Grandma’s Meatballs

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My grandma’s meatballs recipe is a family favorite and is so simple to make! You’ll love the molasses and chili sauce flavors of these baked meatballs. This is one of my favorite meatball recipes!

grandma's meatballs covered with a sweet chili and molasses sauce

Grandma’s Meatballs Recipe

I’ve got a special recipe for you today.  I love creating new recipes, but sometimes it is nice to pull out a long-time family favorite such as this one.  This homemade meatball recipe is simply called Grandma’s Meatballs. I can remember my grandma fixing these uniquely flavored meatballs and I remember my mom making them, too.  Because we like to try so many new recipes, it is easy to overlook the classic recipes.  This is one of those recipes that bring back so many memories as soon as I take a bite.

Pure comfort food.

Grandma's meatballs (homemade sweet and tangy meatballs)

How to Make Grandma’s Meatballs

We know you love our authentic Italian meatballs. They’re a classic with a big bowl of spaghetti. But you’ll love my Grandma’s meatballs, too, because they are easy and unique.  The meatballs themselves have only 4 ingredients:

  • beef,
  • eggs,
  • water and
  • potato pancake mix.

I’ve never actually made potato pancakes. I’ve only used the mix in this meatball recipe! It makes the meatballs so moist and they hold together well. I often have a hard time finding the potato pancake mix in the grocery store. I feel like the store workers are constantly moving it. It may be by the rice, it may be by the instant potatoes, it may be by the pancake mixes. Just ask a store clerk. You can see the kind I use here.

Molasses Chili Meatball Sauce

The sauce that covers these meatballs is not your typical spaghetti sauce flavor.  The simple sauce has only three ingredients:  molasses, chili sauce and vinegar.  The kids are always unsure about this strange sauce concoction, but trust me. You’ll love it! Pour this sauce over the meatballs before they bake and you’ll end up with sweet and tangy meatballs.

So good.

Baked Meatballs in Molasses and Chili Sauce

What to Serve with Meatballs

We serve Grandma’s meatballs with any classic side dish such as corn casserole, mashed potatoes or macaroni and cheese. And don’t forget to make some Garlic Lover’s Cheesy Biscuits to go along with them!

how to make meatballs
how to make meatballs

Grandma’s Meatballs

4.91 from 11 votes
This is my grandma’s meatballs recipe. It’s a family favorite and is so simple! You’ll love the molasses and chili sauce flavors that the meatballs are baked in.
Servings 25 meatballs
Prep Time 20 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 50 minutes

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  • 1 1/2 pounds ground beef
  • 2 large eggs lightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 envelope potato pancake mix
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1/4 cup molasses
  • 1/4 cup apple cider vinegar


  • Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  • Combine the ground beef, eggs, water and pancake mix. Let the mixture stand for 10 minutes, then shape into balls. Place the meatballs in a greased 9×13 baking pan.
  • In a small bowl, combine the chili sauce, molasses and vinegar. Pour the sauce over the meatballs. 
  • Bake at 400 degrees for 30 minutes.
  • Serve immediately.



We use Hungry Jack brand of potato pancake mix.
Calories shown are per meatball.


Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 5g | Fat: 6g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 34mg | Sodium: 172mg | Potassium: 177mg | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 95IU | Vitamin C: 1.7mg | Calcium: 17mg | Iron: 0.9mg
Course Main Dish
Cuisine American
Calories 103
About JulieJulie Clark

About Julie Clark

I'm Julie Clark, CEO and recipe developer of Tastes of Lizzy T. With my B.A. in Education and over 30 years of cooking and baking, I want to teach YOU the best of our family recipes.

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Pam Kalinec
2 months ago

Amazon link is not working. How much is in each envelope of potato pancake envelope?

Lisa Bader
3 years ago

5 stars
Made these last night and they were a HUGE hit! Thanks for sharing a family heirloom!
I couldn’t find the pancake mix, so I used some potato flour, onion powder, salt and pepper. Worked like a charm.

Laurie S
5 years ago

5 stars
Delicious! Tangy! You can find Potato pancake mix also in the aisle of your grocery store where they sell the “Passover” or Kosher items. Manischewitz brand. Right next to Matzo.

5 years ago

Hello,. I live in a smaller town, no one carries the potato mix….I did find a recipe on Allrecipes to make own potato mix…they mixed instant potatoes with a complete pancake mix (2 parts potatoes 1 part pancake and hungry Jack, of course, makes both those). Once mixed, wondering how much to actually use?? How many ounces, or cups are in one packet of the mix you buy?
I appreciate your help!