Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Here’s another fun and simple idea for your Rosh Hashanah menu. This recipe comes to us courtesy of blog reader Susan Fedrow, who submitted the dish to my Kosher Recipe Contest earlier this year. While Susan usually prepares these tasty mini-meatballs for Channukah, I think it would make a great addition to a Rosh Hashanah buffet because of the sweetness in the sauce. It’s a yummy, tangy dish that is super easy to make.

Susan’s family background is Ashkenazi from Russia and Poland. Tragically Susan’s father lost his first family during the war, but he was able to make it to America where he married Susan’s mother and started a catering business.

Susan’s mother made a similar meatball dish growing up, but she used different ingredients. Susan learned her own twist on the recipe just after she got married:

“I got this recipe when I was a newlywed. We met a few couples on our honeymoon and got together every month at each other’s houses and made a dish… this dish was made by one of the women, and since it was so delicious and easy, it became an instant family favorite.”

Thank you to Susan for sharing this fun and easy dish! I have edited the recipe slightly, adding more specific measurements and instructions for a user-friendly format that is easy to understand. Enjoy!

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Susan Fedrow's Sweet and Sour Meatballs


  • 1 1/2 lb ground beef, turkey or chicken, or any mixture of those meats
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper
  • 1 clove fresh garlic, minced or ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • 2 large cans (20 oz) unsweetened pineapple chunks in their own liquid
  • 2 jars (12 oz.) chili sauce (any brand will do- Heinz makes a kosher-approved sauce)
Servings: 4-6 entree portions or 12-14 appetizer portions
Kosher Key: Meat
  • Mix together the ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, and garlic till well combined.
  • Form mixture into small meatballs. There are two ways to cook these meatballs-- directly in the sauce (method appears below), or pre-cook the meatballs in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes, then add them to the sauce.
  • Drain the pineapple juice from the cans into a bowl; reserve the juice and the pineapple chunks separately. In a medium pot, pour 1 ½ bottles of chili sauce and ¾ of the pineapple juice; stir. Heat the pot over medium until the sauce is bubbling, reduce heat to low.
  • Add the meatballs to the sauce and simmer for 30-40 minutes, stirring occasionally, making sure that the mixture doesn’t burn. If the sauce thickens too much or seems dry, add more chili sauce and pineapple juice in equal amounts. If you run out of liquid, add a little water to the chili sauce bottle, shake, and add that to the mixture.
  • Add pineapple chunks at the end of cooking, just long enough for them to be heated through. Serve warm as either an appetizer or an entrée. Susan recommends serving the meatballs over rice, or with freshly baked biscuits. Enjoy!

Comments (23)Post a Comment

  1. Okay I’m asking my girlfriend to make this for me on Rosh Hashana. We normally don’t celebrate but your recipes make me miss my mom’s cooking, so I think we need to start our own new family tradition.

  2. I think it’s so neat how you’ve created a place where people can submit their Jewish family recipes. I will submit one of ours after the holidays, when I have a chance to write it all down.This one sounds terrific!

  3. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
    Sounds great my mom made sweet and sour stuffed cabbage.
    I’m sure I can use the sauce for the cabbage as I never wrote her recipe down.
    Have a wonder Shabat and a Peaceful and loving New Year…


  4. My mother’s version for the sauce was simply this-

    2 cans wholeberry cranberry sauce
    2 cans Sauce Arturo.

    Gets better as it ages a day or two.

    1. Very good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 starsVery good - 4 stars
      I made the cranberry sauce/Sauce Arturo recipe for many, many years, however gave it up when Sauce Arturo changed their recipe and it just wasn’t the same. Now I use plain Hunt’s tomato sauce and add brown sugar and sour salt (citric acid) to get the sweet/sour taste. A handful of raisins also gives it a boost.

  5. Debbie, please do submit your recipe when you have a chance, this site is a collaborative effort and it’s so awesome when people are willing to share their family favorites.

    Batya, thank you for the holiday wishes, Shana Tova to you and yours! :)

    Sue, that sounds interesting! A few people on Facebook seem to have their own twists on this one as well.

  6. I use a jar of grape jelly and half bottle or so of Ketchup. first cut up an onion or two, add the jelly and ketchup, make the meatballs as The Shiksa says…Shana Tova!

  7. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    Man, my grandmother was Italian and she made the most delicious meatballs I ever tasted, like you wouldnt believe. Sadly, she died last year and she didnt leave a single recipe for me so I’ve been trying to figure it out by myself… slowly working my through the meatball recipes here, I still cant figure out what her secret ingredient was though!!!

  8. This recipe sounds remarkably like the one we used in the Betty Crocker Cookbook but instead of pineapple we used grape jelly. The meatballs do get better as they soak in the sauce. We used one jar of chili sauce to a 10oz jar of grape jelly.

  9. These are really good. To lower the fat I used 1/2 ground chicken breast and to have a beefy flavor I used 1/2 very lean ground beef. Otherwise, all was the same except that the second time I made them I did not have the chili sauce on hand so I used a bottle of Heinz Seafood Cocktail Sauce. It was so good I think I will use it next time too.

  10. We love meatballs. I’ve made them with beef, chicken or turkey, too! Since we don’t eat pork, I am always making meatballs at home, just to be sure. We’ve never had it with sweet and sour sauce though. Gonna have to try this out. As soon as I’ve grocery shopped that is. :)

  11. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    I really want to try this recipe and wondering if there is a spice or other way to enhance the meatballs. Turkey is sort of bland by itself, so I want to perk it up. And thanks for all the great recipes I’ve found on this website. (Sorry..I sent the same request by e-mail, but then saw your note that you respond more promptly when your avid fans leave comments here.

    1. Hi Mirela, thanks for commenting, it is easier for me to keep track of cooking inquiries here– my email inbox gets really full and it’s tough to keep up! :) If you like spice, try adding 1/4 tsp of paprika, 1/4 tsp of cayenne, and salt to taste. Cayenne is pretty spicy, but if you like spice it will make the meat nice and zesty. Consider using Italian spiced breadcrumbs instead of plain. And if you haven’t bought the turkey meat yet, try using dark meat ground chicken– it’s still healthy, but has a lot more flavor than turkey does. You can also use a combination of lean ground beef and ground chicken, it gives the meatballs a nice texture and more flavor. Good luck, let me know how it turns out for you!

  12. Ah…YES…more heat to the meatballs. Of course. I knew you’d have a better suggestion than any I could come up with. I buy only kosher meat, so the ground turkey that’s available is the Empire ground white meat. You’re a superb source for cooking help. Huge thanks.

  13. Excellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 starsExcellent - 5 stars
    my grandmother made sweet and sour meatballs in a tomato based sauce with onion, sugar, and sour salt! they cooked for hours and the smell in the house was amazing

  14. My grandma, too, made sweet and sour meatballs that were fabulous. But grandma is no longer with us, and we no longer eat meat… Has anyone (or Tori) made sweet and sour “cheatballs” as we’d call them? Which meat substitute is the best for making them? This posting brought back such memories!

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