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5 from 4 votes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

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! 
Prep Time40 mins
Cook Time20 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 6
Calories: 465kcal
Author: Natalie


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.


Calories: 465kcal | Carbohydrates: 49g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 21g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 96mg | Sodium: 575mg | Potassium: 588mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 41g | Vitamin A: 549IU | Vitamin C: 32mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 3mg