These easy grape jelly meatballs are great for parties, as a starter, or even for dinner with the right sides.
They’re sweet, savory, and scrumptious.
This easy-to-follow recipe yields enough meatballs to feed a dozen people! And every bite is smothered in a sweet-n-tangy homemade grape jelly glaze.
Not only is it incredibly flavorful, but it’s also effortless to make.
You can prepare it with as few as three ingredients and just pop it in the slow cooker.
Best of all, everyone – kids and adults alike – loves grape jelly meatballs.
Crockpot Meatballs with Grape Jelly Sauce
If you’ve ever had grape jelly meatballs, you know how awesome they are.
If not, I suggest you head to the kitchen because they’re too good to miss!
Start with frozen meatballs (homemade or storebought), then drown them in your favorite grape jelly.
Chili sauce adds a sweet-spicy kick, and cayenne brings a warm heat you’ll love.
Serve them over rice or pasta or with a potato side dish. No matter how you serve them, they’re sure to please.
If you’ve jumped down to the recipe below, your eyes aren’t deceiving you. You need just four ingredients (three if you don’t want to add any heat).
Here’s what they are:
- Meatballs: You can’t have grape jelly meatballs without meatballs! So grab a bag of frozen cocktail meatballs from Sam’s Club to make prep a breeze. You’ll need 3-5 pounds.
- Heinz chili sauce: Some people swap this out for BBQ sauce or ketchup, but I think chili sauce gives the meatballs the best contrast between sweet and savory. Heinz chili sauce is my go-to, but you can swap out the brand if you prefer.
- Grape jelly: Use whatever grape jelly you like best. Smuckers, Welch’s, or any other brand will work fine.
- Cayenne pepper: The cayenne in this recipe is optional. But it brings a nice layer of heat under the sweetness.
That’s it! Those four things are all you’ll need to make succulent, saucy meatballs the whole family will love.
How to Make Grape Jelly Meatballs
Think the ingredients list is simple? Just wait until you see the directions!
1. Combine the sauce ingredients in a bowl. Warm them in a pan if you like, but they’ll come together in the slow cooker.
2. Toss the frozen meatballs in a slow cooker. You don’t have to do anything special to them – no thawing or pre-cooking required. Just toss them in while they’re still frozen.
3. Pour the sauce on top of the meatballs. Stir it a little to coat the meatballs thoroughly.
4. Let the slow cooker do its thing. Leave the meatballs simmering in the sauce on low for 3 to 4 hours. The sauce will thicken as the meatballs cool down after cooking.
Can I Make Meatballs on the Stove Instead?
I like to cook grape jelly meatballs in the slow cooker because it’s easy and hands-off.
But yes, you can totally cook them on the stove if you prefer. Here’s how:
- Add the grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne to a tall, heavy-bottom saucepan.
- Mix to combine, then add the meatballs.
- Mix well to coat the meatballs.
- Turn the heat on to medium and simmer until the meatballs are cooked – about 15 minutes.
How to Store Leftovers
Storing leftover meatballs is just as easy as making them.
Make sure they’re cold – like, totally cold – and transfer them to an airtight container.
Stick them in the fridge, somewhere near the front, for 3 or 4 days.
When you want to reheat them, dump the whole lot into a saucepan and cook on medium until warm.
You may need to add a bit of water to loosen the sauce. Or a little extra grape jelly,
How to Serve the Meatballs
You can serve these straight from the Crockpot if you’re headed to a party or event. Doing so will keep them warm.
And while they taste great by themselves, they also pair well with:
- Mashed potatoes
- Sweet potato fries
- In a sub
Don’t be afraid to cook them with veggies, either. They taste phenomenal with sautéed onions and peppers.
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