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Sweet & Sour Meatballs

"A family favourite and one of the first recipes I think to when  planing for special occasions such as our Christmas Open House or New Years Day Buffet. Great addition to a buffet, a real crowd pleaser at potlucks, a wonderful meal anytime. Often prepare double batches of meatballs baking and freezing on cookie sheets,  slipping the frozen meatballs into a plastic bag all ready to go. Also allows me to take out the amount need for my meal. Great make ahead, the meatballs and sauce are also very freezer friendly. This one was a real find, the handwritten copy was tucked in a cookbook I picked up at a yard sale. Obviously they enjoyed as much as we do,  printed right at the top of the recipe 'Best Ever Sweet and Sour Meatballs'- I have to agree! NOTE - having used very little in the way of sugar these past years,I am finding many recipes too sweet which has me using far less sugar than the original recipe calls for. Adjust to your taste."

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Prep Time: 15m

Cook Time: 40m


Servings: 6-8  

  • 5.0000

Very good and I love the idea of cooking meatballs in the oven! I did' t use the water chestnuts in the meatballs and adding one can of sliced water chestnuts in the sauce with the pineapples. Next time I will use less sugar but very good just.... Read more

  US | Metric  Print Ingredients
  • 1/2 pound ground beef (I use all ground beef)
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar (white)
  • 1/8 to 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon ground ginger
  • 3 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons tapioca starch (or 2 tablespoons cornstarch)
  • 1 yellow onion (small onion, chopped fine, best minced or grated)
  • 1/4 cup water chestnuts, chopped fine (optional
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (I use much less - adjust to taste)
  • 2 3/4 ounces tomato paste (approximately 4 1/2 - 5 tablespoons)
  • 1 teaspoon Chinese five spice powder (or to taste)
  • 1 tablespoon tapioca starch (or 1 tablespoon cornstarch)
  • 1 cup water (I use the drained juice from one 19 ounce can of pineapple chunks plus water to equal one cup)
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks (drained, I use one 19 ounce can of pineapple chunks)
  • 1 green bell pepper (cut in small squares)
  • 1 red bell pepper (cut in small squares)
  • 1 carrot (cut into thin slices, I use more)

What You Will Need

No special items needed.
  How to Make

Step 1

In large mixing bowl combine and mix: ground meat, sugar, black pepper, dry ginger, soy sauce, the tapioca or cornstarch, minced onion, Chinese Five Spice Powder,the water chestnuts which are optional

Step 2

Mix and knead for at least two minutes to insure proper marination, form into even sized balls

Step 3

Fry in oil and drain (I never fry my meatballs, I put them on a cookie sheet and bake at 350 for about twenty minutes or until done)

Step 4

Meanwhile make the Sweet and Sour Sauce: in sauce pot on medium heat whisk together vinegar, sugar, tomato paste, the tapioca starch or cornstarch, the cup of water (or water/pineapple juice mix)

Step 5

Bring to boil stirring while cooking (using a whisk keeps it nice and smooth) when mixture reaches boiling point add the meatballs and heat through

Step 6

Add the carrots, peppers and pineapple chunks and cook until vegetables are 'just done'. Do not overcook. (I like to cook the carrots separately to avoid over cooking)

  Nutritional Facts
  • Serving Size: 1 (313.3 g)
  • Calories 372
  • Total Fat - 14.4 g
  • Saturated Fat - 5.2 g
  • Cholesterol - 69.2 mg
  • Sodium - 290.2 mg
  • Total Carbohydrate - 39.5 g
  • Dietary Fiber - 2.7 g
  • Sugars - 33.8 g
  • Protein - 21.1 g
  • Calcium - 38.6 mg
  • Iron - 2.2 mg
  • Vitamin C - 71.7 mg
  • Thiamin - 0.4 mg
5 reviews

Very good and I love the idea of cooking meatballs in the oven! I did' t use the water chestnuts in the meatballs and adding one can of sliced water chestnuts in the sauce with the pineapples. Next time I will use less sugar but very good just as it is. Served over rice for a very good dinner. Thanks for sharing!


Review by ellie

These turned out so good I used the oven method for cooking the meatballs and used 2 x 425 grams of pineapple pieces and the juice was just just 1 cup of pineapple juice, did sub spring onion for the onion due to intolerance issues and only used 1/2 cup sugar not as we are bit into oversweet and a whole recipe got 19 meatballs and served 3 of us with some of the sauce left over and was very much enjoyed over rice, thank you Gerry, made for Billboard Recipe Tag Board tag game.


Review by ImPat

wow this is a great sweet and sour sauce!! Exactly what i was looking for to match up with frozen meatballs i had in the freezer. I made the whole recipe of the sauce and froze the leftover, this will definately be the sweet and sour sauce i'll be making in future!! Very delicious!! I did cut way back on the sugar and replaced the sugar with splenda, it was still the best sweet and sour !!! I will eventually make a batch of your meatballs to have in the freezer, they sound wonderful. Thanks Gerry for sharing one of the best sweet and sour sauces we've had!!


Review by Derf "RIP" Forever in our Kitchen

I was in a rush so I used frozen meatballs from my store but the sauce is delicious! I plan on making your meatball recipe next time, thanks Gerry!


Review by Devon

Awesome recipe Gerry. These meatballs were a big hit here. I also baked mine in the oven. On parchment paper this makes for easy cleanup. Recipe is perfect as posted and will be one of my "Go to's" as well.


Review by Crocus