Cranberry Meatballs (Crockpot)

Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect appetizer for any party that always disappear in a flash! 

Everyone needs a fabulous Cranberry Meatball recipe – and this is it with TONS of rave reviews!  These party meatballs are perfect for Christmas Eve, New Years Eve or any Eve!  The cranberry meatballs are so easy, tender and seeping with flavor from the crock pot and INCREDIBLE sweet and spicy sauce! The sauce is made with cranberry sauce, hoisin, ketchup and spiked with hot wings sauce for a tantalizing, lick the crock pot appetizer.  You can make the meatballs early in the day and cook right before serving, or keep warm in the crock pot (yay for stress free entertaining) and even freeze – all instructions included! (Updated post, same recipe from 2014)

Cranberry Meatballs Recipe Video

up close of cranberry meatballs recipe in a white bowl

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What Readers are Saying About this Cranberry Meatballs recipe:

I just made these for a holiday party this weekend. Wanted to leave feedback…because they were a HUGE HIT! – Niki

I have made this recipe so many times for my family and it is a huge hit in our house. It is one of my favorite recipes for the slow cooker. The sauce is amazing!!… – Julia

Thank you for this INSANELY delicious recipe! I made these meatballs for New Years and they were gone so fast! – Audrey

My mother made these for my 10 y/o son tonight (but w ground chicken) & he loved them so much, he ate about 15 of them (!!!) then got up, hugged her & said thanks for dinner Nani & asked me to make them for him lol… -Audra

About Cranberry Meatballs Recipe

Holidays are all about appetizers from Baked Brie in Puff Pastry, to Bruschetta Cheese Ball to Cranberry Pistachio Cheese Log to Spinach Artichoke Dip and Brie Spinach Dip, and of course, Cranberry Meatballs!

I love meatballs.  I would request them as my birthday dinner for every single one of my birthday growing up so I’m thrilled to share this holiday worthy Cranberry Meatball recipe just in time for Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Years Eve because these meatballs are the perfect make ahead appetizer that everyone will be begging you for  –  just like I used to beg my mom to make her famous meatballs growing up.

These Cranberry Meatballs are not only crazy tender and juicy but they can be prepared in advance and kept warm in the slow cooker until its “go” time AKA perfect for a stress free company/holiday appetizer.  Just be sure to sneak in a few cranberry meatballs before the company arrive because when its go time, there is no stopping until they are going, going….gone.

Ingredients for Cranberry Meatballs

  • ground beef: use lean ground beef so the meatballs will be tender but not greasy. I have not tried these Cranberry Meatballs with ground turkey or chicken but I am sure they would be delicious, just a little less juicy. Whenever I substitute turkey for beef, I like to add some beef bouillon, you can also add a splash of oil as well.
  • crackers: 22 saltine crackers add a fabulous flavor in place of panko or breadcrumbs. I’m sure Ritz crackers would also work well but I haven’t personally tried them.
  • 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 in this Cranberry Meatball recipe.
  • seasonings: ginger, garlic powder, salt and pepper add an oomph of flavor without being overpowering.
top view of easy cranberry meatballs with cranberry sauce

Cranberry Meatball Sauce

A meatball recipe is only as good as the sauce. And this Cranberry Sauce is crazy delicious.    The sweet and spicy Cranberry Sauce is inspired by my blackberry hoisin ginger pork tenderloin sauce.  

It’s sweet from the cranberry sauce and brown sugar, tangy from the ketchup, complex from the hoisin, grounded by the soy, and spicy from the Buffalo Hot Wings Sauce.  Basically, you’ll want to put it on everything!

Ingredients for Cranberry Meatball Sauce:

  • whole cranberry sauce: you can use store-bought or homemade cranberry sauce, but go for the whole cranberry sauce vs cranberry jelly as the jelly contains more pectin and is less fluid.
  • hoisin sauce: is like an Asian BBQ Sauce and can be found in the Asian section of any grocery store. I use it in tons of my Asian recipes, so I promise it will not go to waste! Please use only Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee brands hoisin sauce because they taste 1000X better!
  • ketchup: your favorite will work great. Don’t substitute with other tomato substitutes because they are not as sweet.
  • red wine vinegar: adds a subtle tang.
  • soy sauce: use less sodium soy sauce so the sauce isn’t too salty.
  • brown sugar: enhances the sweetness.
  • seasonings: garlic powder and ground ginger add complex flavor.
showing how to make cranberry meatballs by whisking together cranberry meatball sauce ingredients

How to Make Cranberry Meatballs

STEP 1: COMBINE MEATBALL INGREDIENTS

These Cranberry Meatballs mega tender and super easy! I used my mom’s perfect moist meatball recipe that uses crushed saltines instead of breadcrumbs as well as dried minced onion for maximum flavor. Simply add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix with your hands until evenly combined.

showing how to make cranberry meatballs by combining lean ground beef, eggs, seasonings and milk in a glass bowl

STEP 2: ROLL MEATBALLS

  • Next, roll the meat mixture into balls and place on foil lined baking sheet for easy cleanup.
  • I suggest using a cookie scoop to roll your cranberry meatballs so they are a uniform size and cook evenly.
showing how to make cranberry meatballs by using a cookie scoop to make uniform meatballs
  • The size of the meatballs is totally personal preference. The recipe will make approximately 75 meatballs using 1″/1 tablespoon cookie scoop; 35-40 meatballs using 2″/2 tablespoon cookie scoop.
showing how to make cranberry meatballs by lining them evenly on a foil lined baking sheet

STEP 3: BAKE MEATBALLS

  • Bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned. 
  • Baking the meatballs ensures they don’t fall apart in the slow cooker and seals in the juices for more tender meatballs. Baking is also much easier in a mass batch to cook instead of frying (and healthier too!).

STEP 4: Combine Sauce Ingredients

  • The Cranberry Meatball Sauce is super easy to make, simply whisk all of the ingredients together in a medium bowl.
  • I suggest starting with 1 tablespoon hot wings sauce and then adding more hot sauce to taste at the end of cooking. Of course, if you know you like spicy, then feel free to add the full 2 tablespoons.
showing how to make crockpot cranberry meatballs by making cranberry sauce

STEP 5: Layer sauce with meatballs

  • The sweet and spicy sauce gets layered between rows of our lightly browned meatballs in the slow cooker so every meatball can be enveloped by their glory.
showing how to make cranberry meatballs by adding cranberry sauce to meatballs

How long do you Cook Cranberry Meatballs?

Cook Cranberry Meatballs on LOW for 2-4 hours. gently stirring one hour into cooking.   The meatballs will cook and seep in the zesty, sweet, tangy, savory, spicy sauce.

You can keep the crock pot on the WARM setting until you’re ready to serve.

showing how to make easy cranberry meatballs by layering them with cranberry sauce before cooking

Can I make Cranberry Meatballs on the Stove?

Absolutely!  I would still brown the meatballs in the oven first so they don’t fall apart when cooked.  Add sauce and browned/baked meatballs to a large pot and gently simmer over medium low heat for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.

Can I make Cranberry Meatballs in the Oven?

Yes! Increase the baking time to 15-20 minutes for small meatballs and 20-25 minutes for larger meatballs or until the meatballs are cooked through. Either add the cooked meatballs to the cranberry sauce in the crockpot and keep on the warm setting or add them to a large pot over low heat.

Can I use frozen meatballs?

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

To make Cranberry Meatballs with store-bought meatballs, you will need one 32 oz. frozen fully cooked home style meatballs.

  • SLOW COOKER: 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.
  • STOVE TOP: Add sauce and meatballs to a large pot and gently simmer over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes for THAWED meatballs and 30-35 minutes for FROZEN meatballs, stirring occasionally.
showing how to make best cranberry meatballs recipe by stirring meatballs in cranberry sauce

Can I Prep Cranberry Meatballs in Advance?

  • Assemble and bake the meatballs for 8 minutes.
  • Let meatballs cool completely.
  • Gently layer meatballs in slow cooker in between layer of sauce per recipe directions.
  • Remove crockpot ceramic insert with meatballs/sauce and refrigerate, covered.
  • Add an additional 30 minutes to cooking time when ready to make OR cook until meatballs are completely cooked through and sauce is hot.
  • Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through, then just reheat in the sauce.

Can I freeze Cranberry Meatballs?

You can either freeze your Cranberry Meatballs after baking but before cooking in the slow cooker or once fully cooked in the sauce.

TO FREEZE CRANBERRY MEATBALLS AFTER COOKING:

  • Let Cranberry Meatballs and Sauce cool completely in the refrigerator before freezing.
  • Transfer to an airtight, freezer safe container.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to use, let meatballs thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer to a large pot and gently simmer until heated through.

TO FREEZE CRANBERRY MEATBALLS BEFORE COOKING:

  1. Bake Cranberry Meatballs according to directions.
  2. Let meatballs cool to room temperature.
  3. 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 and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours.
  4. When your meatballs are frozen enough that they won’t stick together, then transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers.
  5. Label meatballs and store meatballs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  6. You can also make the sauce, store in an airtight container and freeze separately from the meatballs.
a plate of crockpot cranberry meatballs

How to Defrost Frozen Cranberry Meatballs

When ready to make, cook Cranberry Meatballs either on the stove, crockpot or oven/crockpot:

  1. STOVE: Add frozen meatballs and sauce to a large pot and simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked through, taking care not to stir the first 10 minutes so you don’t break the meatballs.
  2. CROCKPOT: Add frozen meatballs and sauce to crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours or until cooked through and hot.
  3. OVEN/CROCKPOT: Defrost meatballs in the oven by baking at 350 degrees F  for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, defrost sauce in the microwave or stove, stirring often. Transfer meatballs and sauce to crockpot and cook on LOW for 2-4 hours or until completely cooked through.

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up close of appetizer cranberry meatball on a fork

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Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Meatballs (Slow Cooker)

Everyone needs a fabulous Cranberry Meatball recipe – and this is it with TONS of rave reviews! These party meatballs are perfect for Christmas Eve, New Years Eve or any Eve! The cranberry meatballs are so easy, tender and seeping with flavor from the crock pot and INCREDIBLE sweet and spicy sauce! The sauce is made with cranberry sauce, hoisin, ketchup and spiked with hot wings sauce for a tantalizing, lick the crock pot appetizer. You can make the meatballs early in the day and cook right before serving, or keep warm in the crock pot (yay for stress free entertaining) and even freeze – all instructions included!
Servings: 6 -8
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef
  • 22 saltine crackers, crushed
  • 1/3 cup dry minced onion
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 2 teaspoons ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce

  • 1 14 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup quality hoisin sauce (like Kikkoman or Lee Kum Kee)
  • 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Franks Buffalo Hot WINGS Sauce, or more to taste
  • 2 tablespoons red wine vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger

Instructions

  • Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Place a baking rack on top of a baking sheet. Set aside. If you don’t have a baking rack, line baking sheet with foil or parchment paper.
  • In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients, mix until well combined. Roll meat mixture into desired meatball size**. Place meatballs onto prepared baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes, or until lightly browned.
  • Meanwhile, whisk all of the Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce ingredients together in a bowl starting with just 1 tablespoon hot wings sauce if you’re not sure how spicy you want them. You can add more hot sauce to taste at the end of cooking.
  • Line the bottom of your slow cooker with meatballs, then a layer of Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce, then the remaining meatballs followed by the remaining. Sauce. Gently stir meatballs an hour after cooking.
  • Cover and cook on low heat for 2-4 hours (depending on size of meatballs) or until cooked through. Taste and stir in additional hot wings sauce (I use a total of 2 tablespoons which is moderately spicy). Keep warm until serving.

Video

Notes

Don’t miss the “how to make” recipe video at the top of the post!
*No other hot sauce will taste as good!!! But if you have to substitute, you may need to use quite a bit more as Franks Hot Wings Sauce (not their regular hot sauce) is quite spicy.
**Makes approximately 70 meatballs using 1″ cookie scoop; 35 meatballs using 2″ cookie scoop

STOVE TOP Cranberry Meatballs 

  • Brown the meatballs in the oven first per recipe instructions so they don’t fall apart when cooked.
  • Add sauce and browned/baked meatballs to a large pot and gently simmer over medium low heat for 20-25 minutes or until cooked through, stirring occasionally.

BAKED Cranberry Meatballs 

Yes! Increase the baking time to 15-20 minutes for small meatballs and 20-25 minutes for larger meatballs or until the meatballs are cooked through. Either add the cooked meatballs to the cranberry sauce in the crockpot and keep on the warm setting or add them to a large pot over low heat.

Cranberry Meatballs with store bought frozen meatballs

Part of the deliciousness of this Cranberry Meatball Recipe are the homemade meatballs, but you are welcome to use your favorite store-bought meatballs as well.  To make Cranberry Meatballs with store-bought meatballs, you will need one 32 oz. frozen fully cooked home style meatballs.
  • SLOW COOKER: 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.
  • STOVE TOP: Add sauce and meatballs to a large pot and gently simmer over medium low heat for 15-20 minutes for THAWED meatballs and 30-35 minutes for FROZEN meatballs, stirring occasionally.

Prep Ahead Cranberry Meatballs

  • Assemble and bake the meatballs for 5 minutes.
  • Let meatballs cool completely.
  • Gently layer meatballs in slow cooker in between layer of sauce per recipe directions.
  • Remove crockpot ceramic insert with meatballs/sauce and refrigerate, covered.
  • Add an additional 30 minutes to cooking time when ready to make OR cook until meatballs are completely cooked through and sauce is hot.
  • Alternatively, you can bake the meatballs for approximately 20 minutes or until cooked through, then just reheat in the sauce.
  •  

Can I freeze Cranberry Meatballs?

You can either freeze your Cranberry Meatballs after baking but before cooking in the slow cooker or once fully cooked in the sauce.

TO FREEZE CRANBERRY MEATBALLS AFTER COOKING:

  • Let Cranberry Meatballs and Sauce cool completely in the refrigerator before freezing.
  • Transfer to an airtight, freezer safe container.
  • Freeze for up to 3 months.
  • When ready to use, let meatballs thaw overnight in the refrigerator.
  • Transfer to a large pot and gently simmer until heated through.

TO FREEZE CRANBERRY MEATBALLS BEFORE COOKING:

  1. Bake Cranberry Meatballs according to directions.
  2. Let meatballs cool to room temperature.
  3. 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 and freeze in batches.  Freeze for 1-2 hours.
  4. When your meatballs are frozen enough that they won’t stick together, then transfer meatballs to freezer safe bags or containers.
  5. Label meatballs and store meatballs in the freezer for up to 3 months.
  6. You can also make the sauce, store in an airtight container and freeze separately from the meatballs.

How to Defrost Frozen Cranberry Meatballs

When ready to make, cook Cranberry Meatballs either on the stove, crockpot or oven/crockpot:
  1. STOVE: Add frozen meatballs and sauce to a large pot and simmer for 30 minutes or until cooked through, taking care not to stir the first 10 minutes so you don’t break the meatballs.
  2. CROCKPOT: Add frozen meatballs and sauce to crockpot and cook on low 6-8 hours or until cooked through and hot.
  3. OVEN/CROCKPOT: Defrost meatballs in the oven by baking at 350 degrees F  for 10 to 12 minutes. Meanwhile, defrost sauce in the microwave or stove, stirring often. Transfer meatballs and sauce to crockpot and cook on LOW for 2-4 hours or until completely cooked through.
 

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67 Comments

  1. Sandra Shaffer says

    That cranberry sauce on the meatballs looks delicious! Great appetizer. Actually, I could eat this as a main dish!

  2. sarah says

    I love that you did a homemade meatball. These look out of this world good!

  3. Rachael says

    They certainly look delicious. I can see why you would request them for birthdays!

  4. Shanna C says

    I’m looking forward to trying these! i L.O.V.E. meatballs! 🙂

    • Jen says

      I think you will love these Shanna! I am excited for you to try them!

      • Maura says

        Hi — I am a little late to this party, but I can’t wait to try these this Christmas! I am wondering if the meatballs can be prepared and/or cooked in advance (Steps 1 / 2), then tossed into the freezer. Then continuing the recipe on the day of….

        Thanks!

        • Jen says

          Hi Maura! You can definitely cook the meatballs in advance, I do this all the time and then put them in the fridge. I have never frozen them, but I am sure they would freeze just fine. Enjoy!

  5. Alexis says

    These look crazy good! I still have cranberry sauce so now I really want to make these. They remind me of sweet and sour meatballs that my mom used to make 🙂

    • Jen says

      Thank you Alexis! These are perfect for leftover cranberry sauce so I hope you get to make them soon! Enjoy!

  6. Karrie says

    Not only do these meatballs look great, but they are delicious. Great way to use that leftovers can of cranberry sauce. They were a hit.

    • Jen says

      YAY! I am so happy they were a hit Karrie! Thanks so much for letting me know :)!!!

  7. Audrey says

    Thank you for this INSANELY delicious recipe! I made these meatballs for New Years and they were gone so fast!

    • Jen says

      You are most welcome Audrey, I am so happy everyone loved them so much! I hope you have a very happy and healthy 2015!

  8. Bonita says

    I have made these 3 times, I broil the meatballs until brown on both sides, finish cooking in the crockpot, I hate having the oven on in Florida.. Thanks for the great recipe…

    • Jen says

      Hi Bonita, 3 times already, that makes my happy! You are most welcome – as my mom used to say “I love an appreciative eater!” 🙂 So happy you are enjoying the recipe and broiling is a great idea. Happy 2015!

    • Jen says

      You are so welcome Raschell and thank you for your kind words! I think you will love these 🙂

  9. Melanie K says

    These looks absolutely delicious!! Would bread crumbs work instead of saltine crackers? Thank you!!

    • Jen says

      Hi Melanie, I have never tried bread crumbs instead of saltines in this particular recipe, but I think they should work just fine. Enjoy!

  10. Jasmine says

    Hi! Thanks for sharing your recipe! Was just wondering if it would still be doable without the hot sauce? Have a toddler at home who can’t take spicy…

    • Jen says

      Hi Jasmine! I would suggest leaving out the hot sauce and reducing the sugar by 2 tablespoons. At the end of cooking you can taste and add a little hot sauce if you would like – or add it to only your portion. Hope this helps!

  11. nancy says

    Do you need a large crockpot for this? I have an older regular sized one. Thanks

    • Jen says

      Hi Nancy, a regular one should work just fine – enjoy!

  12. Rae says

    I made these for Christmas Eve and they were a hit. We all really enjoyed them and I’ll definitely make these again.

    • Jen says

      Awesome Rae, thank you! I am so happy to hear they were a hit! I hope you had a very Merry Christmas!

  13. Tara says

    Hi could these be cooked on the stove top? Please let me know how ! (Timing etc.)

    • Jen says

      Yes they can Tara! I would heat about 1/4-inch of oil in a skillet over medium heat, add meatballs and cook until browned on all sides then add Cranberry Sauce ingredients and turn to low and simmer gently for at least 30 minutes for optimum flavor. Enjoy!

  14. Kathy says

    Could i make these with ground chicken instead?

    • Jen says

      Hi Kathy, you certainly use ground chicken but just be aware that they might be as juicy as fattier proteins mean juicier meatballs. Also watch the cooking time more carefully because the lack of fat means they can overcook and become tough much more quickly. Hope this helps!

  15. Niki says

    Just made these for a holiday party this weekend. Wanted to leave feedback…because they were a HUGE HIT!

    • Jen says

      So sorry for my delayed response Niki, I have been super behind with all the holidays but THANK YOU so much for taking the time to comment! I am thrilled these were such a huge hit – yay! I hope you have the Happiest New Year!

  16. Patricia Lane says

    Hi, was reviewing the video carefully, could only see 28 meatballs on the bottom layer, and I think by the time you put the lid on, there was probably another layer – by the end, did that crockpot contain all 70 meatballs/2lb worth? or were those the 2″ scoop meatball size (=35)? I ask because I’m wondering if I can fit a double recipe worth of meatballs into my 6 qt crockpot and it looked like the pot was less than half full with what you prepared there. Would a double recipe of sauce be enough to cover 140 meatballs, do you think? thank you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Patricia! You should be able to fit double recipe in your 6qt. crockpot – it might be tight but should work. You will probably also want to increase the cooking time to closer to 3 hours. Hope this helps!

  17. Kerrie says

    Hi, What would u use for Franks sauces as I live in Australia and cannot get that sauce as it looks like some thing my family would eat

    • Jen says

      Hi Kerrie! I’m not sure what the appropriate Australian substitute is so the best bet is to use your favorite hot sauce and adjust with more or less to taste. Good luck!

      • Patricia says

        I also live in Sydney,Australia and you can buy Franks Hot Sauce in any Coles Supermarket. I have made all the Meatball Recipes and they are absolutely delicious!.I always double the sauce though,as my family cannot get enough of it. Thank you!

        • Jen says

          Thanks for the heads up on where to buy Franks Hot Sauce in Australia! I’m so happy this recipe is such a winner with your family!

  18. Julia says

    I have made this recipe so many times for my family and it is a huge hit in our house. It is one of my favorite recipes for the slow cooker. The sauce is amazing!! It’s the perfect blend of sweet and spicy and I love that it has cranberry sauce in it. I always have a can sitting in the cupboard left over from turkey dinner and never knew what to do with it. Thank you so much for sharing this delicious recipe!!

    • Jen says

      I love hearing how much you love this recipe Julia, thank you! You have me craving these meatballs for breakfast 🙂

  19. Audra says

    My mother made these for my 10 y/o son tonight (but w ground chicken) & he loved them so much, he ate about 15 of them (!!!) then got up, hugged her & said thanks for dinner Nani & asked me to make them for him lol Needless to say, that has landed me here. I’ll be making these soon! Thx for the recipe!! It’s not often my son loves something so much!

    • Jen says

      I love this – what a fabulous visual of your son hugging your mom! What a sweet, appreciative son – you must be a great mom! I am so happy they were such a hit and a new fav for a 10 year old! Thanks Audra for taking the time to bring a smile to my face!

  20. Tiffny says

    Hi!! I am a cooking teacher in Texas and want to do this my high school students. I have tons of leftover cans of jellied Cranberry sauce from a prior event that needs to be used. Will jellied cranberry sauce work in this recipe instead of whole?

    • Jen says

      Yes, I think that should work just fine! Enjoy!

  21. Meg says

    I”m really excited to try these! I’m prepping for thanksgiving and thought I’d make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. How long should I cook the meatball in the oven @ 400?

    • Jen says

      Hi Meg, for fully baked meatballs, bake them for around 20 minutes then check for doneness. Enjoy!

  22. Emily says

    Do you think I could defrost a bag of Trader Joe’s meatballs and throw them in the crockpot with the sauce ingredients still on low for 2 hours?

  23. Anna says

    Just stumbled on to this recipe and I would like to take them to a NYE party. Are these by any chance gluten free? My hostess is, and I’m hoping she’ll be able to enjoy them with the rest of us. Thank you!

    • Jen says

      Hi Anna, they are not gluten free. You would need to find a gluten free meatball recipe to use and a gluten free hoisin sauce. Hope that helps!

    • Bailey says

      Hi to make gluten free meatballs you just need to substitute the crackers for gluten free crackers. I make GF meatballs all the time and I use Schar table crackers, they work great!

  24. Joy says

    Hello ,
    I want to try it with Sweet Mango Habanero Sauce I have made . I am just wondering how much of the sauce should I put in with the meatballs?
    Thanks

    • Jen says

      Hi Joy, sorry for getting to you so late as it was during the crazy season! I hope your meatballs turned out delicious!

  25. Alex says

    I substituted 2 tbsp of the hot wing sauce with 2tbsp of the Sambal Oelek chili paste, and the saltine crackers with 2/3c of traditional bread crumbs (because that was what I had in my pantry and I didn’t want to make a trip to the grocery store), and the meatballs turned out perfect! The meatballs and the sauce went really well with mashed potatoes and some roasted carrots/broccoli for dinner. Definitely will make this again!

    • Jen says

      I’m so glad it worked out for you Alex! Sometimes we just have to work with what we’ve got and it still sounds so delicious! Hope you continue enjoying it 🙂

  26. Amy says

    My mother made these a few days ahead as a contribution to a family party we had tonight, froze and dropped them off. I thawed and popped them in a few hours before and they were the hit of the night! So so good. Had to post because my mother and I make your recipes all the time and we are the hit of all our family get togethers! We made sure to give you all the credit!! Thanks from fans in Northern VA!!

    • Jen says

      Thanks so much for your awesome comment Amy! I love hearing you and your mom love my recipes! What a great idea o make and freeze these meatballs in advance – I’m so pleased they were a hit! Happy New Year!

  27. Cyndi in NC says

    Thanks for the post from Anna. I was calculating how to make this gluten free as I have Celiac disease. But it’s something I’ve had to do for over 2 years now. I love your recipes and I love that you are in Carlsbad, one of me favorite places in California. (I live in North Carolina!) Also Kiwi is adorable!!

  28. Lynn says

    YUMMY! I reduced the the Frank’s Wing Sauce to 1 tbsp, only because one of our guests doesn’t care for spicy food. It was perfect!! Made it in the oven. This will be wonderful as an extra comfort meal at Thanksgiving or Christmas, or on any cold winter night, for sure!

    • Jen says

      Thanks for taking the time to comment Lynn, I’m so pleased these Cranberry Meatballs were such a hit!

  29. Sandra York says

    I used this cranberry sauce in pulled pork instead of making meatballs. Delicious

    • Jen says

      I LOVE that idea, can’t wait to try it, thanks Sandra!

  30. Connie says

    My family loves these meatballs!!! Your recipe has become a go-to for every occasion, whether at my house or someone else’s. I have made it over a dozen times in the last 2 years or so. My husband and I are going to a Super Bowl party this Sunday at one of our friends’ houses and we’re having a little chicken wing contest…bet you can guess what I’m thinking….I’m wondering how the sauce would work with chicken wings…? I’m thinking I’ll cook the wings in it in the crockpot and then take them out to broil in the oven just a bit before serving. I may have to put the sauce in a pan and bring it to a boil to reduce for a glaze on the finished product. Just wondered what your thoughts are…?

    • Jen says

      That makes me SO happy to hear the Cranberry Meatballs are such a repeat favorite! I think the wings would be fabulous with this sauce! You can make them in the crockpot or follow my baking directions for these Korean Wings https://carlsbadcravings.com/korean-chicken-wings/ (including the rub). enjoy!

  31. Stephanie says

    If I only used one pound of ground beef. Would I cut the other ingredients in half as well? How many meatballs
    Would one pound of ground Beef make? Like 35?

    • Jen says

      Hi Stephanie, I wouldn’t cut the recipe in half because they go so quickly and 2 lbs beef makes 35 regular meatballs (more if they are smaller). If you want to use 1 lb of beef, then yes, cut the rest of the ingredients in half. Good luck!