Sweet and Sour Meatballs can be made with beef, chicken, or pork! These Meatballs are shaped and baked before they get tossed in a homemade sweet and sour sauce. It makes a delicious appetizer or dinner idea served over rice or noodles! 

sweet and sour meatballs

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Need More Chinese Recipes? Try our Chinese Chicken Fingers, Lo Mein Takeout Noodles, or Fried Rice Recipe! These meatballs make a simple and delicious dinner with little effort to make! The sweet and sour sauce is seasoned with basic spices and can be baked or tossed in the crockpot until dinner is served!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

When out of dinner ideas, meatballs and sauce make a fabulous gravy over rice or grains! But we especially loved these meatballs when our friend’s teenage daughter made them for dinner. These sweet and sour meatballs were served over a bed of rice and were kept in the crock pot until mealtime. We enjoyed them so much we ended up asking for the recipe and sure enough the recipe was simple and easy!

Although, there’s not much work in tossing the ground meat together with oatmeal and an egg, you can use store bought frozen meatballs for an even quicker meal! Since I mentioned oatmeal I might as well mention that they are totally gluten-free! Even the slurry (sweet and sour sauce) is made from cornstarch!

For such a simple recipe the results are deliciously flavorful! And there is no frying involved! The meatballs are baked in the oven then combined with the sauce to stay warm until served. I ended up adding a fresh green bell pepper for flavor and as a vegetable into the meatballs. Keep warm in the slow cooker or bake for an hour in the oven for deliciously hot and piping meatballs that are perfectly sweetened and tart!

sweet and sour meatballs recipe


Are Sweet And Sour Meatballs Chinese?

Sweet and Sour Meatballs are from the Asian cuisine and sometimes recognized in Chinese takeout. As of a result, soy sauce is generally used with vinegar for tartness and brown sugar or pineapple juice to sweeten the sauce.

Ingredients Needed?


  • gound meat (pork, chicken, or beef)
  • egg
  • oatmeal (old-fashioned-rolled oats)
  • seasoned salt (Lawry’s)

Sweet and Sour Sauce: 

  • brown sugar
  • cornstarch
  • water
  • soy sauce
  • chili powder
  • ketchup
  • vinegar

How To Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs from Scratch:

  1. Mix and shape Meatballs.
  2. Bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven.
  3. To Make Sauce: cook together the sauce ingredients until thick.
  4. Pour Sauce over meatballs and bake for 30 minutes-one hour at 350°F or transfer to a slow cooker and keep on low until serving.

Serve this over rice or noodles for full meal. To serve as an appetizer keep warm in the slow cooker and serve with toothpicks inserted for a pick me up treat!

Are Sweet and Sour Meatballs Gluten-Free?

This recipe is gluten-free! The meatballs have no flour and the sauce is prepared with cornstarch.

How To Store Meatballs?

Make ahead the meatballs and combine with the sauce. Store leftovers in an airtight container for upto 3 days in the fridge.

To Reheat Meatballs: place in the microwave and heat until warm or bake in a baking dish at 350°F for 10-25 minutes (depending on how much is being reheated.)

Can I use different Veggies?

Add sweet bell peppers, chunked zucchini, mushrooms, or broccoli for some color and nutrition!

For healthier Meatballs:

Swap out the water for pineapple juice and use 1/2 cup of a natural sweetener like honey or maple syrup for the brown sugar.

Tools To Use:

3 Easy Ways to Cook Meatballs:

These meatballs come together quickly, however additional cooking is required once combined. As of a result, it’s best to throw the meatballs into a crock pot, baking dish, or saucepan to further merry in the sauce.

  • Crock Pot: combine and keep warm or cook over low if you have plenty of time. To speed up the cooking time cook over HIGH for up-to 2 hours.
  • Oven: bake in a baking dish until piping hot for up to an hour.
  • Stovetop: cooking meatballs over the stovetop is the quickest way to serve these meatballs. Simply add the meatballs to the thickened sauce and simmer over medium heat until the meatballs have cooked in the sauce some.

Tips For Making Meatballs:

  1. Use a cookie scoop for even meatballs.
  2. Thicken sauce in a saucepan before adding to the meatballs.
  3. Store leftover sauce as a gravy for your next bowl of rice!
  4. Toss in some fresh veggies to the sauce for extra nutrition!


More Meatball Recipes:

How to make Sweet and Sour Meatballs:

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Servings: 10 servings
Sweet and Sour Meatballs can be made with beef, chicken, or pork! Meatballs are shaped and baked before they get tossed in a homemade sweet and sour sauce. It makes a delicious appetizer or dinner idea served over rice or noodles! 


  • slow cooker or baking dish
  • saucepan



  • 2 lbs ground pork (beef, chicken, or turkey)
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup oatmeal
  • 1 tsp seasoned salt (Lawry's)


  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 3 cups water
  • 1/4 cup soy sauce
  • 3 tsp chili powder
  • 2/3 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup vinegar



  • Mix together meatball ingredients and shape into balls. Bake in a pre-heated 400°F oven for 20 minutes.
  • TO MAKE SAUCE: combine all the ingredients together in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Simmer until thick.
  • Pour over meatballs and bake in a baking dish for 30 minutes-1 hour at 350°F or place into a crock pot and cook on High for 30 minutes.


  • Crock Pot: if serving meatballs soon cook on High for up-to one hour. Anything more should be kept over low heat for up to 4-6 hours. 
  • Stovetop: If your short on time simply add the meatballs to the sauce once thickened and simmer for 10-15 minutes. 

Nutrition per serving

Serving: 1servingCalories: 420kcalCarbohydrates: 42gProtein: 17gFat: 20gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 82mgSodium: 783mgPotassium: 396mgFiber: 1gSugar: 36gVitamin A: 290IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 53mgIron: 2mg


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    • Ellen

    Can u taste the oatmeal??

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      Hi Ellen, no I wouldn’t say so.

    • Kate

    Do you use regular rolled oats for this recipe?

      • Alyona Demyanchuk

      I believe I’ve used either for these.

      • Kate

      I’ve made these twice for my family already and we love them! I just used crushed corn flakes instead of the oatmeal and didn’t use that much vinegar as indicated. We like our meatballs to be more sweeter. Thank you for a delicious recipe:)

        • Alyona Demyanchuk

        Oh wonderful, Kate! I’m so glad to hear you’ve made them twice already!

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