BBQ Meatballs

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!

Meatballs always make for a tasty appetizer, and this recipe is no different! They’re equally as favored as Sweet and Sour Meatballs, Grape Jelly Meatballs, and Asian Meatballs.

BBQ jelly meatballs served up in a white bowl.

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!!

Frozen meatballs for BBQ Meatballs.

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.

Variations:

  • 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. 
BBQ Meatballs cooking in a crock pot.

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.

Saucy BBQ Meatballs served in a white bowl.

For more BBQ Dishes, try:

More collections: Crock Pot Appetizers, BBQ Appetizers

BBQ Meatballs Recipe

5 from 6 votes
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!
Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 6 hours
Total Time 6 hours 5 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 220 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna

Ingredients

  • 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)

Instructions
 

  • 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.

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About Kristyn

My name is Kristyn and I’m the mom of SIX stinkin’ cute kids and the wife to my smokin’ hot hubby, Lo. My mom’s maiden name is Luna, and I’m one of the many crafty “Lil’ Lunas” in the fam. On this site I like to share all things creative - from recipes to home decor to gifts and home decor ideas. Welcome!

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Comments:

  1. 5 stars
    You should see my kids shoving these in their mouth!! They are a huge hit with my family. They are great when entertaining!

  2. 5 stars
    I recently came across your homemade BBQ recipe and I’m in the hunt to use it in other recipes. I love grape jelly meatballs and this is the perfect recipe for it.

  3. 5 stars
    SO GOOD. We love this as an appetizer, but sometimes we’ll have it for dinner served over rice – it’s a fave in our house!

  4. 5 stars
    These are the easiest meatballs! And love the flavor of these! Super delicious! Perfect for parties & brunches!