Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs

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A delicious crockpot appetizer recipe perfect for holiday entertaining, these Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs are a festive twist on a classic. Tangy, smoky and irresistible meatballs that disappear in record time.

Perfectly cooked meatballs coated in a tangy, sweet and smoky sauce, this 3-ingredient crockpot appetizer recipe is a festive twist on crockpot party meatballs.

Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs Recipe

Party meatballs are one of those classic recipes that causes first-timers to do a double take.

Yes, these are some weird and very minimal ingredients. But once you give it a try, you will see why these 3-ingredient meatball appetizers are a party classic for so many families! Most recipes call for grape jelly but to give this party classic a bit of festive flavor, I used some leftover cranberry sauce in it’s place.

These crockpot cranberry party meatballs are tangy, sweet and a little bit smoky. The perfectly cooked meatballs are coated in a a sumptuous and silky sauce that comes together effortlessly in the crockpot.

The flavor of these meatballs will vary slightly based on the ingredients you choose, for example, if you use an Italian seasoned meatball, a cranberry sauce that incorporates oranges and a smoky BBQ sauce, your final result will be sweet and smoky with hints of herbs and citrus.

You can enjoy these meatballs on their own or incorporate them into a meal. My daughter likes them with pasta while I really enjoyed tossing the meatballs and a bit of extra sauce with some sauteed veggies. You can also use them to make a unique twist on a meatball sandwich!

This recipe can also be doubled for a large crowd or if you want to ensure that you have leftover.

Do you need to thaw the meatballs before putting in the crockpot? No, you can add the meatballs frozen or thawed. This recipe is written for using frozen meatballs, but if you have the time and want to thaw the meatballs beforehand, you can reduce the cooking time of this party meatball recipe to just 1.5 to 2 hours.

Can I make this cranberry meatball recipe in the Instant Pot? Yes! You can combine all of the ingredients in your Instant Pot and use the manual setting for 5 minutes, then quick release.

Can I use homemade meatballs? Yes, however you will need to brown them or cook them completely before adding to the crockpot to ensure that they don’t fall apart. If you cook them completely, adjust the time in the crockpot to 1.5 hours.

Can these party meatballs be frozen? Yes. You can either store the leftovers in your fridge for up to 5 days or place in your favorite freezer containers and freeze for up to 3 months (this set of freezer containers is a crazy bargain). Allow the sauce to thaw completely before reheating and serving.

 

Appetizers using Cranberry Sauce

Crockpot Cranberry Party Meatballs Ingredients

Scroll down to the printable recipe card for full measurements.

Tip: swap out the cranberry sauce for your favorite jam or preserves.

Kitchen Tools You May Find Helpful

  • Crockpot <– This is the crockpot that I use the most often – it has a thermoshield which not only prevents little fingers from being burned if the kids touch the outside of the crockpot, but it’s also great for bringing along to potlucks. I also like that I can set the cook time on it, so if we end up taking too long playing outside (or running errands) I don’t have to worry about the food burning.
  • Measuring Cups
  • Wooden Spoon or Spatula <– I like these spatulas because they are one solid piece and don’t have removable heads for bacteria to get trapped underneath. Plus they are heat-resistant and have a lifetime warranty.

How to Make Cranberry Party Meatballs

Place all ingredients in your Crockpot and stir well to combine.

Secure the lid on your Crockpot.

Set heat to high and the timer to 3.5 hours.

When done cooking, stir well to re-coat the meatballs.

Keep the crockpot set to warm if you plan to set out for a party.

 

Pin this Easy Crockpot Appetizer Recipe for your Holiday Party Planning:

How to make cranberry party meatballs in the crockpot. This simple Christmas appetizer recipe is only 3 ingredients and guaranteed to be a hit with all your holiday guests.

Grab your free printable recipe card for our Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs recipe:

Yield: 40 meatballs, approximately

Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs

Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs

Perfectly cooked meatballs coated in a tangy, sweet and smoky sauce, this 3-ingredient crockpot appetizer recipe is a festive twist on crockpot party meatballs.

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 35 minutes

Ingredients

  • 2lbs Meatballs, frozen
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce of choice
  • 1 cup Cranberry Sauce

Instructions

  1. Place all ingredients in your Crockpot and stir well to combine.
  2. Secure the lid on your Crockpot.
  3. Set heat to high and the timer to 3.5 hours.
  4. When done cooking, stir well to re-coat the meatballs.
  5. Keep the crockpot set to warm if you plan to set out for a party.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 401Total Fat: 21gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 11gCholesterol: 60mgSodium: 1186mgCarbohydrates: 42gFiber: 3gSugar: 31gProtein: 14g

Sugar, Spice and Glitter uses an auto-generate nutrition calculator. Nutrition information isn’t always accurate unless analyzed in a scientific lab, so these should be considered more of a guideline than medical information.

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I hope your family loves this cranberry party meatballs recipe as much as mine does!

For more easy Crockpot recipes, check out our full Crockpot recipe collection here:

For more amazing appetizers, check out our full appetizer recipe collection here:

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