Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs

12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes

Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs are the perfect sweet and savory party appetizer! Easy to make and bursting with flavor – try them today!

This dish takes a classic Bacon Meatball recipe but with the addition of sweet and savory brown sugar and garlic sauce. They’re an easy and delicious Party Appetizer that your guests are sure to love. For more delicious sweet & savory meatball recipes, try our Cocktail Meatballs, Cranberry Meatballs and Pineapple Meatballs.

Sabrina’s Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs Recipe

This simple meatball recipe is the perfect combination of sweet and savory flavors. The meat mixture is made with ground beef, Worcestershire sauce, and pieces of crispy bacon. These simple recipe ingredients are delicious are amazing enough on their own, but for even more flavor they’re coated in a sticky brown sugar and garlic sauce.

The sauce ingredients make these Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs absolutely irresistible. Made with brown sugar, garlic, ketchup, and soy sauce, the sauce comes together quickly. Then you just add the meatballs and cook until they’re glazed in it. They’re great for a party, and thanks to the delicious sauce you don’t have to worry about putting out dipping sauces.


portioned ingredients for Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs

Meatball Recipe:

  • 3 slices Bread: The bread serves as a binding agent and helps to keep the meatballs moist. It also adds texture. You can substitute with pre-made breadcrumbs.
  • ⅓ cup Whole Milk: The milk is used to soak the bread, making it soft and adding moisture to the meat mixture. 
  • ½ Yellow Onion: Minced onion adds flavor and moisture to the meatballs. It provides a sweet and savory taste. You can use red onion as a substitute.
  • 3 tablespoons Unsalted Butter, divided: Butter is used to sauté the minced onions.
  • 2 pounds Ground Beef: Ground beef is the primary protein source for meatballs, providing a rich and hearty flavor. The 80/20 ratio means 80% lean meat and 20% fat, which ensures juicier meatballs.
  • ½ cup Bacon: Bacon adds a smoky and savory flavor to the meatballs, along with a crispy texture. 
  • 2 large Eggs: Eggs act as a binder, helping to hold the meatballs together and prevent them from falling apart during cooking.
  • 3 cloves Garlic, minced: Minced garlic adds a strong, aromatic flavor to the meatballs.
  • 1 teaspoon Kosher Salt: Kosher salt seasons the meatballs, bringing out their flavors. 
  • ½ teaspoon Cracked Black Pepper: Black pepper adds a mild spicy kick.
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce: Worcestershire sauce provides a savory, umami flavor to the meatballs.

Brown Sugar Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon Vegetable Oil: Vegetable oil is used to sauté the minced garlic, allowing its flavors to infuse into the sauce.
  • 1 teaspoon Sesame Oil: Sesame oil adds a nutty and aromatic flavor to the sauce, contributing to its overall depth. 
  • 12 cloves Garlic, minced: Minced garlic plays a central role in the sauce, imparting a strong garlic flavor that complements the sweetness of the brown sugar.
  • ¾ cup Ketchup: Ketchup forms the base of the sauce, providing a sweet and tangy flavor.
  • 2/3 cup Brown Sugar: Brown sugar is the primary sweetener, adding a caramel-like sweetness that balances the savory and garlic flavors.
  • ⅓ cup Low-Sodium Soy Sauce: Soy sauce adds a salty and savory element to the sauce while helping give a stronger umami taste. 

Kitchen Tools and Equipment

  • Stand Mixer: A stand mixer is useful for mixing the meatball ingredients thoroughly without overworking the meat. It helps keep the mixture cold and tender. You can also use a hand mixer or mix by hand, but a stand mixer is efficient.
  • Baking Pan: A 9×13 baking pan is the perfect size for baking the meatballs in the oven so they aren’t crowded. Make sure to spray it with nonstick cooking spray to prevent sticking. You can use a glass or metal pan.
  • Large Skillet: A large skillet is needed to prepare the brown sugar garlic sauce and glaze the meatballs. Ensure it has high sides to accommodate the sauce and meatballs. A non-stick skillet works well.
  • Meatballer/Ice Cream Scoop: A meatballer or ice cream scoop helps you portion the meat mixture evenly, creating uniform meatballs. It makes the process faster and ensures consistent sizes for even cooking.
  • Garlic Press or Mincer: A garlic press or mincer is great for mincing the garlic finely, both for the meatballs and the sauce. Alternatively, you can finely chop garlic with a knife.

How to Make Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs

Time needed: 40 minutes.

  1. Preheat Oven and Prepare Pan

    Preheat your oven and spray a 9×13-inch baking pan with vegetable oil spray to prevent sticking.adding bread to stand mixer

  2. Soak Bread and Saute Onions

    In the stand mixing bowl, soak the bread slices in milk. Meanwhile, melt 2 tablespoons of unsalted butter in a pan and sauté the minced yellow onions until they become translucent but not browned. Remove from heat and let them cool.sauteing onions in a skillet

  3. Mix Meatball Ingredients

    Break bacon slices into small pieces until you have ½ cup of cooked bacon pieces. To the milk-soaked bread, add ground beef, cooked onions, crumbled bacon, eggs, minced garlic, salt, cracked black pepper, and Worcestershire Sauce in the stand mixer. Mix on low speed until well combined, ensuring the bread is broken apart.all the ingredients piled in the stand mixer

  4. Form into Balls

    Use a meatballer, ice cream scoop, or your hands to shape the mixture into ping-pong-sized meatballs. Place them in the prepared baking pan.forming balls of meat

  5. Bake Meatballs

    Put the meatballs in the preheated oven and set the kitchen timer for 20 minutes. Once the internal temperature has reached 145 degrees after 20 minutes, then take the meatballs out. If it isn’t that temperature, then put them back in the oven for 2 minutes or until cooked through.20 cooked meatballs in a baking tray

  6. Prepare Brown Sugar Garlic Sauce

    During the cooking time, heat vegetable oil and sesame oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add minced garlic and cook for 1 minute. Then, whisk in ketchup, brown sugar, and low-sodium soy sauce. Bring the sauce to a boil, then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes.brown sugar bacon garlic glaze in skillet

  7. Glaze Meatballs

    Once the meatballs are done, add them to the skillet with the sauce. Stir to coat the meatballs evenly and cook for an additional 5-6 minutes until they are well-glazed and heated through. Enjoy your homemade meatballs!meatballs coated in glaze

Can This Be Made Ahead of Time?

Yes, you can make the meatballs and sauce ahead of time. Store them separately in airtight containers in the refrigerator. Reheat the meatballs and sauce in a skillet or microwave before serving, and assemble them together for a delicious meal or delicious appetizer when needed.

Nutritional Facts

Nutrition Facts
Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 324 Calories from Fat 162
% Daily Value*
Fat 18g28%
Saturated Fat 8g50%
Trans Fat 1g
Cholesterol 94mg31%
Sodium 755mg33%
Potassium 374mg11%
Carbohydrates 22g7%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 16g18%
Protein 18g36%
Vitamin A 222IU4%
Vitamin C 2mg2%
Calcium 57mg6%
Iron 2mg11%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Ways to Serve Meatballs

The flavorful meatballs make an amazing tender and crispy appetizer. Transfer the meatballs from the saucepan to a serving dish with toothpicks through the center of each one. They don’t even need a dipping sauce!

You could also serve this recipe as the main course for a fun, tasty family dinner. Scoop the meatballs and sauce over bowls of Steamed Rice or Mashed Potatoes for a quick and filling meal. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions to add a bit of flair to your dinner.

How to Store


Don’t leave Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs at room temperature for more than 2 hours. Once they’ve cooled, you can transfer the meatballs to an airtight container or simply cover the dish in plastic wrap to store in the fridge for 3-4 days. 

Reheating Tips

To reheat the Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs, use a regular oven or microwave for best results. In the oven, place them in a baking dish at 350 degrees for about 10-15 minutes until heated through. In the microwave, cover with a damp paper towel and heat in short intervals, stirring in between, until hot. Avoid using an air fryer or toaster oven, as they may overcook the meatballs or dry them out.


Flash-freeze the meatballs on the baking sheet, then transfer them to a freezer bag and seal them. They’ll stay good frozen for up to 3 months. 

Alternative Cooking Methods

Slow Cooker Meatballs

  • To make Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs in the slow cooker, start by prepping the breadcrumbs, onions, and the rest of the meat mixture according to the original recipe. 
  • Form the meat mixture into balls.
  • Add the meatballs to a baking sheet and broil for 8-10 minutes.
  • Next, mix together the sauce ingredients and pour the sauce into your crockpot.
  • Put meatballs in the crockpot so that they’re coated by the sauce.
  • Cook on low for 3-4 hours. 

Frequent Questions

Can I substitute ground beef with another meat?

You can use ground turkey, chicken, or a mix of ground meats as a leaner alternative to ground beef.

How do I prevent the meatballs from sticking to the pan?

Spraying the baking pan with vegetable oil spray before baking and using a non-stick skillet for the sauce will help prevent sticking.

Can I make the sauce less sweet?

Yes, reduce the amount of brown sugar to make the sauce less sweet.a

Recipe Card

Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs

Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs are the perfect sweet and savory party appetizer! Easy to make and bursting with flavor – try them today!
Yield 12 Servings
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 40 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Author Sabrina Snyder


Meatball Recipe:

  • 3 slices bread
  • 1/3 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 yellow onion , minced
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter , divided
  • 2 pounds ground beef , (80/20)
  • 1/2 cup bacon , cooked and crumbled
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cloves garlic , minced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce

Brown Sugar Garlic Sauce:

  • 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  • 12 cloves garlic , minced
  • 3/4 cup ketchup
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar , packed
  • 1/3 cup low-sodium soy sauce


  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees and spray a 9×13 baking pan with vegetable oil spray.
  • In the bowl of your stand mixer add the milk to the slices of bread.
  • Melt the butter in a pan and add the minced yellow onions.
  • Cook them on medium-low until translucent but not browned.
  • Remove from heat and let cool.
  • In your bowl with the milk-soaked bread add the rest of the meatball ingredients including the cooked onions.
  • Mix it on low until the bread is broken apart and the meat is combined with the ingredients (using the stand mixer and not your hands helps keep the mixture cold and tender).
  • Using a meatballer/ice cream scoop or your hands scoop them into balls about the size of a ping pong ball.
  • Cook, uncovered, for 20-22 minutes.
  • While meatballs are cooking add vegetable oil and garlic to a large skillet on medium heat.
  • Cook for 1 minute, stirring often.
  • Whisk in ketchup, brown sugar, and soy sauce.
  • Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low and simmer for 3-4 minutes.
  • Add cooked meatballs to skillet, stir to combine.
  • Cook for 5-6 minutes until well glazed.


  • Click on the “yield” amount to slide and change the number of servings and the recipe will automatically update!
  • Click on times in the instructions to start a kitchen timer while cooking.
  • To convert measurements to grams, click on the “Metric” option next to “Ingredients” in the recipe card.


Calories: 324kcal | Carbohydrates: 22g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 8g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 94mg | Sodium: 755mg | Potassium: 374mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 16g | Vitamin A: 222IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 57mg | Iron: 2mg
Keyword: Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs

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Variations on Meatballs

  • Cheese Stuffed Meatballs: If there’s one appetizer ingredient as popular as bacon, it might be cheese. So, why not add some cheese to this bacon meatball recipe and get the best of both worlds? Use cheddar, provolone, or gouda cheese cubes for this recipe. Form the meat into separate circles, and place a cheese cube at the center of each, then form the meatball around the cheese. After baking, the meatballs will be filled with amazing melty cheese. 
  • Spicy Sriracha Twist: Add 1-2 tablespoons of Sriracha sauce to the meatball mixture for a spicy kick. Adjust the amount based on your heat preference. This variation adds a bold and spicy flavor to the meatballs without changing the cooking process.
  • Turkey and Mushroom: Replace the ground beef with ground turkey in equal parts. Additionally, mix ⅓ cup finely chopped sauteed mushrooms into the meatball mixture for added moisture and flavor. Make sure the turkey meatballs reach the same internal temperature of 165 degrees for safe cooking.
  • Seasonings: There are plenty of spices that you could add to this recipe to experiment with the taste. Try adding some paprika, onion powder, oregano, red pepper flakes, or cumin. 
  • Other Meat: You can make the same recipe, but use different kinds of ground meat as the base. Instead of ground beef, you could use ground chicken, or ground turkey like in the above recipe would also taste great with the brown sugar and bacon. 

More Delicious Meatball Recipes

Brown Sugar Bacon Garlic Meatballs Pin

About the Author: Sabrina Snyder

Sabrina is a professionally trained Private Chef of over 10 years with ServSafe Manager certification in food safety. She creates all the recipes here on Dinner, then Dessert, fueled in no small part by her love for bacon.

Sabrina Snyder is a professionally trained personal and private chef of over 10 years who is the creator and developer of all the recipes on Dinner, then Dessert.

She is also the author of the cookbook Dinner, then Dessert – Satisfying Meals Using Only 3, 5 or 7 Ingredients, published by Harper Collins.

She started Dinner, then Dessert as a business in her office as a lunch service for her coworkers who admired her lunches before going to culinary school and becoming a full time personal chef and private chef.

As a personal chef Sabrina would cook for families one day a week and cook their entire week of dinners. All grocery shopping, cooking and cleaning was done along with instructions on reheating. As a private chef she cooked for private parties and cooked in family homes in the evenings for families on a nightly basis after working as a personal chef during the day.

Sabrina has been certified as a ServSafe Manager since 2007 and was a longstanding member of the USPCA Personal Chef Association including being on the board of the Washington DC Chapter of Chefs in the US Personal Chef Association when they won Chapter of the year.

As a member of the community of food website creators Sabrina Snyder has spoken at many conferences regarding her experiences as a food writer including the Indulge Food Conference, Everything Food Conference, Haven Food Conference and IACP Annual Food Professionals Conference.

Sabrina lives with her family in sunny California.

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