Sweet and Sour Meatballs

by Lana Stuart on November 4, 2011 · 24 comments

Sweet and Sour Meatballs from @NevrEnoughThyme

It’s still football season around here. As a matter of fact, it’s UGA‘s homecoming this weekend. Our Bulldogs will be playing New Mexico State at 12:30 tomorrow and we’re hoping for a big win! Whether you’re having folks over to watch the game or tailgating in Athens, I’ve got another great game day recipe for you. Now those Baked Buffalo Wings I posted earlier this week are my favorite game day treat, but these Sweet and Sour Meatballs are a close second. They’re easy to make and everybody likes them. Even the little ones. They have that lovely sweet and tangy flavor that comes from mixing catsup and vinegar.

Ground beef and turkey for Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This recipe uses both ground beef (I used ground chuck) and ground turkey breast. That combination gives you just enough fat from the hamburger so that the meatballs aren’t dry.

Grating onion for Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Put the ground meats in a medium mixing bowl and then grate a small onion into the bowl with them.

Mixing ingredients for Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Add the egg, bread crumbs, salt and pepper. Combine the mixture thoroughly. You can use your hands if you want to, but I find that using a fork is actually easier and keeps me from compressing the mixture and making it tough.

Forming meatballs

Form the mixture into 1-inch meatballs. I use a measuring tablespoon to make sure I get them all the same size. One tablespoon of mixture makes a one-inch meatball.

Cooking meatballs

In a large skillet over medium-high heat, melt the butter with the oil. Add the meatballs and brown them on all sides. Work in batches so that you don’t crowd the pan. Remove them meatballs and set aside.

Making sauce for meatballs

Pour out any fat remaining in the pan and wipe it out with paper towels. Return the pan to the heat, add the catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.

Return meatballs to sauce

Return the meatballs to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.


Sweet and Sour Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Cocktail meatballs simmered in a tangy sweet and sour sauce.
Serves: 35 meatballs
  • ¾ lb. ground beef
  • ¾ lb. ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion, grated
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 ½ tsp. salt
  • ½ tsp. ground black pepper
  • 2 tblsp. butter
  • 2 tblsp. canola oil
  • ¾ cup reduced sugar catsup
  • 1/3 cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tblsp. sugar (or Splenda)
  • 2 tsp. dry mustard
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. ground black pepper
  1. Combine the ground beef, ground turkey, onion, egg and bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  2. Form 1” meatballs using approximately one tablespoon of mixture per meatball.
  3. In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium heat.
  4. Brown the meatballs on all sides. Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
  5. Remove from skillet and set aside.
  6. Pour out any accumulated fat in skillet and wipe clean.
  7. Return the skillet to the heat, add the catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  8. Return the meatballs to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.
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{ 24 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Alison @ ingredients, Inc. November 4, 2011 at 8:18 pm

These look delish!


2 Jamie November 5, 2011 at 4:23 am

Man, do these look good! And although we only watch rugby on tv, I can tell you that these scrumptious meatballs would make a fabulous meal. Love the flavors you have in the sauce. Perfect!


3 Lana November 5, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Thanks, Jamie. The sauce is so good with these. Sweet, tart and tangy. We always enjoy it.


4 Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! November 5, 2011 at 10:28 am

These would be awesome for tailgating or as a football watching party appetizer. Go Buffs! (Said sarcastically since they’re SO BAD this year.)


5 Lana November 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Yes, they’re perfect for football watching. Great for a Super Bowl party, too.


6 Mari @ Mari's Cakes November 5, 2011 at 11:24 am

Great recipe, Lana! They look super delicious, game or no game, I know we will love it at home. Have a great weekend :)


7 Lana November 5, 2011 at 12:30 pm

Hope you enjoy them, Mari!


8 Suzanne November 5, 2011 at 12:27 pm

Oooo, These sound GREAT for the game. Seeing as how my husband is a NMSU grad, I guess we will be on opposite sides of the field. GO Aggies!



9 Lana November 5, 2011 at 12:31 pm

Hey, no problem, Suzanne! You gotta pull for your team! Go Dawgs!


10 Mary November 5, 2011 at 1:42 pm

These look fantastic meatballs, really delicious, they’ll be a big hit in my house!
mary x


11 Barbara | Creative Culinary November 5, 2011 at 5:15 pm

Forget THE game…I could eat these without one. Love the idea of sweet and sour; sounds so good.


12 Cookin' Canuck November 5, 2011 at 11:09 pm

This is another great football-watching treat, Lana! The sweet and sour flavors would be a big hit in my house.


13 Katherine Martinelli November 6, 2011 at 5:44 am

Oh yum! I love sweet and sour meatballs and cannot wait to try these!! Seriously, I will be making these soon! Thanks for a great recipe :-D


14 Megan November 6, 2011 at 6:03 pm

Yum! I’m going to add these to our holiday open house menu.


15 Lana November 8, 2011 at 4:14 pm

They’d be a great item for an open house, Megan. I’ve served them in a chafing dish and they hold really well for a long time.


16 Christin November 6, 2011 at 11:11 pm

These look really good. I have always just fried meatballs in oil, but I like the way you do it in a combo of oil and butter.


17 Priscilla - She's Cookin' November 7, 2011 at 12:11 pm

It was definitely a good football weekend – would have been better if I was at your house for some of your delicious meat balls! Hope your team won – ours did :)


18 Lana November 8, 2011 at 4:15 pm

We did win, Priscilla! Thanks.


19 Zesty Cook November 7, 2011 at 3:53 pm

I’ve never thought to grate an onion to get it really fine. Great tip!


20 claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend November 7, 2011 at 9:08 pm

Wonderful recipe perfect for a party!


21 Lora @cakeduchess November 7, 2011 at 10:15 pm

I wish my family would suddenly start to watch football games so I could start trying out your tasty recipes. Sweet, tart, and tangy sounds delicious:)


22 Lana November 8, 2011 at 4:16 pm

They’re great recipes for movie watching, too, Lora :-)


23 Maris (In Good Taste) November 9, 2011 at 8:52 pm

My mom used to make sweet and sour meatballs when I was growing up. They were always my favorite appetizer!


24 Nancy@acommunaltable November 13, 2011 at 7:50 pm

EEK!! This got buried in my inbox!! But I found it just in time, phew! These will be perfect for an event I have coming up!
I am thinking these would freeze beautifully!!


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