Cocktail Meatballs Recipe -
Cocktail Meatballs Recipe
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Cocktail Meatballs
See how to make the best party meatballs. See more
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Cocktail Meatballs

Recipe by  

"These tasty meatballs will disappear quickly from anyone's holiday party. My mom makes them every year for New Years Eve, and now so do I. These do very well in a slow cooker, as you can simmer them before serving, as well as keep them hot for the duration of your party."

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Ingredients Edit and Save

Original recipe makes 10 servings Change Servings
  • PREP

    20 mins
  • COOK

    1 hr 25 mins

    1 hr 45 mins


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Roll into small meatballs.
  3. Bake in preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, turning once.
  4. In a slow cooker or large saucepan over low heat, blend the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Add meatballs, and simmer for 1 hour before serving.
Kitchen-Friendly View


  • Easy Cleanup
  • Try using a liner in your slow cooker for easier cleanup.

Reviews More Reviews

Most Helpful Positive Review
Mar 20, 2006

These meatballs were a hit! I used frozen meatballs. Most jellied cranberry sauce come in 16 oz cans so if you decide to use the whole can you'll need to double all the other ingredients. Typical chili sauce comes in 12oz. bottle so you'll need two bottles if you use the full can of cranberry. Hope this helps your shopping.

Most Helpful Critical Review
Dec 11, 2008

ok, but my moms version is MUCH better

Jan 20, 2010

I have made these numerous times and am ashamed to admit I'm just now reviewing them. Wonderful addition to the regular grape jelly recipes out there with great meatballs.... Based on experience and personal preference with these cocktail meatballs I offer the following suggestions: 1.) Add one packet of lipton onion soup mix to the meatball mixture if you do not have time to mince or grate the onion. 2.) Bake meatballs over a drip pan to reduce the fat before adding to the sauce. 3.) If using frozen meatballs ENSURE you DO NOT use Italian meatballs as this upsets the balance of the meatballs and sauce (yuck)! 3.) Make the sauce the day before to let the flavors marry - I can't stress what a difference this makes! This recipe gets better the next day. 4.) The Heinz sauce in the round bottle seems to be the best chili sauce for this mixture. Reviewers: I seriously dislike people that rate a recipe based on the changes they have made to the original. I want to state that I rated this recipe on the recipe Lara submitted. The changes I suggested were based on my family's personal preference. Thanks Lara for a fabulous appetizer recipe - I always give you the credit!

Dec 15, 2003

Fromrfjl46 I have been making these meatballs for 30 years or more in my catering business. I however use cornflakes crumbs instead of bread crumbs. I also put 1/3 cup parsley; I use 1/4 cup ketchup instead of water and 1 tsp. soy sauce. Just a tought from an old chef

Mar 22, 2006

These were great. A huge hit with my family. The only thing I did differently was substitute 1 packet of lipton onion soup for the minced onion. It added great flavor. My nephews couldn't get enough of these meatballs. I highly recommend this recipe.

Dec 21, 2002

This is a very tasty recipe for meatballs, with the cranberry sauce representing a change from the run of the mill grape jelly recipe. I used seasoned bread crumbs, which added some nice flavor to the meatballs, and then baked them on a broiler tray, which allowed the fat to run off while they were baking. One recipe is enough to fill one of the small 1 to 2 quart crockpots. I made the meatballs 2 days ahead, and refrigerated them. The day of my party, I made the sauce, put the meatballs in the crockpot, added the sauce, and put the whole crock back in the fridge. About 2 hours before the party, I put the crock back in the warmer, and plugged it in. Voila! Easy and tasty. I was so impressed with the recipe, that I made an extra batch of the meatballs, and froze them. I will use them for another party in the next couple of weeks. I'll bet you could use ground turkey for a little less fat. Thanks for sharing a wonderful recipe!

May 16, 2003

Since I was serving 50+ and had several other dishes to prepare, I used storebought meatballs, and used this recipe for the sauce, cooking everything in a slowcooker. This was the biggest hit of the party, and many people asked for the recipe. It was sweet, but with a bit of a kick from the chili--unusual, but quite delicious, and it won my husband's "best he's ever had" compliment. A fantastic, but very simple recipe!

Jan 04, 2006

I, too, served these for my New Year's Day party and they were a hit. I also used the prepared, frozen meatballs. I'll bet the Little Smokies would be great in this sauce as well. Word of warning - do NOT use the Italian meatballs! The flavors fight each other and the sauce is the loser. Thanks for the recipe, Lara.


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  • Calories
  • 193 kcal
  • 10%
  • Carbohydrates
  • 15.2 g
  • 5%
  • Cholesterol
  • 53 mg
  • 18%
  • Fat
  • 10.2 g
  • 16%
  • Fiber
  • 0.5 g
  • 2%
  • Protein
  • 9.8 g
  • 20%
  • Sodium
  • 85 mg
  • 3%

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.

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