A vibrant image showcasing succulent meatballs bathed in a glossy, tangy sweet and sour sauce

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Looking for a tasty and easy meal? Look no further!

We’ll show you how to make slow cooker sweet and sour meatballs that are sure to make your taste buds happy. Imagine succulent meatballs coated in a tangy and sweet sauce, all cooked to perfection in your trusty slow cooker.

It’s the perfect comfort food that requires minimal effort. So, get your ingredients ready and get ready to enjoy a delicious meal!


Trace the origins of slow cooker sweet and sour meatballs to ancient China, where the combination of sweet and tangy flavors was a common culinary practice. This dish spread to other parts of Asia and eventually made its way to the Western world.

In the 1950s, slow cookers became popular household appliances and allowed for traditional recipes such as sweet and sour meatballs to be adapted for slow cooking. This method let flavors to meld together over hours of low heat, creating tender and flavorful meatballs that have become a favorite for many.

Ingredients for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs:

-1 lb. ground beef
-1/4 cup breadcrumbs
-1/4 cup finely chopped onion
-1 egg, lightly beaten
-1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
-1/4 teaspoon ground ginger
-1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
-1 (14.5 oz.) can pineapple chunks, drained
-1/2 cup ketchup
-1/4 cup brown sugar
-3 tablespoons cider vinegar
-2 tablespoons soy sauce
-1 tablespoon cornstarch
-1/4 cup cold water
-2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley


Gather all the necessary ingredients and combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, milk, and brown sugar in a large mixing bowl. Mix everything together until all is blended. Shape the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter.

Place them in the slow cooker.

Whisk the ketchup, vinegar, soy sauce, and pineapple juice together in a separate bowl. Pour the sauce over the meatballs in the slow cooker, making sure they’re evenly coated.

Cover the slow cooker and cook on low heat for 4-6 hours or on high heat for 2-3 hours, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.

Serve the sweet and sour meatballs over rice or noodles, with sliced green onions as a garnish, if desired.


Tips for Cooking

As you continue cooking the Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs, here are a few pointers to ensure a delicious and successful outcome.

Tips for Cooking
1. Opt for lean ground meat for tender meatballs.
2. Sauté the onions and garlic before adding them to the meat mixture for extra flavor.
3. Soak the bread crumbs in milk for softer meatballs.
4. To prevent sticking, line the slow cooker with parchment paper or use a non-stick cooking spray.
5. Cook the meatballs on low heat for 6-8 hours or on high heat for 3-4 hours for the best texture and flavor.

Final Thoughts

To make sure your slow cooker sweet and sour meatballs turn out perfectly, it’s important to adjust the cooking time based on your preference and the specific slow cooker settings.

If you want them to be more tender, cook them for a longer period of time. If you prefer them to be slightly firmer, reduce the cooking time.

As slow cookers can vary in terms of heat intensity, it’s recommended to check on the meatballs periodically until they reach the desired level of doneness.

Once they’re ready, you can enjoy them as an appetizer, a main course, or even as a topping for pasta or rice dishes.


Frequently Asked Questions

Can I Use Frozen Meatballs for This Recipe?

Yes, you can definitely use frozen meatballs for this recipe. They will cook to perfection in the slow cooker, absorbing all the delightful sweet and sour flavors. Enjoy your meal!

How Long Can I Store the Leftover Sweet and Sour Meatballs in the Refrigerator?

You can keep the leftover sweet and sour meatballs in the fridge for 3-4 days. To ensure they stay as fresh as possible, place them in an airtight container or a resealable bag.

Can I Substitute the Brown Sugar With a Healthier Alternative Like Honey or Maple Syrup?

You can absolutely replace the brown sugar in your meatball recipe with a healthier option like honey or maple syrup. Both choices will bring sweetness and flavor to your dish. Taking these simple steps will help you create a healthier version of the dish.

Can I Make This Recipe Gluten-Free by Using a Substitute for the Breadcrumbs in the Meatballs?

Yes, you can make this recipe gluten-free by using a substitute for the breadcrumbs in the meatballs. Try using crushed gluten-free crackers or almond flour as a replacement. Taking these steps will ensure that the recipe is free of gluten.

Can I Use a Different Type of Meat, Like Ground Turkey or Chicken, Instead of Ground Beef for the Meatballs?

Yes, you can certainly substitute ground turkey or chicken for the ground beef in the meatballs. Doing so will give the dish a unique flavor and make it suitable for your dietary needs. It’s easy to do and can be a great way to switch up the flavors in the dish.

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