Sweet & Sour Gluten-Free Meatballs that are also Dairy-Free & Egg-Free


Meatballs often hide top allergens, like dairy, wheat, and eggs. But they can easily be made top allergen-free with just a few simple swaps. These sweet and sour gluten-free meatballs use crispy rice cereal and are simmered in a sweet sauce to keep them tender.

Sweet & Sour Gluten-Free Meatballs Recipe (also Dairy-Free, Egg-Free, Nut-Free, and Soy-Free)

Special Diet Notes: Sweet & Sour Gluten-Free Meatballs

By ingredients, this recipe is dairy-free / non-dairy, egg-free, gluten-free, nut-free, peanut-free, and optionally soy-free. Be sure to pick canned and jarred sauces without top allergens.

Sweet and Sour Gluten-Free Meatballs
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
Serve these meatballs as an appetizer or over rice with steamed or stir-fried vegetables. The Meatballs and sauce can be stored for up to 3 days in the refrigerator, or up to a month in an airtight container in the freezer.
Recipe type: Appetiser
Cuisine: American
Serves: 8 to 10 servings
Sweet & Sour Sauce:
  • 1 (16-ounce) can cranberry sauce (jellied or whole)
  • 1 (15-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • 1 (12-ounce) jar chili sauce
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup lemon juice or vinegar
  • ¾ small onion, minced
  • ½ cup water
Gluten-Free Meatballs
  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (or turkey)
  • ⅔ cup crispy rice cereal, crushed or allergy-friendly toasted breadcrumbs
  • ¼ small onion, minced
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 teaspoons parsley flakes or 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  1. Preheat your oven to 375°F
Sweet & Sour Sauce
  1. In a saucepan over medium heat, whisk together the cranberry sauce, tomato sauce, chili sauce, sugar, lemon juice or vinegar, onion, and water.
  2. Bring the sauce to a boil, turn the heat down to low, and let the sauce simmer while you make the meatballs. Check in to stir every few minutes.
Gluten-Free Meatballs
  1. Put the meat in a large bowl. Add the cereal or breadcrumbs, onion, garlic, salt, parsley, and black pepper. Stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed. Shape the meat mixture into meatballs, and place them on a sheet pan with high sides.
  2. Bake the meatballs for 10 to 12 minutes on each side.
  3. Blot any excess fat from the meatballs, and place them in the sauce. Stir to coat with the sauce, cover, and simmer for about 45 minutes, stirring periodically.

About Author

Alisa is the founder of GoDairyFree.org, Food Editor for Allergic Living magazine, and author of the best-selling dairy-free book, Go Dairy Free: The Guide and Cookbook for Milk Allergies, Lactose Intolerance, and Casein-Free Living, and the new cookbook, Eat Dairy Free: Your Essential Cookbook for Everyday Meals, Snacks, and Sweets. Alisa is also a professional recipe creator and product ambassador for the natural food industry.

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