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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs are an easy meal that even picky eaters will enjoy! They are easy to make, perfectly tangy, and can be served as an appetizer or for dinner.


Main image for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Tender meatballs slathered in an easy sweet and sour sauce that’s bursting with flavors? Sign me up!

I love to serve this crockpot meatballs sweet and sour recipe over rice for dinner or with toothpicks for an appetizer.

I love that nothing needs to be thawed first! Just dump and go!

Plus making sweet and sour meatballs in the crock-pot actually saves you time! No need to stand over the hot stove all day.

And they’re very filling too! Hungry teenagers, big parties, or just your family, these are sure to be a crowd pleaser for everyone.


sweet and sour sauce brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic powder, bell peppers, onion and pineapple tidbits all in a slow cooker


What Ingredients are in Sweet and Sour Meatballs?

This sweet and sour meatball recipe is a family favorite that can be an easy dinner or party appetizer.

  • Sweet and Sour Sauce: Pick your favorite jar of sweet and sour sauce.
  • Brown Sugar: Brown sugar adds more depth of flavor than white sugar does.
  • Soy Sauce: I typically use low sodium soy sauce but you can use the higher sodium if desired.
  • Garlic Powder: A yummy garlic flavor is perfect for the sweet and sour sauce.
  • Bell Peppers: Yellow, green or red bell pepper are all great. Your choice!
  • Yellow Onion: Chop this small! You don’t want large chunks of onion in your meatballs.
  • Pineapple Tidbits: Could also substitute with crushed pineapple. Drain well.
  • Frozen Meatballs: Large or small meatballs work fine.

Pro Tips:

  • Don’t use fresh pineapple as its acidity will ruin the meat.
  • If you can’t have gluten try liquid aminos as a soy sauce replacement.
  • To replace the soy sauce for a soy allergy, try coconut aminos.
  • I don’t like large pineapple chunks with my meatballs here but if you do, use those instead.
  • Beef meatballs can be swapped for chicken meatballs if desired.


pineapple mixture mixed together and ready for meatballs


How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

The whole family will enjoy this easy slow cooker meal with saucy meatballs and simple ingredients!

  1. Stir: Pour sauce into the slow cooker and then coat the meatballs completely.
  2. Cook: When the meat is cooked through, it’s done.

Pro Tips:

  • Serve over Buttered Rice or cauliflower rice for low carb.
  • For a spicy kick, a great option is adding red pepper flakes.
  • Since it takes a couple of hours for the meatballs to cook, you have time to cook something else in the meantime.
  • Use a slow cooker liner for easy cleanup.


frozen meatballs added to slow cooker


How to Cook Sweet and Sour Meatballs

For this recipe, I don’t usually use homemade meatballs. I find it easier to use the store bought meatballs instead.

Here’s why: it’s faster, they taste just as good as homemade, and it’s less work!

If you have a favorite meatball recipe though, feel free to use it for this delicious dinner.

Just be sure that your homemade meatballs recipe doesn’t have a lot of other flavors that would clash with the sweet and sour sauce recipe.

If you need to cook the meatballs faster than in the crockpot, you can also add all of the ingredients to a sauce pan and cook that way.

But don’t forget, you can actually make this recipe in advance!

Make the meatballs up to 2 days before you need them and reheat in the microwave or on the stove top.


Meatballs cooked in slow cooker and ready to serve


What to Serve with Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Easily make the sweet and sour crockpot meatballs a complete meal by adding any of these side dishes.


zoomed in image of sweet and sour meatballs in slow cooker


Can You Use Italian Meatballs for Sweet and Sour Meatballs?

You can, but I don’t recommend it.

Italian meatballs are already pretty strongly flavored and while delicious on their own, don’t pair well with sweet and sour sauce.

I recommend sticking with unflavored meatballs for the best pairing with the sweet pineapple.


zoomed in side view of sweet and sour meatballs on a bed of rice


Can You Freeze Sweet and Sour Meatballs?

Yes! You can freeze sweet and sour meatballs and pull them out later.

They’ll taste just as great and are easy to reheat too.

I like doing this when I know I’ll need a tasty appetizer at the drop of a hat.

First, allow the meatballs to cool completely. This is important so you don’t get condensation in the bag that can grow bacteria.

Then, add the meatballs to a freezer safe bag or airtight container.

Label the container with “Sweet and Sour Meatballs” and the day that you froze them.

Frozen meatballs can be stored for up to 3 months. 

When you’re ready to eat them, remove from the freezer, thaw in the fridge overnight, or just toss them right into the saucepan and heat slowly over low heat.


zoomed out image of meatballs on bed of rice


What to Do with Leftover Sweet and Sour Meatballs

While typically we just eat any leftover meatballs, they can be repurposed as well.

One option is spaghetti and meatballs. The sweet and sour sauce is distinct so you will not get your typically spaghetti sauce flavor though.

You could also try wrapping them in lettuce, putting them in a sub with parmesan cheese, or using them as the meat in your soups.

Just remember to pair them with other simple sauces or flavorings as the sauce is already pretty flavorful.


bed of meatballs on rice with a fork holding up a meatball and slow cooker in background


What Vegetable Goes With Sweet and Sour Meatballs?

Sweet and sour meatballs pair well with lots of different types of vegetables. Here are a few of our favorites:


zoomed in image of sweet and sour meatballs on plate ready to enjoy.


Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs are an easy and delightful main dish or side dish. They are perfect for dinner or game day! Enjoy!


Yield: 6 Servings

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Meatballs cooked in slow cooker and ready to serve

Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Meatballs are an easy meal that even picky eaters will enjoy! They are easy to make, perfectly tangy, and can be served as an appetizer or for dinner.

Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 5 hours
Inactive Time 10 minutes
Total Time 5 hours 30 minutes


  1. Place all ingredients except meatballs into crock pot. Stir well.
  2. Add meatballs and stir to coat.
  3. Place lid on crock pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
  4. Serve over rice.


Freezer Option. Place all ingredients into a freezer gallon sized ziploc bag. Write on bag "Crock Pot Sweet & Sour Meatballs - Cook on low for 4-5 hours - Serve over rice" Use within 2 months.

Nutrition Information:



Serving Size:


Amount Per Serving: Calories: 383Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 9gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 14gCholesterol: 75mgSodium: 1212mgCarbohydrates: 23gFiber: 4gSugar: 13gProtein: 18g
Originally Posted: September 28, 2015

Photos & Text Updated: March 3, 2023


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Sunday 6th of March 2016

Love this! I used fresh ?pinapple. Perfect for a Sunday lunch after church. Husband said keep this recipe.


Wednesday 9th of March 2016

Leslie I'm go glad you and your husband loved this! And I 100% agree with Sunday Lunch or dinner! I'm so glad you enjoyed this recipe! I hope you'll try a few other recipes too!

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