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Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Dinner in Under 30 Minutes

Sweet and Sour Meatballs are delicious spicy meatballs, chunks of pineapple and crisp, fresh veggies coated in a simple, homemade sweet and sour sauce. A 30-Minute simple recipe your family will love!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs in a Cast Iron skillet with a wooden spoon
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Sweet and Sour Meatballs is the next recipe in my meatball series. Guys, these are SO good! Serve over your favorite variety of rice and in less than 30 minutes you have a meal you’d be proud to serve to company.

The Meatballs

If you missed the very first post where I teach you to make the extraordinarily flavorful meatballs that are used as an ingredient in this Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe, you’ll definitely want to check it out. It shows you how to use my favorite meatball recipe to make 126 meatballs in about an hour.

scrumptious savory meatballs

That’s enough for around 5 meals, for a family of six. The post includes instructions for freezing them, too, so you’ll be able to use them in all the other great recipes, like this one.

You can always buy a bag of frozen meatballs at the store, if that’s your preference. But, once you get used to keeping these delicious meatballs in your freezer, to create meals like Sweet and Sour Meatballs, you’ll never want any others. Go here to get the meatball recipe.

If what you want is a delicious weeknight family dinner, you’re gonna love this Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe. But, be sure you also save my Meatballs in Brown Gravy recipe and Meatball Stew, too. You’ll want all three of these quick and easy dinner recipes in your menu rotation.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on white rice served on a plain white plate sitting on a wooden table

The flavorful sweet and sour sauce in this Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe only requires 6 common pantry ingredients.

Once you’ve prepared it, all you need to do is stir in the frozen meatballs and fresh cut vegetables.

Use up veggies you have in the fridge or choose the ones your family likes best. I used zucchini, all the colors of bell peppers, sliced celery and slivered red onion.

Serve Sweet and Sour Meatballs over brown rice, quinoa, udon noodles or even zoodles. You’ll have created a tasty Asian-inspired dinner that will zoom to the top of your family’s favorites!

Sweet and Sour Veggies

The Ingredients

  • frozen meatballs (Get my Meatball recipe or use store-bought.)
  • canned pineapple chunks
  • brown sugar
  • cornstarch
  • soy sauce (or coconut aminos)
  • beef stock
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon
  • veggies of your choice (I used bell peppers, celery, red onion and zucchini)
  • minced garlic
  • ginger paste or fresh grated ginger
  • optional, red pepper flakes

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  1. Pull 24-30 meatballs out of your freezer stash. They don’t need to thaw. Just have them handy, since the recipe goes together quickly.
frozen homemade meatballs
  1. Start the sauce by dumping the pineapple into a 12″ cast iron skillet and turning the heat on to medium.
pineapple brown sugar, corn starch and lemon zest  un a cast iron skillet
  1. In a small bowl, whisk together the beef broth, soy sauce and the lemon juice and zest. Be sure all the liquids are room temperature or colder. They need to be cold so you can dissolve the corn starch in them.
  2. Add the cornstarch to the liquids in your bowl and continue whisking until the cornstarch is completely dissolved. Then, pour the mixture into the skillet with the pineapple and stir to combine. It will begin to bubble and thicken in just 1 or 2 minutes.
Meatballs added to the pineaplle and sauce in a cast iron skillet
  1. Toss the meatballs into your sauce and turn the heat down to low. Let the meatballs and sauce simmer long enough for the meatballs to be heated through (about 10 minutes).
adding vegetables to Sweet and Sour Meatballs in a castiron skillet
  1. Add the fresh veggies to the skillet, stir to make sure everything is evenly coated and continue to simmer another 2-5 minutes. Cook long enough for the vegetables to be hot and to allow them to get to your desired degree of tenderness.
  2. (For the fastest meal, I start a pot of my Perfect Brown Rice, (made with parboiled/instant rice), immediately after adding the meatballs to the sauce. The timing is perfect for it to be done, just as the meatballs are ready to serve.)
Brown Rice in awhite ceramic serving bowl. Bowl is sitting on a wooden trivet that rests on a concrete counter top with a blue and whitee print fabric napkin.

How to Serve Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Serve Sweet and Sour Meatballs over your family’s favorite carb or veggie base:

  • Brown Rice
  • White Rice
  • Wild Rice
  • Quinoa
  • Udon noodles
  • Zucchini Noodles
  • Cauliflower Rice
  • Sweet Potato Noodles

Variations and Substitutions

sliced veggies on a wooden cutting board with a chef's knife: zucchini slices, celery slices, slivered red onion,s red, yellow and green bell peppers

This recipe is the base formula for you to customize your Sweet and Sour Meatballs to your own personal tastes.

The easiest substitutions will be in the vegetables you choose to add. Some possibilities are snap peas, snow peas, broccoli florets, cauliflower florets, carrot slices or shreds, cabbage, water chestnuts, mushrooms or even shoe peg corn. Use what you have on hand and what your family loves to make your Sweet and Sour Meatballs truly your own.

You could also substitute 1/4 teaspoon of powdered ginger for the fresh ginger and/or 1 teaspoon of garlic powder instead of the minced garlic.

As mentioned before, you can always just purchase frozen meatballs ready-made. But, if you get the chance, I highly encourage you to try my meatball recipe and always have the most flavorful and delicious meatballs on hand in your freezer.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs on white rice served on a plain white plate sitting on a wooden table

Enjoy this scrumptious Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe! I hope you’ll make the recipe soon. If you do and find that it’s one you and your family really enjoy, I hope you’ll consider stopping back here to leave a comment letting me know, along with a 5 star rating. Your 5 star rating helps others find our recipe when they do a Google search.

Have a wonderfully blessed week and I hope you love Sweet and Sour Meatballs!

The Recipe

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Sweet and Sour Meatballs on white rice served on a plain white plate sitting on a wooden table

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

5 Stars 4 Stars 3 Stars 2 Stars 1 Star

5 from 9 reviews

  • Author: Glenda Embree
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 6 servings 1x


You’ll love this quick and easy Asian-inspired Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe!  It comes together in under 30 minutes and is loaded with protein and nutrients from fresh delicious vegetables.  A flavorful favorite that is loved by young and old alike.


Units Scale


  1. Pour the pineapple, with juice, into a 12″ cast iron skillet.  Set heat to medium.
  2. In a separate bowl, mix together beef stock, soy sauce, and lemon juice.  Be sure it is all cold.
  3. Add the cornstarch to the cold liquids and stir until completely dissolved.
  4. Mix the cornstarch liquid into the pineapple and stir until smooth and beginning to thicken.
  5. Reduce heat to medium low.
  6. Stir in the garlic, ginger and red pepper flakes if you’re using them.
  7. Add the frozen meatballs, stirring to coat them, and then let the mixture continue to simmer until the meatballs are heated through.  It will only take about 10 minutes.
  8. Slice and chop the vegetables while the meatballs get warm.
  9. Add the vegetables to the skillet.  Give a quick stir to make sure everything is coated in the yummy sauce.  Cook one or two minutes more, until the vegetables are heated through. (You can cook the veggies to your preferred softness. We like them tender-crisp and still bright in color.  Cook longer if you like them soft.)
  10. Serve over white, wild or brown rice.  I’ve even served it over cauliflower rice, udon noodles, quinoa, or zoodles.
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Category: Beef, Main Dish
  • Method: Stove Top
  • Cuisine: Asian-American

More Easy Meatball Recipes

I’ll bet you had no idea meatballs could be so versatile and a great time-saver when making weeknight suppers. Be sure to check out Meatballs in Brown Gravy and my delicious Meatball Stew too. It’s a comfort food dynamo!

Enjoy some time, this weekend, cooking and sharing a meal with your family. Laugh, enjoy conversation and make some memories. Be blessed, Friend!

glenda embree

About Glenda

I believe cooking from scratch doesn’t have to be complicated and that YOU can do it. My simple recipes, tutorials, and cooking tips will help you get weeknight dinners on the table with less stress. Forget takeout or the drive-thru. Let me show you how to make homemade easy. Read more...

16 thoughts on “Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Dinner in Under 30 Minutes”

  1. Thank you so much for sharing this Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe! It was so easy to make and it tasted delicious! Highly recommended for family dinners and quick weeknight meals!

  2. This was super flavorful and our picky eater didn’t make any fuss over these vegetables with that spectacular sauce! I’m definitely adding this to our rotation!

  3. I tried this Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe last night, and it was really easy to follow. The meatballs turned out delicious and the sweet and sour sauce was perfect. I will definitely be making this recipe again!


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