. Well.. I used magic bullet for the onions. Lol probably why. And they stick to my casserole dish. I think I ruined them 🙁

  19. Sarah says

    This is fool proof, so delicious and easy! It is my go to for meatballs. 

    5 stars

  20. MsFarmLover says

    These are the most delicious meatballs I have ever made. They were a huge hit for dinner tonight. Thank you very much for sharing this great recipe.

    5 stars

  21. April says

    Always a hit with my family, thanks for a recipe that is going into rotation once a month!5 stars

  22. Alexis says

    I made these with ground chicken, tripled the recipe for a large crowd and added 1 cup of sour cream to help keep them moist, otherwise followed recipe – fabulous!! Everyone raved about them!! Thanks for the recipe.

    5 stars

  23. NathanZ says

    Hi – I’m making this recipe right now. But I see 1 and 1/2 Cups water listed in the ingredients. Does that go in the sauce with the brown sugar, vinegar, soy and ketchup?

  24. CoryLomax says

    If you use grass fed beef, you would not get near as much fat.. and what fat you get, is delicious and healthy. I would leave it in, Fat is where the favour is. 

    5 stars

  25. Srcollas says

    I made these last week & loved them…couldn’t believe I made them from scratch!!!  I just wanted to share this: since I did not have any bread crumbs, I improvised(very unlike me) & used 1 package of onion soup instead.  It was good 🙂
    thx for sharing your recipe! 

    5 stars

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