Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These Sweet and Sour Meatballs are made with frozen meatballs and pineapple chunks and are covered in a DELICIOUS homemade sweet and sour sauce!! It’s the perfect appetizer or dinner idea served over rice or noodles.

We love all things sweet and sour, including: Sweet and Sour Chicken and Sweet and Sour Pork. These meatballs are also favorites, and especially because they are simple and have a delicious sauce also filled with peppers and pineapples.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with peppers and pineapple chunks

Easy + so flavorful!

We LOVE meatballs!! We may not have always liked them as a kid, but now that we are grown up, we can’t get enough of them!! We have all sorts of versions here on the site, including a homemade meatball version and have loved trying out different recipes with them.

Sometimes we take the easy route and just buy frozen meatballs, like what we did with today’s recipe for these easy sweet and sour meatballs.

We’ve been long time fans of all things sweet and sour (if you are too, you’ll love our sweet and sour chicken recipe), and we were excited to try a meatball version. We were so happy with the result. Not only was the recipe simple, but the flavors of the meatballs, sauce, and veggies were amazing! We have a homemade sweet and sour sauce we LOVE, but this is a quicker and more simple version that we loved too!

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs process shot

How to make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Like I mentioned, this sauce is easy and quick!! Here are the ingredients needed to make it:

  • brown sugar
  • vinegar
  • ketchup
  • soy sauce
  • pineapple juice
  • cornstarch

SAUCE. To make it you will add the brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and 2 cups of the pineapple juice to a large skillet. Bring this to a boil.

THICKEN SAUCE. While the sauce is bowling, mix cornstarch with ¼ cup of the remaining pineapple juice, whisking to get out all the lumps. Add this to your boiling sauce mixture.

ADD REMAINING INGREDIENTS. From there you will turn the heat and add the meatballs and peppers. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, until sauce has thickened and the meatballs are heated through. Stir in pineapple chunks.

Serve these delicious meatballs over rice or noodles and you’re set! Or just keep warm in a slow cooker and serve at your next party!!

Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs simmering in pan


How to store meatballs? Allow the meatballs to cool and store in an airtight  container. They’ll keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

How to reheatThe easiest way is in the microwave, however, the oven works well and keeps the flavor and texture. To bake these, place in an oven-safe dish for 8-10 minutes at 350.

We LOVE these meatballs are so excited to make them more often! Check out the recipe below and let us know what you think. We hope you love them as much as we do! 😉

what to serve with these meatballs?

There are so many great dishes that go well with these meatballs, but here are a few on the site we love:

Sweet Sour Meatballs close up image

For more meatball recipes, check out:

Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe

4.82 from 53 votes
These Sweet and Sour Meatballs are made with frozen meatballs and pineapple chunks and are covered in a DELICIOUS homemade sweet and sour sauce!! It's the perfect appetizer or dinner idea served over rice or noodles.
Course Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine American, Chinese
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 14 minutes
Total Time 19 minutes
Servings 6
Calories 298 kcal
Author Lil' Luna


  • 1/2 cup Brown Sugar loosely packed
  • 1/2 cup Rice Vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tbsp Soy Sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups Pineapple Juice
  • 1 tbsp Cornstarch
  • 25 All-Purpose Meatballs (frozen if fine)
  • peppers chopped (optional)
  • 1 cup Drained Small Pineapple Chunks
  • 2 tbsp Sliced Green Onions for garnish
  • Rice for serving


  • Add brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and 2 cups of pineapple juice to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil.
  • In a small bowl, mix cornstarch and remaining ¼ cup pineapple juice together, whisking to get out all the lumps. Whisk into your skillet and add Meatballs and chopped peppers. Bring to a simmer. Cover and cook 8-10 minutes, until sauce has thickened and the meatballs are heated through.
  • Stir in pineapple chunks. Serve warm over rice.

Adapted from foodnetwork.com

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    Added half a can of crushed pineapple to sauce, 1/4 cup ketchup,and all the juice from the canned pineapple(1/2 cup) with 1 cup water. Excellent and will make again! – Zomick’s

    1. 4 stars
      I want to make this recipe but I don’t have rice vinegar can I use regular white vinegar

  2. 5 stars
    This will be dinner tonight for my family of 6!! I may double the recipe so the kids can take some for lunch.

  3. 5 stars
    Thankyou. No seriously. THANK YOU!!! I made this up and added a few more veggies for my veggie loving kids – and kept the meatballs for my carnivore hubby and brother. The sauce is A-MAZE-ING! So so so yummy! It has to be said – it tastes better than my local Chinese Restaurant. This is going on the “must make again and again” list because it’s heavenly.

    Tonight I am so thankful for you!

      1. How is this in crockpot with just meatballs and sauce? No pineapple or peppers. How long in crockpot if so? Thanks much!

        1. I haven’t done them in the crock pot. It’s done over the skillet, but you could probably transfer it to a crock pot, if you need to. You stir in pineapple chunks & you could add the peppers, until they are heated through. Hope that helps!

      1. Forgot to update! 🙂 but it was a hit! I add shredded carrots to my meatballs. Brought the leftover in my workplace the following day and share it with my colleagues. They also love it! Thank you.

  4. The original recipe doesn’t list ketchup in the ingredients but it’s referenced in the instructions. How much do you use? Thanks!

    1. In the comments someone says 1/4 cup ketchup but you’re right, it’s not listed as an ingredient in the recipe until it says to add it but then you don’t know how much.

  5. Hello.im reading the instructions it says to add ketchup, but doesnt so how much in the recipe?

  6. Where did you find rice wine vinegar? All I can find in my local stores ( Wal-mart, Target, Publix, Fresh Market) is rice vinegar. Also ketchup is not listed in ingredent list, but is listed in the directions. Is it required or optional? If required how much? Picture shows bell peppers but no mention of them in recipe, so do we use them or not? Thanks for the clarification, can’t wait to try.

    1. I use this recipe all the time leave the veg and meatballs out and use it for a dipping sauce for spring rolls ect
      I use any vinegar it works all the same. I just make my meatballs cook them in the oven make the sauce bring it to a boil then throw the veg in cook until veg are tender then put the meatballs in the sauce simmer for about 20 minutes serve with rice.

  7. I am going to try your recipe today. I have a huge of meatballs in the freezer and need a new recipe other than spaghetti and meatballs. I, too, am a Luna. Hehe!

  8. Made this today, instead of canned pineapple and juice I blended fresh pinApple and chopped some up, so delicious, thank you.

  9. 5 stars
    I love that this is a beef version for sweet and sour. The sauce Is really easy to make and so delicious.

  10. 5 stars
    I like this recipe because its made with frozen meatballs. All you have to do is add the extra ingredients and you have dInner!

  11. 5 stars
    Used cubed Chicken instead of meatballs and served over rice. It went over excellent and will definitely make again. Maybe next time with the meatballs.

    1. Sorry..I need to add those as optional. You could add them when you add the meatballs, so they can become tender. Enjoy!!

  12. 5 stars
    I changed this up a little… I didn’t have soy sauce so I used Worcestershire sauce instead And used half white vinegar and half apple cider vinegar and added twice as much cornstarch for a thicker result. But this was amazing! Definitely one of my favorite recipes! The whole family loves it.

  13. 5 stars
    Very good, I added onion as well as bell pepper and a little spicy chili sauce served over rice with egg rolls and it was a hit.

  14. I am excited to try this. I know this may be a funny question but not quite sure do I add the frozen meatballs to the sauce or do I need to cook them in the oven first. Thanks

    1. I like to buy ones that are already precooked, so you would just need to add them to the sauce & follow the recipe, but if they aren’t cooked, then yes, you would cook them first.

    1. I usually just use one bell pepper, sometimes two. It just depends on how much you like them.

  15. 5 stars
    Easy and delicious! I had just purchased the IKEA frozen meatballs (chicken for my husband and vegetarian for me) and wanted to use them in an easy recipe. I sauteed a red bell pepper and added it to the mix. Thanks for the recipe. It was perfect!

  16. How many pounds of meat is this sauce for? I would like to make my own meatballs instead of frozen. Thank you.

  17. 5 stars
    So much flavor packed in such a delicious appetizer! Making these again for our next football get together!

  18. 5 stars
    Thank you so very much. I have finicky Grandchildren, and they love these things. The only problem is that I have to take them out to get them, and we all know that’s not an option with the pandemic. I have made them yet but will experiment on myself and follow the recipe. Hopefully, a Grandpops could earn some points. Thank you again. I appreciate you. 🙂

  19. Making these tonight. So far they smell amazing! My entire kitchen smells wonderful. Will add another comment a bit later to let you know what my husband and daughter though.

  20. 5 stars
    This is such a great recipe! I love how the sauce turns out nice and thick! I also really like that there’s not a ton of ingredients, so it’s a recipe I can make from my pantry staples.

  21. 5 stars
    Kristyn, these are awesome. So fast and easy but full of flavor. Husband and son both love this dish and I always make extra and freeze for quick lunches. One thing that some might like is to add a little ‘heat’.

  22. 5 stars
    I must say my family love this sweet and sour meatball recipe!! I make it quite often!!
    I do use 1/2 the vinegar though!
    It’s very potent in full in the recipe!

    Thank you!

  23. 2 stars
    This recipe was highly rated, so I gave it a try. It was not good. Maybe just not our taste. I wouldn’t make it again. Giving it two stars because the recipe is well written and the ingredients should taste good together.

  24. 5 stars
    I keep meatballs in the freezer, for convenience. This is one of the recipes I’ll use them for, and I just realized I never commented and thanked you.

    Our family doesn’t like very sweet food, so I reduce the brown sugar and cut WAAYY back on pineapple chunks and juice. If I have it on hand, I use spicy catsup (if not, add a little something for a bit of heat). I add some black pepper and hon dashi. Finally, my kid hates bell peppers, so I substitute some broccoli.

    Looks like a lot of adjustments, but it doesn’t feel like it when I’m cooking. 🙂 Husband and daughter both enjoy this with my changes. Thanks so much for the recipe!

    1. All of your substitutions sound amazing! Thanks so much for sharing what you do. I’m so glad your husband and daughter enjoyed it!

  25. 3 stars
    I love how this recipe comes together so easy. But I must say I cut the brown sugar amount by half and the ketchup amount by half and the sauce was still too sweet for my husband and I. Next time I will use less sweetener to get the right balance for us. The pineapple juice itself is sweet so we may try making it with out sugar. Otherwise, we loved it. Thanks!

    1. Those all sound like great suggestions! Let me know how it goes next time you try it. I’d love to hear how it turns out!

  26. 5 stars
    This recipe is awesome!! So wonderfully easy, and our littles loved it! We have a couple of pineapple allergies in the family, so I subbed orange juice; still turned out perfect!

    1. Oh I’m so glad to hear it was a hit. That’s a great idea to sub with orange juice. My little like this recipe as well! Thanks for sharing!

  27. 5 stars
    I am trying to eat more plant based meals. I made this recipe with Beyond Meatballs(Italian style). Slow cooked it for 35 minutes and added broccoli the last 5 minutes. It turned out great!

  28. Best recipe ever…just cut the rice wine vinegar to 1/4 cup or less….1/2 burns!!
    Thank you for your recipe!!♥️

    1. So glad you enjoy the recipe and have found a way to make it your own too. Thanks for trying it!

  29. Made this for my wedding reception/cocktail hour, multiplied the recipe by 6 so there would be enough for everyone to have some. Took about two hours for the sauce to cook and it didn’t really thicken up at all but they still tasted amazing! Will definitely make these again but maybe not as large a batch

    1. Oh what a fun way to use this recipe! I wonder if it could have used a bit more cornstarch to thicken since the quantity was so large? I’m glad you enjoyed the flavor though and will make again!

  30. 5 stars
    This is a delicious recipe, and easy! I used Shady Brook Farm turkey meatballs, not frozen, and they were great, even with their Italian seasoning. I am so glad that they are finally back. I used green and yellow peppers, and onion chunks. I threw in some broccoli florets. They lose their bright green color but tasted crisp and good. Ten minutes is a good amount of time to get the vegetables done but not mushy. I did add again as much cornstarch near the end of cooking–mixed in water first of course. I question adding the scallions, but my husband loved them.

    1. Thanks for sharing what you used. Love the addition of the extra veggies. So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe!

  31. 5 stars
    This is a post script. I made more sauce to go with leftovers. Perhaps one should just make the sauce to taste. This time I would have preferred a bit less vinegar and perhaps a bit more sugar. I still love the recipe.

  32. 5 stars
    This recipe is a big hit with my family. I use Gardein meatless meatballs. I also double the sauce as I like lots of sauce. In addition I add carrots, pineapple tidbits, a bag of frozen stir fry peppers and onions, and today I am adding Brussels sprouts. Once I whisk in the cornstarch and pineapple juice mixture I add the meatballs, pineapple, etc. and leave it in the crockpot for several hours to cook the veggies and get that flavorful sauce really imbedded in the meatballs, etc. Yummy served over brown rice!

    1. Yum!! Sounds delicious! Thanks for sharing what you do. I’m so happy to hear this recipe is a winner with your family!

  33. 5 stars
    Sauce was delicious! We ate it with wildmeat meatballs. Added a tiny bit more cornstarch and 1/4 cup less pineapple juice for less sugar 🤗

    1. Ooh I have never had wildmeat meatballs. Sounds exciting and delicious! I’m so glad you enjoyed the sauce. Thanks for sharing!

  34. 5 stars
    Very quick and easy recipe! We loved it! I added a couple tablespoons of Sriracha to give it a nip and to counter the sweetness a bit. Will be making this again for sure, I’ll just cut the amount if sugar for our liking! I’m sure this will be excellent with chicken as well! Thank you!

    1. You’re welcome! I’m so glad you enjoyed the recipe. A little sriracha sounds tasty. Thanks for sharing what you did.