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 61 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!
Prep Time10 minutes
Cook Time3 hours 10 minutes
Total Time3 hours 20 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Serves 8


  • 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.


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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Recipe Rating


  1. Can I cook sweet and sour meatballs in a conventional pot? If so, oven or stovetop, and what temp? I

    1. I’d just omit the egg, the meatballs may be a little softer in texture but the flavor will be the same.

  2. 5 stars
    I made this with pork mixture tonight, very easy and meatballs were delicious! I used cranberry sauce and chili sauce instead of grape jelly.

  3. To have these for dinner what would you serve with it?
    I was thinking making something with rice and some type of Chinese veggies???
    I am not a good cook so just asking

  4. 5 stars
    Wonderful recipe. Tried and true in my home. We always have these for holiday and family gatherings. I wouldn’t change a thing.

  5. If I make the meatballs the night before will they be ok to still cook in the slow cooker the next day? Also can you use bbq sauce instead of chili or ketchup?

    1. Yes just make sure to cook them all the way through. I think BBQ sauce could work but I haven’t tested it this way.

  6. How many meatballs does this recipe make? It says it is 8 servings, but how many meatballs are in a serving?

  7. 5 stars
    These were delicious! I made half in the sauce and half in marinara. Meatball subs for dinner! I used Italian breadcrumbs because that’s what I had. Perfect, versatile, meatball recipe!

  8. Very interested in some of your recipes I have a very picky boyfriend and I’m at my end on what to cook I’m tired of eating the same stuff all the time I need some help to get some new idea’s I really need some help

  9. Had sweet and sour meatballs once and they were awesome. I was working in a credit union in a small hospital and the smell drifted down the hall so I had to investigate. I was wondering if these could be frozen as it’s just myself. I often make up whole recipes and freeze the rest and heat up later. Would these freeze well? I don’t see one as there is no cream to separate or vegetables to get mushy or like some tomatoe sauces that get watery like Mexican or Italian dishes. I frozen enchiladas once and they got mushy as the water separated the same with spaghetti sauce was watery.
    So would these freeze well? I haven’t used chili sauce before.

  10. If I only have 1 pound of ground turkey, would I cut the entire recipe in half? and what about the cooking time?

  11. I am anxious to make these for Christmas. I will prepare the meatballs one day in advance. The next day, do I put them in the crockpot on high or low setting for 3 hrs & 10 minutes? Thank you!