Monday, May 9, 2022

Hawaiian Meatballs + Video

Hawaiian Meatballs capture all the best flavors of the Islands with lightly seasoned beef and a tangy pineapple glaze. 
The secret to these sweet and sour meatballs is the deliciously sticky sauce. Not only is it soaked into every bite, but it creates a glossy coating that lets these beauties shine! 

Hawaiian Meatballs on a toothpick
These tasty morsels can be dressed up or down depending on the occasion, whether you want a quick and easy meal or need a crowd-pleasing appetizer.

It’s also easy to double or triple this sweet and sour meatball recipe. Trust me, you’ll want to have extra tucked away in the freezer for a quick and easy dinner or whenever a craving strikes!

Ingredients in bowls for meatballs

Hawaiian Meatballs

Why buy a bag of frozen meatballs when you can make your own from scratch? All you need is some ground beef, milk and eggs, breadcrumbs, and a few seasonings.

Don’t miss the video to see how easy these are to put together!

Capture all of your favorite Hawaiian flavors by serving these up with some macaroni salad and a big bowl of tropical fruit.

Looking for more meatball recipes? Check out this roundup with ten of our all-time favorite recipes.

scooping meatball mixture

Ingredients Needed For Sweet and Sour Meatballs

  • Ground beef - An 80/20 blend is perfect for this recipe, but I recommend going even leaner if you want to use a combination of beef and pork. You could also use ground chicken or turkey if you prefer.
  • Bread crumbs - This, along with the eggs, acts as a binder to hold everything together. Use the plain variety (without any extra flavors or seasonings) or try panko breadcrumbs for extra texture.
  • Seasonings - A little onion powder, salt, and pepper are all you need to season the beef. Worcestershire sauce makes these taste extra savory.
  • Milk - The breadcrumbs soak up this liquid, adding extra flavor and plenty of moisture to each meatball.
  • Sweet and Sour Sauce - If you’re short on time, a bottle of your favorite from the store is just fine. I personally like to use my homemade recipe because it only takes about 15 minutes to make.

rolled meatballs on a tray

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • 9x13 Baking Dish - This set is one of my favorites! It comes with a lid for easy storage and is great for casseroles too.
  • Mixing Bowls - I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • 1 Tablespoon Scoop - This not only makes scooping easier, but it guarantees that each meatball is the same size.
meatballs in a white baking dish

Hawaiian Meatballs FAQ

What do you eat with sweet and sour meatballs?

Serve a few Hawaiian meatballs over jasmine rice with a side of snow peas for an easy meal.

We especially like to create delicious sliders by stuffing them into sweet Hawaiian rolls with extra sauce.

You could even pair them with a variety of appetizers for game day or a themed party!

Make a double batch, keep them warm in the crockpot, and let guests serve themselves.

How do you keep ground beef from sticking to your hands?

Keep a separate bowl of water nearby and dip your hands throughout the process of forming and rolling your meatballs.

The water will prevent any sticking and help create a smoother surface on the outside.

What can I use instead of pineapple juice in sweet and sour meatballs?

Orange juice is probably the closest substitute, but the flavor of your Hawaiian meatballs won’t be quite the same.

Try adding a squeeze of lime juice to the orange to get that perfect balance of sour and sweet.

pouring sweet and sour sauce over uncooked meatballs

Prep Ahead Instructions

This sweet and sour meatballs recipe is the perfect make-ahead appetizer. Bake and refrigerate until it’s time to serve, then reheat right in the sauce!

You can also freeze Hawaiian meatballs for later, either raw or baked. It’s safe to store them in the sauce, or you can freeze them alone and make a fresh batch of sauce for serving.
  • Cooked: Cool to room temperature, then freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once firm, transfer to a storage bag or container and store for up to 2 months.

  • Uncooked: Once formed, flash freeze in a single layer for 1 to 2 hours. Store in a large ziploc bag or airtight container, adding parchment between each layer if needed.

How To Store Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Cooked meatballs last 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator when kept in an airtight container. You can store these Hawaiian meatballs right in the sauce for easy reheating.

For a quick snack, heat in the microwave on half power in 30-second bursts. Cover your plate with plastic wrap - this keeps your meatballs nice and moist and helps them to heat evenly.

Otherwise, pour everything back into a baking dish and pop them in the oven! Heat for 10 to 15 minutes at 350°F or until warmed through.

If frozen, add another 5 to 10 minutes to the cooking time.

meatball on a toothpick wide photo


With love from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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Hawaiian Meatballs wide photo

Yield: 54 meatballs
Author: Donna Elick
Hawaiian Meatballs

Hawaiian Meatballs

Hawaiian Meatballs are tender, juicy, and coated in a sticky sweet and sour sauce for the perfect party appetizer or easy weeknight meal.
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 30 MinTotal time: 35 Min


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 cup plain bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 recipe The Best Ever Sweet and Sour Sauce


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
  2. Combine ingredients and mix with hands to combine. 
  3. Using a 1 tablespoon scoop to portion, lightly shape the scoops into meatballs using your hands to roll them. 
  4. Place in a 9x13 baking dish. 
  5. Cover with sweet and sour sauce. 
  6. Bake for 30 minutes. Remove from oven, serve and enjoy!

Hawaiian Meatballs closeup

Originally published October 2012, updated and republished May 2022

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  1. These look amazing! I love that you used a homemade sauce...

  2. Well that just sounds delicious! These would be addictive.

  3. I'm allergic to pineapple. Is there something I can use in it's place?

    1. You could try orange juice, but the flavor will change. Let me know how it goes!

    2. how about lemon or apricot or apple

    3. how about lemon, apricot or apple juice or applesauce

  4. Carrie Quirk-SillettiOctober 19, 2013 at 9:20 AM

    made these were great

  5. made them they are delicious

  6. Making them for Super Bowl Sunday

  7. Love your making these soon

  8. Excellent and easy recipe. I have made it twice in 2 weeks and we love it. The sauce makes it. Thanks.

  9. What does everyone serve this with?

  10. I'd serve as Donna suggests, "Serve a few Hawaiian meatballs over jasmine rice with a side of snow peas for an easy meal."


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