Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • Yield : 4 to 6 servings
  • Prep Time : 15m
  • Cook Time : 10m
  • Ready In : 20m
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  • 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar or white vinegar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 1/4 cups pineapple juice
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 25 frozen meatballs, recipe follows
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha or other hot sauce, more to taste
  • 1 red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 cup drained canned or fresh pineapple chunks
  • 4 tablespoons sliced green onions
  • 4 1/2 cups cooked long-grain or basmati rice, for serving
  • 5 pounds ground beef
  • 1 1/2 cups plain breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 2 heaping tablespoons grainy mustard
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 4 large eggs
  • Olive oil, for frying


Step 1

In a large skillet (with a lid), combine the brown sugar, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce and 2 cups of the pineapple juice. Stir the mixture around and bring it to a gentle boil over medium-high heat. To thicken the sauce, make a slurry by mixing the cornstarch with the remaining 1/4 cup pineapple juice in a small bowl until smooth. Add it to the sauce, whisking to combine.

Step 2

Add the frozen meatballs, sriracha and bell pepper and toss to combine. Cover the skillet and cook until the sauce has thickened and the meatballs are heated through, 8 to 10 minutes.

Step 3

Stir in the pineapple, then sprinkle in 2 tablespoons of the green onions. Serve the meatballs and sauce over rice and sprinkle on the rest of the green onions at the end.

Step 4

Combine the beef, breadcrumbs, milk, parsley, cream, mustard, salt, black pepper, red pepper flakes and eggs in a large bowl. Knead it all together with your hands until well combined.

Step 5

Scoop out 1-tablespoon portions of the meat mixture and roll into neat balls. Put them on parchment paper-lined rimmed baking sheets as you go, then put the sheets in the freezer for about 10 minutes to firm them up before frying.

Step 6

To brown the meatballs, heat 1/4 cup olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Working in batches, add some meatballs to the skillet and cook on all sides until they have great color on the surface and are fully cooked inside, 5 to 6 minutes. Drain the meatballs on paper towels when they're done, then line them up on clean parchment paper-lined baking sheets. Cook the remaining meatballs.

Step 7

Put the baking sheets in the freezer, uncovered, until the meatballs are frozen and firm on the surface, 30 to 45 minutes. Then just pop the meatballs into 5 to 7 freezer bags (roughly 25 per bag) and freeze them immediately. They'll be there when you need them.

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