Sweet and Sour Meatballs have a tangy homemade sweet and sour sauce coating homemade (or frozen) meatballs, pineapple, and bell peppers. It’s simple and delicious as an appetizer or served as a meal over rice or noodles.
These sweet and sour meatballs are a family favorite that makes it into our meal rotation monthly! It’s simple to make and can be easily customized with different kinds of meat and veggies. If you are a meatball fan too, you have to try our Meatball Subs and Buffalo Ranch Meatballs.
Traditionally, I’ve used ground beef, but for this Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe, I used ground turkey meatballs to make them a little more waistline-friendly.
The meatballs take about 20 minutes to make, then they are simmered in a sweet and sour sauce with veggies and pineapple until tender and completely delicious. To save on time you can use frozen meatballs. This meal has such an intense flavor that I will usually keep the sides simple, serving with rice or Asian-style noodles and some roasted broccoli or another steamed veggie.
How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Prep. Drain a can of pineapple chunks, reserving the juice to use later for the sweet and sour sauce. Mix some water and cornstarch into a slurry (thickener for the sauce) and set it aside to use later. Cornstarch on it’s own would just clump up in the sauce so the water mixture is a must.
Make and thicken the sweet and sour sauce. Heat pineapple juice, water, soy sauce, rice vinegar and brown sugar until simmering, then add the cornstarch mixture. Let it bubble and keep stirring until it’s nice and thick.
Simmer. Add the fully cooked meatballs, pineapple and green pepper to the skillet and continue to simmer until everything is heated through and coated well.
Expert Tips and Tricks for Success
If you’re feeling really adventurous, add some more veggies, like diced onions, shredded carrots or just different colored peppers. Or add some red pepper flakes for heat.
If you’re not into the turkey meatballs, use beef. Keep in mind that turkey has a sweeter flavor than beef so a swap would be more savory. Frozen is also fine – you need about 30 meatballs.
How to serve: Transfer meatballs to a bowl and add toothpicks to serve as an appetizer or serve as a main dish over white or brown steamed rice.
How to store: Store leftover meatballs with sweet and sour sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in a pan on the stove or in the microwave for individual portions.
How to freeze: To freeze, place meatballs with the sauce in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat on the stove.
1large green pepper, seeded and membranes removedcut into 1-inch pieces
garnishes: thinly sliced green onions, sesame seeds
Drain pineapple and set aside, reserving the juice. Whisk together ⅓ cup water and 3 tablespoons cornstarch in a small bowl and set aside.
Add water to the pineapple juice if needed to measure 1 cup, then pour into a large saute pan or skillet over medium heat. Add rice vinegar, soy sauce and brown sugar to the pineapple juice and stir until smooth.
Bring to a simmer, then add the cornstarch mixture to the skillet.
Cook over medium heat until thick, stirring constantly. Add the pineapple, meatballs and green pepper.
Simmer, uncovered, until heated through; about 20 minutes.
Garnish with thinly sliced green onions and sesame seeds, if desired.
Store leftover meatballs with sweet and sour sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in a pan on the stove or in the microwave for individual portions.To freeze, place meatballs with the sauce in an airtight container or freezer bag. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight and heat on the stove.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.