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17 Delicious Sauces for Meatballs and Rice You Must Try

I’m always looking for new and interesting ways to spice up my meals.

When it comes to meatballs and rice, I’m in heaven.

But the same old tomato sauce can get a bit boring after a while.

That’s why I’m always on the hunt for delicious and unique sauces to bring my meals to the next level.

If you’re in the same boat, I’ve got great news—I’ve compiled a list of 17 mouthwatering sauces for meatballs and rice that you absolutely must try!

Beef Meatballs With Tomato Sauce and Rice

From classic options to unique creations, there’s something for everyone and every palate.

Best Sauces for Meatballs and Rice You Must Try

I’m not saying that classic spaghetti and meatballs isn’t an amazing meal, but at some point, you might want to try something a little different.

Luckily, there are plenty of delicious sauces to choose from when it comes to meatballs and rice.

So, why not check out some of these delicious sauces?

Italian tomato sauce

This family-favorite Italian tomato sauce is an absolute must for meatballs and rice.

It’s made with simple ingredients like extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs, garlic, onions (optional), tomatoes, Parmesan cheese, and butter.

And it only takes about 15 minutes to make.

The blend of red pepper flakes and herbs gives this sauce a wonderful depth of flavor which makes any meal taste as it came straight from Grandma’s kitchen!

The secret?

A full teaspoon of fresh oregano….it really does make all the difference.

Once you’ve tasted how delicious this tomato sauce is you’ll want to enjoy it over everything; from eggplant parmigiana to your favorite pasta dish – or just a bowl full of freshly cooked steamed shrimp!

Sweet and sour sauce

This flavorful sweet and sour sauce has only 8 ingredients that work together in perfect harmony for the ultimate flavor combo.

  1. Simply combine all the ingredients into a pot, bring it to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer until the mixture thickens.
  2. Then simply pour or spoon over your cooked meatballs and rice dish.


Dinner is served!

This crowd-pleasing dinner is sure to be an instant favorite with its sweet-and-sour flavors—just watch out for those tongues curled in delight!

Honey garlic sauce

This sweet and savory glaze only takes minutes to make but can completely transform your meal.

It pairs perfectly with chicken, beef, or turkey meatballs and pairs perfectly with rice for a complete meal.

Plus it’s kid-friendly – bonus!

The combination of soy sauce, honey, brown sugar, garlic, and a hint of vinegar creates an irresistible marinade sure to satisfy all taste buds at the dinner table!

Brown gravy

You’re just one magical ingredient away from the most mouthwatering meal you’ll ever put together.

It’s a comforting, easy-to-make dish of meatballs and rice with a rich, delicious brown gravy to top it off.

The star of the show is this amazing gravy which is composed of two ingredients that you certainly have on hand: butter and flour.

  1. All we need to do is melt some butter in a small saucepan, add the flour and cook until they are well combined but not yet beginning to brown.
  2. Then whisk in our broth along with Worcestershire sauce, beef bouillon (the secret flavor enhancer!), a nice pinch or two of pepper for kick plus heavy cream for richness at last!
  3. Salt as needed and voila!

You have yourself the ultimate brown gravy fit for any day –”meatball Monday” included!

Sweet chili sauce

This sauce takes just ten minutes to make and has a wonderful balance of sweet and spicy.

The red food coloring gives it that irresistible bright hue.

The garlic, ginger, tamari (or soy) sauce, cane sugar, cornstarch, vinegar, and sambal oelek all come together in perfect harmony.

It’s tangy, flavorful, and zesty – everything you want in a bowl of comfort food!

No matter how simple the dish may be on its own – this sauce will add so much warmth and soulfulness with minimal effort.

White sauce

A good white sauce is an essential part of any cook’s skill set.

And this simple recipe takes just minutes to make.

The combination of butter and flour creates a roux or a cooked mixture that forms the backbone for many sauces, like this one.

What’s even better is that you don’t need additional seasonings – just salt, pepper, and nutmeg!

This sauce can be used as a base for cheese sauce too: just add cheese at the end after turning off the heat.

This thick and creamy white sauce will transform your favorite dishes from ordinary to extraordinary!

Teriyaki Sauce

No Asian meal would be complete without teriyaki sauce.

Trust me, the homemade version is infinitely better than anything you can buy at the store—making it yourself allows you to control both the sweetness and spiciness of your sauce.

Let me show you exactly how to make it:

  1. To start off, mix together 1 cup of water with 5 tablespoons of brown sugar, ¼ cup soy sauce, 1 tablespoon of honey, a large clove of grated garlic, and ½ teaspoon of ground ginger in a small pot.
  2. Bring it to a boil and let simmer for 10 minutes so all of the flavors have time to come together.
  3. Once this mixture has been reduced by half, add ¼ cold water and 2 tablespoons of cornstarch thinned out in some more water (known as slurry).
  4. Finally, stir everything together until well incorporated before serving over freshly cooked meatballs or perfectly cooked white rice.

And once you’ve tried this homemade version there’s no turning back!

Mushroom Sauce

Everyone needs a go-to mushroom sauce, right?

This one is the perfect accompaniment to rice and meatballs.

It’s rich and creamy, with plenty of umami flavor from the mushrooms, onion, garlic, and mustard.

Plus a hint of tartness from a touch of lemon juice.

Believe me, this sauce will become your new favorite!

Creating this decadent dish isn’t difficult either: all you need are eight simple ingredients to bring together this intensely flavorful mushroom gravy.

  1. Heat up your pan over medium heat and add olive oil or butter (you can always use vegan alternatives like vegetable broth or plant-based butter), cook til everything is nice and golden brown—then set aside.
  2. A few minutes later, add in white wine (or chose chicken/vegetable stock) before adding your cream until it thickens; stirring occasionally until all the flavors have been absorbed into the sauce.
  3. Finally, top with parsley for even more fresh herby goodness!

Marinara Sauce

This marinara sauce is incredibly simple but it will take your meals from boring to bam in no time.

The combination of fresh tomatoes, onion, garlic, thyme, basil, and a pinch of salt creates an intensely flavorful sauce that’s usually only found in Italian restaurants.

Plus, with just five ingredients you won’t have to break the bank or be stuck in the kitchen all day trying to whip up something tasty for dinner.

Grape Jelly Sauce

This irresistible recipe for a delicious grape jelly sauce is sure to take your dinner to the next level.

This special and unique flavor combination can be used on anything from meatballs and rice, to chicken wings.

  1. Simply combine ground beef with garlic powder, onion, parsley, egg, breadcrumbs, and olive oil in a bowl.
  2. Mix together well until all ingredients are fully incorporated then form into desired size of meatballs.
  3. Then add bbq sauce, grape jelly, and chili sauce – as well as water or apple juice – into a medium-sized pot over low heat; stirring constantly until it’s all combined.
  4. And lastly, stir in the milk or buttermilk gently at the end!

Garlic Butter Sauce

This sauce just requires three ingredients and less than ten minutes of your time.

Plus, all you need is a blender or food processor to get started.

When done right, this garlicky goodness will melt in your mouth and add flavor to anything—veggies, pasta dishes, pizza crusts—you name it!

You can even use it as a dip for breadsticks or crudités.

The possibilities are quite literally endless with this incredible sauce made up of simple ingredients like garlic, butter, and parsley.

Vodka Sauce

When it comes to pasta dishes, vodka sauce is a must-try.

This creamy and zesty dish is fairly easy to make and it’s always a hit at the dinner table.

It has the perfect balance of sweet tomatoes and bold flavors from garlic, red pepper flakes, Italian seasonings, and vodka.

What makes this recipe even better?

The hint of Parmesan cheese in every bite!

  1. You start by sautéing onions with garlic and all your favorite spices in olive oil.
  2. Then you add chopped canned tomatoes, butter, heavy cream, and vegetable broth before reducing everything down until thickened into a delicious sauce.
  3. Lastly, you’d add parmesan cheese along with some cooked rice water which gives an added depth of flavor.
  4. Top off your meal with a generous sprinkling of freshly grated parmesan cheese – voila!

Sunday Sauce

For full-on Italian flavor and a generous dose of Sunday tradition, there’s no beating the classic Sunday sauce (aka gravy on the East Coast).

The key to an amazing pot of Sunday sauce is combining all the flavors just right.

  1. Start by browning the meat properly – not only does it add flavor but it helps thicken the sauce in place of flour or starch.
  2. Once you get past that step, throw everything else into your pot and simmer away.

Though this recipe might seem time-consuming (hey, Rome wasn’t built in a day!), bringing together these beautiful flavors is worth every minute spent in front of your stove!

Tomato Basil Sauce

Calling all tomato lovers: this simple, yet flavorful tomato basil sauce was created just for you.

The ingredients list is short, but that doesn’t mean it lacks in taste.

On the contrary!

Smoky red bell peppers lend a subtle sweetness to roasted plum tomatoes and fresh basil leaves, resulting in a comforting layer of flavors that truly shine through.

For those looking for an extra kick, feel free to spice up with chili or black pepper.

It’s delicious served over your favorite pasta or rice dishes – or use as a topping for succulent meatballs.

Bon appétit!


This garlicky cucumber-yogurt spread is bursting with fresh herbs. It adds just the right amount of complexity to make any meal extra delicious.

My favorite part?

Tzatziki only takes minutes to prepare.

Just mince your garlic, grate your cucumber until they’re super fine and soggy, and mix in the yogurt – et voila!

You have yourself a tangy condiment that will elevate anything it touches.

Add some freshly chopped mint and dill for an additional burst of flavor, then finish off with a tablespoon of olive oil for body – now that’s good eating!

Haydari (Turkish Yogurt Sauce)

If you ever find yourself looking for something to spruce up a plain meatball-and-rice dinner, look no further than Haydari!

This Turkish yogurt sauce is incredibly flavorful and easy to make.

All it takes is some yogurt, garlic, salt, dill, and parsley.

For an especially creamy texture, you can add cream cheese into the mix.

You won’t believe how silky it makes your haydari.

Just be careful not to overdo it with the cloves of garlic or else you’ll have quite a powerful punch on your hands!

Serve chilled with mint leaves for garnish and enjoy – dinner has never been more exciting!

Mustard Dill Sauce

This all-purpose sauce is a flavor powerhouse you won’t want to miss.

It gets its kick from the combination of mustard, dill, and just the right amount of garlic that gets balanced out with some heavy cream.

  1. Heat up some oil in a pan, add onions and garlic then cook until softened and translucent.
  2. Pour in chicken stock, cream, Dijon mustard and stir until well combined.
  3. Season with salt & pepper to taste.
  4. Simmer for about 15 minutes or until the sauce thickens.
  5. Add fresh chopped dill before serving over Swedish meatballs (or whatever else you please!).

This one goes fast so double it if needed!


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Beef Meatballs With Tomato Sauce and Rice

17 Sauces for Meatballs and Rice You Must Try

Sometimes, you just need a bit of comfort food. Meatballs and rice is one of the most satisfying dishes you can make, but it can be a bit dull without the right sauce. In this article, I have compiled a list of 17 mouthwatering sauces that will take your meatballs and rice to the next level. From creamy and spicy to sweet and savory, these sauces will give you the flavor you crave.
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 10 minutes
Total Time 15 minutes
Course Sauce
Cuisine American, Italian
Servings 4 people
Calories 390 kcal


  • Italian tomato sauce
  • Sweet and sour sauce
  • Honey garlic sauce
  • Brown gravy
  • Sweet chili sauce
  • White sauce
  • Teriyaki Sauce
  • Mushroom Sauce
  • Marinara Sauce
  • Grape Jelly Sauce
  • Garlic Butter Sauce
  • Vodka Sauce
  • Sunday Sauce
  • Tomato Basil Sauce
  • Tzatziki
  • Haydari (Turkish Yogurt Sauce)
  • Mustard Dill Sauce


  • Choose your favorite sauce from this collection to serve over your rice and meatballs.
  • Prepare all of the required ingredients.
  • Enjoy your dinner in no time!