Sweet and Sour Meatballs

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Some of our favorite meals are recipes handed down by my two mother-in-laws. The recipes themselves weren’t gluten and dairy free. With substitutions they are now family favorites and able to be passed down from generation to generation.

You will find this gluten and dairy free family favorite sweet and sour meatball recipe is mouthwatering.

A bowl of white rice with meatballs, pineapple chunks, and bell peppers.

It has also been my husband’s favorite meal for years. When I needed to start cooking gluten and dairy free 10 years ago this was the first recipe I experimented with. And the hubs couldn’t taste the difference between my gluten free recipe and the traditional recipe.

I’m so thankful his mom was sweet enough to pass down the coveted recipe ♥. And now it’s become a gluten and dairy free family favorite for everyone in our home.

First, pictures don’t convey how amazing this meal tastes. It’s delectable in every sense. The homemade meatballs are mouthwatering and addictive. Next, the sweet and sour sauce covered pineapple and peppers are out-of-this-world amazing. And your kitchen will smell so good, too!

For example, I made this dish a couple weeks ago. And you wouldn’t believe the response from my kids. When they got home from school and opened the front door, all I heard was, “Oh that smells so good!” Followed by an enthusiastic, “Mom, what are you making?!” As the kids feasted their eyes on the homemade meatballs coming out of the oven, I heard squeals, y’all! Then it turned into twenty questions.

“When will they be ready?”

“Will you give me extra meatballs?”

“May I have six meatballs pleeeeease?”

“Can I have some now?”

“How much longer until dinner?”

and it just kept going!

A bowl of white rice with meatballs, pineapple chunks, and bell peppers.
A bowl of white rice with meatballs, pineapple chunks, and bell peppers.

sweet and sour meatball recipe notes

  • First, making your own gluten free bread crumbs is easier than you think. I’ve used so many different types of gluten free bread… the heel, an inside piece as shown, gluten free bread from the bakery, an Udi’s sandwich bun… and even a hot dog bun when I was in a pinch. Guess what?? The meatballs tasted delicious no matter the type of bread. The key small bread crumbs.
  • Now let’s talk gluten and dairy free Worcestershire sauce. I’ve looked into this quite a bit. On the website for the brand I use, Lea & Perrins, they state their sauce is gluten free. The only online allergen they list is anchovies. So it works for our gluten and dairy free diet.
  • In my recipe I’ve doubled the sweet and sour sauce ingredients from the original recipe. My mother-in-law actually suggested doubling the sauce. And she was right on! We ♥ this sauce. It’s the best!
  • This recipe makes a large helping. This is another one of those recipes my family insists there be leftovers for the next day. So this recipe makes a large batch every time. You’d never know the leftovers were a day old. Reheated, the sauce is just as flavorful. And the meatballs are mouthwatering! If need be, this recipe can be easily cut in half.
  • And the meatballs can be made ahead of time or even frozen. How awesome is that?! I’m able to squeeze all the meatballs onto two jelly roll pans. After they come out of the oven let them cool a bit. Then use a spoon and wipe off any excess grease at the bottom of each meatball.

This recipe comes together beautifully at the end. It really is the best! It’s hard to believe something that is gluten and dairy free can taste so good. And be so mouthwatering.

The sauce is tantalizing to the taste buds. And you won’t want to stop eating the meatballs. The pineapple and peppers add even more flavor and texture. This dinner creates a meal with bold sweet and sour flavors.

It really is the best of both worlds.

A bowl of white rice with meatballs, pineapple chunks, and bell peppers.

more mouthwatering recipes

  • easy skillet lasagna— this is the easiest and most delicious lasagna recipes. You add your lasagna noodles to the pasta sauce– no need to boil them so you only have one pan to wash up afterwards.
  • taco tater tot skillet— this recipe is a follower favorite! I’ve never heard anyone not like this recipe. And it tastes so amazing.
  • homemade sloppy joes— this quick go-to meal for busy nights. Serve with a side of baked potato wedges and the whole family will be happy.
A bowl of white rice with meatballs, pineapple chunks, and bell peppers.


Be sure to leave a comment when you make these mouthwatering sweet and sour meatballs. Let me know how your family liked it. If you have any questions, post those, too.

I’m so thankful my “moms” have passed recipes down to me over the years!

And be sure to follow along on Facebook, Instagram, and Pinterest. That way you won’t miss the best of anything gluten and dairy free.

Eat well and feel well,


Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Course: Main Course
Keyword: Dairy Free, Gluten Free
Servings: 10
Author: Eating Gluten and Dairy Free


Meatball Ingredients:

  • 2 lbs ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 cup GF and DF bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup onion, diced
  • 1/2 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 2 tsp GF and DF Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tsp sugar

Sweet and Sour Sauce Ingredients

  • 2 cans pineapple chunks or tidbits, drained with juice reserved
  • 2/3 cups water
  • 6 tbsp distilled white vinegar
  • 2 tbsp DF soy sauce
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 6 tbsp cornstarch or arrowroot powder
  • 1 tsp ground ginger
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 green bell peppers, cut into bite size pieces


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly grease 2 large shallow baking sheet.  Jelly roll pans work perfect.
  • Prepare your gluten and dairy free bread crumbs. Chop slices of bread into course crumbs.
  • Mix first 9 ingredients well in a large bowl. Shape them into one inch balls.
  • Place meatballs on a baking sheet. Bake for 10-14 minutes until done in the middle. Set aside.

To Make the Sauce:

  • Mix enough water with the reserved pineapple juice to make 2 cups.
  • Over medium heat in a large saucepan combine the juice mixture, water, vinegar, gluten free soy sauce, and brown sugar.
  • Stir in the cornstarch or arrowroot powder, ginger, and salt. Stir until smooth. Cover and cook until thickened.
  • Stir in the green peppers, pineapple chunks, and meatballs into the sauce. Simmer, uncovered, for 20-25 minutes until the peppers are tender.
  • Serve over rice. Optional: garnish with green onions.

♥ The traditional sweet and sour recipe I received can be found here.


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