Sweet and hearty grape jelly meatballs make for a classic appetizer or main course! Full-bodied and spicy, these fellas are sure to please the crowd.
Grape jelly meatballs are perfect for holiday potlucks and football parties. These tasty little treats are drenched in chili sauce, spiced with cayenne, and rounded out with that sweet grape jelly flavor. They just might be the easiest yummy appetizer around, you just can’t top the minimal prep work. They’re perfect to make when you’re asked to make a last minute appetizer. These tender and juicy morsels will be the hit of the party!
Try my cranberry meatballs, Bisquick sausage balls, and my bacon wrapped smokies when you’re looking for more crowd pleasing little finger foods. All of these are big reader favorites ♥
WHAT I LOVE MOST ABOUT THIS RECIPE:
- Grape jelly chili sauce meatballs require only four ingredients!
- The meatballs are so flavorful!
- Prep work for crockpot meatballs grape jelly style is a cinch.
- Grape jelly and chili sauce make for a surprisingly tasty combination.
What Are Grape Jelly Meatballs?
In this recipe for crockpot meatballs, grape jelly is king — hence the name! Grape jelly meatballs are simply cocktail meatballs simmered in jelly, chili sauce, and pepper. Simple, yet delicious.
This is a popular dish in the Deep South, and possibly one of the quickest appetizers or entrees you will ever encounter. They were also the hottest food trend of 1962, according to this Insider article! Some things never go out of style.
What Is Chili Sauce?
Chili Sauce is a sweet and tangy condiment made of tomatoes, vinegar, sugar and peppers. I prefer the brand called brand called “Homemade Sauce” in a kettle shaped jar but sometimes it’s difficult to find. In that case I use Heinz.
What Ingredients Do You Need To Make Grape Jelly Meatballs?
- Jar Grape Jelly- Any brand will do. I generally use Welch’s or Smuckers.
- Jar Chili Sauce- This is American style chili sauce, not Asian. I like a brand called “Homemade Sauce” or Heinz in this recipe.
- Cayenne Pepper- If you want more heat in this recipe, you can simply increase the cayenne pepper.
- Frozen Cocktail Size Meatballs- These meatballs contain a combo of beef, chicken, and pork. They come fully cooked.
- How Long Can You Keep This In The Fridge? Cool meatballs completely then store in an airtight container for 3-4 days.
- Can You Freeze This? Yes, cool completely, store in an airtight container and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
- Reheat: Gently reheat on the stove top over medium-low heat until meatballs are heated through and sauce is bubbly.
How To Make On The Stove Top
- In a large saucepan, whisk together grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper until combined.
- Add meatballs and stir until evenly coated.
- Cover sauce pan and cook on medium-low, gently stirring occasionally, for about 20 minutes of until meatballs are heated through.
How Do You Make Grape Jelly Meatballs?
Simply mix together cocktail meatballs grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper, coating well, then cover and cook for a few hours in the crockpot! This is seriously one of the simplest recipes out there. Of course, you can always up the time commitment factor by making the individual ingredients (jelly, chili sauce, and meatballs) yourself!
Step By Step: How Do You Make Grape Jelly Meatballs
1. Add grape jelly to the crockpot.
2. Whisk to break up the jelly.
3. Add chili sauce.
4. Add cayenne pepper.
5. Mix well.
6. Turn crockpot on low, and cover and cook 2-4 hours on high.
How Do You Serve Grape Jelly Meatballs
Appetizer: These make the perfect appetizer. Serve them straight out of the crockpot or on a serving dish. Eitherway, serve with toothpicks.
Dinner: Serve over buttered noodles or rice.
Side Dish: These are great served along chicken or ham.
More Party Perfect Finger Foods
- Ham and Cheese Pinwheels
- Sausage Balls With Cream Cheese
- Everything Pigs in a Blanket
- Bacon Wrapped Water Chestnuts
Grape Jelly Meatballs
- 1 (30 Ounce) Jar Grape Jelly
- 2 (12 Ounce) Jar Chili Sauce
- Pinch Cayenne Pepper
- 2 Pounds Frozen Cocktail Size Meatballs
- Add the grape jelly, chili sauce, and cayenne pepper to the crockpot and whisk mixture to break up the jelly so it will mix in.
- Add the frozen meatballs to sauce and toss with a rubber spatula to coat the meatballs.
- Turn Crockpot on low, cover and cook on high for 2 hours or low 4 hours.
Fans Also Made:
Recipe Notes For Grape Jelly Meatballs:
Grape jelly selection: Jelly selection is a delicate matter for some, but I think hard to go wrong with either Smuckers grape jelly meatballs or Welch’s grape jelly meatballs. If you are feeling extra creative, check out HGTV’s article on how to make your own grape jelly!
Meatball selection: Pretty much any cocktail sized (read: not ginormous!) meatball will do the trick in this recipe. Again, if you want to do everything homemade style, where there’s a will there’s a way! Here’s my fav meatball recipe.
Chili sauce selection: For the uninitiated, chili sauce is a spicy tomato and chili rich hot sauce. You can find it at most local groceries! Adjust the spice level to your liking. (And yes, you can make this at home as well. Recipes vary, but the basics are tomatoes, onions, chilies, garlic, salt, and vinegar.)
Crockpot alternatives: If you don’t have a crockpot or want to supervise your meatballs more closely, you can, of course, make these on the stove top as well! Just mix and simmer in a large saucepan over medium heat until the meatballs are warmed through, for about thirty minutes.
Variations: Some diners love meatballs with grape jelly and bbq sauce instead of chili sauce. If you have awakened a hankering for other flavorful meatball varieties, you might also like to try another holiday fav, my Cranberry Meatballs. And, don’t forget my Teriyaki Meatballs, or my Sweet And Sour Meatballs. They serve as those anytime appetizer that guests gorge themselves on.
Can You Make Grape Jelly Meatballs Ahead Of Time?
Yes, sir or ma’am! These meatballs keep for up to four months in the freezer and two days in the fridge. Reheat them on a low heat setting either on the stove or in the crock pot, stirring occasionally, until they are heated through. As an added bonus, you get to savor that grape and chili aroma for a second time!
How Do You Freeze Grape Jelly Meatballs?
Meatballs with grape jelly and chili sauce are easy to freeze. Layer them in an airtight freezer safe bag or container, and freeze for several months at a time (aim for three or four months to be on the safe side).
Don’t forget to let the meatballs cool completely before portioning out into your freezer container! I recommend cooling them in the fridge for food safety reasons.
What To Serve With Grape Jelly Meatballs:
Typically, these little gems are served as an appetizer at parties, potlucks, and such. But, there’s no reason not to raise the roof and serve these for dinner! Grape jelly and chili sauce meatballs go great with plain or savory sides like pasta, mashed potatoes, and or cooked veggies. Garden salad and garlic bread are two other common pairings.
More Meatball Recipes…
- Italian Baked Meatballs
- Sicilian Meatballs
- Bisquick Sausage Balls
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