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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
- Philly Cheesesteak Egg Rolls
- Crab Rangoon
- Ham and Cheese Sliders
- Sausage Stuffed Mushrooms
- Buffalo Chicken Nuggets
Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 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
- 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.
Can I use sweet chili sauce instead of chili sauce
Like the Asian style sweet chili?
I’m wondering this exact thing! Yes the Asian style. Would it be too sweet?
I personally think it would be too sweet!
I used the sweet chili sauce and it tasted great! I just used 1 cup of grape jelly instead and 10 oz of sweet chili sauce.
Made for my family for dinner last night! Followed the recipe to a “T”! Absolutely delicious! Served over white rice and broccoli on the side!
I am curious to learn what grape jelly does for this recipe before I try it. Sweet & sour, I would think of maybe an apricot jelly or an orange marmalade…even maybe a peach. Has anyone tried grape vs apricot, orange or peach?
You could try a different jelly if you prefer, you just want something that’s a little tangy!
Can you mix chop meat and chop pork together?
Yes that should be fine!
Can you cook these in the oven Instead of a slow cooker?
Yes that should be fine!
Could you use a raspberry Jelly?
Yes but make sure it is seedless!
I have regular homemade meatballs in the freezer. Can I thaw these and reheat them in the two ingredient sauce of chili sauce and grape jelly to change the flavor of plain meatballs?
Yes that should be fine!
tallyhomark, did you use the added the onion, green pepper and pineapple chunks drained to the sauce??
How do you reheat the meatballs?
You can warm them on low in the crockpot or in a pan on the stove over low heat.
I use finely sliced green onions in mine. Mom always put 2 tsp ground ginger in hers too. She used a different sauce, but she added green pepper and pineapple and would serve these over rice for dinner. So delicious!
Can I make ahead and freeze?
Yes that’s fine!
How many one inch meatballs does this yield?
Approximately 32 meatballs!
What type of chili sauce? I feel like this could mean a million things.
This chili sauce: https://www.heinz.com/product/00013000001120
Hi there! If cooking meatballs from frozen, what would be the crockpot time then?
Thanks! Excited to try tomorrow!
You’d want to add another hour of cook time!
Thanks we love these meatballs! They are so flavorful!
Could you make these in the oven? If so what temp and how long? Thank you
Cook in a covered container at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, then uncover and bake for another 10-15 minutes.
Could you tell me what is grape jelly
Grape jelly is sold with the other jellies and jams at the grocery store! http://www.welchs.com/products/jams-jellies-spreads/traditional/concord-grape-jelly
I added onion green pepper, and (drained) pineapple chunks. Yummy!
My husband loves these! I make them for his poker group!