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Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs are a delicious and easy recipe! Meatballs, pineapple and peppers are all coated in a homemade sweet and sour sauce!

FROZEN MEATBALLS WITH A HOMEMADE SAUCE

I could not wait to share this recipe for Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs with you today. It turned out so good that even my picky eaters enjoyed it. It was so simple to make and my house smelled AMAZING while it cooked. The sauce is a wonderful blend of sweet and tangy. And the meatballs came out so tender! It may sound like a weird combination of flavors but it really works so well. If there is one recipe I wish people would make from my site, it is definitely this one!

sweet and sour meatballs shown on white rice on a white plate with a glass of iced tea in the background.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

Do I need to thaw the meatballs first?

Nope! The meatballs go in frozen.

Can I make my own homemade meatballs?

I wouldn’t suggest it. Mainly because homemade meatballs will release a lot of fat as they cook and you might end up with a greasy mess. Perhaps if your meatballs had already been pre-cooked that would work. Just make sure they aren’t Italian style meatballs. Those flavors do not work well with this. Also, I have only made this with frozen meatballs so this is all just guessing on my part. If you try it and it works for you, please let me know!

How do I serve these sweet and sour meatballs?

If you want to serve these as an appetizer, just serve them as-is and with small bowls and forks on the side for guests to help themselves. Or if you want to make it more like a meal, you could serve them with rice.

Can I cook these for longer?

Technically yes, but at some point, you’ll want to switch it over to high to help the sauce thicken. Getting it hot helps that cornstarch activate to thicken the sauce. Unless maybe you have a slow cooker that naturally runs hot, you may not need to. I’ve only ever tested this out this one particular way but if you have tips or have tried making it a different way, please comment below.

How do I store leftovers?

Leftovers can be stored in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days and can be frozen for up to 3 months. Reheating in the microwave or on a pot on the stove is your best option.

fully cooked sweet and sour meatballs in a black oval slow cooker with a silver spoon inserted into the meatballs.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED: (SEE RECIPE CARD BELOW FOR THE FULL RECIPE)

  • frozen homestyle meatballs – use your favorite here, I know different areas carry different brands and it seems like there are varying sizes of the bags too. I used a 28 ounce bag but if yours is a little less or a little more – that’s fine, it will still work. Just make sure you don’t get the Italian flavored meatballs because the seasoning in those won’t work well with this recipe.
  • canned pineapple chunks in 100% juice – you need the kind in 100% juice not syrup because you are going to use that juice to make the sauce and the syrup is just too sweet and not the right consistency to make this sauce. If you can’t find the pineapple chunks, you can use pineapple tidbits.
  • green pepper – you could also go with a red or yellow pepper here. I suppose you could leave it out if you really hate peppers.
  • brown sugar – this is the sweet part of the sweet and sour sauce. Because brown sugar has molasses in it, it’s also adds a nice depth of flavor. I would not substitute this with regular sugar or a sugar substitute if possible.
  • vinegar – I have not tried this with apple cider vinegar so I honestly couldn’t say if that flavor would work well here. I like apple cider vinegar but I’m not sure I would like it in this.
  • soy sauce – if you are sensitive to sodium, you could go with a low sodium soy sauce here.
  • cornstarch – this is going to help thicken the sauce. Don’t use flour, it doesn’t work as well and you’ll end up with lumps in your sauce.
frozen meatballs, pineapple, soy sauce, brown sugar, green pepper, cornstarch.

HOW TO MAKE SLOW COOKER SWEET AND SOUR MEATBALLS

First, drain the juice from the can of pineapple into a medium bowl (you’ll need that later for the sauce.) It should give you about a cup of pineapple juice.

draining the pineapple juice from the can into a bowl.

Place frozen meatballs into a 4-6 quart crock pot.

frozen meatballs shown at the bottom of an oval black slow cooker.

Then top meatballs with pineapple chunks and green peppers.

chopped green peppers and pineapple chunks shown on top of the frozen meatballs in a slow cooker.

Add brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch to the pineapple juice you set aside earlier. Whisk it all together well.

pineapple juice, brown sugar, cornstarch and soy sauce whisked together in a clear bowl.

Pour sauce over meatballs.

pouring sweet and sour sauce into crock pot over green peppers, pineapple and meatballs.

Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. After a couple of hours, switch the crock pot to high and cook for an additional hour. Doing this will thicken the sauce. After an hour, the sauce should be thicker and bubbling around the edges.

a silver spoon holding up some sweet and sour meatballs over the crock pot.

You can serve them just like this or over some rice to make it a meal!

closeup photo pf sweet and sour meatballs on white rice.

CRAVING MORE RECIPES?

Originally published: December 2015
Updated and republished: May 2023

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs recipe.

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Crock Pot Sweet and Sour Meatballs are a delicious and easy recipe! A homemade sweet and sour sauce covers meatballs, pineapple and peppers.
4.94 from 76 votes
Print Pin Rate
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings: 6

Ingredients

  • 28 ounce bag frozen meatballs
  • 20 ounce can pineapple chunks in 100% juice (save juice)
  • 1 green pepper diced into chunks
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • cup vinegar
  • 2 tablespoon soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoon cornstarch

Instructions

  • First, drain the juice from the can of pineapple into a medium bowl (you'll need that later for the sauce.) It should give you about a cup of pineapple juice.
  • Place frozen meatballs into a 4-6 quart crock pot.
  • Then top meatballs with pineapple chunks and green peppers.
  • In the bowl where you put the pineapple juice you set aside earlier, whisk in the brown sugar, vinegar, soy sauce and cornstarch.
  • Pour sauce over meatballs. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours.
  • After a couple of hours, switch your crock pot to high and cook for an additional hour. Doing this will thicken the sauce. The sauce should be thicker and bubbling around the edges when ready.

Video

YouTube video

Notes

  • The meatballs do not need to be thawed first. They go in frozen.
  • Don’t like peppers? Just leave them out!
  • Frozen meatball packages all come in varying sizes depending on the brand. This recipe will accommodate all standard size bags of meatballs – as long as it isn’t family size, it will work.
  • If your can of pineapples doesn’t give you a full cup of pineapple juice, you may need to supplement with a little more or just add a touch of water to get you up to one cup.
  • For a meal, serve with rice. For an appetizer, serve with toothpicks or set aside bowls for your guests to serve themselves.
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American

Nutrition

Calories: 395kcal | Carbohydrates: 55g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 13g | Sodium: 384mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 49g

Nutritional Disclaimer

“The Country Cook” is not a dietician or nutritionist, and any nutritional information shared is an estimate. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through whichever online nutritional calculator you prefer. Calories and other nutritional values can vary quite a bit depending on which brands were used.

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Recipe Rating




71 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was the delicious.. I followed the recipe exactly, but I did add some chunks of white onion. Big hit with my family and my grandsons demanded I double my recipe and make it the next day! I did and they loved it…thanks for a great, quick and easy recipe.

  2. I am trying this today! I am unable to find my old recipe of handmade meatballs, cooking them, draining them , then you get to the real dish and cook in electric skillet for a bit. This sounds just like my old recipe. Since kids are older and gone I can make smaller portions

    1. Hi! So I doubled the recipe. I used IKEA meatballs as that’s what I had in my freezer. I had a hard time getting the cornstarch to dissolve so I heated it on my stove while I whisked it. It began to thicken even before it began to boil so I just quickly poured it on top of my meatballs and peppers and pineapple. I’m excited. It will be a hit for sure!

  3. 5 stars
    This is delicious! The white vinegar was a little tangy the first time, so I am using plain apple cider vinegar this time to see how that is. On my six quart Crockpot, the low (4) was too low, so I use medium low (6) for 2 hours and then switch to medium high (8)
    for a little over an hour. Just watch the thickness like Brandie said. It will bubble and get thicker. Maybe add a tad of cornstarch if it’s not thick enough for you.
    Thanks for the recipe, my picky son loves it!

  4. 5 stars
    Omg! These meatballs were a hit on Christmas! Very easy to make . The family enjoyed them so much they went back for seconds and thirds (I doubled the recipe). Only thing I had to do was thicken the sauce with a little more cornstarch than what the recipe said.

    Great appetizer!

    1. I’ve got this in the crock pot now. I didn’t have cornstarch so I used flour. Same amount. Hope it comes out ok. Can’t wait to taste it tonight.

  5. 5 stars
    I made these today for my employees and they liked them. They said the flavor was good. Only thing is the sauce wasn’t thick at all it was like water! Any idea why that could happen?

    1. Hi Stacie! So glad everyone liked them! The sauce always turns out thick for me because of the added cornstarch. It’s really hard to say. Did you make sure to switch them to high for two hours? That extra step helps to thicken the sauce. 🙂

  6. 5 stars
    Excellent recipe! This was last minute for me so i cooked it on top of the stove instead of crock pot and used what I had. I made the sauce first using apple cider vinegar and started it cooking on a low heat. I added onions and my meatballs were from Costco. The sauce was the best sweet and sour ever. The family loved it and I will definitely make it again. Thanks for the recipe!

  7. I only have a 7 quart crock pot will this change the recipe at all? Or do the times need to be altered?

  8. So excited for this recipe! I’m making it right now and I will not be home to turn it up to high after two hours, is that going to mess it up?

    1. 5 stars
      I used white vinegar and loved the little extra zing it gave the recipe! I didn’t add onions, but wish I had, and will next time

      This is a FABULOUS, EASY dinner that got “can we make this again” as a response. I figure that’s the BEST review!

  9. I’m a little confused. Cooking time states 4 hrs but your directions only state 3, unless I’m reading it wrong? Like are you cooking it for another hr after the hr?

    1. 5 stars
      I agree. I’m confused but I’m going to cook for 2 hrs then 1 hr and cross my fingers that it is long enough!

    1. I want to try this recipe as appetizer meatballs for a party in a couple of weeks. What are the cook times if you double the recipe?

      1. 5 stars
        I made this a few weeks ago and doubled the recipe. I did add an additional hour. Turned out great. I’m making it again this weekend. Only change, I added red peppers and onions.

  10. It is in my crockpot right now! I added white onion to mine.Can’t wait to get home from church and eat it! Soo easy. My kind of recipe!

  11. 5 stars
    Made this recipe tonight. It was a hit with the family. The sauce is so good. I will definitely be putting this recipe on the meal plan more often.

  12. 5 stars
    I'm eating it RIGHT NOW! It's so yummy. Great ratio tang/sweet. Though mine didn't turn out as thick as yours did. Oops!

  13. 5 stars
    I made this last night for my company, we all loved it. I used turkey meatballs. Yum! Thanks for the recipe!

    1. I can only eat fish chicken or turkey due alpa-gal tick disease. where did you buy your meatballs? thank you in advance

  14. I am going to try this tonight, I'm using turkey meatballs instead. Thank you for the recipe 🙂

  15. 5 stars
    I am making this right now… I tasted sauce after mixing it all up and I am thrilled already… I know it will be delicous!