These little baked sweet and sour meatballs make a ridiculously tasty and easy meal that kids go crazy for. Serve them with rice or mashed potatoes, or on their own as a party appetizer.
I used to think of making meatballs as a tedious thing reserved for special occasions. Definitely not something I’d attempt on a weeknight. But really? It takes about five minutes to roll a bunch of mini meatballs.
Coat them in an irresistible sweet and sour glaze and I guarantee these will make their way into your dinner rotation!
The flavor of these meatballs is reminiscent of meatloaf, but instead of baking a large loaf for an hour, these take about 15 minutes in the oven. And they’re WAY more fun to eat!
Instead of beef, you can use ground turkey, chicken or pork if you like, or some combination of those.
Can you Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs Ahead of Time?
If you want to make the meatballs ahead of time, you can
- Keep the uncooked meatballs covered in the refrigerator for 1 to 2 days.
- The cooked meatballs in the refrigerator for up to 3 or 4 days.
- To freeze them, put the cooked meatballs on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 30 minutes. Transfer the frozen meatballs to a large freezer bag or airtight container and store in the freezer for up to 3 months. You can cook them from frozen in the oven, just increase the baking time to 20-25 minutes.
What Can you Serve with Sweet and Sour Meatballs?
I often serve them over simple white rice, but these garlic and cream cheese mashed potatoes would be amazing.
It’s also great to have a green vegetable on the side. Steamed broccoli or, better yet, parmesan roasted broccoli. Bacon and brown sugar green beans would be perfect too.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Preheat the oven to 400 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a large bowl, mix the ground beef, chopped onion, bread crumbs, garlic, egg, salt and pepper until just combined. Don’t over-mix or the meatballs will be dry and tough.
3. With your hands, roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls, and place them onto the prepared baking sheet. You should have about 24 meatballs.
4. Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.
5. While the meatballs are in the oven, heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the chopped onion and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
6. To the skillet, add the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, apple cider vinegar, and water. Cook, whisking occasionally for 4-5 minutes. If you feel the sauce is getting too thick, whisk in another tablespoon or two of water, until it reaches a glaze-like consistency.
7. Add the meatballs to the skillet and stir to coat.
Serve right away over rice, mashed potatoes or on their own as an appetizer.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 1 lb lean ground beef
- 1/3 cup yellow onion finely chopped
- 1 minced garlic clove
- 1/3 cup Panko bread crumbs
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
- 1 tbsp water
- salt to taste
- Preheat the oven to 400 F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Combine ground beef, onion, garlic, bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper together in a large bowl using hands or a rubber spatula.
- Form the meat mixture into approximately 24 1-inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 15-20 minutes until browned and cooked through.
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- While the meatballs are baking, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 2-3 minutes.
- Whisk in the ketchup, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce and vinegar.
- Reduce the heat to low and simmer for about 5 minutes. Whisk in another tablespoon or two of water if the sauce is too thick.
- Add the cooked meatballs and stir to coat. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes, or on their own as an appetizer.
Hi! I’m Ann and I blog at Our Happy Mess. I’m all about fast, fresh, and family-friendly recipes. I believe cooking from scratch can not only be doable but FUN, no matter how busy life gets!
You can find more of my recipes at Our Happy Mess.
DanielleOctober 18, 2019 at 9:47 am
I never stop enjoying meatballs – this is probably one of my favorite dishes ever! It goes so well with rice, potatoes, you name it! Love how yours look – definitely giving this recipe a try!
Ann OtisOctober 18, 2019 at 4:15 pm
Thanks Danielle! They’re a family favorite!!
kimOctober 18, 2019 at 10:05 am
What a tasty recipe! My whole family love this one and I’ll definitely be making again!
Ann OtisOctober 18, 2019 at 4:16 pm
So happy to hear that Kim! 🙂
ToniOctober 18, 2019 at 10:33 am
This is such a huge hit at my house!!
Ann OtisOctober 18, 2019 at 4:16 pm
Yay! My family devours these too 🙂
Heidy L. McCallumOctober 18, 2019 at 10:47 am
My mom used to make something close to this when we were kids and I lost her recipe, so I was thrilled to find yours. These also freeze fairly well from what I remember so I’m going to make a HUGE batch
Ann OtisOctober 18, 2019 at 4:17 pm
They freeze really well, yes! My mom used to make something similar as well 🙂
SoniaOctober 18, 2019 at 3:33 pm
Oh my goodness!I wish I could grab them off the screen!! Add all the Ingredients to my grocery list.. can’t wait to make them.
Ann OtisOctober 18, 2019 at 4:18 pm
Haha! Enjoy! They are crazy good.
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