Take Along Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Looking for the perfect potluck accompaniment? Look no further! These Sweet and Sour Meatballs can be made ahead and easily transported to your party destination. Better yet, these are affordable to make and sure to be a hit! Makes a great main served alongside rice and green beans.


We are in the thick of fall, folks! The leaves are falling, the days are getting shorter and the weather is getting cooler. We are also very near (Canadian) Thanksgiving which means we are all in a frenzy with menu planning. But don’t stress, you have no reason to worry. Trust me, you can look past the boxes of just-add-water stuffing and venture beyond the frozen aisles because I have your back! My Sweet and Sour Take Along Meatballs are a crowd pleaser, cheap to make, easily transported  and can be made waaaaay ahead of the family dinner since they can be rewarmed easily stove-top or in a slow cooker. You’re welcome.sweet-and-sour-meatballs-frugal-potluck-option



In other words, you can enjoy your pumpkin spice latte the morning of Thanksgiving guilt free, since your potluck dish is already in the fridge. All you have to do is show up hungry, and maybe, just maybe offer to help your Aunt with the gravy or indulge in an extra glass of wine. The choice is all yours, really.

Now, let’s talk about the sauce. The sweet and sour sauce is a perfect compliment to the pepper-y and rich tasting meatball. I encourage you to play around with the vinegar and sugar depending on your tastes. You can sweeten it up, or have a bit more zing. The sauce is very forgiving which allows it to be customizable. Just look at the gorgeous colour!


Take Along Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Meat Balls

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 sleeve saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1/2 cup yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 large eggs

Sweet and Sour Sauce

  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup white vinegar
  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (you can add an extra tablespoon or two if you like them on the sweeter side!)
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 2 tablespoons cornstarch


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Add all meatball ingredients to large mixing bowl. Mix with hands until evenly distributed.
  3. Roll mixture into small 1-inch balls (makes roughly two dozen) and place evenly space on broiler pan (slotted). Bake for 30 minutes, turning over once at 15 minute mark.
  4. In the mean time, make a slurry with cornstarch and some water. Set aside.
  5. In large sauce pan, add remaining water, vinegar, brown sugar and ketchup to medium-low heat. Mix with a whisk to breakup sugar.
  6. Cook for 5 minutes. Do not boil.
  7. Add cornstarch slurry. Raise temperature to medium-high for sauce to boil and thicken. Once sauce is at desired thickness, reduce heat to low and add meatballs.
  8. Meatballs can be transferred to large serving dish, or placed in crock pot at low temperature for up to 2 hours for transport!



  1. I have never made meatballs with saltine crackers – great idea! these look really tasty.. 🙂

  2. I have some leftover saltines from crab cakes. Time to make some meatballs!

  3. I love crowdpleaser recipes like this that can be made ahead and transport well. Happy Thanksgiving!

    • PeppersPennies

      Hi Cathy – thanks for reading, again 🙂 You could totally make this gluten free, with your favourite GF cracker! Thankfully corn starch is naturally GF, so you don’t have to look for a different thickening agent. Have a wonderful Thanksgiving as well!

  4. What an original way to celebrate thanksgiving! Instead of risking to dry up that mega Turkey, simply do those delicious looking turkey meatballs. Thanks for sharing.

  5. These meatballs look delicious and I love the make ahead idea, too!

  6. Saltines! I’ve honestly never thought of saltines in meatballs, but man that makes total sense. Plus, as you pointed out to another commenter, it’s a nice frugal, easy-to-find option. The flavours sound wonderful here, and I know this is precisely the kind of potluck dish I’d come back to for seconds (thirds, fourths…). And on a separate note, I’m loving how your photography is coming along! These shots are wonderful looking!

    • PeppersPennies

      I know it sounds a tad unglamorous, but you would have NO idea that the saltines are there once they are baked. I really prefer it over breadcrumbs, and it is WAY cheaper. Keep in mind a box of saltines is about $1.50 and will be enough for this recipe 8 times over, but can also be used in many other ways.

      Thanks for the support and words of encouragement! It’s a long process to learn food styling and the rest, but it is fun and rewarding!

  7. You’ve found my weakness. MEATBALLS. Man, meatballs are delicious! And I love how easy they are to prep and have ready to go for Thanksgiving.

    On another note, your photography looks stunning for this post! I love how fall-themed it is. 🙂

    • PeppersPennies

      Right? They are such a great option to bring for family dinners, for many reasons! And thank you for the comment regarding the photography! I have been working hard on improving and am loving what I can now create 🙂

  8. It is definitely pot luck season! Meatballs are such a crowd pleaser and these look awesome!!! Love the idea of having a dish prepped and ready to go, for last minute party invites 🙂

  9. Take along meatballs are one of my favourite things to bring to a party at this time of year! These look great 🙂

    • PeppersPennies

      As much as I hate football right now (that’s how I broke my finger) they would be perfect for the Grey Cup this weekend!

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  12. I’m right now in the process of making 4 batches of these for two Christmas parties I’m attending tomorrow! And I’ve snacked on them as I’m baking the other batches! They’re amazing! What a quick and simple recipe to please a crowd. Bravo!

    • PeppersPennies

      That is amazing – it’s a tried and true recipe for a reason. I myself am bringing them to a holiday meal on Christmas Eve! Cheers and thank you for the kind note!

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