Sweet + savory BBQ Meatballs are saucy and delicious with a bit of tanginess. With only 5 minutes of prep they are a breeze to make!
BBQ jelly meatballs
These BBQ meatballs are an easy appetizer or simple meal.
We make it super easy by using frozen meatballs, but you are welcome to use Homemade Meatballs if you want to go the extra mile. 🙂
The sauce I’ve paired with these is a sweet and savory variation that gets it’s zippy flavor from the combination of BBQ Sauce and grape jelly. Again, make it easy by using store bought or your own made-from-scratch versions!
If I’m serving this as an appetizer, I either leave them in the crockpot and set a spoon out, or if I’m being fancy, I plate them with toothpicks sticking out. For a main dish, I serve with a side of white rice. Either way, these are yum!!
MAking Crock Pot BBQ Meatballs
SAUCE. Add the grape jelly, BBQ sauce, sweet chili sauce and orange zest to a bowl and mix well.
COMBINE. Add the meatballs to a greased slow cooker and pour barbecue sauce over top. Stir to coat.
COOK. Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours.
Want to make the meatballs from scratch?
I have a recipe for Homemade Meatballs that uses ground beef, eggs, milk, parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs, and a few seasonings. I also have a recipe for Turkey Meatballs and Porcupine Meatballs that would be great for this recipe.
If you’re using raw homemade meatballs to make these BBQ meatballs, you do have more options for how to cook them.
Crockpot Method: If you want to use homemade meatballs, just make sure you cook them on the stovetop or bake them in the oven before you add them to the crockpot with barbecue sauce. Also, you may need to reduce the time spent in the crockpot if the meatballs are cooked but not frozen.
Oven/Stovetop Method: After assembling your raw meatballs, bake them on a foil lined baking sheet in the oven for about 20 minutes at 350 degrees. Add the cooked meatballs to a skillet with the bbq sauce and simmer for 3-5 minutes, making sure meatballs are well coated in the sauce.
- Use flavored BBQ sauce like smoked BBQ or Honey BBQ.
- Replace grape jelly with other flavors like currant jelly or apple jelly
- Replace meatballs with an equivalent amount of little smokies.
Tips + Storing Info
- Meatballs: I used precooked frozen meatballs in this recipe because it was the easiest and you still get a deciduous homemade flavor. If you want, you can easily use Homemade Meatballs. Just be sure to cook/bake the meatballs before adding them to the crock pot otherwise the meatballs will just fall apart.
- Grape Jelly: I have success using both name brand and generic jelly. Just use your favorite.
- BBQ Sauce: Sweet Baby Rays is one of my favorite brands. Use your favorite sauce or even make your own Homemade BBQ Sauce.
- Stove Top: You can make this recipe on the stove top in about 30 minutes. Add the jelly, BBQ sauce, chili sauce and zest in a large pot. Heat over medium high heat and stir until bubbly. Stir in the meatballs and reduce the heat. Simmer for 20-30 minutes or until meatballs are completely warm throughout.
Make ahead and STORE in the fridge for about 3 days. They can also be frozen for up to 3 months. In either case make sure that you store all the sauce along with the meatballs.
For more BBQ Dishes, try:
BBQ Meatballs Recipe
- 1 40 oz. bag frozen meatballs, fully cooked
- 1 10 oz. jar grape jelly
- 2 1/2 cups BBQ sauce
- 1 cup sweet chili sauce
- orange zest (from one orange)
- Add the grape jelly, BBQ sauce, sweet chili sauce and orange zest to a bowl and mix well.
- Add the meatballs to a greased slow cooker and pour over sauce. Stir to coat.
- Cook on HIGH for 2-3 hours or LOW for 4-6 hours.