Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
Easy crockpot grape jelly meatballs recipe, homemade with 3 simple ingredients: grape jelly, bbq sauce and frozen meatballs. The best cocktail meatballs for parties!
Put your crockpot to good use when you are making appetizers. It makes life so much easier and frees up the oven and stovetop space for other food.
These are the best grape jelly bbq meatballs ever!
They have the perfect flavor combo – The saltiness of the meat combines with the sweetness of the grape jelly and barbecue sauce to create the epitome of a perfect appetizer.
They’re cooked just right – Many meatballs, when cooked in a crockpot, can result in a mushy meatball that just fall apart. This recipe doesn’t result in an overcooked, crumbling meatballs. If the instructions are followed as stated below, these meatballs are the perfect, firm, yet soft texture you would expect.
They only require three ingredients – These are simple ingredients that I bet you already have in your pantry: grape jelly, bbq sauce and frozen meatballs.
How to make crockpot grape jelly meatballs?
- Add ingredients in slow cooker – This includes meatballs, grape jelly, bbq sauce.
- Mix- Until combined.
- Cover and cook – Until meatballs are warmed through and sauce is smooth.
- Enjoy – Garnish with fresh herbs and dig in.
What to serve with grape jelly meatball recipe?
You might be thinking that these Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs would be hard to pair with other foods. However, that’s definitely not true! This recipe would pair well with Slow Cooker Mashed Potatoes or even Slow Cooker Mashed Sweet Potatoes, depending on your potato preference. If you like the potato route, you could even try Slow Cooker Hashbrown Casserole.
Homemade meatball sauce
What’s great about this recipe is that it makes its own sauce. When making meatballs over a stove, the sauce is often made separately, then combined with the meatballs when they have finished browning. However, this recipe has plenty of sauce leftover that can be spooned out and used as needed.
Combine bbq sauce, grape jelly or any other jam or jelly of your choice, salt, pepper, paprika, fresh herbs (if using) in a nonstick saucepan. Cook over medium heat until mixture is smooth. Then, mix in cooked meatballs.
Grape jelly chili sauce meatballs – If you want to go a slightly different flavor route, you can swap out the BBQ sauce for sweet chili sauce instead.
Make them spicy -Use a spicy style bbq sauce or add crushed red chili flakes or even a couple of freshly sliced jalapenos.
Try other jelly flavors – If you’re not a grape jelly fan, simply swap it out for the same amount of your favorite jam or jelly. Other flavor suggestions are apricot, apple, strawberry, peach, orange marmalade etc.
Add cranberry sauce – In place of jelly, you can use canned cranberry sauce. This is a popularly used technique since the cranberry sauce has the same thickness of jelly, but contains the perfect combination of tangy and sweet. Also, it’s perfect for Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner parties.
Use other types of meatballs– Such as turkey meatballs, chicken meatballs or pork meatballs. Mine were made with ground beef and pork.
Add liquid smoke– A small amount goes a long way. It adds a wonderful smoky flavor.
Refrigerate- In a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Freeze– In a sealed container for up to 1 month.
Reheat- In the microwave or stovetop or even in the crockpot on the low setting. You may have to add a splash of water to get the right consistency again since the meatballs would have absorbed a lot of the sauce.
Make ahead instructions– Make them, as per instructions below and store them in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop or in the crockpot, prior to serving.
Tips and Techniques
Should I thaw meatballs before putting in crockpot? – This recipe is so easy that you can just toss the meatballs in the crockpot fully frozen. There’s no need to thaw them beforehand. If they’re already thawed, be sure to drain any water off of them before adding them to the crockpot and you may have to reduce the cooking time by a little bit.
Are frozen meatballs already cooked? Most frozen meatballs come already fully cooked. However, you can buy them in both states, which is why it’s always best to check the package before purchasing. For this recipe, you will want them to be fully cooked.
What can I use instead of grape jelly? You can use any other jelly flavors, canned cranberry sauce, or another fruit flavored jam.
What can I use instead of bbq sauce? Sweet chili sauce is a great substitute for bbq sauce. Many people have also used ketchup in a pinch.
How do you keep meatballs warm for a party? Just serve them in the crockpot on the “Low” setting. If you are worried about the sauce getting too thick or burning, add a splash of water.
How to thicken meatball sauce? Let it cook uncovered until excess liquid evaporates and sauce it reduced. Alternatively, if the sauce is too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
What size should meatballs be? Party meatballs should be small- about 2 inches in diameter. If they are any bigger, they would no longer be bite-sized and it would be hard to eat them on a toothpick.
Paprika is optional- It adds a subtle smoky flavor but can easily be omitted.
More Slow Cooker Meatball Recipes
Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Add grape jelly and bbq sauce in a crockpot and mix it together.
- Add meatballs and mix until they are coated in the sauce.
- Cover and cook on High heat for 3.5 hours, stirring once halfway through.
- Garnish with fresh parsley, if you like. Enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 3 days and reheated in the microwave.