Slow Cooker Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

This post may contain affiliate links meaning if you buy from them, I will make a few pennies, at no cost to you. See disclosure here.

Sweet and spicy meatballs are the perfect appetizer for game day or any gathering made easy in the slow cooker. Doctoring up frozen meatballs in the crockpot is easy, delicious, and always a crowd pleaser!

overhead shot of meatballs in a slow cooker

Sweet & Spicy Meatballs

I am not much of a sports fan, but I am all for party food. Buffalo chicken dip, homemade salsa, instant pot hummus – you’ll find me in front of the spread.

These sweet and spicy, easy crockpot meatballs make the perfect addition to the lineup.

Not only are they the perfect candidate for football party food, this delicious meatball recipe is so easy to throw together, you’ll want them at all your parties (or just for dinner!).

You just need frozen meatballs and a few other ingredients, making them so easy!

Hanging out with friends and family > than spending all day in the kitchen so I like dishes with minimal effort when we have gatherings. Frozen meatballs in the crockpot are PERFECT!

Why you’ll love these Spicy Slow Cooker Meatballs

Family Favorite – Whether it is for a holiday appetizer, game day appetizer, or even as the main course, this delicious recipe is always a hit.

Easy Recipe – I like to have the slow cooker going at holiday parties with some of our favorite easy appetizers and this one is a great option!

All Occasions – Try bringing these to the next party you’re invited to. Christmas Eve, new years, holiday party, game day, or just a gathering, meatballs are always a great option! Plus, they’re so easy to serve out of the crock pot, just turn them to WARM and they’re ready to go.

sweet & spicy slow cooker meatball on a toothpick

Spicy Party Meatball Ingredients

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.

  • Meatballs – You’ll need a 2 lb bag of frozen meatballs. We usually opt for beef but turkey or plant based meatballs will work as well! Of course you could make homemade meatballs. They’re easy and it’s nice to have a batch in the freezer for these types of dishes.
  • Brown Sugar – Adds some of the sweet without being too much.
  • Honey – Honey in meatballs are a must for the sweet in this recipe.
  • Jalapeno KetchupHeinz makes a jalapeno ketchup but you can also make your own.
  • Sriracha Sauce – Sriracha is a chili sauce to add heat. If you don’t have any, Sambal Oelek (that I use in my spicy bbq sauce) will work as well.
  • Soy Sauce – I like to use low sodium soy sauce, which helps to balance the sweet & spicy. Coconut aminos could also be used.
  • Garlic – Mince up a few cloves for the sauce.
  • Sliced Green Onions – Used as a garnish for the meatballs. You can also use chopped cilantro instead.

Equipment you’ll need

  • Crockpot – I’ve had this slow cooker for years & highly recommend it. It switches to “warm” after the designated cooking time, which is super helpful.
  • Tongs – Love these for handling high temperatures since they have silicone tips.
  • Mixing bowls – I like the grippy bottoms so the bowls don’t slide around.
  • Whisk – This is the most comfortable whisk I think I’ve ever owned. Great for mixing.
sweet & spicy slow cooker meatballs on a plate

How to make Sweet and Spicy Meatballs

  1. STEP ONE: Add the meatballs into a slow cooker (you’ll want at least a 4 qt size – mine is 6 qt).
  2. STEP TWO: In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, ketchup, sriracha, soy sauce, and garlic until well combined.
  3. STEP THREE: Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs and toss to fully coat them. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours, or HIGH for 2-3 hours.
  4. STEP FOUR: Serve your meatballs hot, garnished with green onions or chopped cilantro.
stirring sweet & spicy slow cooker meatballs

What to serve with them

Some of our favorite recipes to serve with this spicy appetizer are hot wings, buffalo chicken dip, spinach artichoke dip, and taco dip.

Or, pair them with firecracker meatballs!

If you’re having them as a main dish, a great way to serve them is with brown rice or noodles and a veggie.

Follow them up with a sweet treat like brownies, cheesecake filled cupcakes, or Reese’s Pieces cookies.

How long to cook frozen meatballs in the crockpot

Frozen meatballs should cook for 2-3 hours on HIGH or 5-6 hours on LOW in the crockpot, stirring occasionally.

If you have time, low and slow really soaks up the flavors leaving you with moist and delicious meatballs.

Should I thaw meatballs before putting in the crockpot?

No. As long as you’ll be cooking your meatballs for at least 2 hours on HIGH, you don’t need to thaw them before you put them in the crockpot. They come fully cooked and just need to warm through.

If you don’t have at least 2 hours of cook time, start with thawed meatballs.

How to store leftovers

Store leftover spicy party meatballs in an airtight container for up to 3-4 days in the refrigerator.

Can I freeze them?

I don’t recommend it, no. Since you start with frozen meatballs, I wouldn’t refreeze them. Once is enough.

sweet & spicy slow cooker meatballs on a plate with a toothpick on top

More meatball recipes

Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs

Cranberry Meatballs

Grape Jelly Meatballs

Spicy Buffalo Meatballs

Slow Cooker Pineapple Teriyaki Meatballs

Click here for my entire collection of meatball recipes.

sweet & spicy slow cooker meatballs on a plate with text that reads crockpot sweet and spicy meatballs

Connect with Persnickety Plates!

Follow along on my social media so you never miss a post!

I made a fun group on Facebook for sharing recipes, asking questions, and talking about food. I’d love to have you! Request to join HERE.

Also, sign up to receive an email in your inbox for each new recipe:


If you MAKE & LOVE this recipe, share it on Instagram and tag me @melissa_pplates and/or #persnicketyplates so I can see it. I LOVE seeing what you make & I’ll share it in my stories!

It is VERY HELPFUL to me and other readers if you leave a review after you make my recipe. Please come back & let me know how it turned out!

overhead shot of meatballs in a slow cooker

Sweet and Spicy Slow Cooker Meatballs

Melissa Williams | Persnickety Plates
Sweet and spicy meatballs are the perfect appetizer for game day or any gathering made easy in the slow cooker. Doctoring up frozen meatballs in the crockpot is easy, delicious, and always a crowd pleaser!
4.71 from 103 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 60 meatballs
Calories 17 kcal



  • 2 pounds frozen fully cooked meatballs
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup honey
  • 1 cup jalapeno ketchup
  • 3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
  • ¼ cup soy sauce
  • 3 cloves garlic minced
  • Sliced green onions or chopped cilantro optional


  • Pour meatballs into a slow cooker.
  • In a bowl, whisk together the brown sugar, honey, ketchup, sriracha, soy sauce and garlic until combined.
  • Pour the sauce over the frozen meatballs and toss to fully coat. Cook on LOW for 5-6 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours.
  • Serve garnished with sliced green onions or chopped cilantro.


We use beef meatballs. Turkey or plant based will work as well!
You’ll want to use at least a 4 quart slow cooker. 
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for 3-4 days.


Serving: 1gCalories: 17kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 1gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gSodium: 108mgPotassium: 19mgFiber: 1gSugar: 4gVitamin A: 22IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 3mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional information is an estimate and provided to you as a courtesy. You should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe using your preferred nutrition calculator.

Tried this recipe? Tag me!Mention @melissa_pplates or tag #persnicketyplates!

Sharing of this recipe is both encouraged and appreciated. Copying/pasting and/or screenshots of full recipes to any social media is strictly prohibited. Content and photographs are copyright protected.

Reader Interactions

    Share Your Thoughts

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating

    This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

  1. Jerrie Sanders says

    5 stars
    I made this last night for dinner. It was absolutely delicious!!!

    • Melissa Williams says

      I’m so happy to hear that – thanks for reporting back!!

  2. Vicki Brown says

    I’m about to make this recipe however my crock pot is on the fritz. Can I put this in the oven on a low temp and cook it?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Yep, just make sure they’re warmed through. I would check them with my meat thermometer to make sure they hit 165°.

  3. Vicki Brown says

    Thanks Melissa. I’ll let you know how they turn out. 😀

  4. Lena says

    5 stars
    These meatballs are a hit with my husband and his friends. They go great with beer.

  5. Summre says

    My crockpot cracked last night. 😭 Can these be made in a pressure cooker or ditch oven?

    • Melissa Williams says

      Oh no! Yes, I’d go with the dutch oven and let them simmer for at least an hour. Make sure the meatballs are heated through.

  6. Pam says

    5 stars
    I made these last night and they came out so delicious. Easy to follow and my family loved your recipe for these meatballs. Will be making it again that’s for sure! Thank you!

    • Melissa Williams says

      Thank you, Pam! I love hearing that 🙂

  7. Rachel says

    Would this work on low for the 6 hours and be ok on the warm setting until around 6?

    • Melissa Williams says

      It should. How many hours total would that be? Sometimes meatballs can absorb *too* much of the sauce and it changes the flavor. That would be my only concern.

  8. Lisa says

    5 stars
    Very delicious

  9. Sara says

    5 stars
    AMAZING!!! I made these last week for a baby shower. I’d looked at all the reviews & since it was especially for a “guys” shower I needed something with some spiciness. This side dish was the 1st gone!! Everyone loved it, I did 3lbs. of meatballs & used my Instapot on slow cooker for 3hrs. then on warming till the party. I will definitely be making these again soon for sure! Thnx so much for the great recipe. I couldn’t find sirachi sauce @ my local mrkts. So I found this brand (TABAÑERO SIRACHA HONEY) it has a kick so I had to add an extra Tbsp. of reg (Nate’s Organic Raw). I’m such an appetizer person & this was a lifesaver!!!

  10. dawn harrison says

    what can I substitute for the ketchup or can I omit it?

    • Melissa Williams says

      It won’t be the same without it. What’s the reason for subbing?

  11. Andrea R Walker says

    5 stars
    Delicious! I have made it twice in the last 2 weeks for Sunday football. Making it again tomorrow. Thanks for the recipe! I used dark brown sugar, and also added a little liquid smoke.

Melissa Williams/Persnickety Plates is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. For more details, please see my Privacy Policy & Disclosures page.