These sweet and sour meatballs are homemade meatballs that are cooked in the crock pot with a two ingredient sauce. The perfect main course or party appetizer that always gets rave reviews!

You can never go wrong with meatballs, whether it’s a cheesy meatball bake, Mexican meatball soup, or these super easy cocktail style meatballs. I make these for every party and they’re always the first thing to disappear!

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A bowl of sweet and sour meatballs with a cocktail fork in it.

In my opinion, you can never have too many meatball recipes! These slow cooker sweet and sour meatballs couldn’t be any easier, and they’re one of my favorite snacks to serve at gatherings. These meatballs are also great served as a main course over rice or mashed potatoes with a vegetable side.

How do you make sweet and sour meatballs?

This recipe starts with homemade meatballs, which are a combination of lean ground beef, breadcrumbs, seasonings, onion and egg. The meat mixture is rolled into balls, then broiled until browned. The meatballs go into a crock pot along with a two ingredient sauce of grape jelly and chili sauce. Let everything simmer together for a while, and then you’ll be ready to eat!

Ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs and seasonings in a bowl.

Tips for sweet and sour meatballs

  • Make sure to mince your onion finely so that there aren’t large chunks in the meatballs. Alternatively, you could grate the onion.
  • You can make your meatballs as big or as small as you like. I typically go for meatballs that are about 1 inch in diameter.
  • I typically make these meatballs with 90% lean ground beef, but you could use ground turkey or ground pork if you prefer.
  • In a hurry? You can use frozen pre-cooked meatballs instead of homemade meatballs, but I recommend going for the homemade meatballs.
  • The meatballs can be cooked up to 2 days before you plan to make this recipe. You can also make a double batch of the meatballs and freeze some for later use.

Homemade meatballs on a sheet pan.

How do you make sweet and sour sauce?

In this particular case, the sweet and sour sauce is made with grape jelly and chili sauce, which are whisked together then poured over the meatballs. If you’d rather use an Asian style sweet and sour sauce, you can use the sauce in this recipe.

Meatballs in a slow cooker coated in sweet and sour sauce.

What is chili sauce?

Chili sauce is a thick red condiment similar to ketchup but with a bit of a spicy kick. These meatballs clock in on the mild side of the heat scale, because the sweetness of the jelly tempers the bit of heat from the chili sauce. If you’re adverse to any type of spice, you can substitute ketchup instead.

Sweet and sour meatballs garnished with parsley in a slow cooker.

Can you freeze sweet and sour meatballs?

This recipe is a great candidate for the freezer! You can freeze your meatballs with or without the sauce, them warm them through either in the slow cooker or on the stove top. Your sauce may have a thinner consistency upon thawing, so if you’d like a thicker sauce, you can add a tablespoon of cornstarch mixed with 2 tablespoons of cold water to your pot, then simmer until thickened.

Once you try these easy meatballs, you’ll find yourself making them on a regular basis! No one will know how simple they are to make, but you’ll get plenty of compliments from family and friends.

More appetizer ideas

5 from 58 votes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

AuthorSara Welch
A bowl of sweet and sour meatballs with a cocktail fork in it.
These sweet and sour meatballs are homemade meatballs that are cooked in the crock pot with a two ingredient sauce. The perfect main course or party appetizer that always gets rave reviews!
Time
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Serves 8

Ingredients 

  • 2 pounds ground beef I use 90% lean
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup onion finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups grape jelly
  • 2 tablespoons parsley
  • cooking spray

Instructions 

  • Preheat the broiler. Line a sheet pan with foil and coat the foil with cooking spray.
  • Place the ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl. Stir until thoroughly combined.
  • Shape the meat mixture into 1 inch meatballs and place the meatballs on the prepared pan.
  • Broil for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.
  • While the meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce.
  • Melt the grape jelly by microwaving it for 30 second increments or melting it in a saucepan over medium heat.
  • After the jelly has melted, whisk in the chili sauce.
  • Coat a slow cooker with cooking spray. Add the meatballs, then pour the sauce over the top. Toss to coat.
  • Cook for 3 hours on low. Sprinkle with parsley, then serve.

Nutrition

Calories: 366kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 26g | Fat: 12g | Saturated Fat: 5g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 620mg | Potassium: 611mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 36g | Vitamin A: 435IU | Vitamin C: 14.1mg | Calcium: 55mg | Iron: 3.8mg

Hello! I’m Sara!

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