Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce
Homemade Crockpot Meatballs smothered in a sweet and tangy sauce made with grape jelly and chili sauce. Double this recipe – they’ll go fast! Scroll down for an easy video tutorial.
Crockpot Meatballs are always a good idea.
These small yet hearty bites can be the cornerstone of any buffet or party spread. In fact, with meatballs on the menu, traditional entrees are rendered almost unnecessary.
People LOVE crock pot meatballs. They go back for seconds. They fill up on them.
Especially crockpot appetizer meatballs in grape jelly sauce! The combination of grape jelly and chili sauce is almost legendary in the Midwest.
If you’ve never had them, you’re in for a real treat!
My version is from a regional cookbook called The Calico Capers, but within that cookbook there were several versions of easy crock pot meatballs that were all very similar. Lots of food memories involving meatballs!
I made the meatballs from scratch, but you are certainly welcome to substitute the store-bought frozen meatballs (the frozen Italian meatballs work just fine; see notes below). If you make them from scratch, fry the meatballs in batches in some vegetable shortening for added Midwest authenticity.
Once the meatballs are browned, just add them to a crock pot with a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce. Cook until heated through, about 3 to 4 hours on HIGH or 6 to 7 hours on LOW.
You can make these easy Crockpot Meatballs ahead, too! Just reheat them in the slow cooker, or on the stove if you’re in a rush (and transfer to the slow cooker to keep warm).
(Need a crock pot? I’ve had this one since 2009 and just love it.)
Save these Crockpot Meatballs to your “Appetizers” Pinterest board!
And let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’m always pinning tasty recipes!
Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce
To make the meatballs:
In a large bowl, combine beef, pork, bread crumbs, onion, milk, egg, Worcestershire sauce, 1 teaspoon salt, and 1/2 teaspoon pepper.
Using a strong spatula or your hands (I like to wear latex gloves), mix well. Shape the mixture into 1-inch balls (you should have around 48 total).
To fry the meatballs:
Heat vegetable shortening in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Fry the meatballs in batches until browned on all sides and the meatballs are cooked, about 5 to 7 minutes per batch (an internal thermometer should read 155 degrees for 15 seconds). Add more shortening between batches if the skillet looks dry.
To bake the meatballs:
Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil and set a rack on top. Arrange meatballs on rack and bake until browned with crispy edges, about 20 minutes (an internal thermometer should read 155 degrees for 15 seconds).
To sauce the meatballs in a slow cooker:
Transfer browned meatballs to the crockpot. Add grape jelly and chili sauce. Cover and cook for 2 to 3 hours on HIGH or 4 to 6 hours on LOW, until the sauce is hot. Serve directly from the crockpot with a serving spoon or toothpicks, or transfer to a serving dish.
To sauce the meatballs on the stovetop:
Transfer browned meatballs to a pot. Add grape jelly and chili sauce. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the sauce is hot, about 10 minutes.
To freeze the meatballs (without sauce):
Arrange in a single layer on a baking sheet, not touching. Freeze until solid, about 1 hour, then transfer to a freezer-safe container and store up to 1 month in advance.
- The homemade meatballs can be fried ahead of time and stored in the refrigerator. Simply reheat in the crockpot with the sauce. Or, make the entire recipe ahead of time, refrigerate overnight, and reheat in the crockpot before serving.
- 48 store-bought meatballs may be substituted for the homemade meatballs. Simply add the frozen meatballs straight to the crockpot with the grape jelly and chili sauce, and cook until heated through.
- Sweet chili sauce may be substituted for regular chili sauce. The flavor will be a little different but still delicious!
- Adapted from "Appetizer Meat Balls" in the Calico Capers Go To Cookbook.
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