Tender meatballs slow cooked in a sweet chili sauce made with grape jelly and chili sauce. Makes for a fun changeup of traditional cocktail meatballs and great for serving at parties and potlucks.

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Bowl full of grape jelly meatballs with a tiny skewer poking one meatball.

About Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

When it comes to fun, easy appetizers, nothing beats the versatility of a meatball, and this grape jelly meatballs recipe is no exception.

Whether you’re serving them on toothpicks or as part of another dish, these sweet chili cocktail meatballs are guaranteed to be a hit. The sauce itself has just three ingredients. Yet, its spot-on sweet and spicy flavor doesn’t hint at its simplicity.

Plus, once you’ve served this, your guests will be able to boast that they’ve had this fabled southern-favorite-turned-Pinterest-popular recipe, giving them some culinary street cred.

And who doesn’t want more notches on their culinary belt??

They’re like merit badges, but for food.

What do these meatballs taste like?

This recipe has a combination of grape jelly (sweet) and chili sauce (spicy), so the best comparison would probably be a meat dish with a sweet chili glaze. They’re a savory snack with a sweet kick.

I personally feel this recipe is more sweet than spicy, but if you’d like the sauce to have little more kick, just adjust the amount of cayenne pepper until you have enough heat.

What’s in grape jelly meatballs?

Before you whip up a big slow cooker full of these grape jelly meatballs, you’ll need to gather the following ingredients:

  • Meatballs – The star of the show! And while this recipe is easy to customize to whatever meatball you’d like, Italian or Swedish meatballs are recommended.
  • Grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper – Blending the core ingredients of this sauce recipe for a sweet, fruity, and spicy flavor. If you’d like the meatballs to be more mild, skip the cayenne pepper.

How long are they good for?

Once prepared and cooled, this sweet and spicy appetizer can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed container for up to three to four days.

Can you freeze these meatballs?

Yes, you totally can!

If you’re saving leftovers, allow the meatballs and sauce to cool and then store them in a sealable bag or container.

If you’re meal prepping just to have the meatballs on hand for later, you can add the meatballs (fresh or frozen) to a sealed container or freezer bag, cover them with the prepared grape jelly sauce, seal the bag, and then store in the freezer.

Grape jelly meatballs can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

When you’re ready to eat, thaw the meatballs in the refrigerator overnight, then reheat them as desired.

Large bowl of meatballs covered in grape jelly sauce.

How to reheat meatballs

When ready to reheat the leftovers, allow the meatballs to sit on the counter for 30 minutes to come to room temperature, then use the following guidelines for bringing these grape jelly meatballs back to their original tastiness:

  • Microwave method
    • Place meatballs in a microwave-safe dish.
    • Cover the dish with a microwave-safe lid, paper towel, or paper plate, ensuring that there’s a loose corner to vent the steam.
    • Heat on medium power for one to two minutes, or until heated through. Check and stir every 30 seconds to ensure even heating.
  • Oven method
    • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
    • Place meatballs in a baking dish, preferably in a single layer.
    • Heat for about 15-20 minutes, or until they’re heated through. For frozen meatballs, you might need to extend the time.
  • Stovetop method
    • Place meatballs in a skillet or saucepan.
    • If you have a sauce, add it now; it will help rehydrate the meatballs and prevent them from drying out.
    • Cover and heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until meatballs are heated through. This usually takes about 10 minutes.
  • Slow cooker method
    • Add meatballs (and sauce, if using) to the slow cooker.
    • Cover and heat on the LOW setting until they’re warmed through, anywhere from one to two hours.

What can you serve with this?

These cocktail meatballs work great as a meal by themselves (either served right out of the slow cooker or on a serving tray with toothpicks or skewers), but you can also have them as a meal if you’d like.

When serving, I’d recommend pairing grape jelly meatballs with:

Notes & tips for grape jelly meatballs

  • This recipe is great for making larger batches. I’ve doubled and tripled the recipe with great success.
  • If serving these as an appetizer, be sure you have toothpicks for easy handling and eating!
  • Any type of meatball should work in this recipe, but Italian or Swedish is recommended.
  • If you find yourself using your slow cooker often, I highly recommend a unit that can cook in multiple sizes. This Choose-A-Crock Programmable Slow Cooker comes with 2.5 Quart, 4 Quart, and 6 Quart pots, so you can always pick the exact size you need. It can also take some pressure off of cleanup, should one of the pots need some extra TLC (hey, accidents happen!) before you’re ready to cook your next meal. Overall it’s so nice to have one unit that can make both fabulous dinners and heat up party dips!
Close up of a bowl full of grape jelly meatballs, showing off the texture of the sauce.

Other great appetizer recipes

How to make Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

This next part is only a photo tutorial of the recipe steps. If you’re looking for the full recipe measurements and instructions, scroll down to Recipe Details.

Step 1 – In a medium bowl, whisk together grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper. Do your best to get the sauce smooth, but it’s okay if you’re having trouble breaking up the grape jelly; the heat from the slow cooker will melt them.

Step 2 – Toss the frozen meatballs into a slow cooker, then drizzle the grape jelly sauce on top. Use a spoon or spatula to quickly toss the meatballs to coat them.

Step 3 – Cover slow cooker and cook.

Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!

Recipe Details

Bowl full of grape jelly meatballs with a tiny skewer poking one meatball.
4.38 from 74 votes

Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

5 minutes prep + 2 hours cook
437 kcal
Yields: 8 servings (6 meatballs per)
Tender meatballs slow cooked in a sweet sauce made with grape jelly and chili sauce. Makes for a fun changeup of traditional cocktail meatballs for parties!



  • In a medium bowl, add grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper. Use a whisk to break up jelly and mix into chili sauce. It's okay if sauce isn't completely smooth; jelly will melt in slow cooker. Taste test sauce and adjust cayenne pepper, if needed.
    1 1/2 cups grape jelly, 12 ounces chili sauce, 1 pinch cayenne pepper
  • Add frozen meatballs to a slow cooker. Pour grape jelly sauce on top and use a spatula toss and coat meatballs.
    48 meatballs
  • Cover slow cooker and cook on HIGH for 2 hours or LOW for 4 hours.
  • Serve grape jelly meatballs immediately.


Serving: 1serving | Calories: 437kcal | Carbohydrates: 52g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 18g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 8g | Cholesterol: 60mg | Sodium: 637mg | Potassium: 448mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 37g | Vitamin A: 300IU | Vitamin C: 13mg | Calcium: 33mg | Iron: 1mg

I do my best to provide nutrition information, but please keep in mind that I’m not a certified nutritionist. Any nutritional information discussed or disclosed in this post should only be seen as my best amateur estimates of the correct values.

Author: Chrisy

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Recipe Rating


    • Shannon
    • 5 stars

    My family absolutely loves this recipe!! They like a little more kick so I add extra cayenne pepper to it. I’ve made this for big family gatherings as well. It’s a requested potluck item each time.

    • Jacky

    Can one substitute grape jam for grape jelly? Picked up jam instead of jelly.

    • Nikki

    Thank you for including the nutritional information. I see that you have listed 103 Kcal per serving, but could you elaborate on how many meatballs are in a serving?

    • Marina
    • 5 stars

    My grandma makes this every year for Christmas Eve, everyone loves them!

    • Nana

    I’ve made these for over 20 years but I’ve used the same amount grape jelly and BBQ sauce they came out fantastic. You can also use apricot jam and barbecue sauce. Try it
    they are both fantastic.

    • Cassandra D Freeman

    Also I’ve always just used grape jelly and chilli sauce nothing else

    • Cassandra D Freeman

    I love this dish but would like to have a little more spice to it but crazy any ideas?

      • Tim Emerson

      Have you tried adding more red pepper? Maybe try it with a jalapeño jelly?

    • Barb

    Can you use sweet chili sauce?? with grape jelly

    • Megan
    • 5 stars

    Hi, I just made this cocktail meatballs the the other night and froze them in the sauce. Although the meatballs are frozen, I found that the jelly/chili sauce mixture is not totally frozen…is this because the jelly doesn’t freeze well?

    • Pomeroys.ca

    I added haberno BBQ sauce with one jar grape jelly and about 3 shots of Fireball cinnamon whisky.

    Turned out great!

      • Pomeroys.ca
      • 5 stars

      *Tequila habanero sauce – PC brand from Zehrs

    • Amy

    Added a splash of bourbon! This also great with hot dogs or lil smokies

    • Rita Odom
    • 5 stars

    Made these meatballs for a party this weekend, I doubled the recipe to 4lbs! Huge success, they were all eaten.

    • Jodi
    • 5 stars

    I make these with 1/2 jalapeno jam and 1/2 blackberry jam. (I used what I had on hand). No cayenne. Deliciousness with a spicy kick.

      • Tim Emerson

      I was curious about jalapeño jelly. It was good? I like spicy sweet. Have you tried all jalapeño jelly?

    • Steve Sut
    • 4 stars

    I add 2 TBS of did mustard powder and juice of half a lemon…..instead of chilli sauce use Salsa sauce….I like my hot.

    • Bonita hunt

    I made this recipe but what I did different I use lean ground beef and made my own meatballs delicious