Tender meatballs slow cooked in a simple grape jelly and chili sauce. These meatballs make for the perfect simple savory party appetizer or easy dinner idea!
Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe
When I first heard of making crockpot meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce, I thought it was weird. I wasn’t sold. But hear me out.
This classic cocktail appetizer has been around for many years for a reason. Made with just three ingredients – frozen meatballs, grape jelly, and chili sauce – it has stood the test of time because it is so easy and so good. It’s getting place in my collection of 3 ingredient crockpot recipes.
I’ve been on a roll with meatballs lately. Honey Garlic Meatballs, Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs, Sweet & Spicy Meatballs, and now Grape Jelly Meatballs. All perfect to pass at a party or serve for dinner.
Why you’ll love Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly and Chili Sauce
- Easy! You can’t beat three ingredients and less than 2 minutes of prep.
- They feed a crowd and are easily doubled.
- You can use your favorite meatballs, including plant based.
- Kids and adults love them!
Equipment needed to make Meatballs with Grape Jelly
- Slow Cooker – Of course you’ll need a slow cooker. My slow cooker of choice is a 6 quart that I’ve had for years and still recommend.
- Serving Spoon – Use slotted if you don’t want a ton of sauce.
- Cocktail Picks – These are fun and fancy instead of boring toothpicks.
Ingredients for Grape Jelly Meatballs
Below is a list of ingredients to help you prep. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
Meatballs – Use your favorite frozen meatballs (beef, chicken, pork, or plant based) or make homemade meatballs.
Chili Sauce – Chili sauce is found in the ketchup aisle. I like Heinz.
Grape Jelly – Grape jelly (though jam will work as well). We use Smuckers.
How to make this Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe
Are you ready for this? It’s so simple. Definitely one the kids could help with.
STEP ONE: First, pour the meatballs into the slow cooker and top with the grape jelly and chili sauce. Stir it up until fully combined and all the meatballs are coated.
STEP TWO: Then, cover the cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours.
STEP THREE: That’s it! Stir before serving and turn the slow cooker to WARM for serving.
What to serve with grape jelly meatballs
If serving as an appetizer
If you’re serving these meatballs as an appetizer, I would include them in a spread alongside Crockpot Buffalo Chicken Dip, Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies, and Rotel Dip with Ground Beef.
If serving for dinner
If you’re serving them for dinner, my husband likes them with buttered noodles but they’re also great with garlic mashed potatoes and oven roasted carrots.
If you’re serving them at a party, some drinks that pair nicely include a ranch water cocktail, a fuzzy navel, or some berry sangria.
Always have to have dessert! If serving these on a game day, chocolate covered peanut butter footballs are appropriate. Mini cheesecakes, Reese’s peanut butter cup cookies, or frosted sugar cookie bars are good handheld desserts as well.
Tips and Suggestions
- Feeding a big crowd? You can easily double the recipe, just make sure your slow cooker is large enough.
- For easy serving, leave the meatballs in the slow cooker set to WARM.
- Don’t have jelly? You can use jam, the texture is just a bit different.
- Can’t find chili sauce? You can use your favorite BBQ sauce in its place.
How to reheat and store Meatballs with Grape Jelly
How to store leftovers
Leftovers should be stored covered in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Can I freeze them?
I don’t recommend freezing these meatballs. Since you start with frozen meatballs, I wouldn’t refreeze them. Once is enough.
How to reheat
You can reheat by putting them back into the slow cooker (they’ll warm up pretty quickly from the fridge) or pop them in the microwave. Or even on the stovetop.
Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs FAQs
Do you thaw the meatballs before putting them in the slow cooker?
Nope, they go in frozen, which is one of the reasons why this is such an easy recipe.
Can you use grape jam instead of jelly for meatballs?
Yes, you can use jam instead of jelly. Jelly is made from fruit juice and jam uses both the fruit pulp and juice, so the texture is a bit different.
How do you thicken sauce in meatballs?
If you’d like a thicker sauce, make a cornstarch slurry by mixing 1 tablespoon cornstarch with 2 tablespoons of cold water in a small bowl. Once it is mixed, spoon in some of the sauce from the slow cooker, stir it up, then pour it into the slow cooker and stir to distribute.
Can I make them on the stove?
Yes, if you don’t want (or don’t have time) to slow cook them, you can cook the meatballs on the stovetop. Add all ingredients to a large pot and let them simmer until heated through, stirring occasionally.
Need more easy appetizer recipes? Try these:
Baked Brie with Pecans and Honey
Loaded Zucchini Skins
Macaroni & Cheese Flatbread
Garlic Herb Dip
Click here for my entire collection of appetizer recipes.
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This is a super easy, and affordable, dinner idea or appetizer. I made mine in the crockpot and made some mash potatoes with it on the side. Thanks for this yummy recipe. Roxanne
Melissa Williams says
Thank you , Roxanne! I love hearing that.
This is a super easy, and affordable, dinner idea or appetizer. I made mine in the crockpot and made some mash potatoes with it on the side. Thanks for this yummy recipe.
Virginia Smith says
Can you do the jelly meatballs in the oven if so how long to cook them
Melissa Williams says
Sure, about 30 minutes at 300°F should do. I’d put them in a dutch oven.