Crockpot Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Crockpot Sweet & Sour Meatballs

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins

Easy crockpot sweet & sour meatballs! Oven method included.

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Chinese
Servings: 35 meatballs
Calories: 807 kcal
Author: Carrian, from the "Our Sweet Basil Cookbook"



  • 2 pounds ground beef 85-15 mix
  • 2/3 cup Panko breadcrumbs*
  • 2 tablespoons dried minced onion
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup coconut milk
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • Salt and Pepper

Sweet & Sour Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon canola oil
  • 3 large bell peppers (1 red, 1 orange, 1 green)
  • 1 clove garlic, finely minced
  • 1 and 1/2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1/2 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/2 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup low-sodium soy sauce
  • 2 cups white granulated sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 1/2 of 1 full (11 oz. can) mandarin oranges, smashed with their juices
  • 2-3 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • Optional: toasted sesame seeds, green onions, rice for serving


  1. IF USING THE OVEN: Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Grease a 9x13-inch baking pan. IF USING THE CROCKPOT: lightly oil the cooking insert. In a large bowl, add ground beef, Panko breadcrumbs, minced onion, egg, coconut milk, ginger, salt and pepper (2 teaspoons salt & 1/4 teaspoon pepper). Mix with your clean hands until just combined. Rub a little oil on your hands and then roll the meat mixture into 1-inch balls. Place meatballs in prepared baking pan or slow cooker.
  2. Bake 20 minutes in the preheated oven OR set slow cooker to low and bake, covered with sauce, 3-4 hours.**
  3. To make the sauce: In a saucepan over medium heat, add the oil, chopped peppers and garlic. Sauté until tender, about 3 minutes, stirring frequently. Add the onion powder, vinegar, ketchup, soy sauce, sugar and sesame oil. Stir to combine and then add the oranges and juice. Bring to a boil.
  4. Meanwhile, stir the cornstarch and water together and then whisk into the sauce. Bring back to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer 10 minutes. Serve over meatballs with sesame seeds and green onions to garnish. Serve all over rice if desired.

Recipe Notes
*Panko is generally used in Japanese cooking and it can be found in the grocery store in the Asian foods aisle.  **I like to broil the meatballs in the oven before putting them in the crockpot to help them hold their shape better and keep the moisture in. This is totally optional, but if you want to do it, place all the meatballs on a large foil-lined cookie sheet and broil in the oven for 2-3 minutes per side (watch carefully).

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