Struggling with what to make for dinner that everyone will enjoy? These sweet and sour meatballs are sure to be a winner!
The meatballs can be made ahead of time so all you have to do is pop them in the oven for a family-friendly dinner recipe for any night of the week!
Baked Turkey Meatballs with Sweet & Sour Sauce
These baked turkey meatballs are a healthy and high-protein dinner option while the easy, homemade sweet and sour sauce comes together quickly with minimal ingredients.
You can use ground turkey or any other ground protein, of course, whenever you whip up this recipe.
To make meatballs ahead of time you can fully cook this recipe, start-to-finish, or form the meatballs, keep them covered inthe fridge up to 3 days when you’re ready to bake them.
To make the sweet and sour sauce ahead of time make the sauce according to the recipe directions and keep it in a glass jar in the refrigerator up to 5 day.
You can freeze sweet and sour turkey meatballs uncooked, after you form them or after cooking and once cooled in the portions you need. You’ll either bake them later as directed and make the sauce or simply heat-and-eat.
Before you print the recipe for these sweet and sour meatballs below, check that you have the following ingredients:
- Ground turkey: select the lean % you prefer or even ground chicken or ground beef for this recipe.
- Egg: for binding the ingredients.
- Dried parsley: used to add flavor.
- Garlic powder: aromatic that adds flavor.
- Breadcrumbs: breadcrumbs or quick-cooking oats are used to give the meatball structure so you don’t end up with a rubbery meatball. You can also use gluten-free breadcrumbs.
- Rice: suggested as a side for these meatballs.
- Pineapple juice: the sweet liquid to make the sauce.
- Rice vinegar: cuts down the sweetness towards the sour sauce. Apple cider or white wine vinegar can be used too.
- Ketchup: thickens and forms the base for the sauce.
- Low sodium soy sauce: a staple in sweet & sour sauces.
- Brown sugar: sweetens and thickens the sweet & sour sauce.
- Cornstarch: thickens up the sauce.
Make sure to print out the recipe card with all the measurements and step-by-step directions below.
How to Make Sweet & Sour Meatballs
There are two main steps to making this sweet and sour meatball recipe: making and cooking the meatballs and making the sauce. They can be broken down into these steps:
- Preheat the oven
You’ll want to have the oven nice and hot to cook the meatballs as soon as you’re done forming them.
- Form the meatballs
Combine the meat and the ingredients in a bowl, and form 16 meatballs. Place them on a lined baking sheet as you go along.
- Bake the meatballs
Once formed, bake the meatballs in the preheated oven making sure to flip them halfway through.
- Cook the rice
While the meatballs are cooking, cook the rice on the stovetop.
- Make the sauce
While the meatballs and rice cook, make the sauce in a pot so it’s ready to be mixed with the meatballs right before serving.
- Combine meatballs and sauce
Once the meatballs are cooked, transfer them from the baking sheet into the pot with the sauce. Stir to combine.
Serve the sweet and sour meatballs over rice or one of these must-make side dishes.
How to Form Turkey Meatballs
Using your hands, grab about 2 tablespoons of the mixture, a little smaller than a golf ball and give the mixture a round shape by rolling it between the palms of your hand.
The best way to form meatballs without them falling apart is by not omitting the binding ingredient, the egg, and not adding more (or less) of the breadcrumb.
Just a single egg in this recipe helps the ground meat and the breadcrumbs stay together and not fall apart. Breadcrumbs also help the meat stay together so make sure to use a gluten-free option if needed.
Easy Sweet & Sour Meatballs
- 1 lb ground turkey
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons parsley
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ¼ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 ½ cups rice
- 1 ¼ cup pineapple juice
- ¼ cup rice vinegar
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 ½ teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 ½ teaspoons cornstarch
- Preheat the oven to 375F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
- In a medium bowl, combine ground turkey, egg, parsley, and breadcrumbs.
- Using your hands, form 16 meatballs and place them on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 20 minutes, until the meatballs are browned and cooked through. Remove from the oven and set aside next to the stove.
- While the meatballs are baking, cook the rice according to the package directions.
- Make the sweet and sour sauce directly in a large 5qt pot, big enough to add the meatballs back in. Whisk the pineapple juice, rice vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, and brown sugar directly into the pot. Bring the sauce to a simmer and reduce the heat to low.
- In a small bowl, combine the cornstarch and water. Pour it into the sauce and mix to combine.
- Once the sauce is ready, add the cooked meatballs to the pot and stir to coat all of them with sauce.
- Serve the meatballs over cooked rice.