Crockpot Meatballs

Sweet + savory Crockpot Meatballs are packed with flavor, and perfect for parties. They are SO easy, yet SO tasty!

Meatballs make the perfect appetizer for parties, showers, and large gatherings! If you like these Crockpot Meatballs, you’ll love these other flavors: Grape Jelly Meatballs, Sweet and Sour Meatballs, and Buffalo Chicken Meatballs.

Crockpot Meatballs poked with toothpicks on a white plate.

best crockpot meatballs – perfect for parties

Who here loves MEATBALLS?

We recently had some at a New Year’s party that smelled so stinkin’ delicious I knew I had to give them a try. I did… and I fell in love with these Crockpot Meatballs! I got the recipe and have made it several times since.

Frozen meatballs work perfectly for this, but if you want to try homemade meatballs, you can try our recipe our recipe (it’s no-fail!)

We think these are the best appetizers because they get rave reviews and they are so easy to throw together! Two thumbs up for simple and quick, especially when you’re running around getting ready for a party!

Crockpot Meatballs Ingredients on a counter.

Simple Ingredients

One of the main ingredients for these slow cooker meatballs is JELLY. We used a red currant jelly, but other jellies work well too. The other ingredients needed for this recipe, include:

  • ketchup
  • chili sauce
  • lemon juice
  • brown sugar
  • water
  • ginger

You may think jelly would be odd with meatballs, but the combination along with the above ingredients and meatballs, is more savory than sweet and oh-so delicious!

Slow cooker meatballs with ingredients on top.

How to Make Crockpot MeatballS

The best part of this recipe you literally dump everything in the crock pot and let it cook. It only takes 5 minutes of work! I’m all about the dump and go recipes.

COMBINE. Place brown sugar, chili sauce, jelly, ketchup, ginger, cold water and lemon juice in your crock pot. Add frozen meatballs and stir so meatballs are coated in sauce.

HEAT + ENJOY! Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours.

And that’s it! AMAZING, right?!

Flavor variations

There are so many ways to change up these slow cooker meatballs, but here are a few ways to do it:

  • Add a dab of mustard and a dash of liquid smoke
  • Replace meatballs with little smokies
  • Use pork, chicken or turkey meatballs
  • Add cayenne or red pepper flakes for a little heat
Crockpot meatballs recipe in slow cooker heating up.

Recipe Tips

Alternative jellies. Use grape jelly or apple jelly instead. The red currant jelly isn’t always available at the stores, but if you can find it, it’s the one we like most for this recipe.

How to make this with raw meatballs: For this recipe I used a package of precooked frozen ground beef meatballs, but using raw meatballs is also an option. You can either pick up a package or pre-made raw meatballs from the meat department of the grocery store, or whip up your own.

All you need is meat, eggs, breadcrumbs & milk for binder, and seasonings like parmesan cheese, parsley, garlic, and onion. If you don’t already have a favorite recipe we have an Easy Meatball Recipe and a Turkey Meatball Recipe you can use.  

  • To keep raw meatballs from falling apart you can lightly brown the meatballs in a skillet with a little olive oil before adding them to the crockpot. This not only adds great flavors but will form a nice crust which holds the meatballs together.
  • Using leaner meat will also help keep the meatballs from falling apart. 
  • Cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH heat for 3-4 hours.

storing info

STORE. If you happen to leftovers, allow the meatballs to cool and store in an airtight  container. They’ll keep in the fridge for 3-4 days or in the freezer for 2-3 months.

To REHEAT. The easiest way is in the microwave. However, the oven works well and keeps the flavor and texture. Bake at 350 degree F for 8-10 min.

Crockpot Meatballs stuck with toothpicks and piled on a white bowl.

more meatball recipes we love:

Crockpot Meatball Recipe

5 from 87 votes
Sweet + savory Crockpot Meatballs are packed with flavor, and perfect for parties. They are SO easy, yet SO tasty!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 4 hours
Total Time 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings 50 meatballs
Calories 41 kcal
Author Lil’ Luna


  • 1 (14-ounce) bottle ketchup
  • cups cold water
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 cup chili sauce
  • 1 cup red currant jelly or grape or huckleberry jelly
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • ½ teaspoon ground ginger
  • 1 (32-ounce) bag frozen meatballs


  • Combine ketchup, cold water, brown sugar, chili sauce, jelly, lemon juice and ginger in your slow cooker. Add frozen meatballs and stir so meatballs are coated in sauce.
  • Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6–8 hours.



Make Ahead: These will keep in the slow cooker on the warm setting for several hours or can be made ahead and stored in the refrigerator. To store, allow meatballs to cool, then transfer to an airtight container. They’ll keep in the refrigerator fridge for 3–4 days. Reheat in the microwave or in a medium pot over low heat.
HOMEMADE MEATBALLS: Our homemade meatballs work great for this recipe! To make them, preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line a large, rimmed baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray. In a large bowl, combine 2 pounds ground beef (I use 80% lean), 2 eggs, 1 cup milk, ½ cup plain breadcrumbs (or Italian style breadcrumbs), 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese, 2–3 teaspoons salt, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 teaspoon onion powder –and ½ teaspoon black pepper. Mix with your hands until just combined (do not overmix). Using a cookie scoop or your hands, divide meat mixture into 1½- inch meatballs. Bake for 10–14 minutes, or until the internal temperature is 160 degrees F. These meatballs can be used fresh, or frozen for up to 3 months for the recipe above.

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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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  1. If I were using the little Smokies instead of the meatballs, like in your suggested variations, how many packs would I use and keep the ingredients the same?

    1. I would use as packs that make it close to the 28 ounces. Really no wrong answer 🙂 Hope you like them!

    1. Could I do little smokies and meatballs in the same crockpot? Or would you recommend not combining them?
      Some family members may prefer one over the other and wasn’t sure if I needed to prepare to separate crock pots? Thanks.

      1. You could probably combine them. I haven’t ever tried, but they are essentially just heating up in the sauce together. So, I’d say whatever you prefer. Keeping them separate may be easier for serving, but if you don’t have two crockpots, then combining may be a fine option too.

  2. 5 stars
    These are my daughters favorite! I love how easy it easy to throw t all in the crockpot and forget about it until we’re ready to eat!

  3. I only wish you had a place on your recipes to EMAIL to myself or a friend. Otherwise I always have to cut and paste which is a little annoying.

  4. I made these just last night for a holiday gift exchange get together and they were delicious! Not a single meatball was left standing!! I look forward to trying out other recipes from Lil Luna!

  5. There is another website called “Mandy in the making” and she used jellied cranberry sauce with a bit of Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce. It is divine and not as sweet as grape jelly!

    1. 5 stars
      Hey Darlene! That’s how my mom used to make them but I can’t remember if she used 1 can of jellied and 1 can of berried? Did you still use the brown sugar?
      We loved these meatballs. I lost the recipe and found Lil Luna’s 😋

  6. 5 stars
    Made this tonight (with lots of extra guests over) and people raved about it! I asked for honest rating and by large margin most voted 5 stars! Big hit, super easy super yummy.

    1. Oh that makes me so happy to hear!! Thank you for sharing! So glad that the meatballs were a hit!

  7. Do you know of any other brands of chili sauce that aren’t Heinz? I need a GF product and they can’t confirm that theirs don’t contain traces of gluten.

    1. I think that Kikkoman may have one? There might be a generic brand at your local grocery store too. I’m sure if you google gluten free chili sauce some options will come up. Possibly even a homemade recipe if need be.

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