These saucy Baked Sweet and Sour Meatballs are an easy and delicious dinner time favourite.
I remember having these growing up, and they were always called "Hawaiian meatballs". But, I've been to Hawaii several times and have never seen this on a menu there. So it all had to do with the pineapple, I'm thinking.
Baked Meatballs: An Easy Peasy Meal
No matter what you call them, this classic dish is sure to please. All you need is some rice to make the meal complete. The recipe has a long list of ingredients, but don't let that scare you off. It's easy to make, and not time consuming at all. While the meatballs are in the oven you can get the sauce done on the stove top.
Any Ground Meat Works For Meatballs
You can make these oven baked sweet & sour meatballs with ground beef, chicken, or any other ground meat, but I like to use lean ground turkey frequently because it's a versatile, and economical source of lean protein. Turkey is also a good choice when there is a sweet element to the dish.
This sauce combo, of ginger & sesame, along with pineapple juice, rice vinegar and a little shot of spice from the sriracha, is delicious. When you bake your meatballs, there's a bonus of no added fat.
Make Extra Meatballs to Freeze for Later
And here's a little tip: make double the amount of meatballs, bake, cool and freeze half to have on hand. Cooked meatballs freeze beautifully, and you will have meatballs all ready for this, or any other meatball recipe. If you're looking for more meatball recipes, try this one for Hoisin Meatballs, or these Cajun Meatballs
Kids Love These Meatballs
These sweet & sour meatballs are always a hit with kids. It's nice to make your meatballs a little on the smaller side for them. If you happen to have fresh pineapple, substitute that for the canned chunks.
Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground turkey
- ¼ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup very finely minced onion
- 1 egg
- 2 tbsp grated fresh ginger or 1 tbsp dried ginger
- 1 clove garlic minced or crushed
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- 1 tbsp fresh chopped cilantro or parsley or 2 tsp dried
- Salt & pepper
Sweet and Sour Sauce
- ½ cup chicken broth
- Juice from drained pineapple
- ¼ cup tamari or low sodium soy sauce
- 1 tbsp fresh ginger grated
- 1 tsp sesame oil
- ¼ tsp Chinese 5 spice
- 1 tbsp sriracha sauce optional
- 2 tbsp honey
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 1 red bell pepper cored, seeded, and cut into bite sized chunks
- 8 oz can pineapple chunks drained, reserving juice.
- 1 tbsp cornstarch
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- Whisk all meatball ingredients except turkey in a large bowl. Add turkey and mix with a large fork, or your clean hands until mixed.
- Roll turkey mixture into balls and place on parchment lined baking sheet.
- Bake for about 20 minutes, turning half way through. Meatballs should be nicely browned. Remove from oven and set aside.
- While meatballs are cooking: In a saucepan, whisk together broth, pineapple juice, soy sauce, ginger, sesame oil, 5 spice, sriracha, honey, and vinegar.
- Add peppers and and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium low. Mix cornstarch with 2 Tbsp cold water and stir into sauce, heating and stirring until sauce is thickened and glossy.
- Add pineapple and meatballs, cooking until heated through.
- Serve hot with rice.