Sweet and sour meatballs are the perfect appetizer for your next tailgate party! They can be baked in the oven, or made in the Crockpot or Instant Pot.

These sweet and sour meatballs for the oven or slow cooker are perfect for dinner or an appetizer for football parties, really anytime! Delicious sweet and sour meatballs! They are the perfect appetizer for your next tailgate party. They can be baked in the oven, slow cooker, crock pot, insta-pot you name it!

Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

One of the first recipes that Cade and I learned in our little cooking class we took in college was a homemade sweet and sour sauce. I’ve been wanting to make it into sweet and sour meatballs for years, but I always got distracted. I’ve finally busted out the recipe and it was such a smart move because these babies are oh so yum!!

In that class, we learned a lot about food, sanitation, and that Cade and I cook totally different. Let’s just say that I tend to be a bit better with multitasking — love you anyway, Cade!

But back to the food, which is the most important. These Asian meatballs can be baked or stuck in the slow cooker for 3-4 hours. You can even just whip up the sweet and sour sauce for meatballs and throw that in there too.

Before I jump into the sweet and sour meatballs recipe, don’t forget to snag our cookbook, Our Sweet Basil Kitchen which is on sale this week!!

These sweet and sour meatballs for the oven or slow cooker are perfect for dinner or an appetizer for football parties, really anytime! Delicious sweet and sour meatballs! They are the perfect appetizer for your next tailgate party. They can be baked in the oven, slow cooker, crock pot, insta-pot you name it!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Ingredients

I know the ingredients list for these sweet and sour meatballs may seem lengthy, but I promise each ingredient is necessary. Here’s what we use in these Asian meatballs:

  • Ground beef
  • Panko bread crumbs
  • Dry minced onion
  • Egg
  • Milk
  • Ground ginger
  • Salt and pepper
  • Canola oil
  • Bell peppers
  • Garlic
  • Onion powder
  • Rice vinegar
  • Ketchup
  • Low-sodium soy sauce
  • Brown sugar
  • Sesame oil
  • Mandarin oranges
  • Cornstarch
  • Water

Can I Use Ground Turkey Instead of Ground Beef? 

Absolutely! Turkey is leaner than ground beef, so the sweet and sour meatballs might end up a little dry or crumbly. In which case, I would increase the coconut milk to 1/3 cup to keep the Asian meatballs tender and juicy.

These sweet and sour meatballs for the oven or slow cooker are perfect for dinner or an appetizer for football parties, really anytime! Delicious sweet and sour meatballs! They are the perfect appetizer for your next tailgate party. They can be baked in the oven, slow cooker, crock pot, insta-pot you name it!

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs 

This sweet and sour meatballs recipe is essentially a dump and stir recipe. Seriously, it’s so simple! Here’s how to make Asian meatballs:

  1. Add the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and stir to combine.
  2. Shape the meat mixture into balls, then bake until cooked through.
  3. Meanwhile, stir together the sweet and sour sauce ingredients in a saucepan.
  4. Bring the mixture to a boil and cook until thickened.
  5. Once the meatballs are baked, gently toss with the sweet and sour sauce and serve.

How to Make CrockPot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Want to make these Asian meatballs in a CrockPot? Shape the meatballs, then place in a CrockPot. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over top, then cook on HIGH for 3 to 4 hours.

Why Did My Meatballs Fall Apart?

One of the most asked questions with meatballs is, why do meatballs fall apart? Totally understandable. Meat that has been ground up needs a binding ingredient to bring it all back together.

You absolutely should have some kind of carb and milk in addition to the egg. Its’ called a panade, and you only need about 1/2 cup of bread crumbs per 2 pounds of meat, give or take. But the point is, bread and milk are going to keep your meat juicy and wonderful as well as act like a glue so don’t skip it.

These sweet and sour meatballs for the oven or slow cooker are perfect for dinner or an appetizer for football parties, really anytime! Delicious sweet and sour meatballs! They are the perfect appetizer for your next tailgate party. They can be baked in the oven, slow cooker, crock pot, insta-pot you name it!

Tips for Making Sweet and Sour Meatballs

When seasoning these Asian meatballs, be sure to use 1 teaspoon of salt per pound of meat. If you use less salt than this, it’s likely you’ll wind up with bland sweet and sour meatballs.

Struggling to keep your Asian meatballs round? Use oil for rolling! I learned this on a cooking show. Place a little oil on your hands and roll ’em up! In fact, I put the oil on a dish and dip the meat in it and roll whenever I need a little more oil. The oil shines the meat up all pretty, but it also helps the meat smooth together in your hands so you avoid making clumpy, overworked meatballs.

Speaking of overworked sweet and sour meatballs, I mentioned this already but it’s almost always because you over mixed the meat. Ground meat needs to be handled gently and to a minimum. The more you mix the meat, the tougher and more rubbery it becomes. I tend to use my hands to ensure I don’t keep mixing, because who wants to hang out in raw meat? It’s also a good idea to stir all of your mix-ins together before adding to the ground meat.

More CrockPot Recipes:

Sweet and Sour Meatballs for the Oven or Slow Cooker

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

5 from 3 votes
Servings: 4 -6
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 45 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour

Description

Sweet and sour meatballs are the perfect appetizer for your next tailgate party! They can be baked in the oven, or made in the Crockpot or Instant Pot.

Ingredients 

  • 2 Pounds Ground Beef, (we used 85/15)
  • 2/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
  • 2 Tablespoons Dry Minced Onion
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk, (or regular milk will work)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Ginger
  • 2 teaspoons Salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon Pepper

For the Sauce

  • 1 Tablespoons Canola Oil
  • 1/3 Cup Red Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Yellow Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1/3 Cup Green Bell Pepper, chopped
  • 1 Clove Garlic, minced fine
  • ½ Tablespoons Onion Powder
  • ½ Cup Rice Vinegar
  • ½ Cup Ketchup
  • ¼ Cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
  • 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, (white is also fine)
  • teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • 1/4 Cup Canned Mandarin Oranges, smashed (with juice)
  • 3 Tablespoons Cornstarch, for desired thickness
  • ¼ Cup Cold Water
  • Sesame Seeds, for garnish
  • Green Onions , for garnish

Instructions

For the meatballs:

  • Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
  • In a large bowl, add the meat, breadcrumbs, onion, egg, coconut milk, and seasonings.
    2 Pounds Ground Beef, 2/3 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs, 2 Tablespoons Dry Minced Onion, 1 Large Egg, 1/4 Cup Coconut Milk, 1 1/2 teaspoons Ground Ginger, 2 teaspoons Salt, 1/4 teaspoon Pepper
  • Mix with your hands until just combined.
  • Roll into balls by rubbing your hands with a little oil and then place in a greased 9x13" baking pan.
  • Bake for 20 minutes.

For the sauce:

  • In a sauce pan over medium heat, add the oil, peppers and garlic.
    1 Tablespoons Canola Oil, 1/3 Cup Red Bell Pepper, 1/3 Cup Yellow Bell Pepper, 1/3 Cup Green Bell Pepper, 1 Clove Garlic
  • Saute until tender, about 3 minutes.
  • Add onion powder, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and sesame.
    ½ Tablespoons Onion Powder, ½ Cup Rice Vinegar, ½ Cup Ketchup, ¼ Cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce, 3/4 Cup Brown Sugar, ⅛ teaspoon Sesame Oil
  • Stir to combine and add the oranges and juice.
    1/4 Cup Canned Mandarin Oranges
  • Bring to a boil.
  • Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch and water together and then whisk into the sauce.
    3 Tablespoons Cornstarch, ¼ Cup Cold Water
  • Bring back to a boil then turn down to medium low and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Serve over meatballs with sesame seeds and green onions.
    Sesame Seeds, Green Onions

Notes

*You can also just place the meatballs in a slow cooker with the sauce for 3-4 hours on high.
Meatballs can be frozen before or after cooking.

Nutrition

Serving: 1gCalories: 948kcalCarbohydrates: 70gProtein: 44gFat: 54gSaturated Fat: 21gPolyunsaturated Fat: 3gMonounsaturated Fat: 23gTrans Fat: 3gCholesterol: 202mgSodium: 2225mgPotassium: 1009mgFiber: 2gSugar: 50gVitamin A: 829IUVitamin C: 56mgCalcium: 129mgIron: 7mg
Author: Sweet Basil
Course: 200+ Easy Appetizers Recipes
Cuisine: Asian

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