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Do you need easy party food? Meatballs are always a hit, and they are easy to make before it’s time for guests to arrive. Browse through these meatball appetizer recipes for a party, and pick out a few saucy wonders. They’re perfect for groups and budget-friendly!

Meatballs go with more than just marinara sauce. The possibilities are endless. I’ve collected all my favorite easy meatball appetizer recipes for your next party in one place!

Collage of meatballs in tomato sauce, honey garlic suace, and bbq sauce. Meatball topped with mozzarella and basil.

Along with great meatball recipes, I have also included simple tips for cooking meatballs to help you make the perfect tender meatball that is full of great flavor and holds together in your sauce.

After learning how to make the perfect meatball, scroll through the list of all the best meatball recipes I could find! Tap the recipe button to learn more and print the recipe card.

🎉 Party Meatballs

When it comes to planning parties, I’ve discovered quick and easy tips that will be helpful to you. I have some great budget-friendly meatball appetizer ideas for a party, such as a baby shower, engagement party, or birthday celebration. I like to serve meatballs as a hearty appetizer.

  • Meatball appetizers are easy to keep hot and serve no matter what size of party you are having.
  • Family-friendly appetizer that both kids and adults enjoy.
  • Meatballs are a freezer-friendly party food to keep on hand for last minute gatherings!

Meatballs are also great for Game Day Party food. You can stuff them into hoagies or serve them as bite-sized treats tossed in my bacon BBQ Sauce. They also work for holiday parties or any time you expect a crowd.

💰Budget-Friendly Tip: Because meatballs are made with ground meat, you can add them to a selection of other Budget-friendly Appetizer Ideas for a party that’s easy on the wallet. You can even serve them up for delicious budget-friendly meat for your weeknight dinner’s main course dish.

Tips For Making The Best Meatballs

With a few basic tips, you can cook delicious meatballs for your next party or dinner.

🤫 What’s the secret to tender meatballs?

  1. Add Moisture with Day-Old Bread: Include day-old bread soaked in milk or water in your meatball mixture. The soft bread will create a light and tender texture to your meatballs.
  2. Avoid Overcooking: When cooking ground beef, chicken, or pork meatballs, be be sure not to overcook them. Overcooking can lead to toughness, so keep a close eye on the cooking time to ensure your meatballs remain juicy and tender.
  3. To help keep meatballs from drying out, serve them in a sauce after cooking. This not only makes them tasty but also helps retain moisture, keeping your meatballs delectably tender.

💡 What’s the trick to meatballs that don’t fall apart?

The number one thing to do is make sure you use a binder when making your meatballs. There are quite a few ways to do this including:

  • Add bread pieces soaked in milk or mix in dried bread crumbs and eggs.
  • Use crumbled Ritz crackers and egg mixture with the raw meat.
  • You can also use eggs as a binder.

🏆 Top Tip For Making Perfect Round Meatballs

: Use a cookie scoop when forming the meatballs. This helps pack them together without overhandling the meatball mixture, which makes them tough.

How To Make Meatballs Without Eggs

Soft Eggless Meatballs
eggless meatballs in a pan
Learn how to make delicious egg-free meatballs that are packed with flavor. This easy-to-follow recipe will show you the secrets to creating mouthwatering meatballs without sacrificing texture or taste. This homemade meatball recipe is a great way to stretch your grocery budget and make meal prep easy.
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Should meatballs be cooked before putting in sauce?

It is best to cook meatballs before putting them in the sauce. Browning meatballs until golden brown in a frying pan is best to add color to the outside of the meat, seal the juices, and also help them keep their shape. It also helps separate grease before putting the meatball in the sauce. After they’re browned, finish cooking them in the sauce.

This method gives the meatballs a light, crunchy outside, and a juicy, tender inside. It also infuses a flavor from the meatballs into the sauce.

Is it better to bake or pan-fry meatballs?

Pan fry or baking meatballs are both good ways to cook them. However, baking them allows any excess grease to be drained off.

How do I keep meatballs soft after cooking?

There’s no one way to achieve tender meatballs, but here are some tricks I’ve used, especially when they will be kept hot for an extended period of time.

  • Add moisture when making the meatballs. This could be from veggies, barbecue sauces, or a little bit of ice water.
  • Don’t over-mix or pack them into balls too tightly.
  • Keep the meatballs larger than an inch in diameter. Smaller than an inch tends to dry out when cooking.
  • Pan-fry the outside of your meatballs first before adding to the sauce. This seals in the juices and keeps the inside tender.
  • Use a timer to prevent overcooking overcook the meatballs.
  • Use a mixture of meat with some fat. I like to use 30% high-fat meat to 70% lean ground beef for a soft meatball.

🧊 Can I cook frozen meatballs?

Yes, you can cook frozen meatballs. The big advantage of frozen meatballs is most are already cooked so they just need to be heated.

Cook them in a preheated oven at 350° F. Place the number of frozen meatballs you want in a single layer on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet and toss them into your sauce.

🏆 TOP TIP: Be sure not to have the meatballs too close together; there should be an inch or more space between them to allow air to circulate around them, which heats and browns them at the same time.

Should I thaw meatballs before going in a crockpot?

No, it’s not necessary. You can put frozen meatballs directly into your crockpot. It’s best to have them on the bottom so they will get the most heat.

Add the rest of your ingredients on top and follow the cooking time in the recipe.

How To Serve Meatballs At A Party

The trick to serving effortless meatballs at your next party is to make them ahead of time and, when the party starts, learn how to keep them warm throughout the party.

🔥 What’s the best way to keep party meatballs hot?

  • Stovetop: keep them warm over very low heat for up to 1 hour
  • Crockpot: After you have cooked the meatballs in sauce, transfer to a crockpot and set the temperature to a warm setting. They will keep for several hours. It is good to stir every hour to keep the sauce from sticking to the slow cooker.
  • Chafing dish: An affordable option for large parties to keep food warm is a chafing dish. Another perk is they make cleaning up after the party a breeze.

24 Piece Party Serving Kit Includes Chafing Kits and Serving Utensils

Crockpot Meatballs For A Party

Creamy Rich Meatballs and Gravy Recipe (Easy Slow Cooker)
meatballs in rich creamy brown gravy
Learn how to make tender meatballs with abundant rich flavorful gravy using a slow cooker. This step-by-step recipe will teach you how to create a delicious appetizer or satisfying meatballs and creamy gravy sauce meal sure to impress your family and friends.
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Saucy Sweet and Sour Meatballs Recipe; Easy Slow Cooker
sweet and sour meatballs recipe in a curved dish with toothpicks in some meatballs
These sweet and sour meatballs are a mouth-watering combination of tender meatballs, juicy pineapple chunks, and colorful bell peppers, all simmered in a delicious blend of sweet BBQ and teriyaki sauce. Preparing them is a breeze; it only requires 10 minutes of prep time, and your slow cooker takes care of the rest. You can serve these delicious Hawaiian meatballs as a main dish over rice or as a simple appetizer at your next party.
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3 Ingredient Sauce Ideas For Easy Crockpot Meatballs
When you need an easy appetizer, all you have to do is grab some frozen meatballs and pick your sauce combination. The best part is it will take you less than 5 minutes to prep these saucy meatballs.
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6 bowls of 3 ingredient sauce idea meatballs

Traditional Meatballs With A Twist

If you’re looking for classic flavors that appeal to a wide variety of people then look no further. These meatballs make the perfect appetizer to serve large groups. They’re guaranteed to be a hit!

Here you will find meatballs in barbecue sauce, marinara sauce, buffalo sauce, and the famous grape jelly meatballs!

Homemade BBQ Meatballs Recipe Easy Slow Cooker
bbq meatballs on plate with bowl of sauce and bbq brush
This easy BBQ meatballs recipe guarantees juicy, tender hand-rolled meatballs covered in a homemade smokey barbeque sauce and then simmered in a slow cooker. Perfect for easy entertaining or an easy home-cooked weeknight dinner.
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Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
buffalo turkey meat balls with sauce, stacked on a plate
Buffalo Air Fryer Turkey Meatballs are the perfect quick snack or appetizer that you can make ahead and freeze in large batches. Then when you need a quick party snack just place them in your air fryer and bake. Sauce them up mild, medium, or extra hot.
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BBQ Chicken Meatballs
These BBQ Chicken Meatballs are one of my favorite easy party appetizers, but they also make a delicious dinner when served with a veggie side!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Whole30 Swedish Meatballs
These Whole30 Swedish Meatballs are hearty, savory, and so flavorful! The gravy is smooth and creamy.
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swedish meatballs with brown sauce
Smokey BBQ Meatballs
Homemade pork and beef meatballs take this traditional meatball recipe to an unbelievable smoky BBQ treat! These cocktail meatballs are perfect for parties or a delicious dinner.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party

Quick Meatball Recipes

Let’s face it, sometimes we get pressed for time but that’s when it’s time to reach for kitchen tools that make life easier! The slow cooker meatballs are great because you can set them up and let them cook for hours with very little attention.

The Instant Pot is great for cooking your favorite homemade meatballs recipe quickly and much easier than other methods! Or reach for the air fryer for smaller groups or to use when the oven is full of other appetizers.

Discover old favorites but also some exciting new ways to serve meatballs for any special occasion.

Saucy Crockpot Meatballs With Grape Jelly And Chili Sauce
Crock Pot meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce are the easiest appetizer recipe I know. Beyond easy to make and cooked in the slowcooker, these cocktail meatballs are tender, juicy, and full of flavor – and you barely have to lift a finger.
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grape jelly and chili sauce cooked with frozen meatballs ready to serve in a bowl.
Crockpot Meatballs with Blackberry Chili Sauce by Cook in Canuck
Crockpot meatballs are fantastic for holiday and game day parties. The sweet and slightly spicy blackberry chili sauce adds a ton of flavor to these light meatballs!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs
These Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect appetizer for your next get together! Make delicious party meatballs in a tangy sauce in just 10 minutes with 6 simple ingredients!
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Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs
Coca Cola Crockpot Meatballs
You're going to love these savory and delicious 3-ingredient crockpot Coca-Cola® meatballs! They're perfect for game day and always a crowd pleaser!
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Coca-cola meatballs in a white bowl.
Instant Pot Blackberry Jalapeño BBQ Meatballs
Instant Pot Blackberry Jalapeño BBQ Meatballs, an easy, sweet and spicy cocktail meatball appetizer for holiday parties or game day.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Instant Pot Easy Korean Meatballs
Glazed Korean meatballs are easy to prepare and take minutes to cook! In recent years Korean food become some of our favorite dinner time meals.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Instant Pot Cocktail Meatballs Recipe
An easy recipe for instant pot cocktail meatballs. Delicious homemade meatballs cooked in a rich sticky sauce are juicy and flavorful. These pressure cooker cocktail meatballs are ready for serving in 30 minutes!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Eggplant and Beef Meatballs Recipe
Your family will applaud your dinner when you make this delicious Eggplant and Beef Meatballs Recipe.
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eggplant meatballs in a a tomato sauce in a round bowl
Air Fryer Taco Meatballs
60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
These low carb Taco Meatballs are absolutely bursting with taco flavor! They’re quick and easy to make thanks since they’re cooked in the air fryer!
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International Meatball Recipes

Give your easy cocktail meatballs a makeover by making them with an international flair! In many instances, it’s just a simple swap of a meatball sauce recipe that’s needed to change it up.

There are lots of ways to incorporate more diverse flavors into your party menu! Let’s look at a few ways that are some of my favorites!

Sweet Ginger Sesame Meatballs
These Sweet Sesame Ginger Meatballs are an Asian-style turkey meatball that can be served as an appetizer or on a bed of rice for a complete meal!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party sweet sesame ginger meatballs
Delicious Meatball Parmesan Bites
Meatball Parmesan Bites. Tender meatballs infused with garlic, breadcrumbs, and parmesan, bathed in red sauce and topped with melted cheese.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Mediterranean Meatballs With Dill Pesto
These Mediterranean meatballs are filled with feta, spinach and other herbs and seasonings. Serve with a fresh dill pesto for maximum flavor!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Easy Greek Meatballs (Keftedes)
Juicy, tender Greek meatballs that are bursting with flavours of oregano, mint, parsley and red onion. This a super easy and delicious recipe.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Mini Indian Meatballs with Curry Coconut Sauce
Mini Indian Meatballs with Curry Coconut Sauce. With Indian spices added like turmeric and fresh mint, served in a delicious sauce.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Mexican Meatballs With Avocado-Crema Sauce
These tender, succulent Mexican meatballs come with just the right kick of spice and a decadent avocado-crema sauce for your dipping pleasure.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Tsukune (Japanese Grilled Chicken Meatballs
Tsukune, Japanese grilled chicken meatballs, with keto teriyaki sauce is sweet, salty, and absolutely delicious! This is the best low carb Tsukune recipe!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Sweet Gochujang Meatballs Appetizer
Sweet Gochujang Meatballs appetizer using frozen mini cocktail meatballs with garlicky maple gochujang sauce. Recipe for Instant pot, Regular and slow cooker.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party

Party Cocktail Meatballs

If you’re looking for unique ways to serve up meatballs, then stop here! These are a little extra special, which makes them perfect for a fancier gathering. They’ll still work for football parties, too but they may involve a bit more work than some of the other meatball recipes!

Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatballs Appetizer
60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
These Mini Spaghetti Nests and Italian Meatball Appetizers are made with creamy Alfredo angel hair pasta & Italian-style meatballs.
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Crockpot Gluten Free BBQ Turkey Meatballs
These gluten free Slow Cooker BBQ Turkey Meatballs are easy to make. They’re baked and then tossed in a tangy barbeque sauce!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Bourbon Meatballs Appetizer
This bourbon meatballs appetizer recipe is so delicious, you will want to eat them for a meal and not just for an appetizer! Succulent and tasty!
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bourbon meatballs in a bowl with red sauce and toothpicks
Easy Meatball Bites in Crescent Dough
These are the easiest and tastiest dough wrapped meatball bites around! Adults and kid alike will marvel at how delicious these are to enjoy!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Raspberry Black Bean Meatball Skillet
A spin off of a popular appetizer, this Raspberry Black Bean dip meatball skillet will definitely become your next go-to meal!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Sticky Honey Sriracha Meatballs
These Sticky Honey Sriracha Meatballs combine staple pantry ingredients for the perfect weeknight family meal everyone will love.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party Sticky honey glazed meatballs

Meatballs Made Without Beef

While beef or a combination of meats are most commonly used for meatballs, there are other meats you can shape into meatballs!

Cheesy Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs Recipe
Cheesy Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs in a cast iron skillet
This Cheesy Baked Chicken Parmesan Meatballs recipe is a delightful twist on the classic dish. These flavorful meatballs combine ground chicken, Parmesan cheese, and Italian seasonings, all nestled in a rich marinara sauce topped with melted mozzarella cheese. Perfect for a family meal or when entertaining guests. These classic parm meatballs are sure to become a family favorite.
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Smoked BBQ Turkey Meatballs
These BBQ Turkey Meatballs are small but pack a ton of flavor. Easily prepped in one bowl, they’re perfect as part of a weeknight dinner or as party food.
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bbq turkey meatballs on a plate with a toothpick in one
Brie-Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
These Brie-Stuffed Meatballs are incredibly moist turkey meatballs with a delightful brie cheese surprise in the middle!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Frank’s RedHot Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
These buffalo chicken meatballs are the BEST! I add a secret ingredient to the hot sauce making them super delicious and packed with flavor!
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Low Carb Keto Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Recipe
See how to make buffalo chicken meatballs with just 6 ingredients! This easy low carb keto buffalo chicken meatballs recipe is a mashup of wings + meatballs, with only 10 minutes prep.
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Low Carb Keto Buffalo Chicken Meatballs Recipe
Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs + Sour Cream Dip
Chicken Cordon Bleu Meatballs! Finely chopped ham and Swiss cheese add tons of flavor to this low carb appetizer or ground chicken entrée.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Greek Turkey Meatballs
These baked Greek Turkey Meatballs are loaded with flavor and include feta cheese & sundried tomatoes baked right in. Serve with homemade tzatziki.
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60 Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipes For A Party
Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs Recipe
Learn how to make Asian turkey meatballs that are full of flavor, with 10-minute prep!
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Baked Asian Turkey Meatballs Recipe

Vegan Cocktail Meatballs

These vegan meatballs make the perfect party food when you’re expecting vegans or vegetarians at a party! They’re tasty enough to appeal to everyone attending, but a great way to cater to friends and family who don’t eat meat.

Meaty Vegan TVP Meatballs
black skillet with vegan tvp meatball in red sauce
Vegan tvp meatballs that are meaty, flavorful & meat eaters approved. They are also quick & easy to make.
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Vegan Swedish Meatballs
vegan swedish meatballs in a pan with yellowish cream sauce
These delicious Vegan Swedish Meatballs are reminiscent of the classic IKEA version. They are perfectly textured and seasoned with warm spices. Then they are smothered in a rich and creamy gravy that is the epitome of comfort.
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Canning Meatballs

Would you like to have homemade meatballs stocked in your pantry for a quick and effortless party food? This simple canning meatballs in broth guide provides easy-to-follow steps on how to can meatballs safely.

Easy Step-By-Step Guide For Canning Meatballs In Broth
 This simple canning meatballs in broth guide provides easy-to-follow steps on how to can meatballs safely.
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meatballs in pint jars with canning seal on

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