When you think of meatball appetizers, you probably think of glazed Hawaiian meatballs or the traditional Swedish meatballs.
Those are both excellent options. However, they are far from being the only options.
Meatball appetizers can include anything from sticky Asian meatballs and mini meatball subs to banh mi meatball lettuce cups and meatball bombs.
In short, there are many things from which you can choose, but each one is flavorful, filling, and, of course, meaty.
For this list, I’ve pulled together a list of my 20 favorite meatball appetizers.
I hope you enjoy trying them as much as I enjoy writing about them. Did your favorite meatball dish make the list?
Tasty Cocktail Meatballs!
1. Lil’ Smokies and Meatballs Appetizer
This scrumptious, protein-packed appetizer is perfect for when a single meat just won’t do.
All you’ll need to make it are little smokies, frozen meatballs, BBQ sauce, chili sauce, grape jelly, and a Crockpot or slow cooker.
Whether you prefer little smokies or meatballs, both will share the same great sweet and spicy flavor that’ll make you keep coming back for more.
2. Slow Cooker Bourbon Meatballs
If you’re looking for a Crockpot meatball appetizer with a smokier, more savory flavor, try these bourbon meatballs instead.
Thanks to the honey and molasses, they still retain an underlying sweetness, but the bourbon, chili sauce, and Worcestershire sauce make them much richer and more complex.
3. Meatball Sliders
These meatball sliders are a cheesy, saucy mess, but you’ll love every last bite.
If you’re looking for a fun, individualized way to serve your guests a delicious Italian treat, give these little sliders a try.
4. Swedish Meatballs
It seems crazy that Ikea – a popular home furnishings store – is so well-known for its phenomenal Swedish meatballs, but hey, we live in a crazy world!
If you, like so many others, can’t get enough of Ikea’s meatballs, this copycat recipe will be your new favorite.
These have the perfect balance of pork, beef, and breadcrumbs.
They also have plenty of earthy onion and garlic flavor, and the cream sauce is a slightly tangy gift from God.
Just trust me on this. You’ll never want to use another Swedish meatballs recipe.
5. Sticky Thai Meatballs
These meatballs may be sticky and just a touch messy, but if you’re in the market for Asian-flavored meatballs with an incredible sweet and savory sauce, these fit the bill.
There’s a bit of spice to these from the garlic, but that takes a backseat to the sheer amount of flavor in every bite.
Pro Tip: Don’t treat the green onions and sesame seeds as optional. They’re an integral part of the recipe. Those Thai chiles bring the heat, though, so add those only if you like them hot.
6. Tangy Glazed Meatballs
You’ll make the glaze for these juicy meatballs from ketchup, A1 steak sauce, chili sauce, Worcestershire sauce, hot pepper sauce, and the secret ingredient: mango chutney.
They’re zesty, slightly sweet, and have just a bit of heat, as well. Feel free to adjust the amount of hot sauce in the recipe to get your desired zing.
7. Hawaiian Meatballs
I’m not sure why – maybe it’s the pineapple chunks – but these Hawaiian meatballs always remind me of Panda Express’ Sweetfire Chicken (only with meatballs instead).
It isn’t all Hawaiian meatballs that remind me of this, just this specific recipe for them. They’re spicy, saucy, and have an amazing tropical pineapple flavor.
Honestly, if I could only eat one type of meatball for the rest of my life, it would be these Hawaiian meatballs, and that should tell you how good they are.
8. Mini-Meatball Subs
These are similar to the meatball sliders above, but they have more going on with them.
First of all, you’ll want to make homemade meatballs for these to get the best, richest flavor.
You’ll also use spaghetti sauce rather than pizza sauce, so that’ll give you a little more variety in your options.
Still, if you like cheesy, meaty Italian dishes, either one would suffice.
9. Meatball Flatbread
If you’ve ever wondered what a meatball pizza would taste like, you can now use this recipe to find out.
You’ll construct your “meatball flatbread” – let’s be honest and just call it pizza – with Italian tomato sauce, carrots, fresh basil, garlic, mozzarella, Italian meatballs, parsley, oregano, salt, and pepper.
Use naan bread for the base, and it’ll be crunchy, saucy, gooey, and delicious.
10. Sticky Asian Meatballs
Here’s another option if you enjoy sticky meatballs with a distinctly Asian flair. They’re super simple to make, taking only 30 minutes from start to finish.
And again, the sesame seeds and green onions should be treated as necessary, not optional.
Okay, you can leave them off if you must, but why would you want to do that?!
11. Honey Garlic Meatballs
The sauce on these honey garlic meatballs is so spectacular that you won’t even notice the meatballs were of the frozen variety.
To make it, you’ll combine the sweetness of brown sugar and honey with the earthiness and umami flavors of soy sauce, minced garlic, and ketchup.
It gives you the perfect sweet and savory meatball that no one will be able to stop eating.
12. Meatball Bombs
Meatball bombs are the ideal meatball appetizer for anyone who A. loves meatballs and marinara, and B. likes to make things with hidden surprises inside.
These bombs look like nothing more than that fat, cheesy, and garlicky dinner rolls from the outside.
Once you bite into them, though, you’ll get the explosive flavor of saucy Italian meatballs.
Don’t be surprised if people start asking you to make these for every family get-together or party.
13. Teriyaki Chicken Meatball Kabobs
If you’re looking for a meatball appetizer that would be at home at any island cook-out, these teriyaki chicken meatball kabobs are just the thing.
The teriyaki glaze provides that wonderful sweet, savory, and spicy flavor that teriyaki always brings to the table, and the kabobs themselves are packed with yummy ingredients.
Besides the chicken teriyaki meatballs, you’ll also add well-marinated green and red peppers, onions, and pineapples.
Sprinkle a bit of chopped cilantro over everything as a garnish, and you’re all set.
14. Meatball Taquitos
I was hesitant to try these at first, as meatball taquitos sounded like something my brother would have eaten during his frat house years, but curiosity got the best of me.
They’re actually remarkably tasty.
You’ll stuff each flour tortilla with Italian turkey meatballs, mozzarella cheese, ricotta, and Italian seasoning.
Then, you’ll serve them alongside marinara for dipping.
As I said, they’re surprisingly good and not nearly as greasy as I was expecting them to be. They taste a lot like any of the meatball subs or sliders on this list.
The only real difference is the tortilla, which isn’t bad at all.
15. Meatball Sub Dip
This cheesy, ooey-gooey dip takes about an hour to pull together, but it’s worth every second of the time you spend making it.
There’s almost an unbelievable amount of flavor in this dish.
You can serve it with garlic bread, regular bread, or even crackers or tortilla chips if that’s your thing.
Either way, the dip – not the dipping food – will be the star of the show.
You aren’t likely to have many leftovers, either.
16. Baked Meatball Wontons
Each of these crispy wontons has a hearty, meaty, and cheesy center. And believe it or not, they’re fantastically simple to make.
All you’ll need is cream cheese, meatballs (the recipe recommends Casa di Bertacchi), powdered ranch seasoning mix, milk, wonton wrappers, an egg, and butter.
They’re less about “cooking” and more about “assembling,” which is great if you’re a beginning cook looking to make something that looks nice and tastes great but doesn’t take much work.
These are also exceptional if you love meatballs but aren’t a massive fan of their usual messiness.
The crispy, golden wonton shell holds in most of the mess you’d otherwise get from them.
17. Meatball Sub on a Stick
Whether you make these meatball subs on sticks or just use the homemade meatball recipe to make juicy, succulent meatballs, bookmark this page.
These are some of the tastiest, most flavorful homemade meatballs I’ve ever had; every bite is a true delight to the senses.
Once you have those heavenly balls ready, simply assemble them on a skewer with your shaped crescent roll dough and sprinkle them with parmesan.
Serve them with marinara for an extra special treat.
18. Banh Mi Meatball Lettuce Cups
These meatballs are herby, minty, and perfect in every way.
The secret sambal sauce is mouth-watering and delicious, and the pickled daikon and carrot are out of this world.
Put simply, there’s not a single thing about these banh mi meatballs that I’d change or that I don’t like. I think you’ll enjoy them, as well.
19. Barbecue Meatball Cheesy Sweet Potato Bites
These bite-sized appetizers are saucy meatballs in sweet potato and cheese cups. I know; that sounds super strange, right?
Just try one. They’re phenomenal, and you won’t be able to eat just one (or two, or three…). Seriously, these will test your self-discipline and restraint.
20. Jalapeno Popper Meatballs
These hot, messy meatballs are basically like jalapeno poppers that have exploded. They’re cheesy, salty, and hot, hot, hot.
Plus, you’ll get a double dose of meaty goodness by adding bacon to the meatballs.
They’re so appetizing that they’ll tempt even the staunchest vegetarian.
Just be sure you bring plenty of napkins because they’re extremely messy.
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