Sweet and Sour Meatballs is easy to make for family dinners yet fancy enough for company. Smothered in a sweet and tangy sauce, colorful bell peppers, and juicy pineapples, these homemade meatballs are delicious with steamed rice and sure to be a crowd favorite.
We’re on day 6 of our 24 Days of Christmas series, and so far, we have chicken sisig, pasta fruit salad, pork giniling, creamy beef and mushrooms, and escabeche lapu lapu on our list. I hope you’ve enjoyed the recipes and continue to follow along as we have tons more delicious holiday meal ideas to come!
I love the Christmas season, and I’m all for celebrating in style, but I believe it doesn’t take an elaborate dish to make a wonderful feast. You can turn simple family meals such as pork adobo into a company-worthy fare by adding a few simple ingredients.
This sweet and sour meatballs recipe, for instance, is something I regularly make for everyday lunch or dinner at home but come the holidays, it’s on our Noche Buena menu, too. It’s a tasty and festive addition to any special occasion with colorful chunks of pineapples and red and green bell peppers.
The homemade meatballs are based on my burger steak recipe, which has been super popular on the site. And rightfully so because they’re juicy, flavorful, inexpensive, a great make-ahead meal, and versatile!
Every week, I roll up a batch of these beef meatballs and freeze them to have handy for busy weeknights or when I have unexpected guests. They keep well in the freezer for up to 4 months and can be used in soups or with various sauces such as teriyaki, marinara, barbecue, and mushroom gravy.
My favorite way to dress them up, of course, is in sweet and sour flavors. The sweet and tangy sauce generously smothered on juicy, savory meatballs is just heaven on steamed rice!
- Use fresh breadcrumbs and soak in milk or broth. This soaked bread called panade adds moisture to the meat mixture for lighter and more tender meatballs.
- To keep the meatballs from becoming tough and rubbery, do not overhandle the meat mixture. Combine the ingredients until well incorporated but do not over mix.
- Use a small cookie scoop to portion meatballs for a more uniform size. Rinse hands with cold water between shaping to keep the meat from sticking.
- Freeze the meatballs until firm to help maintain their shape and keep from falling apart during frying.
- Choose pineapple chunks packed in juice and not heavy syrup as the packing liquid will be used to make the sweet and sour sauce.
How to serve and store
- Sweet and sour meatballs is delicious as a main dish for lunch or dinner. Serve with steamed rice, mashed potatoes, or noodles for a hearty meal.
- Store leftovers in a container with a tight-fitting lid and refrigerate for up to 3 days or freeze for up to 2 months.
- Reheat in a saucepan sy medium-low heat to an internal temperature of 165 F or in the microwave at 2 to 3-minute intervals until completely warmed through.
- 2 slices white bread
- 1/4 cup milk
- 1 pound ground beef (80/20 chuck)
- 1 onion, peeled and grated
- 1 egg, well-beaten
- salt and pepper
- 2 tablespoons canola oil
- 1 onion, peeled and sliced thinly
- 1/2 red bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1/2 green bell pepper, seeded and cut into 1-inch chunks
- 1 cup pineapple chunks
- 1 cup pineapple juice (reserved from the canned pineapples)
- 1/2 cup rice vinegar
- 1/4 cup ketchup
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 teaspoons cornstarch
- In a small bowl, soak bread in milk. Tear with your hands until it resembles a soft paste.
- In a large bowl, combine ground beef, soaked bread, grated onions, egg, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper. Gently mix until combined.
- Using a small scoop, portion about 1 tablespoon of meat mixture and roll between palms of hands into a 1-inch diameter ball.
- Arrange meatballs in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet and freeze for about 10 to 15 minutes or until firm.
- In a bowl, combine pineapple juice, rice vinegar, ketchup, brown sugar, and 1 teaspoon of salt. Stir until well-blended and set aside.
- In a wide pan over medium heat, heat about 1 tablespoon canola oil. Add bell peppers and cook for about 30 to 40 seconds. Remove from pan and keep warm.
- In the pan, add another 1 tablespoon oil if needed. Add meatballs in a single layer and cook for about 1 to 2 minutes on each side or just until lightly browned. Remove from pan and drain on paper towels. Keep warm.
- Remove excess oil from the pan except for about 1 tablespoon. Add onions and cook until softened.
- Add sweet and sauce mixture and bring to a boil.
- Add browned meatballs in a single layer. Lower heat, cover, and cook for about 8 to 10 minutes or until meatballs are fully cooked.
- In a bowl, combine 1/4 cup water and cornstarch and stir until smooth. Add to the pan, whisking to prevent lumps.
- Season with salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about 2 to 3 minutes or until thickened.
- Add bell peppers and pineapple chunks. Continue to cook for about 1 to 2 minutes or until heated through. Serve hot.
“This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.”