Chili Cranberry Crockpot Meatballs are THE go-to party appetizer recipe for me. Savory, sweet + tangy, these are the best meatballs ever. I have made them three times already this holiday season, and it isn't even Christmas yet.
I'll give you three reasons why this party appetizer recipe is a win-win:
- These are tasty little sweet and sour meatballs bursting with tangy chili and cranberry flavor.
- Crockpot recipe magic.
This yummy recipe just might make an appearance at New Years and the Superbowl, too!
It isn't a party until the Chili Cranberry Crockpot Meatballs show up.
Is it just me, or are crockpot meatballs a party classic? Time to jazz them up a little. You've got two choices for this easy and delicious party appetizer recipe.
Choice Number One: Buy pre-cooked frozen meatballs. There is no shame in the meatball game. If you go this route you can scroll on down to the easiest part of this recipe.
As a matter of fact, if you are short on time (and most of us are during the holiday season), this is the best option.
HOWEVAH....if you have a little time and prefer tastier meatballs...
Choice Number Two: Make your own meatballs. It isn't that hard and the Chili Cranberry Crockpot Meatballs will taste twice as good.
Plus you get to play with your food.
One of my tricks to get delicious homemade meatballs : cook finely diced peppers and onions in a little bit of butter before you add them to your meatball mixture. Not sure if it is the butter that helps. Or maybe cooking the vegetables first that makes the peppers and onions taste sweeter, but it works.
Use a tablespoon sized measure to scoop out evenly portioned amounts of the meatball mixture.
Roll them up between your hands and place them on a broiler pan.
The meatballs don't have to be perfect, but try to get them all the same size. You don't want some burned and some pink.
Now, close your eyes. Go ahead. Imagine a pan full of lovely and perfectly browned meatballs right out of the oven. Can you see them in your mind?
Great! Because I failed to take a picture of the finished product. Foodie Fail!
On to the sauce, which is my favorite part of the Chili Cranberry Crockpot Meatballs. You have probably tried a combination of grape jelly and BBQ sauce before, right?
This is the same concept, only with different flavors. Cranberry sauce and two types of chili sauce. Yep!
Straight outta the can. Love me some easy. Plus this combination of ingredients gives a traditional recipe new life.
(Speaking of a new twist on traditional recipes, have you tried our Bacon Green Bean Casserole yet?)
Just whisk together your choice of cranberry sauce (jellied or whole berry), tomato-type chili sauce, and Thai-style sweet chili sauce. This sauce is a blend of tangy sweet, just a little bit of spice, and a hint of tart.
(BONUS: Chili Cranberry Crockpot Meatballs make a great dinner with steamed broccoli and rice.)
Drop your pre-cooked meatballs in, stir gently to coat, and fire up that crockpot, people!
(We used a 5 quart crock pot. Cook on high for 1 hours, turn to low and simmer for another hour. Then turn on keep warm while serving.)
They look amazing, right?? Perfect for a hungry crowd of party animals.
Check out more recipes for all the holiday parties:
Chili-Chili Cranberry Meatballs
- 48 - 64 meatballs precooked, homemade or frozen**
- 14 ounces jellied cranberry sauce
- 14 ounces whole berry cranberry sauce
- 12 ounces chili sauce tomato-type sauce
- 1 cup Thai sweet chili sauce
If Making Our Meatballs
- 2 pounds lean ground beef
- 2 eggs
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
- ¼ cup milk
- ¼ cup finely minced bell pepper
- ¼ cup finely minced onion
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tablespoon butter
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon black pepper
- ½ teaspoon garlic powder
- In a small bowl pour the milk over the bread crumbs, set aside.
- In a skillet, melt butter. Saute the bell pepper and onions until tender, about 5 to 7 minutes.
- In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, pepper and onions, eggs, bread crumb mixture, and remaining ingredients.
- Using a small spoon or scoop, portion out and roll the meat mixture with your hands into 1 inch (or smaller) sized balls.
- Place the balls evenly on the broiler pan. Bake for 15 minutes.
- If you do not have enough room on your pan to bake them all at once, store the meat mixture in the refrigerator while the first batch is baking.
- In a crockpot, whisk together the cranberry sauces and chili sauces.
- Add the meatballs (warm or frozen). Cook on high for 1 hour, reduce heat to low and simmer for another hour.
- Can keep on warm for several hours.