These Honey Garlic Meatballs are sweet with a little bit of heat. Made easy in the slow cooker, they are perfect for dinner or to serve as an appetizer.
Start with your favorite frozen meatballs (beef, chicken, turkey, plant/veggie) and add the simple sauce for a meal that will impress.
Slow Cooker Honey Garlic Meatballs
I’ve been on a meatball kick lately and these crockpot honey garlic meatballs are next in the lineup.
They are simple to make – pick your favorite frozen meatballs, add them to the slow cooker, then whip up the sweet and spicy honey garlic sauce to pour over the top.
The sauce is the same sauce I use in my popular crockpot honey bourbon chicken recipe, which is actually bourbon-less and I’m constantly reminded of (it gets people all riled up! lol).
The sauce is named after Bourbon Street but to avoid confusion this go-round, I’m just calling these honey garlic meatballs.
After a few hours in the slow cooker, you’ll have a dish ready to serve with some sides, or stick some toothpicks in them and serve them as an appetizer.
Why you’ll love these Honey Garlic Crockpot Meatballs
- They’re delicious! The sauce is the perfect blend of sweet and spicy.
- They’re easy. Because you start with frozen meatballs, there’s hardly any work to be done and because they’re made in the slow cooker, they’re very hands-off.
- They’re versatile. Don’t like beef? Use chicken meatballs. Vegetarian? Use plant based meatballs.
- They’re also versatile in that they can be used as your main protein with a side like rice, or you can serve them as an appetizer.
Equipment needed to make slow cooker meatballs
- Slow Cooker – I like to use this 6 quart and love that it turns itself to WARM after the designated cook time. This makes it perfect for serving out of.
- Mixing Bowl – To mix up the sauce, you’ll need a medium bowl.
- Veggie Chopper – My new favorite kitchen tool, this little gadget makes chopping onions so easy.
Ingredients for Honey Garlic Meatballs
Below is a list of the ingredients you’ll need to gather to make this recipe. Scroll all the way down for the full recipe card.
- Frozen Meatballs – You can use any variety (beef, turkey, chicken, pork, plant/veggie), just make sure they’re fully cooked and frozen. You can also make homemade meatballs, but cook time will adjust.
- Honey – Local honey is best, if you can get it, but honey from the market will work just as well.
- Soy Sauce – I use low sodium soy sauce in all my dishes to cut back on the sodium content.
- Ketchup – Ketchup brings a nice tangy, acidic balance to the sauce.
- Oil – Use a light oil. I like olive oil, but vegetable oil works as well.
- Garlic – Fresh minced garlic or garlic packed in oil work. I use whichever I have on hand.
- Onion– You’ll dice up half an onion, I like to use white onion for the flavor.
- Red Pepper Flakes – If you don’t like heat, you can skip the red pepper flakes but it helps to balance the sweetness from the honey.
How to make Honey Garlic Meatballs in the Slow Cooker
- STEP ONE: Make the Sauce. In a medium mixing bowl, add all of the sauce ingredients and whisk together.
- STEP TWO: Slow Cook. Pour the frozen meatballs into the slow cooker and pour the sauce over them. Stir to distribute and cover with the lid. Cook on HIGH for 2.5-3 hours.
- STEP THREE: Serve. That’s it! They’re done. Give the meatballs a stir and top with sliced green onions, if you like.
What to serve with Honey Garlic Meatballs
If you’re serving them as an appetizer, stick toothpicks in them and have them on the table alongside some dips like garlic herb dip, buffalo chicken dip, spinach artichoke dip, or with other finger foods like cheesy asparagus puffs or baked green bean fries.
Substitutions and Additions
These meatballs are flexible.
The recipe will work the same with beef, chicken, pork, turkey, or veggie/plant based meatballs, just make sure you start with fully cooked frozen meatballs. If you use homemade meatballs, that is fine, you’ll just have to cook them longer.
If you want to cut down on the sweetness, you can decrease the amount of honey to half a cup.
If you don’t have olive oil, you can use vegetable or canola oil.
To save on sodium, you can use low sodium soy sauce. I actually recommend it.
If you don’t like heat (or have heat sensitive kids), skip the red pepper flakes.
How to reheat and store them
How long will honey garlic meatballs last in the fridge?
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.
Best way to reheat leftovers
If you’re reheating a single serving, popping the meatballs into the microwave is the quickest option. If you have a large portion to reheat, placing them back in the slow cooker will evenly heat them.
Crockpot Honey Garlic Meatballs FAQs
Can you put frozen meatballs in the slow cooker?
Yes, you can put frozen meatballs in the slow cooker, you just need to allow them enough time (at least 2 hours) to fully thaw/cook.
How long to cook frozen meatballs in the crockpot?
Because most frozen meatballs are fully cooked when frozen (check your bag to make sure), you’re really just reheating them in the slow cooker.
Depending on your slow cooker (they all cook a bit differently), you’ll likely only need 2.5-3 hours on HIGH. If you prefer to cook them on LOW, give them 4-6 hours.
Should I thaw meatballs before putting in the crockpot?
If your recipe has the meatballs cooking for at least 2 hours, then you don’t need to thaw them first. If you are just heating them through in something like a soup, then you should thaw them first just to be safe.
How do I thicken the sauce?
The sauce comes out a bit thin. If you prefer it thicker, you can use a cornstarch slurry. To a small bowl, whisk together 2 Tablespoons cold water with 1 Tablespoon cornstarch. Once whisked, spoon in a bit of the sauce from the slow cooker, mix, and then pour back in & stir to thicken.
Other meatball recipes you’ll love:
- 3 Ingredient Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs
- Sweet & Spicy Slow Cooker Meatballs
- Cheese Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
- Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs
Click here for my entire collection of slow cooker recipes.
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