Grandma’s recipe for Sweet and Sour meatballs is the perfect mix, of tangy, sour, spice, and warm sweetness. A fantastic meal for any night of the week!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on top of rice

You have probably had Sweet and Sour Meatballs at some point in your life, but you’ve never really had them until you’ve tried mine. I know that sounds braggy, but wait, this recipe comes straight from my Grandma’s handwritten recipes so it’s actually, her recipe, not mine! This is a recipe she would make for us when she was babysitting. I think she used it as a way to control all us kids at dinner. We were all on our best behaviour when she told she was serving easy sweet and sour meatballs for dinner.  No fussing or fighting from the herd as we all wanted our share!

I also make this recipe when I have to bring a hot dish to a party. It’s always a huge party fav, and other than Mom’s Porcupine Meatballs, it’s on my most requested list during the holidays. It’s shocking how excited people get when you whip out the Sweet and Sour Meatballs at an office Christmas party. They love it, and a lot of it has to do with nostalgia. Many of us grew up eating these, especially at family gatherings and special occasions. This year is no different, so pin this recipe or bookmark it because you’ll want to keep it handy!


  • The meatballs are moist and tender!
  • Wow, this recipe for sweet and sour meat balls is really packed with flavor. It caters to every taste bud you have!
  • It’s so easy to make – even when you double or triple the batches for a potluck!
  • This dish brings me back to the sweet meatballs served at countless family parties and at Grandma’s dinner table!




Sweet and Sour Meatballs on top of rice

What Are Sweet And Sour Meatballs?

Little round flavor bombs of joy! A spin-off of your traditional meatball (kind of like BBQ Meatballs) this dish can be served as an appetizer or main course. Instead of the Italian spices and sauces, you would typically find in a meatball dish, our sweet meatball recipe revels in flavors like ginger, pineapple, vinegar, and garlic.

What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Sweet And Sour Meatballs?

You’ll need your good ole run of the mill meatball ingredients…along with a few curve balls. I make my Sweet and Sour Meatballs with pineapple chunks. The sweet and sour meatballs Pioneer Woman suggests contain only the pineapple juice. I’ve always preferred this recipe with chunks and absolutely LOVE them in this dish! Trust me when I say, chunks are better.

As to the meatball ingredients: milk, ground beef, egg and bread crumbs make up the bulk of the recipe. Salt, pepper, ground ginger, and garlic powder round out the flavor.

For the delicious homemade sweet and sour sauce for meatballs… We mix up ketchup, brown sugar, water, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, pineapple CHUNKS, white onion, and green bell pepper.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on a fork

How To Make Sweet And Sour Meatballs:

My recipe for sweet and sour meatballs is easy to make, and that’s another reason it’s so incredibly appealing. First, you’ll put together the meatball. Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl, and wait until the crumbs absorb the milk. It only takes about 10 minutes or so. To that mixture, add beef, egg, salt, pepper, garlic powder and ginger. Make sure your ingredients are distributed throughout, work the mixture into the ground beef, form into meatballs and place into the prepared baking dish.

Step By Step How To Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Step By Step: How To Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  1. Preheat oven and spray a non-stick cooking spray in a baking dish. In a bowl, combine breadcrumbs and milk.
  2. Stir and let it sit for a while until milk is absorbed.
  3. Add beef, egg, salt, pepper, ginger and garlic powder.
  4. Mix well.
  5. Form meatballs about 2 inches and arrange it in the prepared baking dish.
  6. In a separate bowl, mix the liquid ingredients for the sauce.
  7. Add the pineapple chunks with the juice, onion, and green bell pepper. Mix.
  8. Pour sauce over meatballs. Baked in the preheated oven, uncovered for an hour or until there is no longer pink left in the meat.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs on top of rice
5 from 1 vote

Easy Baked Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Our recipe for Sweet and Sour meatballs is the perfect mix of peppy sour spice and warm sweetness. A fantastic meal for any night of the week!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 720 kcal
Author Kathleen



  • 2 Cups Soft Fresh Bread Crumbs
  • 1 Cup Milk
  • 2 Pounds Ground Beef
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 1/2 Teaspoons Salt
  • 3/4 Teaspoon Pepper
  • 1 Teaspoon Ground Ginger
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Garlic Powder


  • 2/3 Cup Light Brown Sugar Packed
  • 1 Cup Ketchup
  • 1 Cup Water
  • 4 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 1 Tablespoon Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1-20 Ounce Can Pineapple Chunks in Juice Including Juice
  • 1 Small White Onion
  • 1 Medium Green Bell Pepper Chopped


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a 9X13 inch baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.

  2.  In a large bowl, add breadcrumbs and milk and stir.  Allow breadcrumbs to sit until milk is absorbed.  Add beef, egg, salt, pepper, ginger and garlic powder.  Mix until all ingredients are evenly distributed.  Form into meatballs about 2 inches in diameter and arrange in a single layer in prepared baking dish.

  3. In a medium bowl, mix together the first 5 ingredients for the sauce until well combined.  Add the can of pineapple chunks with all the juice, onion and green pepper and mix.

  4. Pour sauce over meatballs and bake uncovered in preheated oven for 1 hour or until there is no longer any pink left in the meat.  Serve over cooked rice.

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Nutritional Information

Nutrition information will vary based on the specific products. To be safe, check the nutrition facts labels of your products. Optional object listed above have been left out of nutritional data.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Baked Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Amount Per Serving (1 /6 of the recipe)
Calories 720 Calories from Fat 306
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 34g 52%
Saturated Fat 13g 65%
Cholesterol 139mg 46%
Sodium 1375mg 57%
Potassium 785mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 67g 22%
Dietary Fiber 3g 12%
Sugars 39g
Protein 34g 68%
Vitamin A 7.7%
Vitamin C 24%
Calcium 18%
Iron 30%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on top of rice

Recipe Notes For Sweet and Sour Meatballs:

Meat: If you’re feeling a little red meat guilt, I understand, I’ve been there. You can lighten up these delicious sweet sour meatballs by subbing ground turkey or chicken for beef! Less fat with no flavor sacrifice!

Frozen Meatballs: In the crockpot version of this dish, store bought frozen meatballs come into play. You can use my meatballs here as well, by making them ahead of time and then freezing them. You will likely have to extend the cooking time. Most frozen meatballs are packaged fully cooked. This way, your slow cooker sweet and sour meatballs are completely homemade!

Sweet and Sour Sauce: If you’re feeling the urge to go store-bought, deny it. The sauce for this recipe is so easy to make. Don’t take a shortcut. It’s worth it, I promise.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on top of rice

How To Make Sweet And Sour Meatballs In The Crockpot:

Of course, I have a recipe for sweet and sour meatballs crockpot style. I am all about convenience…and these are really convenient. Mix together the sauce as directed in the recipe instructions, and pour into a lightly sprayed slow cooker. Place package of frozen meatballs in the sauce, tossing well. Cook on low for 4-6 hours. Affectionately referred to as “sweet and sour meatballs pineapple slow cooker delight” by my family and friends, you’ll find this to be a recurring request for dinner from those close to you!

Can You Make Sweet And Sour Meatballs Ahead Of Time?

But of course. Crockpot method aside, simply make the meatballs as you normally would right up until they’re supposed to go into the oven. Instead of baking them, cover them tightly and pop them in the fridge. Make the sauce in a bowl, cover and refrigerate it as well. Remember with sweet n sour meatballs, we’re working with raw meat, so bake them later that same day or within a 24 hour time period.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on top of rice

How Do You Freeze Sweet And Sour Meatballs?

These little meaty gems freeze quite well! Whether you want to freeze a large batch or just your dinner leftovers, simply portion out these yummy sweet sour meatballs any way you’d like and into the freezer they go! Their flavor holds up incredibly well, just be sure to follow all freeze guidelines.

What Do You Serve With Sweet And Sour Meatballs?

Rice! Brown rice, white rice, long grain rice…any type of rice! You can lay these sweet and sour meatballs with pineapple right over the top of a heaping pile of rice. It’s so good, and the rice soaks up the sauce…oh yum. Of course, as a traditional appetizer, you’ll want to just arrange them neatly on a plate and stick a toothpick in each one (or not). Voila! Just like that, you’re fancy!

More Meatball Recipes!

  • Sicilian Meatballs Infused with a combination of flavors to taste Italian and a bit Middle Eastern all at the same time!
  • Teriyaki Meatballs Moist, tender, juicy, flavorful meatballs in a super easy, sweet, homemade teriyaki sauce!
  • Cranberry Meatballs -Warm and wintery, tender and tasty, cranberry meatballs scream holiday dinner party. But.. they’re just too good to limit yourself so serve them anytime!
  • Grape Jelly Meatballs  – Sweet and hearty grape jelly meatballs make for a classic appetizer or main course! Full-bodied and spicy, these fellas are sure to please the crowd.
  • Mexican Meatballs – is the perfect appetizer for any get together. Super delicious, and simple… they’re certain to be a hit!
  • Bisquick Sausage Balls assemble in mere minutes to form bite-sized snacks that are full of flavor & perfect for dipping! Moist, meaty, & of course- delish!

Step By Step How To Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs