Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Do you have any tried and true family favorite recipes?

You know those recipes that you don’t have to look hard in the recipe box to find because they are so stained, worn, and well loved? Well, these Sweet and Sour Meatballs are one of those recipes for our family!

This is the meal I asked my mom to make every year on my birthday growing up, and still request them if she is making me dinner. I look forward to the leftovers for lunch the next day!

Dinner can be on the table in 30 minutes or less with a few tips on making the sweet and sour meatballs

If you start by getting your rice going, it will allow it to cook while you’re cooking the meatballs. For cooking rice, I love to use my rice cooker, or instant pot. Brown rice is my favorite, but I am slowly getting out numbered on this as my kids leave the nest. Did you know cooked rice freezes really well? You can just throw it in a freezer bag once it’s cooled. I’m going to start cooking a big batch of brown rice and freezing it in portions for me since the boys in the house like white rice.

Do you avoid touching raw meat with your hands?

I’ve found the simplest method for me is getting all of my meatball ingredients, except the ground beef, in a bowl. Whisking all the ingredients together so it’s ready to mix once the ground beef has been added. This allows me to not have to touch any other ingredients once I’ve opened the ground beef. If touching raw meat is not an option for you, pull out some gloves, a spoon, or a Danish whisk and get to it.  Side note…Instead of chopping the onion, I like to grate it so I can get onion more evenly distributed throughout the meatballs.

If you have an electric frying pan this is a meal perfect to use it on. A frying pan on the stove will work great if you don’t. It’s time to pour the oil in the pan and get it heating up, so you’ll be ready to add in your meatballs. 

Quickly make your meatballs with less mess!

A 1 TBSP cookie scoop is a simple way to make uniform meatballs. Scoop the meatball and release it into a shallow dish of soy sauce. Simply roll the meatball around a bit until it’s covered in soy sauce and they ready for the frying pan. While I’m cooking my  meatballs I keep my frying pan set on 350° which is about a medium high heat. Continue adding you meatballs until you’ve used all of your ground beef mix. Your meatballs will need to cook about 5 minutes on each side to be cooked through. 

While the meatballs are cooking you can be mixing together the sauce ingredients. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs from the pan and set aside. Next you’ll add the sauce mixture straight into the frying pan to incorporate the fond leftover from the meatballs. This adds a lot of flavor to the sauce. Your sauce will start thin and milky from the cornstarch, and once it is ready it will thicken up and turn opaque. At this point you’re ready to add your  meatballs, pineapple tidbits, and peas. Stir gently to coat all ingredients in sauce. Turn heat to low and let simmer  for 5-10 minutes to meld flavors. Serve over rice and enjoy!  



Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Homemade meatballs in a sweet and sour sauce. Add in the pineapple tidbits and some frozen peas to finish it all off.

  • Author: Mama Lisa
  • Prep Time: 15
  • Cook Time: 15
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6-8 servings 1x
  • Category: Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: American
  • Diet: Gluten Free



Meatball Ingredients

2 lbs ground beef

1 small onion (grated or diced)

2 eggs

1 tsp salt

1/8 tsp pepper

2 Tbsp soy sauce

1/41/2 cup to dip meatballs in before frying

23 Tbsp oil to fry meatballs

Sauce Ingredients

juice from pineapple tidbits

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 cup cornstarch

1 1/2 tsp apple cider vinegar

Finishing Touches

1 can pineapple tidbits (drained)

2 cups frozen peas

Served with cooked rice


Mix first five ingredients for meatballs. I like to mush it all together with my hands.  Turn on frying pan and add 2-3 Tbsp oil. Form 1 Tbsp meatballs using Tbsp or small cookie scoop. Place 1/4-1/2 cup soy sauce in shallow dish and roll meatballs in before adding to hot frying pan.  Cook meatballs approximately 5 min on each side till cooked through. Remove meatballs and set aside. Mix sauce ingredients and pour into frying pan and whisk to release fond from bottom of frying pan. Continue to cook till sauce thickens and becomes translucent. Add meatballs, pineapple tidbits, and peas to sauce and stir to coat. Serve over cooked rice

Keywords: Sweet and Sour, Meatballs, Gluten Free, Family Dinner

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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