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Sweet + savory Crock Pot meatballs are packed with flavor, and perfect for parties. They are SO easy, yet SO tasty!

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.

Who here loves MEATBALLS?

We recently had some at a New Year’s party that were so stinkin’ delicious I knew I had to give them a try. I did… and I fell in love with these crockpot meatballs!

Here’s why I’ve made this recipe several times since:

  • Favorite app. Meatballs make the perfect appetizer for parties, showers, and large gatherings!
  • Taste amazing. They get rave reviews and the entire crock pot is always empty by the end of the event.
  • So easy! Two thumbs up for simple and quick to throw together, especially when you’re running around getting ready for a party!

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

Frozen meatballs, ketchup, and other seasonings out on a kitchen counter.

Ingredients

  • ketchup
  • cold water
  • brown sugar – light or dark brown sugar
  • chili sauce
  • red currant jelly – Red currant jelly is our favorite to use. However, you can also use huckleberry jelly, grape jelly, or apple jelly. 
  • Lemon juice – Use fesh or bottled juice, about 5 tablespoons.
  • ground ginger
  • frozen meatballs – Use pork, chicken, or turkey meatballs. See below on how to use homemade meatballs.

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!

Frozen meatballs topped with sauce and brown sugar in a crock pot.

How to Make Meatballs in a Crockpot

The best part of this crockpot meatball recipe is that you literally dump everything in the crock pot and let it cook. It only takes 5 minutes of work!

  1. COMBINE. Place brown sugar, chili sauce, jelly, ketchup, ginger, cold water, and lemon juice in your crock pot. Add frozen meatballs and stir so the meatballs are coated in sauce.
  2. HEAT + ENJOY! Cook on HIGH for 4 hours or LOW for 6-8 hours.

variations

There are so many ways to change up this meatball crockpot recipe, 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.
  • Add cayenne or red pepper flakes for a little heat.
Raw meatballs formed and laid out on a baking sheet.

Recipe Tips

  • How to keep meatballs from falling apart? 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 that holds the meatballs together.
    • Using leaner meat will also help keep the meatballs from falling apart. 
  • How long can they stay in the crock pot? After the meatballs have cooked, turn the setting on warm. The meatballs can stay on the warm setting for up to 4 hours. If you don’t plan to serve them within that time period, place them in the refrigerator after they have been cooked.
  • How many to make? When the meatballs are being served as an appetizer or hors d’oeuvre plan to make 3 per guest, but if you plan to serve the meatballs as part of the main entree then plan for 6-8 per guest.
Crockpot meatballs recipe in slow cooker heating up.

storing info

  • STORE. If you happen to have leftover crock pot meatballs, allow them 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.
  • REHEAT. The easiest way is in the microwave. However, the oven works well and keeps the flavor and texture. Bake at 350°F for 8-10 min.
Crock Pot Meatballs stuck with toothpicks and piled on a white bowl.

For More Meatball Recipes We Love, Try:

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5 from 213 votes

Crockpot Meatballs Recipe

By: Lil’ Luna
Sweet + savory crockpot meatballs are packed with flavor, and perfect for parties. They are SO easy, yet SO tasty!
Servings: 50 meatballs
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 4 hours
Total: 4 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 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
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Instructions 

  • 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.

Video

Notes

Make ahead of time. 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°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°F. These meatballs can be used fresh, or frozen for up to 3 months for the recipe above.

Nutrition

Serving: 1meatball, Calories: 41kcal, Carbohydrates: 10g, Protein: 0.2g, Fat: 0.03g, Saturated Fat: 0.01g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Monounsaturated Fat: 0.01g, Cholesterol: 0.01mg, Sodium: 77mg, Potassium: 32mg, Fiber: 0.2g, Sugar: 8g, Vitamin A: 37IU, Vitamin C: 1mg, Calcium: 6mg, Iron: 0.1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
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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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Recipe Rating




67 Comments

  1. Linda Fewkes says:

    delicious, thanks

  2. Megan says:

    How big of a crockpot for this? I have a trio crockpot and want to do meatballs in each one. Not sure how to convert the recipe. They’re 1.5qt each.

  3. Robbie Carpenter says:

    Lots of your recipes sound really good but so many ads popping up I can’t keep my focus!

  4. Jess says:

    Can you double this recipe and still have it cook well in the crockpot? Do you know if the meatballs have to be fully merged in sauce?

  5. Rosemary Chapel says:

    What can I use to substitute chili sauce

    1. Lil'Luna Team says:

      You could try a sriracha sauce or a spicy ketchup. You could try a salsa or even ketchup with a bit of cayenne pepper. If you don’t like spice, I’d suggest just ketchup.

  6. Lynn says:

    5 stars
    My husband had 3rds and couldn’t stop saying,”These are REALLY good!”.