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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Table of Contents
- About Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
- What do these meatballs taste like?
- What’s in grape jelly meatballs?
- How long are they good for?
- Can you freeze these meatballs?
- How to reheat meatballs
- What can you serve with this?
- Notes & tips for grape jelly meatballs
- Other great appetizer recipes
- How to make Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Recipe Details
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.
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
- 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:
- Any type of mild-flavored rice dish, such as cilantro rice, fried rice, etc.
- Cooked greens, such as asparagus, green beans, or carrots (but ideally not sweet carrots – the meatballs bring enough sweetness on their own).
- Easy side dishes like coleslaw or broccoli salad.
- Classic breads like cheesy garlic bread or buttermilk cornbread.
- Fresh and leafy salads.
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!
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 3 – Cover slow cooker and cook.
Step 4 – Serve and enjoy!
Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
- 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.
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.