These sweet and sour chicken meatballs are made in the slow cooker, and are paleo, gluten-free and easily made Whole30! It takes less than 20 minutes to prepare, and then the crock pot does the cooking for you. These Whole30 meatballs are perfect for a weeknight dinner, or meal prep for easy, healthy lunches. It’s a family friendly recipe that has the flavors you love from your favorite Chinese takeout!
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Ingredients for Slow Cooker Sweet and Sour Chicken Meatballs
To make the meatballs, you’ll need two pounds of ground chicken, and a bit of almond flour. Cassava flour can be used in place of almond flour if you have a nut allergy. You’ll also need garlic, salt and pepper. These will all get mixed together to form the meatballs. These meatballs don’t require an egg for binder, so they’re egg-free as well!
The Whole30 instant pot sweet and sour chicken sauce is made from a combination of pineapple juice from the canned pineapple, coconut aminos, vinegar and Primal Kitchen’s Whole30 Approved ketchup. What I love about this ketchup is that it doesn’t use any sort of sweetener but still has the consistency and flavor of common ketchups, making it perfect for the obvious purpose of dipping fries, adding to burgers, etc. But also as a Whole30 swap for Asian flavors like in this sauce!
This recipe also calls for a bit of Chinese 5 Spice powder, which is essential for giving the sauce a depth of flavor you can’t get from anything else! With this spice, a little goes a long way, and it really does a lot to warm up the dish with the combination of spices. You can get this in any spice aisle! You’ll also need a few tablespoons of arrowroot powder, which is a type of Whole30 and Paleo flour used to thicken the sauce.
How to Prep Your Whole30 Meatballs and Sweet and Sour Sauce
There’s two parts to prepping this recipe for the slow cooker. They’re both really easy and straight forward, and they don’t take much time at all. You’ll start by chopping the onion and red pepper and then setting them aside. Then you’ll combine the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to mix the almond flour, chicken and spices together.
Roll the chicken mixture into balls and set each one directly into the bottom of the slow cooker. They can be touching, but don’t force them into one layer- you can gently set meatballs on top of each other in a second layer. Then add in the chopped onion and red pepper over the top of the meatballs.
Add all of the sauce ingredients, except for the arrowroot, into a bowl. Use a fork or a whisk to combine and then pour over the meatballs and vegetables into the slow cooker. You’ll then place the lid on, and cook on high for 2.5-3 hours, or low for 5-6 hours. In the last 30 minutes, dump in the canned pineapple.
When serving, use a slotted spoon to remove the meatballs, vegetables and pineapple into bowls or a large serving dish. Then, mix the arrowroot flour and a bit of water together to dissolve the arrowroot and pour this into the sauce in the slow cooker. Stir it into the sauce and continue stirring for a minute or two while the sauce thickens. Lastly, ladle this over your meatballs!
Serving and Storing Sweet & Sour Meatballs
This recipe is great served with rice (if not Paleo/Whole30), vegetable rice like broccoli or cauliflower rice, steamed or sautéed vegetables such as broccoli, snow peas or carrots.
You can store these Whole30 sweet and sour meatballs in the refrigerator for up to a week, and they also freeze really well! Portion them out into individual servings in freezer-safe containers and freeze. Make sure to not overfill the sauce, leaving at least an inch of room from the top of the container.
Other Asian-Inspired Whole30 Recipes You’ll Love:Print
For the Meatballs:
- 2 pounds ground chicken
- 3 tablespoons almond flour
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
For the Sweet & Sour Sauce & Vegetables:
- 1/3 cup rice vinegar (or white wine vinegar)
- 1/3 cup Primal Kitchen Sugar-Free Ketchup
- 2/3 cup pineapple juice from the can (20 oz can pineapple chunks in 100% juice)
- 1/2 cup coconut aminos
- 1 tablespoon minced garlic
- 1 teaspoon Chinese 5 Spice powder
- 1 red pepper, seeded and chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1 medium red onion, chopped in 1-inch pieces
- 1 cup pineapple chunks from the can
- 2 tablespoons arrowroot flour, for thickening (mixed and dissolved in 2 tablespoons of water)
- Optional: sesame seeds and green onion for garnishing
- Add all of the meatball ingredients into a large mixing bowl. Use your hands to combine the chicken, spices and almond flour until it’s all evenly mixed in. Roll into meatballs and place directly into the slow cooker
- Continue rolling until there’s no chicken left. The meatballs can be touching, but don’t cram them into one layer. You can do a second layer of meatballs in the slow cooker by gently setting meatballs on top of the bottom layer. Then add the chopped red onion and red pepper over the meatballs
- In a bowl, combine all of the sauce ingredients except for the arrowroot flour. Use a fork or whisk to combine, and then pour over the meatballs and vegetables in the slow cooker
- Cover with the lid and cook on high for 2.5-3 hours, or on low for 5-6 hours. In the final 30 minutes of cooking, add the pineapple chunks, without stirring
- When ready to serve, use a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs, vegetables and pineapple into bowls or a large serving dish. Combine the arrowroot flour with water and stir to dissolve, and then pour into the slow cooker
- Stir for a minute or two to thicken the sauce, and then ladle over the meatballs. Garnish with sesame seeds or green onion
- Cassava flour can be used in place of almond flour for nut allergies
Keywords: Whole30 chicken recipes, slow cooker, crock pot, sweet and sour, meatball recipes, gluten-free, paleo
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