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Remember that big pot full of super tasty Crock Pot meatballs at baby showers? Yes, that yummy recipe was likely the simplest dish on the whole potluck table: Meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce.

Beyond easy to make and cooked in the Crockpot, these cocktail meatballs are one of those recipes you’ll make time and time again. 

grape jelly and chili sauce cooked with frozen meatballs ready to serve in a bowl.

These meatballs are a 3-ingredient classic that’s not too spicy, with just the right amount of tangy sauce. You just need Heinz chili sauce, a jar of grape jelly, and a bag of frozen meatballs, and you’ve got a homemade appetizer or even a main dish that everyone is going to want seconds of (yes, this recipe can be easily doubled!). It’s seriously as easy as dumping everything in the crockpot and giving it a stir.

If these crockpot meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce are the kind of recipe you love to make, then you need to try these 3-ingredient bbq sauce crockpot chicken wings (so juicy and flavorful!), these easy air fryer taquitos, or this moist and tender slow cooker pulled chicken recipe.

Crock Pot Meatballs with Grape Jelly and Chili Sauce

Appetizer: Slow cooker meatballs with grape jelly sauce make a perfect appetizer, especially if you buy mini meatballs. They’re so easy to eat and can even be presented on a platter with frilly toothpicks for that extra special touch. Serve them alongside other dips and canapes or finger foods that only take a bite or two to finish. This could be as simple as a cheese and cracker plate or as fancy as a homemade charcuterie board. 

Dinner: I can almost guarantee if you make this for dinner with some mac and cheese or mashed potatoes and a plate of raw veggies and dip, your kids are going to eat up every bite!

Why I absolutely love this easy recipe for Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs

  • Super Easy: It’s hard to find any recipe as easy to make as this one. It might be the easiest appetizer recipe ever. You can absolutely dump everything in your slow cooker, give it a stir, and walk away. It’s a true ‘set it and forget it’ recipe, and those are just the best kind when you’ve got a busy day.
  • Flavor: Meatballs, grape jelly, and chili sauce sounds like a strange combination, but the flavors go perfectly together. The meatballs provide the savory flavor, the chili sauce provides the tang and just a bit of heat, and the grape jelly gives the sauce an irresistible sweetness that everyone loves.
  • Super Moiste Meatballs: Because the meatballs are slow-cooked in the crock pot, they come out tender and juicy. Sometimes, oven-baked meatballs can end up a bit dry. But Crock Pot meatballs are perfect just about every time.

Why Crock Pot Recipes Are So Great for Entertaining

Always Be Ready For A Party: Whether you’re having a game day Super Bowl Party, hosting a shower, having the in-laws for dinner, or heading to a 4th of July cookout, it’s a great idea to have a few stand-out slow cooker recipes in your recipe box.

Make Entertaining Easy For You: Entertaining is hard work, but Crock Pot recipes are usually pretty easy and let you cook without spending much time in the kitchen. Sometimes, you don’t even have to measure out the ingredients! Every now and then, you might have to stir throughout the cooking process, but in most cases, you can add all the ingredient to a slow cooker, turn it on, and come back when you hear the timer BEEP!

So, not only are they easy, but they also make entertaining much less stressful. Whether you’re a seasoned home chef or a newbie hosting a dinner party for the first time ever, consider making a Crock Pot recipe for a main dish or appetizer. It really takes away a lot of the stress of having company over.

Ingredients for Crock Pot Meatballs with Grape Jelly

Here are the ingredients you need to make the easiest Crockpot meatballs ever:

jar of cocktail sauce, grape jelly and frozen meatballs
  • Frozen meatballs – Any frozen meatballs will do, but I especially like to use smaller meatballs for this recipe. They seem to serve more people, too! Trader Joe’s mini party meatballs are a good choice. You can use beef or turkey meatballs for this recipe.
  • Grape jelly – Any brand are fine! You don’t even need to buy a fancy brand. The grocery store brand will work just fine.
  • Heinz Chili Sauce – Chili sauce looks very similar to ketchup, but has a tangier flavor and has just a little kick – but it’s not a spicy sauce, don’t worry.

How to Make This Crock Pot Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe – Step-By-Step Instructions

  1. First, you need to defrost the meatballs. You can either leave them in the fridge for a few hours or follow the directions on the package for defrosting (they may suggest you use the microwave). 
  2. Dump those meatballs into the bottom of your slow cooker.
meatballs in slow cooker

3. Then, pour the chili sauce and the grape jelly on top. Stir it up until all the meatballs are nicely coated in the sauce.

a jar of grape jelly and a jar of chili sauce ready to be poured over the meatball in the crockpot

4. Put the lid on the slow cooker, set it to high, and let it cook for 2.5 to 3 hours. Or, you can put it on low heat for 4.5 to 5 hours. Give it a stir halfway through.

​Tips and Recipe Notes

  • Give your meatballs a stir about halfway through the cooking time, and if the sauce seems a bit thick, you can add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out.
  • Don’t rush the process. Crock Pots are slow cookers! That means you need to allow things to cook slowly for the best results.
  • If you’d prefer a sweet sauce that has more of a bbq meatball flavor, you can substitute the chili sauce for a barbecue sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s for that extra touch of brown sugar sweetness. 
  • If you want to cook these meatballs from frozen, just add about 1/2 an hour to the cook time.
  • You can make this dish a few hours ahead of time if you’d like, then use the warm setting on your Crock Pot to keep the meatballs warm until you’re ready to serve them. Keep the lid on the meatballs and give them a stir from time to time.

Pro Tip: Learn how to completely care for your Crock Pot so it lasts a lifetime with my complete Crock Pot guide.

Why add grape jelly to meatballs?

It might seem like a strange combination, but trust me, it’s delish. The sweetness of the grape jelly blends perfectly with the savory meatballs. This 3-ingredient recipe is the only meatball recipe you’ll ever need.

Can I make my own meatballs for this recipe?

Yes, you can! You’ll want to pre-cook your meatballs, before adding the sauce. You can use ground beef to make Italian style meatballs, but ground turkey or chicken will also taste very good with this sauce. Keep in mind that smaller meatballs work better.

If you need meatballs without eggs that stay together when cooking, then be sure to go print the recipe for my homemade Meatball Recipe Without Eggs.

Are store bought meatballs pre-cooked?

Yes, generally, store bought frozen meatballs are already cooked. Pre-cooked meatballs cook in 2-3 hours and are what you want for this recipe, so read the packaging before you buy to make sure.

How Many Frozen Meatballs For A Party?

chart for how many frozen meatball

Be sure to pin 📌 for later or download your copy of this handy How Many Meatballs For A Party Chart.

How to Store

By chance you have some leftover meatballs here are some tips for refrigeration, freezing, and reheating.

Refrigerating Leftover Metballs

You can easily store leftover meatballs in the fridge for another day. Just place them all in an airtight container and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Make sure to grab a spatula and scrape all the yummy sauce into the container, too.

Freezing Meatballs

You can also freeze your leftover meatballs to use them again in the future. Just pour the leftovers in a freezer bag or container with a tight lid and freeze for up to 2 months.

Reheating Meatballs

To reheat, thaw in the fridge overnight and microwave in 30-second increments until hot, stirring frequently. You can also place them in a small pan on the stove and heat until the meatballs are hot in the center. You might find you need to add a touch of water or bbq sauce to thin the sauce out again.

Tip For Lefteover Meatballs: Use up your leftovers by making a meatball sandwich, or serve over mashed potatoes. 

Make it a Meal

Grape jelly meatballs are always a crowd favorite. But these juicy meatballs aren’t just an appetizer for holiday parties. You can make these a complete meal.

Menu: Just cook them as directed and serve them on top of my Nondairy Mashed Potatoes or Instant Pot Rice, Serve with a Green Jacket Salad, and don’t forget the crusty roll (for sopping up all the sauce, of course!). 

Need a big batch to feed a crowd? You can easily change the number of servings in the recipe card below by tapping 2x or 3x. The ingredient measurements will automatically double or triple. You can then tap print and there you have it, a recipe for a crowd.

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grape jelly and chili sauce cooked with frozen meatballs ready to serve in a bowl.
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Saucy Crockpot Meatballs With Grape Jelly And Chili Sauce

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours 30 minutes
Total Time: 4 hours 35 minutes
Servings: 10
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.

Note: Be sure to read through the recipe’s post for tips and details about this recipe.

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Ingredients
 

  • 32 oz. meatballs, frozen, pre-cooked
  • 20 oz. grape jelly
  • 12 oz. Heinz chili sauce

Instructions
 

  • To start, defrost the frozen meatballs. You can easily accomplish this by following the microwave instructions on the package.
    32 oz. meatballs
  • After thawing the meatballs, simply transfer them to the slow cooker.
  • Next, pour in the grape jelly and Heinz chili sauce.
    20 oz. grape jelly, 12 oz. Heinz chili sauce
  • Give the mixture a good stir, ensuring all the meatballs are evenly coated with sauce.
  • Cover the slow cooker and set the cooking temperature. Cook on high setting for about 2.5 to 3 hours or on low for 4.5 to 5 hours.
  • Gently stir the meatballs 1/2 way through the cooking time. If the sauce seems too thick, stir in a few tablespoons of water. This will ensure the sauce is evenly distributed and the meatballs are cooked evenly.

Notes

Tips
  • Give your meatballs a stir about halfway through the cook time, and if the sauce seems a bit thick, you can add a couple of tablespoons of water to thin it out.
  • Don’t rush the process. Crock Pots are slow cookers! That means you need to allow things to cook slowly. 
  • If you’d prefer a sweet sauce that has more of a bbq meatball flavor, you can substitute the chili sauce for a barbecue sauce like Sweet Baby Ray’s for that extra touch of brown sugar sweetness. 
  • If you want to cook these meatballs from frozen, just add about 1/2 an hour to the cooking time.
  • You can make this dish a few hours ahead of time if you’d like, then use the warm setting on your Crock Pot to keep the meatballs warm until you’re ready to serve them. Keep the lid on the meatballs and give them a stir from time to time.
  • Want these meatballs just a bit spicier? A few shakes of your favorite hot sauce should do it!
Serving: 1abut 5 meatballs, Calories: 428kcal, Carbohydrates: 46g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 19g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 9g, Cholesterol: 65mg, Sodium: 525mg, Potassium: 430mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 32g, Vitamin A: 238IU, Vitamin C: 11mg, Calcium: 31mg, Iron: 1mg
Cuisine: American Classic
Course: Appetizer
Author: Gina Dickson

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