Easy Crockpot Meatballs smothered in a sweet and tangy sauce made with grape jelly and chili sauce. Use convenient frozen meatballs or make them yourself. Double this recipe - they'll go fast!
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.
Or, make your own turkey meatballs.
Once the meatballs are browned, just add them to a crock pot with a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce (Culinary Hill may earn money if you buy through this link). 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).
Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce Recipe
- 1 (32 ounce) bag frozen fully-cooked meatballs (see notes to make meatballs from scratch)
- 12 ounces chili sauce
- 10 ounces grape jelly
To sauce the meatballs in a slow cooker:
- Add frozen meatballs to crockpot. Add chili sauce and grape jelly. 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:
- Add meatballs to saucepan. Add chili sauce and grape jelly. Cover and simmer over medium heat until the sauce is hot, about 10 minutes.
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 cup bread crumbs
- 2/3 cup finely minced onion
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 eggs
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup vegetable shortening (for frying 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).
- 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.
- 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).
- 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.