Cocktail Meatballs

Cocktail Meatballs are the perfect party appetizer simmered in the most irresistible sauce ever.  They’re tender, juicy, flavorful, easy, addictive and always a runaway hit!

These easy Cocktail Meatballs are always the first to go at every party! They will have you throwing away your recipes using frozen meatballs and grape jelly because this homemade cocktail meatball recipe is 1000X better.  The meatballs are super easy made in the oven, wonderfully juicy, seeping with flavor – and that is without the sauce!  The cocktail meatball sauce is UNREAL – you are going to want to put it on everything.  It’s sticky, sweet and tangy with a subtle kick made with pepper jelly, pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup and sugar.  It’s simple, sublime, and ready in 5 minutes!  You can make these cocktail meatballs ahead of time and keep them warm in the crockpot or you can freeze them for an easy, stress free appetizer or dinner.  Yes, dinner; we love them so much, we serve them all the time with rice and veggies for dinner – SO GOOD.  But no matter how you serve these favorite cocktail meatballs, they are guaranteed to disappear in a flash!

up close of serving cocktail meatballs with toothpicks

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Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

You all know I love my meatballs from Honey Buffalo Meatballs, Cranberry Meatballs, and Korean Meatballs but I have never introduced you to my cocktail meatball recipe until know – so, get giddy! 

Why you’ll fall in love with this cocktail meatball recipe: 

DELCIOUS.  These cocktail meatballs are guaranteed to be a crowd favorite. Juicy, tender meatballs are enveloped in a tantalizing subtly spicy, sweet and sour sauce boasting layers of complex flavor.  They check every YUM box and then some – the kind of meatballs that make your eyes roll back in your head before you reach for another one, two, three, four…   

CROWD FAVORITE.  They are the perfect impressive, addictive appetizer for holiday parties, Game Day parties, movie parties, game nights, family nights and everything in between.   These cocktail meatballs are easy to make, can be on your table in less than 60 minutes or you can make them in advance.  

HOMEMADE MEATBALLS.  Best of all, these cocktail meatballs are made from scratch – no prepackaged, dense, frozen meatballs (unless you want) and no 2-ingredient grape jelly, chili sauce cocktail sauce.  Instead, this cocktail meatball recipe uses my favorite homemade meatball recipe that delivers knock your-socks-off tender, flavorful results every time.  The meatballs are so delectably juicy, they are fabulous plain and can be used in all sorts of recipes by just switching up the seasonings. 

FROM SCRATCH SAUCE. The cocktail meatball sauce is easy to make and SO much better than the 2-ingredient sauce.  Instead of grape jelly, I use pepper jelly which itself is a flavor bomb, and then create a homemade sweet and sour sauce with ketchup, sugar and pineapple for a fruity-sweet kick.  The resulting sauce is a perfectly balanced alluring combination of sticky, sweet, tangy, savory, and spicy.

MAKE AHEAD.  This cocktail meatball recipe can be made 100% ahead of time and kept warm in the crockpot or made in advance and reheated in the crockpot.  You can also freeze the meatballs months ahead of time and then just defrost and reheat.

KIDS LOVE THEM.  And adults too.  Due to their addictive nature, we can’t wait until parties or special occasions to make these cocktail meatballs.  Instead, we make them regularly and serve them for dinner.  They’re delicious served with rice or cauliflower rice and steamed or stir-fried veggies.

top view of tossing cocktail meatballs with sweet and sour sauce

Ingredients for Cocktail Meatballs

These cocktail meatballs are mega juicy and SO easy.  While you can opt for frozen meatballs, once you taste the difference, you will never go back!  I used my mom’s crazy tender meatball recipe that uses crushed Ritz or saltines instead of breadcrumbs as well as dried minced onion for maximum flavor.

  • ground beef: use lean ground beef so the meatballs will be tender but not greasy.
  • crackers: 22 saltine crackers or Ritz crackers add a fabulous flavor in place of panko or breadcrumbs.
  • dried minced onion: I love using dried minced onion because they deliver concentrated flavor. You can find dried minced onions with all the other seasonings at your grocery store.
  • eggs: 2 eggs will do the trick to bind all the ingredients together.
  • milk: any kind of milk will work here.   
  • seasonings: ginger, chili powder, garlic powder, salt and pepper add an oomph of flavor without being overpowering.
up close of serving cocktail meatballs in a bowl

Cocktail Meatball Sauce

The cocktail meatball sauce is made with pantry friendly ingredients and takes minutes to whip up.  It’s sweet from the sugar, tangy from the ketchup, vinegar and Worcestershire, fruity from the pineapple juice, grounded by the soy sauce, and spicy from the pepper jelly.  In short, it’s 100% mesmerizing.

Ingredients for Cocktail Meatball Sauce:

  • pepper jelly: is located with the other jams and jellies at your grocery store.  There is sometimes jalapeno pepper jelly or red pepper jelly – when given the option, you will want the jalapeno pepper jelly. 
  • sugar: I like to use brown sugar for a richer flavor, but you can substitute with granulated if that’s all you have on hand.  
  • ketchup: your favorite will work great. Don’t substitute with other tomato substitutes because they are not as sweet.
  • pineapple juice: I like to keep a package of small cans stocked in my pantry – they are perfect for something like this. You can transfer the remaining pineapple juice to a plastic bag and freeze for later or use in my Pineapple Chicken, Crab Wontons or Egg rolls.
  • red wine vinegar: has a distinct flavor and is best not to swap out for another vinegar.
  • soy sauce: use less sodium soy sauce so we can control the salt.
  • Worcestershire sauce:  adds a depth of complex savory, slightly tangy flavor.
  • cornstarch:  just 1 teaspoon helps thicken the cocktail meatball sauce to sticky perfection.

How to Make Cocktail Meatballs

STEP 1: COMBINE MEATBALL INGREDIENTS

  • Add eggs to a large mixing bowl and gently whisk. 
  • Add all remaining meatball ingredients then mix with your hands until well combined.

STEP 2: ROLL MEATBALLS

  • Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.  Top with a baking rack and spray with cooking spray.  The baking rack will elevate the meatballs which 1) allows them to bake evenly and 2) allows the grease to drip off so they don’t cook in a pool of grease.
  • Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll mixture into meatballs. 
  • Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet without touching.
showing how to make best cocktail meatball recipe by lining meatballs on a baking rack without touching

STEP 3: BAKE MEATBALLS

  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Baking is much easier than pan frying (and healthier too!) and ensures the meatballs don’t fall apart.
side view showing how to make easy cocktail meatballs by baking until golden

STEP 4: MAKE COCKTAIL MEATBALL SAUCE

  • While the meatballs are baking, whip up the cocktail sauce by whisking all of the ingredients together in a very large skillet off heat.
  • Once combined, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. 
showing how to make cocktail meatball sauce by adding ketchup, sugar, jelly to skillet
showing how to make cocktail meatball sauce by simmering until thickened in a stainless steal skillet

STEP 5: COMBINE

  • Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Transfer meatballs to a serving platter or bowl with either cocktail picks or toothpicks nearby or you can pierce the meatballs.  Serve warm.
showing how to make cocktail meatballs by adding meatballs to sauce and stirring to combine
showing how to make cocktail meatballs by simmering meatballs with sauce
showing how to make cocktail meatball recipe by tossing meatballs with sauce in a skillet

TIPS AND TRICKS for cocktail meatball RECIPE

  • You may substitute the crackers for 1 cup panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt, but you’ll be missing out on some flavor.  
  • You can roll your meatballs up to 24 hours ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, then bake when it’s party time.
  • Don’t overmix your meatball ingredients – overmixing results in tougher meatballs.
  • If you choose to use store-bought frozen meatballs, don’t use Italian seasoned meatballs or the seasonings may clash with the sauce.
  • Cook the meatballs on a baking rack to prevent them from baking in a puddle of their own grease.  The elevated rack also promotes even cooking.  If you don’t have a baking rack, then be sure to wipe the bottom of each meatball with a paper towel before adding to the sauce.  
  • DON’T try and cook your meatballs in a skillet because they are so tender, they will fall apart. By baking them, they stay intact because you don’t touch them until they have baked into a tighter meatball.

Can I use turkey meatballs?

I recommend lean ground beef for its rich, beefy flavor, but you may also use ground chicken or ground turkey, they just won’t be quite as juicy.  Trying adding some beef bouillon to enhance the flavor and a splash of oil to enhance the juiciness.

Can I use frozen meatballs?

Part of the deliciousness of this Cocktail Meatball recipe is the homemade meatballs, but you are welcome to use your favorite store-bought meatballs as well.

To make cocktail meatballs with store-bought meatballs, you will need one 32 oz. frozen package meatballs.

  • OVEN: Cook meatballs according to package directions until completely warmed throughTransfer to sauce and stir to combine.
  • SLOW COOKER:  Prepare sauce according to recipe directions on the stove top.  Add sauce and meatballs to a 6-qt. slow cooker and cook on low 2-3 hours for THAWED meatballs and 6-8 hours for FROZEN meatballs.

Can I use a food processor or mixer to blend the meatballs?

I do NOT recommend using a food processor or mixer to blend the meatballs because you end up with a mixture that is denser.  The goal is to just combine the ingredients together so they are evenly dispersed but not to over mix which can be easy to do with equipment.  Over-mixed meatballs = tougher meatballs.

HOW can I THICKEN COCKTAIL MEATBALLS?

If your cocktail meatball sauce is too thin either before or after you add the meatballs, it is easy to fix!  Simply simmer the sauce/meatballs until it reaches desired consistency.  It is better to thicken the sauce before you add the meatballs so you don’t cook the meatballs longer than you have to.

up close of serving cocktail meatballs in a bowl

How Spicy are these meatballs?

These cocktail meatballs boast an enjoyable kick. It’s the perfect enlivening compliment to the sweet and sour sauce otherwise they would taste too sweet. I used Tabasco’s Pepper Jelly for this recipe and found them moderately spicy – meaning they do have a noticeable kick but should be enjoyed by most everyone, especially because they are eaten just one at a time.

If you are worried about the cocktail meatballs being too spicy, or if you are using a different brand of pepper jelly, then you can start with less pepper jelly and add more to taste.

Can I make Cocktail Meatballs in the Crockpot?

You can warm the cocktail meatballs in the crockpot, but I prefer to make them on the stove/oven because you will need to thicken the sauce on the stove either way. If you don’t simmer the sauce first, it will remain watery in the crockpot – not impressive.

Crockpot meatballs should also be seared in the oven first for about 8 minutes so they don’t fall apart in the crockpot and to render some of the fat.  So, essentially, you have to simmer the sauce and cook the meatballs anyway, so there really isn’t a reason to use the crockpot except to keep them warm. 

If you still want to make crockpot cocktail meatballs, here’s how:

  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.  Top with a baking rack and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Add eggs to a large mixing bowl and gently whisk.  Add all remaining meatball ingredients then mix until well combined. Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll into meatballs. 
  • Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet without touching.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes to sear the meatballs – they will not be cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, whisk all of the Cocktail Sauce ingredients together in a very large skillet off heat. Once combined, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. 
  • Lightly grease a 6qt slow cooker.  Add a layer of meatballs followed by a layer of sauce; repeat.  Do NOT stir meatballs with sauce yet or they will fall apart.
  • Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours, until meatballs are cooked through, gently stirring one hour into cooking.  You can keep the crock pot on the WARM setting until you’re ready to serve.
two hands holding a bowl of best cocktail meatball recipe

How do you keep meatballs warm for a party?

Once you combine the meatballs and the sauce in the skillet, you can keep them warm over very low heat for up to 1 hour OR you can transfer the meatballs and sauce to the crockpot and keep on the warm setting.

Can I make Cocktail Meatballs in advance?

Absolutely!  You can make the cocktail meatball recipe in its entirety, refrigerate and simply reheat on the stove or crockpot (see instructions below) or you can roll the meatballs up to 24 hours ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, then bake when it’s party time.  While the meatballs are baking you can either reheat or make the sauce. 

STOVETOP:

  • Let combined cocktail meatballs and sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to serve, reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often until warmed through.  You may need to add additional water to thin the sauce.

CROCKPOT

  • Combine baked meatballs and sauce according to recipe directions.
  • Transfer to lightly greased crockpot and let cool completely.
  • Remove crockpot ceramic insert with meatballs/sauce and refrigerate, covered.
  • When ready to serve, return insert to slow cooker and reheat over LOW for 1-2 hours, or until completely warmed through, stirring 1-2 times.
a bowl of easy cocktail meatballs with toothpicks sticking in them ready to serve

Can I freeze cocktail meatballs?

Yes, you can either freeze the cocktail meatballs before baking or after baking. 

TO FREEZE UNCOOKED COCKTAIL MEATBALLS

  1. Line meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet so they aren’t touching. 
  2. Place entire baking tray with the meatballs in the freezer. If your freezer can’t accommodate your baking tray then use a small tray and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours, until solid.
  3. Transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Label meatballs and store meatballs in the freezer for 3-4 months.
  5. You can also make the sauce, store in an airtight container and freeze separately from the meatballs.
  6. When ready to serve, defrost meatballs in the refrigerator overnight then continue to bake per recipe instructions.

TO FREEZE COOKED COCKTAIL MEATBALLS:

Once your meatballs are baked, you can either freeze the meatballs or freeze them with the sauce. To freeze them while still on the baking sheet:

  1. Bake cocktail meatballs according to directions; let cool to room temperature.
  2. Place entire baking tray with the meatballs in the freezer. You will want to make sure the meatballs are not touching so they don’t freezer together.  If your freezer can’t accommodate your baking tray then use a small tray lined with parchment paper and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours.
  3. When your meatballs are frozen enough that they won’t stick together, transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers.
  4. Label meatballs and store in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  5. You can also make the sauce, store in an airtight container and freeze separately from the meatballs.
  6. When ready to use, let meatballs and sauce thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Transfer to a large pot and gently simmer until heated through or warm in the crockpot over LOW for 1-2 hours.

TO FREEZE COOKED COCKTAIL MEATBALLS IN SAUCE

  • Combine cooked meatballs and sauce according to recipe directions.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and squeeze out excess air.
  • Label and freeze for 2-3 months.
  • When ready to use, let meatballs and sauce thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer to a large pot and gently simmer until heated through or warm in the crockpot over LOW for 1-2 hours.  

What Goes Best with Cocktail Meatballs?

Cocktail meatballs can be served as a main course with rice and stir-fried veggies, or roasted veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, Brussel sprouts, etc.  or it can be served as an appetizer. 

Cocktail meatballs pair well with other favorite appetizers such as:

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up close of a spoon stirring cocktail meatballs

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©Carlsbad Cravings by CarlsbadCravings.com

Cocktail Meatballs

These Cocktail Meatballs are the perfect party appetizer simmered in the most irresistible sauce ever. They’re tender, juicy, flavorful, easy, addictive and always a runaway hit! They will have you throwing away your recipes using frozen meatballs and grape jelly because this homemade cocktail meatball recipe is 1000X better. The meatballs are super easy made in the oven, wonderfully juicy, seeping with flavor – and that is without the sauce! The cocktail meatball sauce is UNREAL – you are going to want to put it on everything. It’s sticky, sweet and tangy with a subtle kick made with pepper jelly, pineapple juice, soy sauce, ketchup and sugar. It’s simple, sublime, and ready in 5 minutes! You can make these cocktail meatballs ahead of time and keep them warm in the crockpot or you can freeze them for an easy, stress free appetizer or dinner. Yes, dinner; we love them so much, we serve them all the time with rice and veggies for dinner – SO GOOD. But no matter how you serve these favorite cocktail meatballs, they are guaranteed to disappear in a flash!
Servings: 48 meatballs (approx)
Total Time: 55 mins
Prep Time: 35 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins

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Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 2 eggs
  • 22 Ritz or saltine crackers crushed (approx. 1 cup)
  • 1/3 cup dried minced onion
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 1 tsp EACH EACH salt, garlic powder, onion powder, ginger powder, chili powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Cocktail Sauce

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup. Top with a baking rack and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Add eggs to a large mixing bowl and gently whisk. Add all remaining meatball ingredients then mix until well combined. Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll into meatballs. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet without touching. Bake at 400 degrees F for 20 minutes or until cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, whisk all of the Cocktail Sauce ingredients together in a very large skillet off heat. Once combined, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3-5 minutes.
  • Add the baked meatballs to the sauce and stir to evenly coat. Transfer meatballs to a serving platter or bowl with either cocktail picks or toothpicks nearby or you can pierce the meatballs. Serve warm. Alternatively, transfer to the crockpot and keep on the “warm” setting until ready to serve.

Notes

How Spicy are these meatballs?

These cocktail meatballs boast an enjoyable kick. It’s the perfect enlivening compliment to the sweet and sour sauce otherwise they would taste too sweet. I used Tabasco’s Pepper Jelly for this recipe and found them moderately spicy – meaning they do have a kick but should be enjoyed by most everyone, especially because they are eaten just one at a time.
If you are worried about the cocktail meatballs being too spicy, or if you are using a different brand of pepper jelly, then you can start with less pepper jelly and add more to taste.

TIPS AND TRICKS

  • *Pepper jelly is located with the other jams and jellies at your grocery store.  There is sometimes jalapeno pepper jelly or red pepper jelly – when given the option, you will want the jalapeno pepper jelly.
  • You may substitute the crackers for 1 cup panko breadcrumbs and a pinch of salt, but you’ll be missing out on some flavor.  
  • You can roll your meatballs up to 24 hours ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, then bake when it’s party time.
  • Don’t overmix your meatball ingredients – overmixing results in tougher meatballs.
  • If you choose to use store-bought frozen meatballs, don’t use Italian seasoned meatballs or the seasonings may clash with the sauce.
  • Cook the meatballs on a baking rack to prevent them from baking in a puddle of their own grease.  The elevated rack also promotes even cooking.  If you don’t have a baking rack, then be sure to wipe the bottom of each meatball with a paper towel before adding to the sauce.  
  • DON’T try and cook your meatballs in a skillet because they are so tender, they will fall apart. By baking them, they stay intact because you don’t touch them until they have baked into a tighter meatball.

Can
I use frozen meatballs?

Part of the deliciousness of this Cocktail Meatball recipe is the homemade meatballs, but you are welcome to use your favorite store-bought meatballs as well. To make cocktail meatballs with store-bought meatballs, you will need one 32 oz. frozen package meatballs.
  • OVEN: Cook meatballs according to package directions until completely warmed throughTransfer to sauce and stir to combine.
  • SLOW COOKER:  Prepare sauce according to recipe directions on the stove top.  Add sauce and meatballs to a 6-qt. slow cooker and cook on low 2-3 hours for THAWED meatballs and 6-8 hours for FROZEN meatballs.

Can I make Crockpot Cocktail Meatballs?

You can warm the cocktail meatballs in the crockpot, but I prefer to make them on the stove/oven because you will need to thicken the sauce on the stove either way and oven sear the meatballs before adding to the crockpot.
If you still want to make crockpot
cocktail meatballs, here’s how:
  • Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper for easy cleanup.  Top with a baking rack and spray with cooking spray; set aside.
  • Add eggs to a large mixing bowl and gently whisk.  Add all remaining meatball ingredients then mix until well combined. Use a small cookie scoop (1 ½ tablespoon capacity) to roll into meatballs. 
  • Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet without touching.  Bake at 400 degrees F for 8 minutes to sear the meatballs – they will not be cooked through.
  • Meanwhile, whisk all of the Cocktail Sauce ingredients together in a very large skillet off heat. Once combined, bring to a simmer, stirring constantly, until thickened, about 3-5 minutes. 
  • Lightly grease a 6qt slow cooker.  Add a layer of meatballs followed by a layer of sauce; repeat.  Do NOT stir meatballs with sauce yet or they will fall apart.
  • Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours, until meatballs are cooked through, gently stirring one hour into cooking.  You can keep the crock pot on the WARM setting until you’re ready to serve.

How to make in advance

You can make the cocktail meatball recipe in its entirety, refrigerate and simply reheat on the stove or crockpot (see instructions below) or you can roll the meatballs up to 24 hours ahead of time, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate, then bake when it’s party time.  While the meatballs are baking you can either reheat or make the sauce. 
STOVETOP:
  • Let combined cocktail meatballs and sauce cool to room temperature.
  • Transfer to an airtight container and store in the refrigerator.
  • When ready to serve, reheat in a skillet over medium-low heat, stirring often until warmed through.  You may need to add additional water to thin the sauce.
CROCKPOT
  • Combine baked meatballs and sauce according to recipe directions.
  • Transfer to lightly greased crockpot and let cool completely.
  • Remove crockpot ceramic insert with meatballs/sauce and refrigerate, covered.
  • When ready to serve, return insert to slow cooker and reheat over LOW for 1-2 hours, or until completely warmed through, stirring 1-2 times.

TO FREEZE UNCOOKED MEATBALLS:

  1. Line meatballs on a parchment paper lined baking sheet so they aren’t touching. 
  2. Place entire baking tray with the meatballs in the freezer. If your freezer can’t accommodate your baking tray then use a small tray and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours, until solid.
  3. Transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers and squeeze out excess air to prevent freezer burn.
  4. Label meatballs and store meatballs in the freezer for 3-4 months.
  5. You can also make the sauce, store in an airtight container and freeze separately from the meatballs.
  6. When ready to serve, defrost meatballs in the refrigerator overnight then continue to bake per recipe instructions.

TO FREEZE COOKED MEATBALLS:

Once your meatballs are baked, you can either freeze the meatballs or freeze them with the sauce. To freeze them while still on the baking sheet:
  1. Bake cocktail meatballs according to directions; let cool to room temperature.
  2. Place entire baking tray with the meatballs in the freezer. You will want to make sure the meatballs are not touching so they don’t freezer together.  If your freezer can’t accommodate your baking tray then use a small tray lined with parchment paper and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours.
  3. When your meatballs are frozen enough that they won’t stick together, transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers.
  4. Label meatballs and store in the freezer for 2-3 months.
  5. You can also make the sauce, store in an airtight container and freeze separately from the meatballs.
  6. When ready to use, let meatballs and sauce thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  7. Transfer to a large pot and gently simmer until heated through or warm in the crockpot over LOW for 1-2 hours.

TO FREEZE COOKED MEATBALLS IN SAUCE:

  • Combine cooked meatballs and sauce according to recipe directions.
  • Let cool completely.
  • Transfer to an airtight container or freezer bag and squeeze out excess air.
  • Label and freeze for 2-3 months.
  • When ready to use, let meatballs and sauce thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer to a large pot and gently simmer until heated through or warm in the crockpot over LOW for 1-2 hours.  

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12 Comments

  1. Laura says

    These were excellent. Made last night, and family gobbled them up. Every single last one. Couldn’t find pepper jelly in two supermarkets here, so just splashed in some Trader Joe’s jalapeño hot sauce and red pepper flakes. Perfect blend of sweet and spicy. Served with rice and green beans. Yum!

    • Jen says

      Hi Laura, I love hearing your family “gobbled them up!” Thank you!

  2. Margot Bradley says

    I used to use my mother’s recipe for meatballs, but I decided to try this one instead for a large appetizer buffet. Boy am I glad that I did…they are the bomb! I used my Cuisinart and pulsed the Ritz crackers until finely ground, and mixed the meatball ingredients in my Kitchen Aid mixer. Before placing them in the oven, I chilled them for 1/2 hour so they wouldn’t fall apart. I used Fischer Wieser Mild Green Jalapeno Jelly from Walmart and did not add salt and pepper to either the meatballs or the sauce – not needed. Voila…they are just wonderful so thank you for this recipe. I’m going to make them again for an entree next week.

    • Jen says

      YAY! Thanks for taking the time to comment Margot! I’m so pleased these Cocktail Meatballs were a winner and are already on the menu for next week!

  3. Sharon Frisbie says

    Great way to use one of my homemade canned Hot Pepper Jellies with jalapenos (apricot or mango.) These look amazing.

  4. Leigh says

    These along with anything else Jen offers is always so, so good. Making these again today (1/21). Thank you so very much!!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much Leigh, I’m so pleased they were a hit!

  5. Susan says

    I found your website by googling “best cocktail meatball” and these were amazing! I’m hosting a cocktail party next week so I thought I’d try out this recipe in advance and have it for dinner tonight on rice. They were the perfect combination of sweet and spicy and the meatball was perfectly tender. Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Welcome to my site Susan! I’m thrilled your test run of these cocktail meatballs was a success. I hope you enjoy exploring my site and hopefully find many new favorites. Happy Thanksgiving!

  6. Raven Brownslaughter says

    Made these! Used my own meatball recipe and substituted the pepper jelly with sweet chili sauce and omitted the pineapple. Delicious

    • Jen says

      I’m so pleased you loved them, thanks Raven!

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