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Cooked low and slow, these Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect appetizer for your upcoming holiday gatherings. Easy ingredients, homemade meatballs, and all the flavor.

Cranberry Meatballs stacked in white bowl topped with parsley.

I pretty much adore anything cranberry flavored, whether it be sauce, desserts, spreads, etc. But when it comes to these Cranberry Meatballs, we are in love.

Super simple ingredients help these come together nicely, and instead of using frozen meatballs, we make our own, so we have the exact flavor that we are going for.

These also serve a crowd, so it makes them perfect for holidays, game days, or just because you love appetizers as much as I do and want to make them all the time.

The cranberry flavor really gives these an edge and makes them absolutely irresistible, a dish that you will want to make over and over.

So if you are stuck trying to figure out what to bring or make for your next get-together, then you absolutely have to make these Cranberry Meatballs.

Some of other favorite appetizer recipes that we have on our sit include: Fried Mac and Cheese, Onion Tarts and Tempura Vegetables.

Cranberry Meatballs in slow cooker with serving spoon.

WHY THIS RECIPE WORKS:

  • Easy and flavorful ingredients make these a fantastic appetizer.
  • They can be doubled to serve even more people.
  • If you want, you can use frozen meatballs instead of homemade.

INGREDIENTS NEEDED (FULL RECIPE BELOW):

Eggs
Panko breadcrumbs
Ketchup
Italian parsley
Light brown sugar
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic powder
Onion powder
Kosher salt
Pepper
Smoked paprika
Lean ground beef
Jellied cranberry sauce
Chili sauce

Ingredients needed to make Cranberry Meatballs.

HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY MEATBALLS:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and set aside. 
  2. In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, breadcrumbs, ketchup, parsley, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika. 
  3. Add the beef and mix it well with the ingredients. It’s easier to do this by hand.
  4. Take 1 & ½ tablespoons of the mixture and roll it between your hands to form a ball. I find using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop easiest. Place them on the prepared sheet tray not touching.
  5. Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Place the meatballs into the body of a 6-quart or similar-sized slow cooker, set aside.
  6. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, and brown sugar. It may not become smooth, with some lumps, that’s okay.
  7. Pour the sauce over the meatballs, and stir so the meatballs are coated in the sauce. 
  8. Place the slow cooker on low temp for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-3 hours. Stir every 30 minutes or so to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.
  9. Garnish with more parsley if desired and serve immediately.

Step by step photos on how to make Cranberry Meatballs.

HOW CAN I MAKE THESE SPICIER?

If you want to add some spice to cut the sweetness from the rest of the ingredients, you can absolutely do that. 

What we like to do is add 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne or chipotle powder (for a more smokey taste) to the meatball mixture. You can also add any amount of your favorite hot sauce to the sauce.

CAN I DOUBLE THIS RECIPE?

Absolutely, this can easily be doubled. I would make sure that if you are doubling this recipe that you use a larger slow cooker like an 8 quart just to make sure that they all fit.

CAN I USE FROZEN MEATBALLS?

If you want to cut a step and make the process go a little faster, frozen meatballs can be used. However, we love the homemade meatballs in this recipe.

You can use your favorite meatball, ours is homestyle. But there is no need to defrost them, just throw them in with everything and cook.

Overhead slightly of cranberry meatballs in white bowl with toothpicks in background.

HOW TO STORE:

These can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator, where they will keep for up to 5 days.

They can also be frozen, placed in a freezer bag or container with the sauce, and they will keep in the freezer for up to 3 months. 

To defrost, remove from the freezer and place in the refrigerator overnight until thawed. To reheat, you can put these in the microwave or in the slow cooker until heated through.

TIPS AND TRICKS:

  • The meatballs are very tender, be careful when stirring.
  • Frozen meatballs can be used.
  • These can be frozen, see above on how to do that.
  • Add some spice to the dish, see above on what we add.
  • These can be made ahead and stored in the slow cooker on the warm setting for up to 3 hours, stirring about every 30 minutes.

Hand holding up one meatball on toothpick with bite taken out of it.

Wanting that perfect appetizer that is homemade but can also be made easier? Then you absolutely must try my Cranberry Meatballs, they will be a hit.

If you like this recipe you might also like:

If you’ve tried these CRANBERRY MEATBALLS let me know in the comments how it turned out! You can follow me over on PINTEREST, INSTAGRAM OR FACEBOOK to find some more of our mouthwatering recipes! 

This Silly Girls Kitchen Logo
5 from 6 votes

Cranberry Meatballs

Author Dana at ThisSillyGirlsKitchen.com
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 5 hours
Total: 5 hours 15 minutes
Cooked low and slow these Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect appetizer for your upcoming holiday gatherings. Easy ingredients, homemade meatballs and all the flavor.
Servings 28

Ingredients
  

For the sauce:

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper, and set aside.
  • In a large bowl, mix together the eggs, breadcrumbs, ketchup, parsley, brown sugar, Worcestershire sauce, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, and paprika.
  • Add the beef and mix it well with the ingredients. It’s easier to do this by hand.
  • Take 1 & ½ tablespoons of the mixture and roll it between your hands to form a ball. I find using a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop easiest. Place them on the prepared sheet tray not touching.
  • Bake for 12-15 minutes until golden brown. Place the meatballs into the body of a 6-quart or similar-sized slow cooker, set aside.
  • In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together the cranberry sauce, chili sauce, and brown sugar. It may not become smooth, with some lumps, that’s okay.
  • Pour the sauce over the meatballs, and stir so the meatballs are coated in the sauce.
  • Place the slow cooker on low temp for 4-5 hours, or high for 2-3 hours. Stir every 30 minutes or so to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.
  • Garnish with more parsley if desired and serve immediately.

Notes

  1. The meatballs are very tender, be careful when stirring.
  2. Frozen meatballs can be used.
  3. These can be frozen, see above on how to do that.
  4. Add some spice to the dish, see above on what we add.
  5. These can be made ahead and stored in the slow cooker on the warm setting for up to 3 hours, stirring about every 30 minutes.

Nutrition

Calories: 98kcal | Carbohydrates: 12g | Protein: 8g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 0.2g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 0.1g | Cholesterol: 32mg | Sodium: 267mg | Potassium: 188mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 8g | Vitamin A: 135IU | Vitamin C: 2mg | Calcium: 13mg | Iron: 1mg
Nutrition Disclaimer
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American

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5 from 6 votes (6 ratings without comment)

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