Sweet and Sour Meatballs with ground turkey, peppers, and juicy pineapple chunks in a tangy sauce ready in just 45 minutes with one skillet!

Other favorite meatball recipes include Thai meatballs and Mexican meatballs.

Sweet and sour meatballs with pineapple and pepper in a skillet. Green onion, rice,  on a counter.

When we’re craving Asian cuisine I love making it at home because many dishes are surprisingly easy to recreate. I made these sweet and sour meatballs and served over plain Instant Pot white rice and my family loved this “something new” dinner meal!

And unlike other recipes on the web, we quickly whip up homemade meatballs. But don’t worry if you’re short on time! I’ve also included easy instructions on how to make it using store-bought meatballs.

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

  • Easy recipe: Quick prep, one pan, easy cleanup. Simple and delicious!
  • Lighter: We use lean meat, oats, and natural sweeteners to create this healthy dinner which still packs 40 grams of protein.
  • Gluten-free: Oats replace breadcrumbs making it gluten-free and enjoyable for everyone.
  • Something different: Ditch the usual tomato sauce for sweet and tangy flavors that shine.

Ingredients for Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Despite the long list, they’re all simple ingredients that you likely already have in your kitchen.

  • Ground turkey: I love turkey meatballs for their leanness, and they’re kept moist and flavorful by the sauce. You can also use ground chicken, pork, or beef for variety.
  • Oats: You can use quick oats or rolled oats. Breadcrumbs will work too, just check for gluten-free options if needed.
  • Egg: Needed to bind the meatballs together.
  • Spices: I seasoned the meatballs with dried oregano, salt, and pepper.
  • Vegetables: I went with classic sweet and sour veggies and included white onion and red peppers.
  • Pineapple: Canned pineapple chunks work great since we need the juice for the sauce, but you can also use frozen pineapple.
  • For the sauce: Pineapple juice, low sodium soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, maple syrup or honey, and cornstarch create a tangy sweet glaze.
  • Oil: Olive oil or avocado oil for frying.
  • Green onion: Optional garnish for a subtle onion flavor.
  • Rice: We love serving meatballs over rice with plenty of sauce to drizzle.

How to Make Sweet and Sour Meatballs

This sweet and sour turkey meatballs recipe is a breeze to make, here’s how in under an hour!

Step by step process how to make sweet and sour meatballs recipe.

If you’re serving over rice as I did, start cooking it according to package instructions while preparing the meatballs.

  • Prep the sauce: Add pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, maple syrup and cornstarch to a medium bowl, whisk to combine and set aside.
  • Make the meatballs: In a large bowl, mix together ground turkey, oats, egg, dried oregano, salt and pepper until well combined, using a spatula or your hands. Shape the mixture into meatballs. I made about 26 balls using a trigger scoop.
  • Brown meatballs: Heat a large skillet or Dutch oven over medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat the bottom. Fry the meatballs in batches until they’re browned on both sides, then transfer them to a large plate.
  • Saute and simmer: Add a bit more oil to the pan along with onion and bell pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes until slightly golden. Add pineapple, whisk the sauce again, pour it in, and add the browned meatballs. Stir, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.

Recipe Tip

After cooking, you can keep them warm in a slow cooker if you wish. This works great if serving as an appetizer.

Tips for Best Results

Here are my foolproof tips for perfect meatballs every time.

  • Meatballs size: I like to make them smaller, about the size of 2 bites. But you can make them as big as you like.
  • If using frozen meatballs: Saute the vegetables and drop them into the sauce to simmer until heated through. No need to thaw them first.
  • If you would like to bake meatballs: Lay them on a baking sheet and bake. Once done, coat them in the sauce and serve. Follow the instructions from my turkey meatballs.
  • To air fry meatballs: Preheat your air fryer to 380 F. Place the meatballs in the basket and cook for 10 minutes, shaking halfway through.
  • Use a cookie scoop: It’s a handy tool that’s not just for cookies! It keeps them uniform in size for even cooking.
Sweet and sour turkey meatballs with pineapple served on a bed of rice and garnished with green onion.

What to Serve Meatballs with?

Sweet and sour meatballs with pineapple are perfect with rice or noodles and garnished with green onions. They also pair deliciously with stir fried veggies or a fresh salad.

  • Appetizer: Serve with toothpicks for a crowd-pleaser, or pair with pita bread for dipping.

How to Store and Reheat

Store: Leftover meatballs can be kept in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days.

Freeze: After fully cooking, let them cool completely, then freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months.

Reheat: You can reheat them in the microwave in 1-minute increments or simmer on the stove on low, covered, until warmed through.


Can I make these meatballs in slow cooker?

Yes! Brown the meatballs, saute veggies, mix the sauce, then combine in your crock pot and cook on low for 4 hours or on high for 2 hours.

Can I make them in Instant Pot?

Yes. Follow the recipe and then pressure cook on High pressure for 7 minutes. Wait for 2 minutes and release remaining pressure.

What else can I add?

I used red pepper, but you can also choose yellow, orange, or green. Add snap peas, baby corn, or broccoli florets for more veggies. For crunch, throw in cashews, peanuts, or water chestnuts, and add fresh ginger or garlic for extra depth of flavor.

More Meatballs Recipes to Try

Close up of meatballs dish served over white rice.
Sweet and sour meatballs with pineapple and bell pepper in a skillet.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs with ground turkey, peppers, and juicy pineapple chunks in a tangy sauce ready in just 45 minutes with one skillet!
No ratings yet
Servings 6 servings
Calories 333
Diet Gluten Free
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes


For the Meatballs:


  • 1 white onion cut into large pieces
  • 1 red bell pepper cut into chunks
  • 1 cup pineapple chunks drained from a can or frozen

For the Sauce:

For Serving:


  • While you make meatballs, cook rice as per package instructions.
  • In a medium bowl, whisk pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup, rice vinegar, maple syrup and cornstarch. Set aside.
  • In a large bowl, add ground turkey, oats, egg, dried oregano, salt and pepper. Using spatula or your hands, mix well until combined. Using a trigger scoop, form about 26 meatballs.
  • Preheat large skillet or Dutch oven on medium-high heat and swirl oil to coat. Fry meatballs until golden brown on both sides, working in batches. Transfer onto a large plate.
  • Add oil, onion and bell pepper. Saute for 4-5 minutes or until a bit golden. Add pineapple, give sauce another whisk and pour it in, and add previously browned meatballs. Give a gentle stir and bring to a boil. Then cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
  • Garnish with green onion and serve over rice.


  • Store: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
  • Freeze: Fully cook, cool completely and freeze in an airtight container for up to 3 months. Thaw on a stovetop covered on low.


Serving: 4 meatballs | Calories: 333kcal | Carbohydrates: 34g | Protein: 40g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 114mg | Sodium: 860mg | Fiber: 3g | Sugar: 20g
Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Asian
Author: Olena Osipov
Did you make this recipe?Mention @ifoodreal or tag #ifoodreal!

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About Olena

Welcome! I grew up in Ukraine watching my grandma cook with simple ingredients. I have spent the last 11 years making it my mission to help you cook quick and easy meals for your family!

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