An easy recipe for delicious, sticky, sweet and sour meatballs, smothered in a tasty sauce. They are oven-baked and low carb.
Meatballs are wonderful. The kids love them, so naturally, I make them often. But grownups enjoy them too – they are simply fun to eat!
I have quite a few meatball recipes on this blog. A few of my favorites are pork meatballs, keto meatballs, and chicken meatballs. But these sweet and sour meatballs are especially good. The sauce they’re cooked in is wonderfully flavorful.
The ingredients you’ll need
Here’s an overview of what you’ll need to make this recipe. The exact measurements are included in the recipe card below:
For the Meatballs:
Lean ground beef: I like to use an 85/15 blend. I find that 93/7 is too lean.
Kosher salt and black pepper. If using fine salt, you should reduce the amount you use. A teaspoon of kosher salt weighs less than a teaspoon of regular salt.
Spices: Onion powder and garlic powder. Make sure they are fresh! A stale spice can easily ruin a dish.
For the sauce:
Unsweetened ketchup: I buy it at Whole Foods and you can also find it on Amazon. Regular ketchup has too much sugar, in my opinion.
Rice vinegar: Or use white wine vinegar if that’s all you have on hand.
Honey: Just 2 teaspoons, or use a low-carb substitute.
Light soy sauce: Or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed.
How to make sweet and sour meatballs
The original recipe is my mother in law’s and calls for browning the meatballs in a skillet, then cooking them in broth, and finally glazing them with the sauce.
My mother in law’s meatballs are amazing, but I am far too lazy for a three-step recipe! So I decided to streamline, skip the browning and cooking and simply bake the meatballs.
The result is wonderful! Easy and delicious meatballs that are also low carb. Scroll down to the recipe card for the detailed instructions. Here are the basic steps for making this recipe:
Mix the beef and spices. Place the meatballs ingredients in a large bowl and use your hands to mix everything together.
Form the meatballs. Now divide the mixture into 20 portions and form into meatballs.
Bake them. Arrange the meatballs in a single layer on a greased baking dish and bake them for 10 minutes at 400°F.
Prepare the sauce. Simply mix the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
Finish the dish. Pour the sauce over the baked meatballs, coating them well. Return to the oven for 10 more minutes, then serve.
How to serve sweet and sour meatballs
You can serve them with toothpicks as an appetizer. But I usually serve them as a main dish for dinner. They’re great on a bed of cauliflower rice. I also like to add an Asian-style vegetable such as braised bok choy.
What about leftovers?
Leftovers should keep well in the fridge for 3-4 days. Reheat them in the microwave, covered, on 50% power.
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Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- 1 teaspoon olive oil for pan
- 1 lb. lean ground beef (85/15)
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup unsweetened ketchup
- 2 tablespoons rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons honey or a low carb substitute
- 2 tablespoons light soy sauce (or use a gluten-free alternative and add salt as needed)
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Brush a 9 X 13-inch baking dish with a teaspoon of oil.
- Mix the meatballs ingredients in a large bowl. Form 20 meatballs, and place in the prepared baking dish. Bake 10 minutes.
- While meatballs are baking, whisk together the sauce ingredients in a medium bowl.
- Remove the baking dish from the oven. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, spooning sauce over each meatball to make sure they are well-coated. Bake 10 more minutes, uncovered, until meatballs are well browned and sauce is thick and fragrant. Serve immediately.