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The whole family will love these soft and tender sweet and sour meatballs for their taste and texture in a wonderfully balanced sauce. {Gluten-Free adaptable}

Easy Sweet and Sour Meatballs

5 from 3 votes
The whole family will love these soft and tender sweet and sour meatballs for their taste and texture in a wonderfully balanced sauce. {Gluten-Free adaptable}
To make this dish gluten-free, use dry sherry instead of Shaoxing wine. Use gluten-free breadcrumbs (or panko), and use tamari to replace soy sauce.
Prep Time: 15 mins
Cook Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 25 mins
Course: Main
Cuisine: Chinese
Keyword: home style
Servings: 4 servings (20 meatballs)
Author: Maggie Zhu


  • 1 lb (450 g) ground chicken
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon brown sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon white pepper
  • 1/4 yellow onion , minced
  • 1/2 carrot , minced
  • 2 garlic , minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup panko breadcrumbs (or regular breadcrumbs)


  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1/4 yellow onion , chopped
  • 1 red or yellow pepper , chopped (I used half red and half yellow pepper but you can use either)


  • 3 tablespoons ketchup sriracha, and/or chili garlic sauce (homemade or store-bought) (*Footnote 1)
  • 3 tablespoons rice vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons Shaoxing wine (or dry sherry)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 4 tablespoons water
  • 1 clove garlic , grated
  • 2 teaspoons cornstarch


  • Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium-sized bowl. Stir to mix well and set aside.
  • Add the chicken, Shaoxing wine, soy sauce, sugar, white pepper, onion, carrot, and garlic into a large bowl. Beat everything together with a spatula until it becomes sticky, about 5 minutes. Add the egg and breadcrumbs and stir to incorporate.
  • Coat your hands with a light layer of oil (it helps you to form the meatballs without sticking too much to your hands). Add one heaping tablespoon of the mixture into your palm and shape it into a round ball. Place it onto a large flat plate or tray. Repeat to shape the rest of the meatballs.
  • Heat the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium heat until hot. Add the meatballs into the pan without overcrowding them. Let the meatballs brown for 1 to 2 minute, then flip and brown the other side for another 1 to 2 minutes. Once both sides are browned, flip the meatballs on their sides and brown for another 4 to 5 minutes. Roll them occasionally to brown all sides evenly. Once done, remove the meatballs onto a large plate and set aside.
  • Turn the heat up to medium-high. Add the onion and pepper. Stir fry until the onion turns slightly pale golden on the edges, 1 to 2 minutes.
  • Stir the sauce again to thoroughly dissolve the cornstarch and pour it into the pan. Stirring constantly to bring the sauce to a boil and cook until it is thickened. Turn off the heat and transfer everything to a large serving plate.
  • Serve the meatballs with the sauce over steamed rice and enjoy as a main dish.


  1. Depending on your personal preference, you can use ketchup, hot sauce, or a combination of both. Personally I like to use 2 tablespoons ketchup and 1 tablespoon sriracha. It gives the sauce more character and it doesn’t taste very spicy.


Serving: 1serving, Calories: 414kcal, Carbohydrates: 42.4g, Protein: 26.2g, Fat: 15.2g, Saturated Fat: 3.9g, Cholesterol: 138mg, Sodium: 1162mg, Potassium: 832mg, Fiber: 2.3g, Sugar: 14.5g, Calcium: 82mg, Iron: 3mg