This recipe is one of the easiest slow cooker recipes you'll make. What I love about this sauce is the sweet, tangy, sour flavors, and when paired with homemade chicken meatballs, it's a satisfying meal for any day of the week! I guarantee that this sweet and sour slow cooker chicken meatballs recipe is going to be part of your weekly meal prep time and time again. I know it is in my house, so let's dive right in!
Slow cooker recipes are great for all year round, not just for making soups and stews in the wintertime. I love "setting and forgetting" my slow cooker, aka crockpot, on a Sunday morning, and having dinner ready just in time, or prepping meals for the week ahead.
- What are the ingredients for these slow cooker meatballs?
- How do I make this recipe?
- What to pair with these sweet and sour meatballs
- Recipe Swaps and Substitutions
- Can I add raw meatballs directly to slow cooker?
- How would I store and freeze these sweet and sour meatballs?
- Hungry for more?
- Did you like this recipe? Share it!
- Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs Recipe
What are the ingredients for these slow cooker meatballs?
- Ground Chicken - I like to use a combination of dark and light meat to add additional fat and flavor.
- Egg - binds the meat and other ingredients together.
- Worcestershire Sauce - a little smoky flavor is added when we use this sauce.
- Parmesan Cheese - helps with flavor and moisture.
- Breadcrumbs - we use breadcrumbs to help bind and form the meatballs.
- Seasonings/Herbs - I like using spices such as dried oregano and basil, but also garlic powder for added flavor.
To make the sweet and sour sauce, we need:
- Tomato sauce - the base of the sauce is made from either crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce.
- Ketchup - adds additional sweetness and tomato flavor.
- Honey - adding honey gives both the sweet and sour taste to the sauce.
- Light brown sugar - to add to the sweet flavor. Brown sugar has molasses, which also aids in amplifying the flavor.
- Worcestershire Sauce - a little smoky flavor is added when we use this sauce
See the recipe card below for specific information about quantites.
How do I make this recipe?
This is probably one of the easiest recipes to make form start to the finish, with everything being done for you in the crockpot, or slow cooker, itself.
Step 1: In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, parmesan, seasonings, and breadcrumbs. Rake with your fingers to mix the meat together. Stop when everything is just combined to prevent overmixing.
Step 2: Using a cookie scoop, scoop the meat into meatballs, then roll in your hands to create a round shape, then place into the basin of the slow cooker. Repeat until all the meat is used. This will yield approximately 19-20 meatballs.
Step 3: In another smaller bowl, add in the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, ketchup, honey, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk to combine.
Step 4: Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the top of the meatballs evenly. Cover and set on low cook setting for five hours, stirring occasionally.
HINT: Using a cookie scoop for making meatballs keeps them relatively uniform instead of estimating them with your hands. Also, when rolling the meatballs after you scoop them, add a little oil to the palms of your hands to avoid the meat sticking.
What to pair with these sweet and sour meatballs
I love this recipe because is so versatile with sides and ways to serve it. Here are my favorite ways:
- With a veggie - Try this recipe out with my oven roasted squash on the side, or add the meatballs directly on top so all the delicious sauce coats the roasted squash too.
- Over rice - class, timeless, and can amped up by cooking the rice in some bone broth (my personal favorite way of making white rice).
- Over risotto - American food meets Italian when adding in risotto. Pastina, ditalini, or even egg noodles could work here too!
- With mashed potatoes - I mean, who doesn't love a good heaping side of mashed potatoes. Just. So. Good!
Recipe Swaps and Substitutions
Like all my recipes, there are a few ways you can make this dish your own, so here are the best ways to do so without compromising the entire recipe:
- Meat: Swap out ground chicken for beef, pork, or even ground turkey. A nice blend of beef and pork would yield very juicy, tender meatballs and with this sauce, it's actually kind of perfect.
- Herbs: If you would rather stick with just garlic powder and one other seasoning like basil, go for it. No need to complicate it if you don't want to add everything I used.
- Brown Sugar: The brown sugar gives the recipe it's sweet flavor, but if you don't want to use light brown, go with dark brown, or swap in coconut sugar instead.
Can I add raw meatballs directly to slow cooker?
Yes! The best part about using a slow cooker is that the entire recipe cooks altogether at once. There is no need to sear or bake the meatballs ahead of time. We go "low and slow" to give the meat enough time to cook through while also retaining moisture and juiciness.
How would I store and freeze these sweet and sour meatballs?
These meatballs can be stored in a tightly sealed container for up to 4-5 days. I also suggest adding a batch to the freezer for a day where you just don't feel like being in the kitchen. Be sure to label the freezer batch for the date in which they were made, and they will be good for up to two months in the freezer.
Hungry for more?
Looking for more slow cooker or dutch oven recipes, check these out!
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Sweet and Sour Slow Cooker Chicken Meatballs Recipe
- slow cooker
- Cookie scoop
- large bowl
- measuring cups
- wooden spoon
For the Meatballs
- 1 1.5 lb ground chicken
- 1 egg
- ¼ cup parmesan cheese
- ½ cup breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon dried basil
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- salt and pepper
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
For the Sauce
- 28 oz crushed tomatoes or tomato sauce
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- ¼ cup ketchup
For the Meatballs
- In a large bowl, add the ground chicken, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, parmesan, seasonings, and breadcrumbs.
- Rake with your fingers to mix the meat together. Stop when everything is just combined to prevent overmixing.
- Using a cookie scoop, scoop the meat into meatballs, then roll in your hands to create a round shape, then place into the basin of the slow cooker.
- Repeat until all the meat is used. This will yield approximately 19-20 meatballs.
For the Sauce
- In another smaller bowl, add in the tomato sauce or crushed tomatoes, ketchup, honey, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. Whisk to combine.
- Pour the sweet and sour sauce over the top of the meatballs evenly.
- Cover and set on low cook setting for five hours, stirring occasionally.