★★★★★

Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

These Cocktail Meatballs (or Grape Jelly Meatballs) are exactly what your party needs, and they’re super easy to make! Homemade Meatballs with an easy, two ingredient sauce. 

Love easy snacks? This 7 Layer Dip is a hit at every family gathering and game day party! Or whip up some Hanky Panky’s. My family is obsessed with these crispy bites of sausage and cheese!

White plate with cocktail meatballs and toothpicks.

Why this Recipe Works

Whether you are headed to a party, or just craving an easy snack, these Cocktail Meatballs are the perfect answer.

Tender, juicy meatballs in an easy sweet and sour sauce!

You’ll love the versatility of this meatball recipe. Whether you whip up a batch of homemade meatballs with the recipe below, or use turkey meatballs, or buy a bag of frozen meatballs, this recipe couldn’t get any easier!

Ingredient Notes

  • Meatballs. I usually make a double batch and freeze half for future use. You can also use store bought frozen meatballs for a quick time saver.
  • Grape Jelly
  • Chili Sauce – found in the ketchup aisle

That’s it. Whether you call these cocktail meatballs or grape jelly meatballs, one thing is for certain, they won’t last long!

Easy Instructions

Step by step photos showing how to make cocktail meatballs.

STEP 1: Start by making the meatballs. In a bowl, combine ground beef with egg, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and milk. Use your hands to mix thoroughly.

STEP 2: Shape beef mixture into small bite size balls. I use a 1 Tbsp scoop for this, as we prefer our appetizer meatballs to be smaller. You can totally make them bigger if you prefer. Arrange meatballs in a hot skillet over medium high heat, turning often until completely cooked.

PRO TIP: You can freeze cooled, cooked meatballs in a freezer safe airtight container for up to 3 months. So go ahead and double that recipe!

STEP 3:  In the bottom of a crockpot or slow cooker, add equal parts of grape jelly and chili sauce. I use about 1 cup of each, but if you like them a little juicier or serving over rice, feel free to double that amount.

Whisk the jelly and chili sauce until combined. Add cooked meatballs (or frozen meatballs) to the crockpot. Turn on low for about 3 hours. Serve warm and enjoy!

Storage: You can also prepare the grape jelly and chili sauce with the meatballs and refrigerate together for up to 24 hours. Then heat and serve.

Freezing the meatballs with the jelly and chili sauce is also an option. Whether you prepare it in advance or want to freeze leftovers, store in airtight container for up to one month.

Closeup of toothpick with grape jelly meatballs. Plate of meatballs in background,

Variations

Our family loves the standard grape jelly with chili sauce for these meatballs. But if you’re looking for a little variety, or your pantry is lacking in an ingredient, there are some tried and true substitutions you may like:

  • Sweet and Sour Meatballs: Pineapple preserves with BBQ Sauce
  • Ketchup and Grape Jelly
  • Cranberry Sauce (either the whole berry or jellied) with BBQ Sauce 

Recipe FAQs

Can I use frozen meatballs in grape jelly meatballs?

Yes! Fresh or frozen meatballs can be used in this cocktail meatball recipe. No need to thaw.

Can I make Cocktail Meatballs ahead of time?

You can make and freee your meatballs without sauce for up to three months. Or refrigerate for 2 days in advance.

Can I make grape jelly meatballs in oven?

In a large baking dish, combine the cooked meatballs with jelly and chili sauce. Cover with foil and bake in a 350 degree F oven for about 40 minutes, or until bubbly hot. Stir and serve.

Crockpot with grape jelly meatballs in sauce.

Can Grape Jelly Meatballs be a meal?

Of course! Serve your grape jelly meatballs with a side of rice or a big green salad on the side. 

Pair your crockpot meatballs with some baked mashed potatoes or hashbrown casserole for a filling dish!

Tips and Tricks

  • Mix the chili sauce and grape jelly together in the bottom of the slow cooker BEFORE adding the meatballs. This helps create an even distribution of sauce.
  • Double the sauce recipe if you’re looking to have a little extra on each meatball.
  • This is also a GREAT sauce (the grape jelly with chili sauce) to cook with cocktail weenies (little smokies)!
  • Serve your grape jelly meatballs right out of the slow cooker or plate them with party toothpicks!
Meatballs on a white plate, stacked up with a jar of toothpicks in background.

More Meatball Recipes

More Appetizer Recipes

PS. If you try this recipe, please leave a STAR rating in the recipe card below. I love your feedback! Connect with me on social media by following me on Instagram, Facebook, or Pinterest.

Yield: 30 meatballs

Cocktail Meatballs

Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 15 minutes

These Cocktail Meatballs (or Grape Jelly Meatballs) are exactly what your party needs, and they're super easy to make! Homemade Meatballs with an easy, two ingredient sauce. 

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • ¾ cup plain bread crumbs
  • 1 tsp garlic salt
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 Tbsp milk
  • 1 cup grape jelly
  • 1 cup chili sauce

Instructions

  1. Mix beef, egg, bread crumbs, garlic, salt, pepper and milk in large bowl. Shape into small bite size balls. Cook in hot skillet, turning, until completely cooked.
  2. At this point you can let them cool, and freeze them. Or you can toss them right into a crock pot with the jelly and chili sauce. Turn on low, heat for about 3 hours, serve, enjoy!

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

30

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 83Total Fat: 3gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 20mgSodium: 223mgCarbohydrates: 9gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 5g

*Nutrition facts are an estimate and not guaranteed to be accurate. Please see a registered dietitian for special diet advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

Grape Jelly Meatballs are the easiest game day appetizer, served in the crockpot with a delicious sweet and sour sauce!

About Aimee

Aimee is a dessert lover (specifically rice krispie treats), workout enthusiast, self-taught foodie, and recipe creator.

Learn more about Aimee.

Affiliate Disclosure:**There may be affiliate links in this post! By clicking on them, or purchasing recommended items I may receive a small compensation. However, I only recommend products I love! Thank you for supporting Shugary Sweets! See my disclosure policy for more info**

Get My Free Email Course
Become a Better Baker—no more box mixes! Discovery your new “signature” desserts!

Categories:


Posted on September 18, 2019

Comments & Reviews

  1. Grape jelly & chili sauce give these so much flavor!! Meatballs have become a family favorite! They are great with so many recipes!

  2. Wow, you threw me off when I saw grape jelly. Thats interesting! I am intrigued, now I have to try it! Great idea on freezing the meatballs!!

  3. My sister makes a similar dish and I am always excited when she brings them. I never thought to bring them to our Super Bowl party. So perfect.

  4. Those are nice looking meatballs. Superbowl or no Superbowl, I would have this any day. Thank you for sharing this beautiful yummers.

    ~ ray ~

  5. This is such a yummy one…I would love to try it..U have made perfectly Dear..Bookmarking it..

    Aarthi
    http://yummytummy-aarthi.blogspot.com/

  6. Do you use the really hot chili sauce or the sweet chili sauce. I want to make these but wonder if they will be too hot for my family.

    Thanks,
    Karen

  7. My idea of a great meatball is called Sam’s Club…jazzed up of course!!! This makes me sound like such a terrible cook huh? Good thing I am a baking blogger:-) The jelly in this totally has me intrigued to try it…maybe a meatball themed dinner is in order

  8. this is a childhood recipe from my mom and i made these a few months ago and they’re the best appetizers to serve guests!! i LOVE them and how easy they are!! yay for you making them 🙂 I’m so glad you did!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *