We loving serving these sweet and sour meatballs as a tasty appetizer or a main dish over rice! With pineapples, brown sugar, soy sauce, peppers, beef, and sausage these meatballs are loaded with flavor!
We love making a classic meatball and then topping it with a variety of different sauces and flavors! If you love this sweet and sour meatball recipe then you will love our sticky Asian meatballs and our orange chicken meatballs too!
Homemade Sweet and Sour Meatball Recipe
But these meatballs can also stand on their own as an appetizer! I love making up a big batch for game days or family gatherings! The sweet and tangy taste is always a hit with everyone!!
This recipe might use a few more ingredients than other sweet and sour recipes that consist of grape jelly and chili sauce, but trust me a few extra ingredients are totally worth it!
How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs
FOR THE MEATBALLS:
- Begin by mixing breadcrumbs, buttermilk, and egg in a medium-size bowl. Let it sit for 5 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the buttermilk!
- Whisk the garlic, onion, parsley, ground ginger, salt, and pepper together and then use your hands and mix in the beef and pork, until combined! ** Do not overmix your meat or your meatball will be too dense and not as tender.
- Use a standard size cookie scoop to create a smooth, round ball. Then place the meatballs onto a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for 5-10 minutes.
- Finally, cook the meatballs in a large nonstick skillet over medium heat for about 15-18 minutes. Remove and cover with the sauce!
FOR THE SAUCE:
- While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce in a medium saucepan set over medium heat.
- Heat the oil and then saute the peppers and onion for about 3 minutes.
- Reserve 2 tablespoons of pineapple juice and then add everything else and bring it to a simmer for 5 minutes. Then add the pineapple chunks!
- Use the reserved pineapple juice to mix with cornstarch and then add to the simmering sauce and stir until the sauce thickens. Once thick remove from heat and pour over the fully cooked meatballs!
To speed this recipe up, you can always use frozen meatballs. Cook them as directed or toss them into a crockpot (no need to thaw) and cover with the sauce, cook on LOW for 2-3 hours.
Or use your Instant pot to combine and saute the sauce ingredients until it boils. Then turn the instant pot on manual high pressure and place the frozen meatballs inside to cook for 5 minutes. Once the time is up do a quick release of pressure.
Pro-Tip: brown the meatballs (either on the stovetop or broil in the oven) before placing them in your crockpot or instant pot. This will help them retain their shape will cooking!
Changing the Flavors Up
I love the flavor that the soy sauce and pineapple adds to this dish! But if you want you can try some of our other amazing flavors:
- Cranberry Meatballs– sweet and tangy
- Swedish Meatballs– creamy and savory
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs– tangy and spicy
- Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce-fresh, tangy and garlic
How long do meatballs last? Meatballs should last about 3-4 days in the fridge. Keep them refrigerated and in an air-tight container.
Can you freeze these for later? Yes, fully cook and prepare the sauce and meatballs. Let them cool before dividing the meatballs, sauce, and veggies into freezer bags. Lay the bags flat and freeze for 1-3 months. To reheat pour the contents of the bag into a pot on the stove and cook till warmed through. Or into your crockpot!
I am sure you will love this fresh, sweet and tangy meatball! This dish shines whether its the main dish or the appetizer!
Find more delicious appetizers here:
Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe
For the meatballs:
- 1/4 cup panko bread crumbs
- 1/3 cup buttermilk
- 1 egg
- 3 cloves garlic - minced
- 2 tbsp yellow onion - finely diced, or green onion
- 1 tsp parsley - freshly minced
- pinch ground ginger
- 1/2 tsp coarse kosher sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1 lb ground beef
- 1/4 lb ground pork
For the sweet and sour sauce:
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1/2 cup bell pepper - chunks - red, green, or both
- 1/4 cup onion chunks
- 1 1/2 cup pineapple juice - divided
- 1/2 cup brown sugar - packed
- 1/4 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 2 tbsp low-sodium soy sauce
- 1 cup pineapple chunks - fresh or canned
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
For the meatballs:
- In a medium mixing bowl add the breadcrumbs, buttermilk, and egg, whisk to combine. Let stand for 5 minutes to allow the breadcrumbs to absorb the liquid.
- Add the garlic, onion, parsley, ground ginger, salt, and pepper. Whisk to combine. Using your hands, mix in the beef and pork until ingredients are combined. Take care not to overwork the meat or the meatballs will turn out dense instead of tender.
- Using a standard size cookie scoop, portion the mixture, roll to create a smooth, round ball. Place meatballs onto a parchment lined freezer safe baking sheet or a baking dish. Once all of the mixture has been portioned, freeze the meatballs for 5-10 minutes.
- To cook the meatballs, place a large nonstick skillet over medium heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the meatballs and cook until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees, about 15-18 minutes. Remove and serve with sauce.
For the sauce:
- While the meatballs are cooking, make the sauce. In a medium saucepan set over medium heat, add the oil. Once hot, add the peppers and onion, saute until tender, about 3 minutes. Pour in the all but 2 tablespoons of the pineapple juice. Add brown sugar, rice vinegar, ketchup, and soy sauce. Simmer for 5 minutes, then add the pineapple chunks.
- In a small prep bowl whisk together the cornstarch and reserved pineapple juice. Pour into the simmering sauce. Allow to simmer for 5 minutes or until thickened. Remove from the heat and serve over meatballs.