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Holiday Party Hit: Sweet and Sour Meatballs


Appetizer sweet and sour meatballs are uber-popular at any holiday party, especially when they are as delicious as these. This recipe is particularly delectable because the meatballs are made from scratch – no taking the easy way out with the pre-made, frozen kind! The MSG wakes up the dish – as in “More Savory Goodness”!

Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 18


  • 1 1/2 lb. lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup seasoned dry bread crumb
  • 1 tsp. seasoning salt
  • 1/2 tsp. fresh ground black pepper
  • 3 Tbsp. minced dehydrated onion or 1 medium onion finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp. MSG
  • 1 tsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 10 oz. jars grape jelly
  • 1 12 oz. jars chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. soy sauce
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper optional


  1. Combine first 9 ingredients thoroughly. Form into 3/4" meatballs by using a melon-baller to scoop the meatballs; roll balls between the palms of your hands to shape them; set meatballs on a cookie sheet as you go, and chill to set them. NOTE: do not precook the meatballs.
  2. Combine jelly, chili sauce, soy sauce and ginger in a large deep skillet or serving pan over low heat. Stir until smooth and heat to boiling, stirring frequently.
  3. Add meatballs; bring back to a boil; reduce heat, cover, and cook over moderately low heat for at least 30-40 minutes, turning gently once.
  4. If desired, blot the surface of the sauce with paper towels to remove any grease. (Note: There should be little or no grease if you use lean ground beef.) If desired, adjust sauce seasoning with salt and pepper to taste.

  5. Serve hot in a chafing dish or keep warm in a small crockpot.

Recipe Notes

Recipe courtesy of

Find more delicious, savory recipes in the MSGdish Savory Cuisine Corner.


The MSGdish Team's goal is to provide timely and important information about glutamate, monosodium glutamate (MSG) and the many culinary creations inspired by “umami" while connecting these topics to facts about food, taste, and health. The MSGdish Team is comprised of TGA staff professionals who are recognized as experts in science-based nutrition communications. Read more on the About page.

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