Make-Ahead Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs
Recipes for this 1960s party classic sacrificed taste for speed. We wanted both.
Why This Recipe Works
Browning our Make-Ahead Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs in a skillet was a pain. Baking them in the oven was faster and ensured the meatballs browned evenly.
We found that the most common binders—bread crumbs, cracker crumbs, and cornflake crumbs—dried out the meatballs. We settled on a panade, a paste made from bread softened in milk, to protect our Make-Ahead Sweet and Sour Cocktail Meatballs recipe from the freezer's dry cold.
The right balance of salt, pepper, garlic, and parsley complemented the sweet and sour flavor of the sauce perfectly. Tomato sauce doctored with red pepper flakes, Dijon mustard, and a few other key ingredients took care of the sour portion of the sauce. For the sweet, we tested every type of jam and jelly we could think of and settled on one standout.