This crockpot recipe for sweet and sour meatballs is a delicious and easy way to make a classic dish. Perfect to serve as an appetizer, during the game or even as an entree! Kosher for Passover option included.
Meatballs are the culinary equivalent of a Little Black Dress. If you add upscale "accessories" such as a gourmet sauce and some frilly toothpicks, you can take them to a cocktail party. For a more casual gathering, throw on some red sauce, add them to a bowl of pasta and they become perfect for dinner with the family. Layer them in BBQ sauce and they are ready to head outside for a picnic. Want to lighten them up? Just sub out the ground beef for ground turkey.
Because I am generally too lazy to make my own meatballs, I tend to save this for special occasions. Or at least for occasions where I want people to think I have put in a lot of effort. Truthfully, they aren't hard to make at all. They just take longer than my very short attention span prefers.
🥣Sweet and Sour Sauce
This is a simple 4 ingredient sauce including ketchup, brown sugar, raisins and water. Add the ingredients directly into your slow cooker, stir and set on high to give it a little head start on warming up.
Like the sauce, these meatballs are made with just four basic ingredients: ground beef, grated potato, grated onion and bread crumbs. MIx ingredients together in a bowl and you are set. I always prefer to use gloves when making these to avoid having my bare hands in raw meat. Use your hand to gently oll meatballs that are approximately 1.5"- 2" in diameter. For reference, I would say I make mine about the size of a golf ball. If you prefer larger meatballs, that is fine too. I haven't tried it, but I assume larger meatballs would take longer to cook, so be sure to check carefully before serving larger ones. As each meatball is formed, drop it into the sauce. When all meat has been made into balls, cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 6-8
Kosher For Passover Recipe
I love making these meatballs for Passover. They make a great appetizer or extra meat dish when you are serving a large crew. Alternatively, if you are just DONE with matzo pizza and matzo ball soup, they make for a great mid-holiday-week change of pace. To make this recipe kosher for Passover, just substitute out bread crumbs for matzo meal.
😉Hacks and Hints
- The recipe calls for grating both a potato and an onion. I usually opt to buy frozen, shredded potato and frozen chopped onion. While still frozen, I will put them in a food processor and give them a few pulses to make the shreds into smaller pieces.
- These meatballs go well with savory sauce as well as sweet. Try this sauce if you aren't in the mood for sweet and sour.
- If you want to lighten up the calorie load in this, you can substitute out the ground beef for ground turkey. You can also sub out the brown sugar for my favorite brown sugar alternative, Swerve.
- This is a great dish if your people will be eating a different times as it stays really well on the warm setting of your slow cooker.
- I always recommend using a slow cooker liner for easy clean up. This is a fully optional step. I usually buy liners in bulk for the best per-piece price. Click here to see what I buy. An additional perk of liners: built in storage! Just add a twist tie and pop the whole bag in the freezer or fridge
❓Frequently asked questions
Nope! This sauce works well with pre-made meatballs too. Just toss it in your slow cooker along with any meatballs of your choice (even frozen ones) and cook on low until fully heated through and you are ready to serve.
Yes! In fact, you can just take the pot out of your slow cooker and serve it right from there. Or, if the buffet will span a few hours, you can place your whole slow cooker on the buffet table and keep it plugged in on warm.
Sweet and sour meatballs are delicious with a baked potato and some grilled vegetables, They are also wonderful with a cold side salad such a coleslaw or garden salad. A side of sautéed spinach is also a wonderful pairing!
Absolutely! Leftovers of this dish freeze really well. Just place in an airtight container or bag. They will last for 3-4 months and can be easily reheated in the microwave.
More lazy slow cooker recipes
Lazy Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Meatballs Recipe
- 6 qt slow cooker
- mixing bowl
- measuring bowls and spoons
- slow cooker liner (optional)
- 3 lbs ground beef I use the leanest meat I can find
- 2 eggs
- 1 small onion - grated
- 1 small potato - grated
- ½ cup bread crumbs or matzo meal
- 1 38oz bottle ketchup
- ⅔ cup brown sugar
- ½ cup raisins
- For easiest clean up and storage, I suggest using a slow cooker liner.
- Add ketchup, brown sugar and raisins directly into slow cooker vessel
- Fill empty ketchup bottle with water and add in to ketchup mixture
- Stir ingredients and turn pot on to high with the lid off to start to warm sauce while you make the meatballs
- Place ground beef into a mixing bowl
- Add eggs, onion, potato and matzo meal or bread crumbs to bowl and mix well
- Use meat mixture to form golf ball sized meatballs, adding them into the warming sauce as you go
- When all meat has been made in to meatballs and put in the pot, spoon some of the sauce over the top few meatballs that are not submerged.
- Cook on high for at least 4 hours or low for at least 8 Hours.
- Optional step: open lid one or twice (but no more) to stir gently so that all meatballs are covered evenly with sauce. Be careful when you stir as some of the meatballs can start to break apart.
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