This recipe for meatballs with grape jelly is easy to make with frozen or homemade meatballs, the perfect party appetizer, and customizable! Includes recipe for easy meatballs!
Meatballs with Grape Jelly - the Perfect Party Appetizer
Looking for the perfect game day or holiday appetizer recipe? This one is always a hit.
We're talking Grape Jelly Meatballs, my friends! I haven't had these since I was a kid!
This was a super popular recipe when I was growing up, served at just about every party because they're super easy to make, and they always disappear.
Because they're so good! I've had several people ask me how I would make this recipe, so here we go.
Most people make them with frozen meatballs and a simple mix of 2 or 3 ingredients - grape jelly, chili sauce, and sometimes barbecue sauce.
My version is just as simple, though I have a few optional additions for you to spice things up, and I'm making homemade meatballs because I think they're much better than frozen product.
But don't worry, you can use frozen meatballs if you'd prefer. So!
Let's talk about how to make grape jelly meatballs, shall we?
Grape Jelly Meatballs Ingredients
- FOR THE MEATBALLS
- Ground Meat. Use ground beef, or a mix or ground beef and ground pork. Alternatively, use a bag of frozen meatballs from the grocery store. See Recipe Notes for this option.
- Vegetables. Onion, garlic, and optional jalapeno (to spice them up a little).
- Seasonings. Paprika, cumin, salt and pepper to taste.
- Panko. As a binder. You can use breadcrumbs as well.
- FOR THE GRAPE JELLY SAUCE
- Grape Jelly. Use your favorite brand.
- Chili-Garlic Sauce. See the Recipe Notes section below for options and alternatives.
- BBQ Sauce. Use your favorite barbecue sauce. Sweet Baby Ray's is popular.
- OPTIONAL ADDITIONS (Mike’s Way)
- Cayenne Pepper.
- Hot Sauce.
How to Make Grape Jelly Meatballs - the Recipe Method
FORM THE MEATBALLS
The Meatball Mixture. Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the ground beef together in a large bowl with the eggs, onion, jalapeno (if using), garlic, seasonings and panko.
Hand mix the ingredients, but do not overmix or overwork it, or the meatballs can become mealy.
Hand Form the Meatballs. Form the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 to 1.25 inches in diameter.
You will get roughly 50 meatballs out of this recipe, depending on the size.
Easy Baked Meatballs. Set them onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake them for 30-40 minutes, or until they are cooked through. (You can also pan cook the meatballs, to your preference).
Cooking time can vary, depending on the size of your meatballs, though they will continue to cook through when you simmer them in the grape jelly sauce.
Freeze or Continue. Freeze the meatballs if desired to make the recipe later, or add the meatballs to a crockpot at low heat.
GRAPE JELLY SAUCE/SLOW COOKER
Mix the Grape Jelly Sauce. Mix together the grape jelly, chili sauce, and bbq sauce (plus cayenne pepper and hot sauce, if using).
Pour it over the meatballs in the slow cooker/crock pot.
Simmer the Meatballs. Cook on low for 1 hour, or until the meatballs are warmed and coated in sauce.
If cooking from frozen meatballs, cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until the meatballs are warmed through.
You can cook on high for 2-3 hours, or until warmed through, but then reduce the heat.
Serve and enjoy!
Boom! Done! Your grape jelly meatballs are ready to serve. These are so easy to make, aren't they? Just like when I was a kid! Only a tad bit spicy, just the way I like them!
I hope you like them as much as we do.
Recipe Tips & Notes
Ground Meat Options. You can make this recipe with other ground meats, including ground turkey, chicken, or veal.
It's easy to make with ground beef or ground pork, but consider a mixture of meats for different flavor results.
Frozen Meatballs Option. A popular time savor for this recipe is to purchase pre-cooked frozen meatballs from the grocery store.
If using this option, simply add the frozen meatballs to a slow cooker or crockpot along with the grape jelly sauce ingredients.
Then, cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until the meatballs are cooked through and nice and delicious.
Chili-Garlic Sauce Alternatives. I love using my homemade chili-garlic sauce for this recipe. You can use a store bought brand, like Huy Fong.
Or, you can use sriracha for a spicier version, chili sauce (Heinz Chili Sauce is super popular), or simply add in more barbecue sauce.
Stovetop Version. Skip the slow cooker and add the frozen cooked meatballs and sauce ingredients to a Dutch oven or large pot.
Mix, cover, and cook on medium heat for 30 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the meatballs are warmed through.
This recipe will last up to 5 days in the refrigerator in a sealed container. You can easily warm them up in a pan. Just add the meatballs and stir, warming them through.
You can also freeze these meatballs for 2-3 months in freezer proof containers.
That's it, my friends. I hope you enjoy my grape jelly meatballs recipe. Let me know if you make them, and how you changed it up to make it your own. I'd love to hear!
Try Some of My Other Popular Recipes
- Albondigas (Mexican Meatballs)
- Spicy Meatballs in Chipotle-Lime Sauce
- Turkey Meatballs with Honey-Sriracha Sauce
- Spicy Meatballs Sub Sandwiches
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs
- Spicy Italian Meatballs
- Spicy Korean Chicken Meatballs
Got any questions? Ask away! I’m happy to help. If you enjoy this recipe, I hope you’ll leave a comment with some STARS. Also, please share it on social media. Don’t forget to tag us at #ChiliPepperMadness. I’ll be sure to share! Thanks! — Mike H.
Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- 2 pounds ground beef or use a mix or ground beef and ground pork
- 2 eggs beaten
- 1 small onion finely chopped
- 1 jalapeno pepper finely chopped (optional, for a spicier version)
- 4 cloves garlic finely chopped
- 1 teaspoon paprika
- 1/2 teaspoon cumin
- Salt and pepper to taste
- ½ cup Panko breadcrumbs or use regular breadcrumbs
FOR THE GRAPE JELLY SAUCE
- 1.5 cups grape jelly
- 1 cup chili-garlic sauce see Recipe Notes for alternatives
- 1 cup bbq sauce
OPTIONAL ADDITIONS (Mike’s Way)
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper for extra spicy
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce use your favorite
FOR THE MEATBALLS
- Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Mix the ground beef together in a large bowl with the eggs, onion, jalapeno (if using), garlic, seasonings and panko. Hand mix, but do not overmix, or the meatballs can become mealy.
- Form the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 to 1.25 inches in diameter. You will get roughly 50 meatballs out of this recipe, depending on the size.
- Set them onto a lightly oiled baking sheet and bake them for 30-40 minutes, or until they are cooked through. (You can also pan cook the meatballs, to your preference).
- Freeze the meatballs if desired to make the recipe later, or add the cooked meatballs to a crockpot at low heat.
GRAPE JELLY SAUCE/SLOW COOKER
- Mix together the grape jelly, chili sauce, and bbq sauce (plus cayenne pepper and hot sauce, if using). Pour it over the meatballs.
- Cook on low for 1 hour, or until the meatballs are warmed and coated in sauce. If cooking from frozen meatballs, cook on low for 3-4 hours, or until the meatballs are warmed through.
- Serve and enjoy!