This Asian Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Pineapple recipe has the perfect combination and balance of sweet and sour sauce that everyone likes with moist and flavorful meatballs and pineapple. This quick and simple recipe is better than your Asian restaurant take-out because it is homemade.
Once you tried this Asian sweet and sour meatball with pineapple recipe, I hope you will keep it as one of your favorite. The tenderness of the meat with the nice balance of sweet and sour sauce keeps me from making this dish on a regular basis. I enjoy making this during potlucks or other celebrations because it is easy-to-make and crowd-pleaser as well.
What are the ingredients?
finely minced carrot
finely minced onion
salt and pepper
For Sweet and Sour Sauce
Neutral oil such as olive oil or avocado oil
Minced garlic and chopped onion
Ketchup or tomato sauce
Brown sugar or honey
Tapioca powder or cornstarch. It serves as a thickener for the sauce.
Soy sauce or Tamari sauce
Vinegar or Pineapple Juice
Pineapple (fresh, frozen, or in-can)
How to make the meatballs?
Combine ground pork sausage, turkey, finely minced carrots, herbs, and spices in a mixing bowl. Mix well until everything is well combined. Using a spoon or scooper, scoop about 1-1 ½ tablespoon of mixture and form into a ball shape and transfer it into a baking pan lined with aluminum foil, parchment paper, or a silicone mat. Repeat the process until all the mixture is done. Baked in the oven for 425 degrees Fahrenheit for 20-25 minutes depending on the size of the meatballs and the heat of your oven. You can check them with a meat thermometer or check to see if they turned nice and golden brown. If you don't have an oven, just cook this on the stovetop in batches using a pan until they are nice and golden brown.
How to make the sweet and sour sauce?
Let's make the yummy Asian sauce while the meatballs are baking in the oven. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until soft and translucent. Add in brown sugar, cornstarch dissolves with water, ketchup, soy sauce, and vinegar. Stir to mix well, bring it to a boil and let the sauce thicken for about 2-5 minutes on medium heat. Add the meatballs and pineapple, mix thoroughly and simmer for another 2-5 minutes or until the pineapples are warm enough.
There are so many different ways to cook Asian Sweet and Sour Meatballs including stovetop and crockpot. Both variations are easy and simple but very tasty and delicious.
Stovetop - This is the most popular way of cooking sweet and sour meatballs. In medium heat, you can start cooking the meatballs on the cast iron or saute pan with a little bit of cooking oil until the meat is nice and golden brown. Once they are done, transfer them to a bowl, and in the same pan start cooking the sweet and sour sauce. In medium heat with cooking oil saute onion and garlic until soft and aromatic. Add brown sugar, ketchup, tapioca, or cornstarch to dissolve with water (slurry), soy sauce, and vinegar. Let the sauce boil and thicken for about 2-5 minutes. Toss back meatballs and pineapple and let it simmer for 2-5 minutes.
Crockpot - This is a no-fuss way of cooking this tender and delicious dish especially if you are a busy cook. In a mixing bowl, whisk together brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, cornstarch with water, salt, and pepper. Pour sauce ingredients in the crockpot over meatballs. Add onion, garlic, and pineapple on the top. Cover and cook on low for 2 hours. After a couple of hours, switch your crockpot 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. It is very simple and easy to make without standing in the kitchen longer.
These deliciously sweet and sour meatballs with pineapples are tasty and have a perfect balance of flavors already. However, you can play around and try some of the tips below:
- You can use any type of meat as a substitute for meatballs. Use the same amount.
- For Vegans, tofu is a great alternative or substitute for meat.
- Add in more fresh or frozen vegetable like peppers, carrots or potatoes if your have them. The more, the better! I am a big fan of eating more fruits and vegetables.
- Fresh tomatoes are great to add extra flavors of sweet and sour.
- Don't care about pineapple? Skip them.
- Serve this yummy dish with rice on the side for more filling and satisfying meal.
MAKE-AHEAD, STORAGE, AND REHEATING
Make-Ahead - Make the meatballs ahead by following the instructions above and transfer them to an air-tight container and keep it in the fridge to make your sweet and sour dish the next day. Or keep it in the freezer for up to six months and thaw in the refrigerator overnight or countertop until it reaches room temperature.
Storage - Store in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for 5 days or in the freezer for 3 months. Thaw in the fridge overnight or on the countertop until it reaches room temperature.
Reheating - Transfer in a pan to reheat the dish on the stovetop. For microwave or oven, make sure to use a safe container like a glass container and reheat for a few minutes.
Asian Sweet and Sour Meatballs with Pineapple
For the meatballs
- 1 pound ground turkey
- 1 pound pork sausage
- 1 large finely minced carrots
- 1 medium finely minced onion
- ½ cup chopped green onions
- 1 large egg
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- ¼ teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon black pepper
For the Sauce
- 2 tablespoon cooking oil
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon cornstarch
- ½ cup water
- 2 tablespoon soy sauce
- 2 tablespoon ketchup
- ¼ cup vinegar
- 2-3 cups pineapple fresh, frozen or canned
- Meatballs. Preheat your oven at 425 dergee Fahrenheit. In a bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients using your clean hand or spatula mix trhoughly until everything is well incorporated. Use a cookie scooper or spoon and grab 1-1 ½ tablespoon and form into a ball and transfer into a baking rack lined with aluminum foil or silicone baking mat. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.
- Sauce. Heat 2 tablespoons of cooking oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Saute garlic and onion until soft and aromatic. Add brown sugar, ketchup, soy sauce, vinegar, and cornstarch dissolved with water. Stir and bring it to a boil to thicken about 2-5 minutes.
- Toss in meatballs and pineapple and simmer for 2-5 minutes. Serve and enjoy.
- You can double up the recipe and meal prep for the whole week or just to have more leftovers. The meatballs double its flavorful the next day since it is soaking all the flavors of the sauce.