Move on from grape jelly meatballs and try these Crockpot Cranberry BBQ Meatballs instead. They are sweet, tangy and the easiest appetizer and finger food that is perfect for parties and entertaining.
It’s the season for all things “appetizer”, am I right? We’re talking football games, baseball world series, and holiday parties galore. And if there’s one thing I’ve noticed, the little bite size appetizers, like these Cranberry BBQ Meatballs or these easy crab cakes always get devoured the fastest.
It doesn’t matter how old you are, or how picky you are, EVERYONE loves a yummy little meatball appetizer.
How to make crockpot meatballs:
1. Add your frozen meatballs to the slow cooker.
2. Mix sauce ingredients. In a separate bowl, mix cranberry sauce, cocktail sauce, brown sugar, water, and bbq sauce.
3. Pour over meatballs. Pour this mixture on top of the slow cooker meatballs
4. Cook on low for 4-6 hours.
What I love about Crockpot Meatballs:
- Frozen Meatballs. Make this recipe as simple as you like. You can use store bought, frozen meatballs–I really like the Costco brand of frozen meatballs–or you can make your own meatballs from scratch.
- 5 minute prep time. Throw everything in a crockpot and let it do the work for a few hours.
- Easy, no-fuss recipe. This is a “dump-it and forget-it” type of appetizer that is as easy as it gets.
Are Frozen meatballs already cooked?
Most frozen meatballs from the store are pre-cooked (my favorite brand is Costco’s Kirkland signature meatballs). Frozen meatballs are so convenient because you don’t have to let them thaw. You can cook them in a crock pot on low for 5-6 hours or on high for 2-3 hours, right in the sauce! It doesn’t get easier than that.
Don’t have a crockpot? Make them in a saucepan!
Add ingredients for the sauce to a saucepan and stir until smooth. Add the meatballs and stir to coat. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to simmer. Cook for 8-10 minutes for thawed meatballs, or 14-16 minutes for frozen meatballs.
Storing and Freezing Instructions:
To store: Store crockpot meatballs in the refrigerator for 3-4 days in a sealed container. Reheat in the microwave or on the stove top until warmed through.
Freezing meatballs: While I wouldn’t recommend freezing the crockpot cranberry meatballs after making these in the slow cooker, frozen meatballs are recommended to make the recipe. I love to make a big batch of homemade meatballs for the freezer and use whenever I decide to make this quick and easy appetizer.
Other Appetizers to serve with crockpot meatballs:
Crockpot Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs
- Spray the bottom of your slow cooker lightly with cooking spray. Add frozen meatballs to the bottom of pot.
- In a large bowl stir together cranberry sauce, cocktail sauce, brown sugar, water, and barbecue sauce and pour over meatballs.
- Cook on LOW for 4-6 hours or HIGH for 2-3 hours.
- Serve warm garnished with chopped green onions, if desired.
Nutritional label is based off of one serving of 4 meatballs.
Have you tried this recipe?!
RATE and COMMENT below! I would love to hear your experience.
I originally shared this recipe October 2016. Updated with additional instructions and tips November 2019.