Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Sweet & Sour Meatballs
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Sweet & Sour Meatballs with a side of Steamed White Rice! The Sweet & Sour Sauce is a Fruit & Ketchup based sauce that really goes well with these Cevapi Style meatballs. Serve it with Steamed or Fried Rice.

This recipe makes a big batch of Sweet & Sour Sauce. Half of the Sauce can be frozen for future use or double up on the meatballs.


For the meatballs in this dish, I prefer a Cevapi Style meatball with the heat dropped out and no baking soda. Since I am after a hearty Meatball and not one sausage-like. Breadcrumbs added in would achieve the same result. Which I don’t want for these types of meatballs. I add Flour to create a tight bond in the protein instead.

Shape the meatballs into 1 1/2 Tbl portions. Lay them out on a baking tray and freeze. Cook them in a large wok or pot. This will create a fond that will be picked up by the sauce when it goes in. Don’t throw out the grease. This contributes to the sauce and adds a nice sheen.

Sweet & Sour Sauce

This version of a Sweet & Sour Sauce does have ketchup in it. But not your standard ketchup. The Ketchup used is Heinz Chili Sauce which adds a very beautiful flavor and certain other elements that make this dish so good. I prefer not to use ketchup in sweet & sour sauce. Here though, for Meatballs, it results in a Fantastic Sauce.

Heinz Chili Sauce
Heinz Chili Sauce

The Sweet & Sour Sauce itself tastes Fruity with the orange coming through. It can be used as a Sweet & Sour Sauce for Chicken Balls. However, I find this type of sauce more suited for meatballs made with Beef or Pork. Ground Chicken should work too, but I never tested that.

Fruity Sweet & Sour Sauce

The Sauce is based on 3 fruits (Lemon, Orange, and Plum). Chop the Fruits in half or quarters and squeeze the juice out into a stockpot and then add in the whole fruit itself. For the Plums, remove the seed and add the plum to the stockpot.

Slurry Mix

Equal parts of Water & Potato Starch or Cornstarch are called Slurry and are used to thicken the sauce towards the end. Once all the meatballs have been cooked and set aside to add to the thickened sauce.

For this recipe, we use 2 Tbl of both Water & Potato Starch. If you want it thicker add in 3 Tbl of each. Add this to the sauce while it is simmering to thicken it. Once thickened, add the Meatballs reduce the heat to medium to simmer for a bit longer. About 5 minutes or so. Mix it around often.

What to serve with Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Sweet & Sour Meatballs are always served with just plain White Steamed Rice or Fried Rice. The go-to rice is Jasmine Rice for this dish. Which is stickier than Basmati. Although both can be used just as well.

Chinese Steamed White Rice
Chinese Steamed White Rice

You could also use the Sauce for Sweet and Sour Stir Fry and add in the meatballs for a Vegetable & Meatball Stir Fry. Other options are below.

  • Steamed Bok Choy
  • Sauteed Onions & Peppers or Vegetable Kebabs
  • Chow Mein or other Noodle dishes
  • Stuffed Peppers with Meatballs and Sauce with some Rice
  • Crispy Fried Shrimp
  • Various Tempuras
Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Sweet & Sour Meatballs with a Fruity Based Sauce, Ketchup & Cevapi Style Meatballs all done in one pot. Serve it with steamed white rice or other side.
Prep Time15 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: American, Canadian
Keyword: S&S Meatballs, Sweet & Sour Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Sweet n Sour Meatballs
Servings: 20 Meatballs
Author: JAH


  • Large Wok


Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • 3 C Water
  • 1 C Ketchup - – preferrably Heinz Chili Sauce
  • 1 C Sugar
  • 5 cloves Garlic - – roughly chopped or crushed
  • 1 med Orange - – sliced in half or quarters
  • 1 med Lemon - – sliced in half or quarters
  • 1 med Plum - – seed removed
  • 1 inch Ginger - – thinly sliced
  • 5 Tbl White & Apple Vinegar
  • 1 tsp White Peppercorn
  • 1 tsp Sichuan Peppers - – Or use 1/2 tsp Black Peppercorn & Coriander Seeds.


  • 2 Tbl Cold Water & Cornstarch or Potato Starch


  • 1 lb Ground Beef
  • 1 Tbl Flour
  • 1 tsp Sea Salt, Smoked Paprika, Onion Powder, & Garlic Powder



  • Place into a Pot all the Ingredients for the Sweet & Sour Sauce including the whole Fruits with the Juices squeezed out and seeds removed. Bring to a boil and lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Simmer for 15 minutes. Strain and place the Sauce into a bowl and set aside for now.
  • Combine all the ingredients together in a bowl for the meatballs and mix well. Shape into meatballs using 1 1/2 Tbl portions and lay them out on a baking sheet. Once all the meatballs are made place them into the freezer.


  • Place the Wok on Medium heat for about 1 – 2 minutes. Then add the Frozen Meatballs and cover with a lid. Leave for 3 minutes. Remove the Lid and move the meatballs around. Cover again and cook another 5 minutes. Shake the Wok around every 30 seconds – a minute to move the meatballs around. Set the Meatballs aside but leave the grease in the Pan.
  • Add the Sweet & Sour Sauce to the Wok and mix well. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to medium. Add in the Slurry and mix well while it thickens. Add the Meatballs and continue to simmer for 5 minutes or so before serving.


This is a lot of Sauce that can be saved for other dishes or frozen and used again for another batch of Sweet & Sour Meatballs. You can also double the meatball recipe.
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