Damn Meatballs {Sweet + Sour}

Damn Meatballs {Sweet + Sour}-2That’s what my parents call them. “The Damn Meatballs.”

My parents actually aren’t the swearing type, they just happened to QUADRUPLE this recipe for a New Year’s Eve party they hosted, to serve 150 guests, and forming the meatballs turned in to an all-afternoon affair. “When will we be done making the Damn Meatballs?” But don’t be dissuaded – they used 8 pounds of meat!

Damn Meatballs {Sweet + Sour}-3These meatballs will only take you about 10 to 15 minutes to make, which is a fine investment to make in return for their wonderful sweet and sour flavor. They are easy to throw together for a gathering – I just recommend not hosting for 150 people if you are on your own! For a recent cocktail party at my apartment, these meatballs were prepped the morning of (you could easily do it the night before) and were timed to come out of the oven as guests arrived. For variety, I made one pound with lean ground beef, and one pound with ground turkey {these photos are all turkey meatballs}. Meatballs made from two pounds of ground meat fit perfectly in a 9″ x 13″ baking dish, and I just let my guests know which half was which meat.

Damn Meatballs {Sweet + Sour}-4This recipe is straighforward, and calls for one bottle of chili sauce (the stuff that comes in the bottle and looks like ketchup), and a packet of onion soup mix. Want to know what? You can actually make those both from scratch, easily, with ingredients you most likely have in your pantry (or are common enough that you wouldn’t mind stocking them). Here are links to the recipes for the homemade chili sauce and “soup mix” – both are keepers!

Meatballs are a great party food – they are filling, which is appreciated by the party guests and party host alike, and are always a fan favorite.

Damn Meatballs {Sweet + Sour}-6And finally, I recommend using a cookie dough scooper to form the meatballs (scoop the meat mixture into your hands and roll until it’s round). I also don’t recommend quadrupling, unless you need meatballs for 150 – and have a few extra sets of hands for an assist!

Damn Meatballs {Sweet + Sour}
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Recipe type: Hors d'Oeuvres; Cocktail Party; Heavy Apps
Serves: Makes approx. 40 meatballs
  • 2 lbs ground meat {it may be nice for your guests if you use two different kinds}
  • 2 T Homemade Onion Herb Mix (or 1 envelope onion soup mix)
  • 1 c bread crumbs
  • 1 can (15 oz) whole cranberry sauce
  • 1 can (15 oz) sauerkraut, drained
  • ½ c light brown sugar
  • One batch Homemade Chili Sauce (or 1 bottle (12 oz) chili sauce)
  • 1.5 c water {12 oz - just fill the empty chili sauce bottle}
  1. Mix the meat with the soup mix and bread crumbs. {If you are making two different kinds, mix them in separate bowls and just approximate half of the soup mix and bread crumbs into each.}
  2. Form meatballs and line them up in a 9" x 13" glass baking dish, in a single layer.
  3. In a medium sauce pan, heat the cranberry sauce, drained sauerkraut, brown sugar, chili sauce, and water. {You can do the above up to one day in advance. If prepping ahead, cover and refrigerate.}
  4. When you are ready to bake, heat the oven to 325.
  5. Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the meatballs, and bake uncovered for one hour.
  6. Serve to your guests with toothpicks or cocktail forks.




  1. Lisa says

    Thank you! This recipe sounds wonderful and I love the story behind the name! Although we don’t eat meat, I am excited to make these for gatherings. I’m looking forward to your recipes for homemade chili sauce and “soup mix” that can be used to make the meatballs.

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