Made with just 5 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time, these Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs are a must for holiday parties and game days. They’re tangy, a little spicy, and absolutely delicious – everyone loves them!
Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs
We took our ever-popular Grape Jelly Meatballs recipe and gave it a fall twist with cranberry sauce. These slow cooker meatballs are a tried and true recipe loved by everyone, perfect for family gatherings, holiday celebrations, get-togethers with friends, and game day. They are one crockpot party food that always disappears fast.
The flavor combination is just the best – a little sweet and savory, with a slight kick from chili sauce. Makes your taste buds sing. In addition to the great taste, they are crazy easy to prepare – a true dump and go slow cooker recipe. And clean up is a breeze.
Cranberry Meatballs Recipe
You only need 5 simple ingredients to make this cranberry meatball recipe:
(Scroll below to the printable recipe card for details and measurements.)
- Ketchup: If you can, purchase a brand without any high fructose corn syrup.
- Brown sugar: For sweetness and a subtle molasses flavor.
- Cranberry sauce: Use our homemade cranberry sauce recipe or canned (either jellied or whole cranberry.)
- Chili sauce: This adds some heat and balances out the sweetness of the other ingredients. It doesn’t make the meatballs spicy.
- Italian Meatballs: You can keep it simple by buying a package of frozen meatballs at the store or make our homemade Italian meatballs for extra flavor.
How to Make Cranberry Meatballs
It could not be easier to make these crockpot meatballs! You simply place frozen meatballs into a greased crockpot, combine all the sauce ingredients, pour them over the meatballs, toss to coat, and then cook on low for a few hours. (See the full recipe and details in the printable recipe card below.)
- Can I make these without a crockpot? Yes, you can easily make these meatballs on the stovetop if you don’t have a crockpot. Just put them in a pot over medium/medium-low heat and cook until the meatballs are warmed. Be sure to stir frequently so the sauce doesn’t burn.
- Are these meatballs sweet or spicy? These slow cooker meatballs are the perfect blend of sweet with a little kick. The sweet brown sugar with tangy ketchup and spicy chili sauce really give the overall dish a great, well-balanced flavor.
- What are the best meatballs to use? Using frozen meatballs (no need to thaw first), whether homemade or a package purchased at the store, makes this recipe super easy. You can use all beef meatballs, pork meatballs, turkey meatballs or any combination.
How to Store & Reheat Leftovers:
- How to store leftovers. Leftover cranberry meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.
- How to reheat. The easiest way to reheat the meatballs is in the microwave, but if you’re reheating a large amount, you can also use the crockpot or stovetop.
These meatballs are great enjoyed as an appetizer, but I often serve them over cooked rice or mashed potatoes as a weeknight meal. My family loves them!
More Meatball Recipes:
- Swedish Meatballs
- Italian Meatballs
- Beef Kofta Meatballs
- Sweet Hot and Sour Cocktail Meatballs
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs
- Coat a 6-quart slow cooker with nonstick cooking spray.
- In the slow cooker, combine ketchup, brown sugar, cranberry sauce, and chili sauce; whisk until smooth and combined.
- Add in the meatballs and toss until coated.
- Place the lid on the crock pot and cook on low for 3-4 hours (or high for 2 hours), stirring once or twice toward the end to prevent any burning.
- Turn the slow cooker to warm and enjoy as an appetizer (or serve over mashed potatoes or rice for a complete meal.)