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!
Table of Contents
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!
- 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!
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.
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
Yes! Fresh or frozen meatballs can be used in this cocktail meatball recipe. No need to thaw.
You can make and freee your meatballs without sauce for up to three months. Or refrigerate for 2 days in advance.
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.
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!
More Meatball Recipes
More Appetizer Recipes
Grape Jelly Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 large egg
- ¾ cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic salt
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1 Tablespoon milk
- 1 cup grape jelly
- 1 cup chili sauce
- 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.
- 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!
- Frozen meatballs can be used in place of homemade meatballs.
- 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.
Grape Jelly Meatballs are the easiest game day appetizer, served in the crockpot with a delicious sweet and sour sauce!
I’ve made this recipe for years and they turn out great every time. I drain the meatballs after cooking them, then toss them in the crockpot with the jelly/chili sauce combo. They hold up well throughout a Super Bowl party. I’ve also made them with jellied cranberry sauce in place of the grape jelly. Great for the fall season!
Such a great appetizer, these are a hit at every party!
One of my favorite ways to eat meatballs! So easy and delicious! Just perfect!
This recipe sounds very yummy! I love the Grape 🍇 Jelly meatball recipe. I just have one question about the chili sauce?! Is it spicy? Is it a mild or medium heat level? I can’t handle too much of spicy foods. I know mixing it with grape 🍇 Kelly or something sweet will normally balance out the heat in dishes. I just want to make sure before I make them and use the chili sauce & not be able to enjoy them as well. Serving them with mash potatoes 🥔 is a perfect item & a side of green beans. Mu hubby likes to have a meat and two for dinner so those sides would pair great I think.
Sorry my auto correction wants to say Grape Kelly instead of Grape Jelly for some reason 😅. But I’m sure you know what I mean. Thanks 😊 for your feedback.
Love these! They are so easy to make, and the flavor is out of this world!
Wow! I had no idea this recipe was so easy! I’m going to try this for gameday this weekend!