• March 2, 2018

    Sweet & Sour Meatballs


    This sweet and sour meatball recipe is very near to my heart because it transports me back to a million warm gatherings at in my mama’s kitchen – baby showers, New Year’s Eves, birthdays. So many cozy times around my that well-loved family dining table. See, some incarnation of sweet and sour meatballs are always on the menu when mom hosts parties, along with her to-die-for dry garlic ribs.

    I partnered with Tropicana Canada to bring you this recipe. I used Tropicana Pure Premium Orange Juice as the base for the sauce (it has nothing but the yummy juice of fresh oranges – only one ingredient).

    Onions, garlic, soy sauce and brown sugar round it out with sweet and savoury depth. The sauce is simmered until thick and jammy, then browned meatballs get tossed up in there until coated and delicious.

    I made them recently for my book club (which I call “cook club” because I’m unapologetically there for the food – and company, of course – but not so much the literature) and everyone loved them.

    We had them again for dinner the next day and I’ve made them twice again since. It makes a large batch, big enough for a party, but the meatballs are equally at home on the dinner table alongside vegetables and noodles or rice.

    Feel free to halve the recipe, but I recommend you make the whole thing and freeze leftovers. Future you will be very happy you did.

    Sweet and Sour Meatball Recipe

    Sweet & Sour Meatballs

    These Sweet & Sour Meatballs transport me back to a million cozy gatherings in my mom’s kitchen. The sticky-sweet-savoury thing they’ve got going on is completely irresistible. 

    Course Dinner
    Cuisine Chinese
    Prep Time 20 minutes
    Cook Time 30 minutes
    Total Time 50 minutes
    Servings 8 servings
    Author Jennifer Pallian


    For Meatballs

    • 2 lbs ground beef
    • 1 2/3 lbs 750 g ground pork
    • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 2 large eggs beaten
    • 1/2 cup packed finely chopped green onion
    • 1 medium carrot peeled and grated
    • 1 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
    • 2 1/2 tsp kosher salt
    • 1 tsp freshly ground black pepper

    For Sauce

    • 3 tbsp olive oil
    • 1 large sweet onion finely chopped
    • kosher salt
    • 4 cloves garlic minced
    • 2 tbsp finely grated fresh ginger
    • 1 cup ketchup
    • 3 cups orange juice
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 3 tbsp cornstarch
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce


    1. Preheat oven to 400ºF. In a large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients together (using your hands is the easiest way). Roll into lime-sized meatballs and place in a single layer on parchment-lined baking sheets.  Bake until browned, about 20 minutes. 

    2. Meanwhile, heat oil in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and a pinch of salt, then cook until very soft, about 12 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and cook a minute more, then add the ketchup, orange juice and brown sugar and bring sauce to a simmer. 

    3. Whisk cornstarch into soy sauce until smooth, then whisk into the sauce. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to simmer for 10 minutes, until thickened and glossy. Taste and season with more salt if desired. 

    4. Add meatballs and continue cooking until sauce is very thick and meatballs are cooked through to 165ºF, about 15 minutes more.


    Hi, I'm Jenn! I'm in the Foodess kitchen making a spectacular mess + something delicious, in roughly equal parts. Join me for seasonal baking punctuated by globally-inspired comfort recipes and (healthy-ish) dinspiration, plus with lots of tips and resources. So happy that you're here!

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