You NEED to Try this Easy, Yummy Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

Oct 11, 2021 | Food, Recipes, Shelf Cooking

This easy sweet and sour meatballs recipe is sure to be a family favorite! We'll show you how to use the ingredients you already have to make this delicious meal.

sweet and sour meatballs in glass dish, from Fun Cheap or Free

Hey Freebs! Our friend Melissa from Beautiful Life and Home shared the world's most amazing sweet and sour meatballs recipe with us, so now we're passing it along to you! Spoiler alert: this dish is a shelf cooking dream.

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We love this sweet and sour meatball recipe because you can mix and match and swap out ingredients left and right! The best part is, no matter what you do, these meatballs always turn out super delicious. Let’s get started!


ground meat for meatballs, from Fun Cheap or Free

These meatballs are great because you basically need three types of ingredients that you can usually find in your pantry, refrigerator, or freezer. Here's how to make some swaps if you need to:

  • Ground Meat – For the ground meat, you can use hamburger, ground turkey, ground pork, or ground chicken. Don’t have any ground meat on hand? No worries! Quickly make your own! Just toss some chicken breasts, thighs, or pork chops into a food processor and pulse until everything is chopped to your liking.
  • Binding Agent – For a binding agent, you can use eggs, bread crumbs, or oatmeal. Or a combo!
  • Sauce – For the sauce, the sky's the limit! Just go to your fridge and see what you’ve got! We like to use a combination of ketchup with teriyaki sauce, hoisin sauce, barbecue sauce, or any other type of Asian sauce.

Play around with the ingredients until you find a combination that you like best. But even if you don't have everything on hand, you can always improvise!


These meatballs will go with pretty much anything! Here are our favorite pairings:

  • Rice – Rice is the traditional pairing with these meatballs. You can use brown rice, Minute rice, Jasmine rice, Basmati rice–whatever is in your pantry!
  • Ramen – Another option is to use ramen! Cook up the ramen (without the flavor packet) and top the noodles with the meatballs and sauce.
  • Mashed Veggies – These meatballs would also be great over some riced or mashed cauliflower or mashed potatoes!

Basically, these sweet and sour meatballs taste good with anything. 🙂


raw meatballs on baking tin, from Fun Cheap or Free

If you don't want to bake all of them, you can easily freeze some for later. Simply place them on a small foil-lined cookie sheet and put them in your freezer, uncovered, for several hours to flash freeze.

Once they're frozen, transfer them to a freezer bag. You can easily bake them from frozen, too! When you're ready to bake, make the sauce, pour it over, and bake for ten extra minutes.


Sweet and sour meatballs are so easy to make! You can whip up the meatballs and sauce and have them baking in no time. But, before we start, one quick note! It's easiest to make these if you have a food processor. One benefit of using a food processor is that you can get those onions chopped small and mixed in thoroughly so that your kids don't notice! 🙂 But, you can mix the ingredients in a bowl with a fork or your hands if you need to.

Alright, here's what you're here for! 😉

sweet and sour meatballs in glass dish, from Fun Cheap or Free

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Mix and match ingredients you already have in your pantry and fridge to make these sweet and sour meatballs! Use beef, chicken, turkey, or pork and any kind of Asian sauce for these best-loved meatballs!
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Main Course
Cuisine Chinese
Servings 4 servings


For the Meatballs

  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • ½ cup rolled oats
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten (optional)
  • ¼ cup onion, finely chopped
  • ¾ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)

For the Sauce

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 2 tsp mustard
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¼ cup teriyaki sauce (or other Asian sauce, like hoisin, or barbecue)
  • 2 tsp Worcestershire sauce (optional)
  • ½ cup vinegar


  • Preheat your oven to 350°F.
  • Mix the ground beef, oats, egg, onion, salt, pepper, and 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce together.
  • Using a small cookie scoop, scoop out the meat mixture to make meatballs. Place into a 9×13 baking dish.
  • In a small mixing bowl, stir together the brown sugar, mustard, ketchup, teriyaki sauce, and 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce. Once smooth, add the ½ cup of vinegar and stir until well-blended.
  • Pour over the top of the meatballs. Bake for 25 minutes or until a thermometer reads 160°F.


Note: The sauce does not thicken up in the oven. If you want your sauce to be thicker, add 2 teaspoons of cornstarch to it before pouring over your meatballs. Mix it in with the sugar before you add any other ingredients for the sauce.
Keyword easy, freezer, make-ahead

There you have it, guys! Super easy, right? We're so excited for you to try these. No matter what you serve with your meatballs, we bet your family is going to love this meal!

Tell us what you think, okay! Please leave us a comment below.

Sweet and sour meatballs ready for dinner, from Fun Cheap or Free

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1 Comment

  1. April

    5 stars
    I have been making this recipe for several years now. It is a family favorite. One night, I forgot to heat up the sauce before I put it on the meatballs. It was a happy accident. I think it works a lot better that way.



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