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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

  • 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!

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. My fam loves this meat­balls recipe! The fla­vors were per­fect­ly bal­anced and it was so easy to fol­low. Love it!


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