Always Perfect Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Total Time
Prep 5 mins
Cook 20 mins

This recipe has gotten me out of innumerable kitchen emergencies, including unexpected guests, finicky guests, and kids on a hunger strike. It has become so popular in our world that many guests visiting (especially from out of town) request it in advance before they get here. Similarly, many young brides have asked for this recipe as their wedding gift (don't worry--they got a regular gift too!). It can be doubled, tripled, etc., freezes and reheats well, and can handle an almost infinite number of variations (some of which I will include below).


  1. Mix together beef, garlic powder, onion powder, egg, and matzo meal.
  2. Form into small balls and set aside.
  3. Pour chili sauce into medium saucepan.
  4. Refill bottle with water, shake well, and add to pot.
  5. Add the brown sugar and lemon juice, and mix.
  6. Bring sauce to a boil.
  7. Taste and adjust amounts of lemon juice and brown sugar to taste.
  8. Drop in meatballs.
  9. Return to boil, cover, and simmer for at least 20 minutes (but you can leave it on for much longer if you forget).
  10. VARIATION #1:For chili sauce, you can substitute either tomato sauce or tomato juice or diced canned tomatoes, and adjust the sweeteners and water accordingly. You just want it to be a saucy consistency, not too thick or thin. If you use plain tomato juice or sauce, you can add in some garlic powder or other seasoning. The sky is the limit. But, do NOT use spaghetti sauce!
  11. VARIATION #2:For matzo meal you can substitute bread crumbs, oatmeal, a little flour, or any other binding agent.
  12. VARIATION #3:For brown sugar you can substitute real maple syrup, sugar, honey, grape jelly, or any other real sweetener. (Do not use nutrisweet or any other artificial sweetener!).


Most Helpful

Wow super recipe!!!!!!!! I made the sauce exactly as the recipe said. I browned the meat balls for a few minutes and let them boil in the sauce for about 15 minutes. I served them with brown and wild rice.

saramokey June 03, 2009

I gave this to a friend who gave it flying colors and now I'm doing the same! I followed the recipe except that I used Splenda's brown sugar blend (only 1/4 cup) and it was great. Smelled nice while cooking. Made it and then put it in a crockpot to keep warm until dinner. Served it with Farfale (bowtie) pasta. Thanks for an easy and delicious meal!

Oolala January 24, 2007

Yuuuuummmmy !!! more than 5 stars yummy :) This is comfort food, easy, simple, basic, honest and quick. This mega simple recipe *may* just be a recipe to make me into as big a pasta fan as my DH. He always makes pasta sans sauce and I find it sooo boring... now THIS recipe comes to my rescue... easy to make when you are in a hurry, I cooked it a bit longer so that the sauce reduced and became nice and thick, added it to a steaming heap of spagetti ... took it to the table and practically inhaled it :) If you have mince meat (ground meat) in your fridge and you are looking for a new twist instead of the "same old, same old..." especially on budget, then this recipe is it. I used cheap canned tomatoes, and substituted beadcrumbs in the meatballs since we don't have matzo meal here and it turned out great. This is definiately a store cupboard meal that you could make for unexpected guests,or teenage kids who seemingly have hollow legs and if you are careful with the chili, it's fussy eater friendly and most of all, amost laughingly easy to make. That definiately constitutes a very well deserved 5 stars in my book :) Many Thanks for posting the recipe.

kiwidutch June 27, 2005

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