Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Asian Meatballs are cooked long and slow in a homemade tangy pineapple-soy sauce that’ll have you reaching for more. I love to serve these little gems at cocktail parties, but you can also dress them up with a bowl of fluffy white rice and call them dinner.
Tender, juicy, meaty, savory – take all the adjectives and just throw them at this recipe, it’s that good. When you bathe garlicky meatballs in a homemade marinade that’s the ultimate blend of sweet and sour you might wonder if you’ve achieved umami perfection. Then you’ll sprinkle sesame seeds and slivers of green onion across the top for even more texture and flavor.
Even better? Your actual prep time takes 15 minutes or less, just long enough to mix the meatballs, broil them, and make a mouth-puckering-with-a-touch-of-sweet-fruit sauce. Toss everything in the crockpot and in a couple of hours you’ll have a batch of meatballs ready to go.
Why You’ll Love This Recipe
These little meaty balls of goodness have a lot going for them. Here are some of the things I like the most about them:
- Sweet and sour. This combo is hard to resist and with good reason: it packs a layered flavor punch in every bite.
- Versatile. You can serve this recipe at a party as an appetizer or on the snack table, or fill it out with rice or noodles and a green vegetable for a complete meal.
- Healthy. No weird ingredients here. The meatballs are hearty from a mixture of ground meat and an egg, but there’s no bread crumbs needed like in a traditional meatball recipe so they are on the lighter side.
What You’ll Need to Make Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meat Balls
You can use any ground meat you like in this recipe – I tend to use ground beef, but you can try pork, chicken, or turkey depending on your preference or what you kind find at the store. Be sure to check the recipe at the end of this post for the full ingredient amounts.
For the Meatballs
- Ground Meat: Use beef, pork, chicken, or turkey.
- Onions: Diced onions will be used in this recipe.
- Salt and Freshly Ground Pepper
For the Sauce
- Pineapple Juice: Pineapple juice adds natural sweetness.
- Cornstarch: For thickening the sauce.
- Soy Sauce: I like low-sodium soy sauce.
- White Wine Vinegar: This is different from regular white vinegar, but found in the aisle with the other vinegar.
- Garnish: Green onions and sesame seeds are used for a garnish.
How to Make This Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe
Like I mentioned, this recipe comes together in 15 minutes or less. You can start making the sauce while the meatballs are broiling.
Make the Meatballs
- Prepare pan. Preheat broiler and line a baking sheet with foil, then lightly grease it with cooking spray.
- Mix the meatball mixture. In a large mixing bowl combine ground meat, onions, garlic, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix well to thoroughly combine.
- Form the meatballs. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Broil the meatballs. Place the pan in the oven and broil the meatballs for 5 minutes, or until meatballs are lightly browned on all sides.
Make the Sauce
- Whisk ingredients. In a saucepan whisk together pineapple juice, cornstarch, water, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar until thoroughly combined.
- Cook sauce. Set the pan over high heat and bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook until thickened, about 7 minutes.
- Finish the dish in the crock pot. Remove meatballs from the broiler and transfer to the crock pot. Pour the cooked sauce over the meatballs. Place the cover on and cook on LOW for 2 1/2 hours, or on HIGH for 1 1/2 hours.
- Serve the meatballs. Serve the meatballs over rice or noodles. Garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
There are a few options for serving these sweet and sour meatballs. Spooned straight from the pot is perfectly acceptable.
- A lot of fluffy rice: Look, these meatballs are basically begging to be served on top of a fluffy pile of steaming white rice. Rice is a perfect neutral yet satisfying background to the savory flavorfulness of the main attraction.
- Atop noodles: Egg noodles or rice noodles are another great option as the supporting player to these juicy meatballs. The sauce you’ve already made can help coat the noodles and make them more interesting so you won’t have to make a separate sauce. Feel free to add an extra splash of soy sauce.
- As an appetizer: Serve these crock pot meatballs straight from the pot at your next pot luck or cocktail party, with lots of toothpicks or little forks alongside for easy grabbing.
Storage and Reheating Options
It’s easy to save any leftovers for another time – and they make a great day-after-party snack. You can eat leftover meatballs cold from the fridge or tuck them into a piece of lettuce for a light wrap for lunch.
- Fridge – Cool the meatballs and sauce, then transfer them to an airtight container and store them in the fridge for 3 days.
- Freezer – Place cooled meatballs and sauce in a freezer-safe bag and store them in the freezer for up to 3 months. You’ll want to defrost them in the fridge before reheating.
- To Reheat – To reheat the meatballs, place them and the sauce in a pot on the stove over low heat. You can also place meatballs and sauce in a microwave-safe dish and heat them in the microwave until hot. You may need to stir the contents every so often to make sure everything is heating evenly.
More Meatball Recipes to Try
Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Asian Meatballs
- 1 lb ground meat (I used beef, but you can also use pork, chicken, or turkey)
- ⅓ cup diced onions
- 3 garlic cloves , minced
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ teaspoon salt
- fresh ground pepper , to taste
- 1 egg
- 2 cups pineapple juice
- 3 tablespoons cornstarch
- ¾ cup water
- 2 tablespoons low sodium soy sauce
- ⅓ cup white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup sugar
- 2 green onions sliced diagonally, for garnish
- sesame seeds for garnish
- Preheat broiler. Have a crockpot ready.
- Line a baking sheet with foil, lightly grease with cooking spray and set aside.
- In a mixing bowl combine ground meat, onions, garlic, cornstarch, salt, pepper, and egg. Mix until thoroughly incorporated.
- Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls and place on prepared baking sheet.
- Broil for 5 minutes, or until meatballs are lightly browned on all sides.
- In a saucepan, whisk together pineapple juice, cornstarch, water, soy sauce, vinegar, and sugar until thoroughly combined.
- Set over high heat and bring to a boil then lower heat to a simmer and continue to cook until thickened, about 7 minutes.
- Remove meatballs from broiler and transfer to the crock pot.
- Pour prepared sauce over the meatballs.
- Cover and cook on low for 2 ½ hours, or on high for 1 ½ hours until meatballs are cooked through.
- Serve over rice or noodles and garnish with green onions and sesame seeds.
- If serving as an appetizer, keep meatballs in the crock pot and set the crock pot on “WARM”.
- Crock Pot
Nutritional info is an estimate and provided as courtesy. Values may vary according to the ingredients and tools used. Please use your preferred nutritional calculator for more detailed info.
12 comments on “Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Asian Meatballs”
I didn’t see how many this serves; looks like 4 for dinner. Should I triple everything to serve 6-8? Thanks!
Can I use fresh pineapple juice? Also, can I leave out the sugar? I’m trying not to have sugar in my diet unless its fruit.
Yes, you can definitely use fresh pineapple juice and leave out the sugar. The sauce might take a bit longer to thicken without the sugar, but it shouldn’t too long.
oh yeah, I see these coming with me to every holiday party this year
Katerina, these are some gorgeous meatballs! This has me wondering why I don’t make meatballs in the slow cooker. I don’t take advantage of my slow cooker nearly enough.
These caught my eye on Facebook the other day. I think I actually said, “Oh yum!” out loud. Must make.
These look delicious! They make a great meal or an appetizer!
This is my kind of game day food. Looks fantastic!!
You are the queen of slow cooker recipes Kate! These look fabulous!
Ooooh I need these!! I’m on a meatball kick lately, and bonus points that these are made in the crock pot!
All kinds of goodness here! I always had meatballs on Sundays growing up, and would love these for carrying on the tradition! Mmmm!
Now these look TASTY! Great recipe, lady!