Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This is a favorite meal of ours that I have been making for years. On Sunday evenings when I am planning our weekly menu, I’ll ask my husband to give me at least one meal suggestion. No fail, he either comes up with this dish or his other fave, Sweet and Sour Chicken. (By the way, I usually veto his suggestions, though, because I have so many recipes to try that I don’t like eating the same thing week after week. Rude, I know, but how will I ever try all these recipes before I die if I am making Sweet and Sour Meatballs or Chicken every week?)

These meatballs are also a huge winner with my kidlets. The meatballs are tender and perfectly seasoned, especially after baking in the simple sweet and sour sauce. For me, this is definitely a perfect weeknight meal – and we enjoy it often (but not as often as my husband would like)!

What To ServeBaked Brown Rice
Fresh, seasonal fruit
Spinach Strawberry Salad with Homemade Creamy Poppyseed Dressing

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Yield: Serves 4-6

Sweet and Sour Meatballs


  • 1 1/2 pounds lean ground beef or lean ground turkey (If using beef, you don’t want the beef to be too high in fat because the fat will all pool at the bottom of the baking dish after baking – big time grody-ness in my book)
  • 3/4 cup quick oats
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • Sauce:
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon mustard
  • 1/4 cup barbeque sauce
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. For the meatballs: Combine all of the ingredients and mix well. Form into about 12 balls, eacha bout 2 inches in diameter. Place in a casserole dish. Cover with sauce (below). Bake at 350 degrees for about 30 minutes. Serve over rice.
  2. For the sauce: Combine ingredients and blend thoroughly. Heat in a small saucepan until combined and sugar is dissolved and pour over meatballs. (This dish is not overly abundant on sauce so if you enjoy things a bit saucier, double the sauce ingredients.)


Freezable Meal: After covering the meatballs with sauce, cover the pan with two layers of aluminum foil and freeze. To bake, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and bake covered without thawing for 1 hour. Uncover and bake 20-30 minutes more, until meatballs are cooked through.


Recipe Source: adapted from Lion House Recipes

112 Responses to Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  1. Jackie Hewitt says:

    The meatballs are great but we didn’t like the sweet and sour sauce but I think thats mainly because we prefer gravy or tomato sauce with meatballs

  2. Hank says:

    This recipe is fantastic. I have made it several times. The amount of sauce in this recipe is perfect, imho. It is my go-to recipe for meatballs and, on occasion, I have also used different sauces. The only consistent difference I find necessary from the written instructions for me though is that I prefer to cook the meatballs for an hour at 350, not 30 minutes. Maybe it is the way that I put them side by side in the casserole dish, but I leave them there for an hour.

  3. Erin says:

    These were a hit. Definitely double the sauce.

    My husband has a gluten issue, so I used almond flour instead of oats. Not that oats are gluten, but grains in general bother him. All of my condiments- mustard, ketchup, etc etc were gluten free. (Vinegar can be an issue for gluten, and vinegar is in ketchup, mustard, etc etc.)

    Thanks, Mel!

  4. Jessica Glover says:

    I made these tonight for the second time, they had been in the freezer and in an effort to speed up the cooking process I put them on the stove. I seared them on all sides then added the sauce and let simmer on the stove. AMAZING!!! This will be my method of cooking these from now on! Thanks Mel for another great recipe!

  5. pam says:

    Just made this for supper, using ground chicken instead of ground beef. To be honest, I wasn’t sure about it while it was cooking – the smell of the apple cider vinegar was a bit off-putting (my 6yo even said “what’s that smell?!?”), but it tasted really good. Next time I’d triple the sauce though – doubled wasn’t saucy enough for my sauce-loving family.

  6. lynn says:

    These are so good! I wanted a crockpot recipe so
    I baked the meatballs in the oven at 350 for 30 minutes
    I doubled the sauce recipe and dumped all the ingredients in the crockpot and added the cooked meatballs to the crockpot
    cooked on low for 2hrs
    the Best!!

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