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Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These Sweet and Sour Meatballs make a great addition to your tailgate menu. Tender meatballs simmered in a sweet and tangy sauce are enjoyed by all ages.

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!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs - Cocktail meatballs simmered in a sweet and tangy sauce. https://www.lanascooking.com/sweet-and-sour-meatballs/

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.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Ground beef and ground turkey in a mixing bowl.

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 into bowl.

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

Egg, bread crumbs, and seasonings added to meat mixture.

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.

Meatballs on waxed paper.

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 skillet.

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 the meatballs and set aside.

Making sauce for meatballs in skillet.

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.

Meatballs added to sauce in skillet.

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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Lana Stuart.

Questions? I’m happy to help!

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs - Cocktail meatballs simmered in a sweet and tangy sauce. https://www.lanascooking.com/sweet-and-sour-meatballs/

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Cocktail meatballs simmered in a tangy sweet and sour sauce.
5 from 2 votes
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Course: Appetizers
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Total Time: 25 minutes
Servings: 18 servings
Calories: 137kcal
Author: Lana Stuart


  • ¾ pound ground beef
  • ¾ pound ground turkey breast
  • 1 small onion grated
  • 1 egg
  • ½ cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • ¾ cup reduced sugar catsup
  • cup white vinegar
  • ¼ cup Worcestershire sauce
  • 3 tablespoons sugar or Splenda
  • 2 teaspoons dry mustard
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper


  • Combine the ground beef, ground turkey, onion, egg and bread crumbs in a medium bowl. Mix well.
  • Form 1” meatballs using approximately one tablespoon of mixture per meatball.
  • In a large skillet, melt the butter and oil over medium heat.
  • Brown the meatballs on all sides. Work in batches to avoid crowding the pan.
  • Remove from skillet and set aside.
  • Pour out any accumulated fat in skillet and wipe clean.
  • Return the skillet to the heat, add the catsup, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, sugar, mustard, salt and pepper and bring to a boil.
  • Return the meatballs to the pan, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 5 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through.


Nutrition Information

Serving 2meatballs | Calories 137kcal | Carbohydrates 8g | Protein 9g | Fat 7g | Saturated Fat 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat 1g | Monounsaturated Fat 3g | Trans Fat 1g | Cholesterol 36mg | Sodium 533mg | Potassium 192mg | Fiber 1g | Sugar 5g | Vitamin A 118IU | Vitamin C 1mg | Calcium 20mg | Iron 1mg

Nutrition information is calculated by software based on the ingredients in each recipe. It is an estimate only and is provided for informational purposes. You should consult your healthcare provider or a registered dietitian if precise nutrition calculations are needed for health reasons.

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Recipe Rating


  1. Nancy@acommunaltable says:

    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!!

  2. Maris (In Good Taste) says:

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

  3. Lora @cakeduchess says:

    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:)

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

  4. claudia lamascolo/aka pegasuslegend says:

    Wonderful recipe perfect for a party!

  5. Zesty Cook says:

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

  6. Priscilla - She's Cookin' says:

    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 :)

    1. We did win, Priscilla! Thanks.

  7. 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.

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

    1. 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.

  9. Katherine Martinelli says:

    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

  10. Cookin' Canuck says:

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

  11. Barbara | Creative Culinary says:

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

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

  13. 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!


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

  14. Mari @ Mari's Cakes says:

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

    1. Hope you enjoy them, Mari!

  15. Anne-Marie @ This Mama Cooks! says:

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

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

  16. 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!

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

  17. Alison @ ingredients, Inc. says:

    These look delish!