Home > Appetizers > Easy Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

Easy Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

These juicy Grape Jelly Meatballs are the best appetizer recipe. Tender and juicy meatballs smothered in a sweet and spicy sauce and slow-cooked to perfection. The sauce has just three ingredients and you’ll love how easy it is.

Grape Jelly Meatballs are perfect for New Year’s parties or any gathering. If you are looking for a crowd-pleasing appetizer, these are always a hit, along with our Jalapeno Poppers or the Easy Cheese Ball.

A crockpot full of grape jelly meatballs topped with chopped greens and a ladle.

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Grape Jelly Meatballs

These delicious grape jelly meatballs are loved by everyone. Meatballs tossed together with grape jelly, bbq sauce, and garlic chili sauce then slow cooked until tender, saucy and flavorful.

We love serving these during the holidays, game nights, or even for a simple dinner over fluffy white rice.

A ladle full of grape jelly meatballs topped with chopped greens.

Ingredients for Grape Jelly Meatballs

With just 4 basic ingredients you can have this amazing appetizer thrown together and allow the crockpot to do the rest of the work.

  • Meatballs –  For this recipe we use frozen meatballs made of pork, beef, and chicken from the local grocery store. You can use any of your favorite frozen meatballs for this recipe.
  • Grape Jelly – Any grape jelly will work, we prefer using Smucker’s grape jelly.
  • Chili Sauce – You can also adjust the amount for the level of heat you prefer. Any chili sauce will work for this recipe, we love Huey Fong Chili Sauce (the same sauce we use in Shrimp Cocktail Sauce and Springroll Dipping Sauce).
  • Barbecue Sauce – We love Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ sauce for this recipe.
A crockpot with frozen meatballs, jam, barbecue, and chili sauce ready to be baked.

How to Make Grape Jelly Meatballs

This recipe is so easy to make. With just 5 minutes of prep time, you can have this appetizer ready to go in your crockpot.

  1. Into the slow cooker, add: frozen meatballs, jelly, bbq, and chili sauce to the slow cooker. Toss until combined. TIP: You can also mix the bbq, jelly and chili sauce in a separate bowl then pour over the meatballs.
  2. Cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring halfway through cooking. Once the meatballs are cooked, turn the slow cooker to warm and keep warm until ready to serve.
  3. Garnish with parsley or chives if desired.

Other Cooking Methods

If you do not have a slow cooker, don’t worry, here are two other methods that you can use to make these meatballs.

  • Stovetop Grape Jelly Meatballs – Add the meatballs, barbecue, grape jelly, and chili sauce in a Dutch oven or large pot and combine. Simmer over medium/low heat for 25-30 minutes or until the meatballs are warmed through, stirring occasionally to keep the sauce from burning.
  • Oven-Baked Grape Jelly Meatballs – Add all the ingredients into a casserole dish or Dutch oven and mix to combine. Cover with lid or foil and bake at 325°F for 20-25 minutes or until the meatballs have cooked through. Note: Adjust the cooking time based on the size of your meatballs.
A toothpick with two meatballs being held.

To Serve

There are several different ways to enjoy these meatballs! Here are some of our favorite ways:

  • Appetizer – They make for the ultimate appetizer, serve with toothpicks at your next gathering, or game day tailgating party!
  • Side Dish– Serve these as a side dish for the holidays. The flavors in these meatballs really stand out and this recipe always gets compliments.
  • Entree – Serve over cooked rice or with Instant Pot Mashed Potatoes or pasta as a main entree.
A white plate loaded with meatballs topped with chopped greens.

Common Questions

How to store grape jelly meatballs?

You can store the grape jelly meatballs in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4 days.

Can I use fresh meatballs?

Yes, you can use Homemade Meatballs or even our Turkey Meatballs. You’ll want to be sure to cook the meatballs first.

What kind of meatballs do I use?

You can use any type of frozen meatballs that you like, Italian, Angus, and turkey meatballs work great for this recipe. The frozen Italian-style meatballs from Costco work great.

Can I omit the chili sauce?

Yes, if you do not like spicy foods then you can leave out the chili sauce completely.

What other jelly can I use?

While the grape jelly is classic to this recipe, you can switch up the flavor of jelly you use for different flavors! You can also use strawberry, apple, apricot, mixed berry jam, or preserves.

Make-Ahead

Here’s a great food storage guide from the FDA – print this and tape it inside one of your kitchen cabinets to reference.

  • To Freeze – Once cooled, add to a freezer-safe container and freeze for 2 to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating.
  • To Reheat – Grape Jelly Meatballs reheat well. Just add them back to the slow cooker to reheat or you can also reheat in the oven, stovetop, or microwave until steamy hot and fully heated through.
Grape jelly meatballs in a slow cooker topped with fresh chopped greens with a ladle.

More Party Appetizers

Grape Jelly Meatballs are a real treat. Everyone is always surprised when they find out what is in the sauce. It’s a keeper of a recipe.

Easy Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

5 from 137 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 3 hours
Total Time: 3 hours 5 minutes
Grape jelly Meatballs in slow cooker with serving spoon

These juicy Grape Jelly Meatballs are the best appetizer recipe! Tender and juicy meatballs smothered in a sweet and spicy sauce and slow-cooked to perfection. You can easily scale this recipe up, or scale down if using a smaller crockpot.

Author: Valentina Ablaev
Skill Level: Easy
Cost to Make: $12-$14
Keyword: grape jelly meatballs
Cuisine: American
Course: Appetizer
Calories: 342
Servings: 12 servings as an appetizer

Ingredients

  • 32 oz frozen fully cooked meatballs
  • 1 cup grape jelly, we like Smuckers brand
  • 1 1/2 cup barbecue sauce, we like Sweet Baby Ray's brand
  • 2 Tbsp chili garlic sauce

Instructions

  1. Add the frozen meatballs, grape jelly, barbecue sauce, and chili sauce into the base of the slow cooker. Mix until well combined.

  2. Cover and cook on low for 3-4 hours, stirring halfway through cooking. Keep covered and on the warm setting until ready to serve. Garnish with parsley or chives if desired.

Recipe Notes

NOTE: The chili sauce gives the meatballs a slight kick. If you want your meatballs on the sweeter side, you can omit the chili sauce completely.

Nutrition Facts
Easy Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 342 Calories from Fat 144
% Daily Value*
Fat 16g25%
Saturated Fat 6g38%
Polyunsaturated Fat 1g
Monounsaturated Fat 7g
Cholesterol 54mg18%
Sodium 558mg24%
Potassium 322mg9%
Carbohydrates 35g12%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 26g29%
Protein 13g26%
Vitamin A 85IU2%
Vitamin C 3mg4%
Calcium 28mg3%
Iron 1mg6%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

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Valentina Ablaev

I am Valentina, the creator behind the food blog Valentina’s Corner where I share our family’s favorite recipes. When I am not in the kitchen, I enjoy spending quality time with my husband and 5 children. We invite you to join us on our blogging journey!

Read more posts by Valentina

Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Cheryl
    November 18, 2022

    Can I use frozen Italian meatballs? That’s all I can find.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      November 18, 2022

      Hi Cheryl, yes, that will work. We used frozen meatballs for this recipe. I hope you love it!

      Reply

  • Mel
    September 28, 2022

    Natasha, I made my own grape jelly but one of the batch did not set well (a little runny). Can I use it for this recipe?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 28, 2022

      Hi Mel, I think that would be fine.

      Reply

  • Melissa R
    September 15, 2022

    We don’t do pork (did beef & lamb) or frozen (fresh pan fried) but these were FABULOUS following the recipe otherwise. Thank you for sharing!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      September 15, 2022

      So glad it was enjoyed! Thank you for sharing, Melissa!

      Reply

  • Judi
    September 10, 2022

    I’ve been making these for years with the addition of a shot of soya sauce and a squeeze of lemon juice. No measurements, sorry.

    Reply

  • Laurence Brown
    August 15, 2022

    We mix a can of jellied cranberry with a bottle of chili sauce, over meatballs or cocktail weiners. Simple and delicious!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 15, 2022

      Sounds delicious!

      Reply

  • Patty Coy
    August 14, 2022

    Dear Natasha,
    I do not like store bought frozen meatballs! Do you have a recipe for homemade meatballs that will work for this recipe?
    Thank you,
    PC

    Reply

  • Janice Quick
    August 14, 2022

    I prefer to make my own meatballs. The store bought ones just seem tough and do not taste as good as homemade.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 14, 2022

      That’s good, homemade is always better.

      Reply

  • John
    August 13, 2022

    I use Hickory Farms “Hot Pepper Bacon Jam” instead of grape jelly. It is fantastic!

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 13, 2022

      That sounds amazing! Thanks for sharing that with us.

      Reply

  • Jill
    August 7, 2022

    Hey there!
    I am wondering if using reduced sugar jelly affects the outcome? I have a diabetic husband.

    Thanks in advance!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      August 8, 2022

      Hi Jill, I think that will be okay although I have not experimented on that yet. If you happen to try that, please share with us how it goes.

      Reply

  • Marisa
    August 4, 2022

    Hi Natasha, would this recipe for meatballs subs too? What cheese would I use? Thanks for your help.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 4, 2022

      Hi Marisa. Are you wanting to make meatball subs? If so, I would follow my other Meatball Recipe, HERE. This recipe is closer to traditional meatballs used to make Italian meatball subs. I toss them through marinara sauce and top them with mozzarella cheese. I hope that answers your question.

      Reply

  • Helen
    August 3, 2022

    Hi!
    I will make this recipe. I would like to know if you use the same recipe for cocktail meatballs as for the larger balls for spaghetti.
    I’m wondering about the bread cubes.
    Thanks for sharing.

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      August 4, 2022

      Hi Helen! Yes, this is the perfect recipe for cocktail meatballs. I use my other recipe for Spaghetti and Meatballs.

      Reply

  • Melanie
    July 30, 2022

    Would the flavor profile work for sliders? It was an idea I had.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      July 30, 2022

      Hi Melanie, I haven’t tried that for sliders, but that may work! If you experiment, I would love to know how you like that!

      Reply

  • Theresa
    May 23, 2022

    Hello Natasha. I love this recipe. Another one I use is equal parts of black currant jam and ketchup.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 23, 2022

      Hi Theresa! I’m so glad you enjoyed this recipe! Thank you so much for sharing that with me!

      Reply

  • Theresa
    May 23, 2022

    Hello Natasha. I love using this same meatball recipe. Sometimes for a change, I use equal parts of black currant jam and ketchup. We love that one also.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      May 23, 2022

      Hi Theresa, thank you for sharing that with us. Good to know that you are using the same recipe for your meatballs!

      Reply

  • Jacqueline
    May 13, 2022

    I’d heard of this but never made them before New Year’s Eve. Huge hit! I’ve passed along your recipe to almost everyone who has tried them. And the BBQ sauce used has a huge impact on the result. Bullseye was too smokey for my liking but original Sweet Baby Rays is fantastic!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      May 13, 2022

      I’m so glad you gave them a try, Jacqueline! I’m so glad you loved this recipe!

      Reply

  • van
    May 13, 2022

    hi,

    I am making these for a larger crowd. I have a bag of 140 meatballs how much jelly, and BBQ sauce should I use?

    Reply

    • NatashasKitchen.com
      May 13, 2022

      Hi! This recipe serves 12, you can adjust the serving size to 24 on the recipe card if you’d like and that is about 64oz of frozen meatball. 64 ounces of frozen meatballs takes 2 cups of jelly and 3 cups of BBQ sauce so you can use this as a formula to get you to what amount you need. Just measure the total ounces of the frozen meatballs you have.

      Reply

      • Melanie
        July 31, 2022

        Do you need to adjust the time when doubling the recipe in a slow cooker?

        Reply

        • Natashas Kitchen
          August 1, 2022

          Hi Melanie, you may need to adjust the time slightly to ensure everything is cooked through.

          Reply

  • Sharon S.
    February 12, 2022

    The first time I heard about Grape Jelly / Chili sauce Meatballs, I was like “Your kidding, right”. But I made them for a group BBQ no they were the first dish to empty out. But the recipe I used had no BBQ sauce only 2:1 ratio of Chili Sauce and Grape Jelly. I will have to try this recipe for a change.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 12, 2022

      I hope you love it, Sharon!

      Reply

  • Shelley Ross
    February 7, 2022

    My mom used to make this recipe starting in the 1960’s for all our family get together when ever we had a crowd. It always brings back happy memories when l make it now! She also would use canned cranberries instead of grape jelly to give it a bit of tartness. Sooooo yummmmy!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      February 7, 2022

      Hello Shelley, good to know that your mom is also using a similar recipe for this dish. I’m sure she’s a great cook!

      Reply

  • Mary
    February 3, 2022

    OMG. My husband has been making this exact recipe for years. Best appetizers ever. Always a hit at parties. The only difference is that he bakes his in an oven proof dish in the oven. They come out glazed and delicious. A must try for everyone. And I love your recipes. So easy to try. Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      February 3, 2022

      Thank you so much for sharing that with us, Mary! I’m so glad you enjoyed it!

      Reply

  • Brenda
    January 30, 2022

    I made these today. I couldn’t find chili sauce so I bought Sweet Baby Rays sweet and spicy sauce. It gave the meatballs quit a kick. They were delicious! I love your recipes! Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      January 30, 2022

      Hi Brenda, great to hear that the substitute ingredient that you used worked well too! Thanks for the review and for sharing that with us.

      Reply

    • marta
      May 3, 2022

      Hi Brenda, i would like to try making them with sweet and Spicy baby Rays sauce. could you please tell me the amount you used ? Thank You.

      Reply

  • Nancy
    January 5, 2022

    I see that my grocer has 1/2 ounce meat balls and 1 ounce meatballs. Perhaps there are even larger ones! What size do you show in your photos, or what size do you generally prefer to use? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natasha
      January 6, 2022

      Hi Nancy, I like the meatballs to be about 1-inch diameter meatballs. A 1-inch meatball is about 1 ounce, but either size should work fine.

      Reply

  • Robin
    January 1, 2022

    Made these for New Years Day and they are delicious! I used Turkey meatballs and they were so yummy! Served with rice…so good!!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      January 1, 2022

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review, Robin!

      Reply

  • Peggy
    December 31, 2021

    I’m fixing these for our laid-backed New Year’s Day eat what you want type of day. Happy New Year from California.

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 31, 2021

      Great idea! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Natalie
    December 30, 2021

    Hi Natasha, first time making these and was wondering if you have suggestions on making them if I don’t have a crock pot or slow cooker? Thanks!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 30, 2021

      Hi Natalia, please see this section in the recipe for the stovetop or oven method recipe: “Other Cooking Methods”! I hope you love this recipe!

      Reply

      • shaun
        January 1, 2022

        Hi, I’m making these now for our New Years Day appetizer night. My wife said I had to make just BBQ sauced meatballs as well so I’ll put them next to each other and let our friends and family rate them lol. Happy New Years from British Columbia, Canada

        Reply

        • Natasha's Kitchen
          January 3, 2022

          Sounds good Shaun, I hope they will love both versions.

          Reply

  • Thandiwe Ngwenya
    December 28, 2021

    Morning Nathasha

    I will also like to try the recipe it looks is appetizing and attractive.
    HAVE A BLESSED 2022.

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 29, 2021

      Go for it, I hope you love this recipe. Happy New Year too!

      Reply

  • Samantha
    December 28, 2021

    I’ve always enjoyed Grape Jelly Meatballs at parties but never before tried making them myself. Well now that I have, this is going to become a regular recipe at our house! My whole family loved your version…thank you so much!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 28, 2021

      I’m so glad you found a new favorite, Samantha! Thank you so much for sharing that with me.

      Reply

  • Ellen Ottoson
    December 28, 2021

    I remember these meatballs that my brother and I loved as a child. Aunt Minnie used to make them for us. She and my relatives came from Ukraine as children. I am so happy to find your recipe. Thank you!

    Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      December 28, 2021

      Hi Ellen, I’m happy that you found the recipe that you loved since you were a kid! I hope you’ll love all the recipes that you will try from my website.

      Reply

  • katerina @ diethood.com
    December 28, 2021

    I love all the amazing flavors in these meatballs! I can’t wait to try them!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 28, 2021

      I hope you love this recipe, Katerina!

      Reply

  • Lily Peters
    December 28, 2021

    WOW! I was intruiged by this recipe and I am so happy I tried it. It’s amazing!

    Reply

    • Natashas Kitchen
      December 28, 2021

      I’m so glad you enjoyed it! Thank you for the wonderful review!

      Reply

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