Sweet & tangy dump-and-go Grape Jelly Meatballs take minutes to prep and are the perfect dinner or appetizer to feed a crowd!
With only 5 minutes of prep, Grape Jelly Meatballs are one of our go-to appetizers for parties and holidays. It’s a favorite along with our Classic Slow Cooker Meatballs and Sweet and Sour Meatballs.
Meatballs with Grape Jelly
We’ve been long-time fans of meatballs and think they are the perfect appetizer for a large gathering.
Yes, we often make them for dinner at home too, but if you are looking for a simple yet delicious recipe to make for your next event, I highly encourage trying meatballs like our favorite Grape Jelly Meatballs!
I know grape jelly may not be the first ingredient you think of when mixing with meatballs, but let me tell you – it’s the perfect addition.
What’s even more amazing about this recipe is that it only requires 3 ingredients – grape jelly, meatballs, and Heinz Chili Sauce.
Oh yes, I can’t forget that it also only takes a few minutes of prep time. You can’t beat that!
Dump + Go!
Making these meatballs are as easy as they sound. Since they only require 3 ingredients and just a few minutes to make, it’s a dump-and-go kind of slow cooker recipe.
SAUCE. Add grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes making sure the mixture is well combined.
To save time skip this step and add these directly on top of the meatballs in the slow cooker for a more speedy process.
COOK. Place meatballs in a slow cooker and top with the grape jelly mixture (for less mess use a crock pot liner). Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours. Stir every hour or so to make sure everything is cooked evenly.
Add some heat. Want to add a bit of nip to the meatballs? Just add a pinch of cayenne pepper. With little kids, we tend to leave that out.
Instant Pot Grape Jelly Meatballs
Using the instant pot is just as easy and much quicker.
COMBINE. Add the frozen meatballs to the instant pot and pour the grape jelly, chili sauce, and ½ cup of water over the meatballs.
COOK. Seal the lid on and set the “pressure cook” button for 5 minutes. It’ll take about 7-8 minutes for the pressure to build up enough then the timer will start its 5 minutes countdown.
When the timer is done, press cancel to turn off the pot and quickly release the pressure.
Jelly Meatballs TIPS
Jelly substitute. Our favorite substitutes are red currant and apple jelly. Some other great choices include orange marmalade, apricot preserves, or peach jelly.
- Use any type of meatball, from Italian pork meatballs to turkey meatballs, we typically use beef.
- To make homemade meatballs, I suggest browning them in a skillet before adding them to the crockpot. This will help them keep their shape and not fall apart in the long cook process.
- Meatballs do not need to be thawed before placing them in the slow cooker. If they are thawed you won’t need to cook as long, but putting them in straight from the freezer is quick and works perfectly with this recipe.
Thicken the sauce. Take about ¼ cup of the sauce from the slow cooker and add it to a pot on the stove. Add a tablespoon of corn starch. Cook and mix until the sauce thickens. Add more corn starch if needed and mix back into the crock pot sauce.
Replace chili sauce. We love using BBQ sauce as a great substitute. Honey BBQ sauce is our favorite. Ketchup or other flavor variations usually taste great with meatballs as well.
Make Grape Jelly Meatballs for a party. We like to double the recipe if serving at a party. Use 2 bags of frozen meatballs, 32 oz. grape jelly, and two 12 oz. bottles of chili sauce.
For smaller parties, we leave the recipe as is and make one bag of meatballs – which still has about 64 meatballs.
Serving. Place toothpicks near the meatballs for people to eat them on their own as a party appetizer, or they pair well on top of a bowl of rice or on a mound of mashed potatoes served as a main dish.
- appetizer – plan for each person to have 3-4
- main dish – plan for each person to have about 8
STORE leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.
FREEZE. They can also be kept in a freezer-safe container in the freezer for up to 4 months. Thaw and reheat.
Reheat them quickly in the microwave. Warm in a covered baking dish in the oven. If you have extra time, reheat them in the crockpot.
For more meatball recipes, check out:
Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe
- 16 oz Grape Jelly
- 12 oz Chili Sauce
- 32 oz meatballs (frozen)
- 1 pinch cayenne (optional)
- Add grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper to a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook for about 5 minutes making sure the mixture is well combined. To save time skip this step and add these directly on top of the meatballs in the slow cooker for a more speedy process.
- Place meatballs in a slow cooker and top with grape jelly mixture (for less mess use a crock pot liner).
- Cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.
This recipe is so good, at first I thought the combination of sauce might not taste so good. But it is really good.
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