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!

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 pilaf or garlic mashed potatoes with a vegetable side.

Sweet And Sour Meatballs Ingredients

To make this recipe, you will need ground beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, black pepper, garlic powder, chili sauce, grape jelly and parsley.

How do you make sweet and sour meatballs?

Preheat the oven broiler, and line a sheet pan with foil. Place the beef, eggs, breadcrumbs, onion, salt, pepper and garlic powder in a large bowl, then stir to combine. Shape the meat into balls, and place them on the pan. Broil under the meatballs are golden brown. Melt the grape jelly in the microwave or in a pan on the stove. Whisk in the chili sauce. Place the meatballs in a slow cooker, and pour the sauce over the top. Cook on low heat, then add a sprinkle of parsley and serve.

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, as it is flavorful but not overly greasy.
  • In a hurry? You can use frozen pre-cooked meatballs instead of homemade meatballs, but I recommend going for the homemade meatballs.

Quick Tip

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.

Recipe FAQs

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 my homemade sweet and sour sauce recipe.

What is chili sauce?

Chili sauce is a thick red condiment similar to ketchup but with a bit of a spicy kick. I typically use Heinz brand. 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.

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.

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

Flavor Variations

This recipe is great as written, but you can easily customize some of the flavors to suit your taste.

  • Meat: You can make the meatballs with ground turkey or ground chicken if you prefer not to use beef.
  • Sauce: Swap out the grape jelly for apricot jam or cranberry sauce for a different flavor profile. You can also stir in a little brown sugar for a sweeter sauce.
  • Toppings: Instead of fresh parsley, try topping your meatballs with sliced chives or green onions.
Sweet and sour meatballs garnished with parsley in a slow cooker.

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

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Please leave a 5-star 🌟🌟🌟🌟🌟 rating in the recipe card below & a review in the comments section further down the page.

5 from 66 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.

Notes

  1. 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.
  2. I typically make these meatballs with 90% lean ground beef, as it is flavorful but not overly greasy.

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!

Learn more about Sara

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    We absolutely love these meatballs, they are addicting and super easy to make! Thanks so much, I’ll be making them again soon!

  2. 5 stars
    The meatballs were incredibly tender, and the perfectly balanced sauce had just the right amount of tanginess and sweetness. My family couldn’t get enough, and it has quickly become a favorite in our household!

  3. 5 stars
    As soon as I saw these pictures of the meatballs – I knew I had to make this! It looks so delicious! And when I finally got a chance to make it and taste it – I was definitely impressed!

  4. 5 stars
    Wow, these meatballs turned out great! Just the right amount of spice and my house smelt so good while they were cooking. We’ll definitely be making this again.

    1. I use the sweet chili sauce, and it’s a crowd favorite! I also double the sauce because we like to have enough to put over rice.