I know what you’re probably thinking… “Who would ever pair meatballs with grape jelly?!”
Listen, I was there once. I thought this was one of those weird recipes that my dad made up for no reason. Annnnd then I tasted it… and I was like, “yeah, I want this all the time please”.
If you’ve never had grape jelly meatballs, I urge you to try them at least once. The jelly and chili sauce pair SO WELL together (and who doesn’t love some sweet and spicy cocktail meatballs?).
Also, yes, my dad still makes these for me every year at our Christmas party and, yes… I eat pretty much the entire crockpot. No regrets.
Why you’ll love these grape jelly meatballs
So much flavor. These grape jelly meatballs are both sweet and spicy. You’ll be amazed that a frozen meatball can taste as good as these do!
Can be customized to your liking. If you’re not a huge grape jelly fan, you can swap it for a different flavor or use a marmalade in place of the jelly altogether!
An easy crock pot appetizer. Put all ingredients into a slow cooker and let it go for a few hours… yeah, it’s that easy.
To make these grape jelly meatballs, you’ll need:
- Frozen meatballs – I always use store bought frozen meatballs when I make this slow cooker meal. You can also make homemade meatballs, freeze them, and use those instead of store bought. And, yes, you can use whatever type of frozen meatballs you like… from ground beef to turkey meatballs, it’ll taste great!
- BBQ sauce – Something about Sweet Baby Ray’s BBQ Sauce reminds me of my childhood. It’s the number one BBQ sauce I gravitate towards, but feel free to use whatever you like instead!
- Grape jelly – I grew up on Smucker’s jelly so I went with their grape jelly. Use whatever you like – these meatballs will be delish either way.
- Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch – OR, your favorite chili sauce (such as Heinz Chili Sauce). If you know me, you know that I’m a TJ’s chili onion crunch girl. I use it in a lot of my recipes (my fav place to use it is in my spicy vodka pasta).
Yep, that’s really all you need to make this slow cooker meal!
There are tons of ways to shake this recipe up too. Add in some dijon mustard, use orange marmalade instead of grape jelly, swap out the chili sauce for another spicy sauce (or use chili powder or red pepper flakes in addition to the chili sauce), use a flavored barbecue sauce, or even swap the jelly with some canned cranberry sauce for a holiday party!
When it comes to serving, feel free to serve these grape jelly meatballs with some egg noodles, mashed potatoes, or enjoy them alone. You can garnish with some fresh herbs if you’d like too (like parsley) for a bit of color. Not necessary at all though!
Regardless of how you decide to make this sweet and savory appetizer, you’ll absolutely love it <3
How to make slow cooker grape jelly meatballs
This recipe is soooo super hard you guys… just kidding!
Add the frozen meatballs, chili sauce, grape jelly, and barbecue sauce to a slow cooker and mix well. You’ll want to make sure that you’ve coated each meatball in the grape jelly chili sauce.
Heat on high for six hours or on low for eight hours. Once done, you can do one of two things…
- Remove the cooked meatballs with grape jelly from the crockpot.
- Keep the grape jelly meatballs in the slow cooker on the “warm” setting to enjoy throughout the day (or night).
If I’m making these for a party I leave them in the slow cooker. If I’m making them for myself (or a small intimate dinner) I take them out of the slow cooker!
Regardless on how you choose to enjoy these grape jelly meatballs, I know you’ll love them all the same. This recipe is very near and dear to my heart and it’s the #1 recipe I look forward to when I go to my dads around Christmas time.
If you think these meatballs with grape jelly look good… imagine how good they taste. Okay, now stop imagining and go make them for yourself!!
Frequently asked questions
Why do people put grape jelly in meatballs?
The grape jelly and chili sauce pair so beautifully together that my question in return would be… why not?
Not only do they balance the spicy sauce found within this recipe, they provide a glossy finish to the cooked meatballs. Also, grape jelly sauce is so good. Don’t knock it until you try it!
Why are my grape jelly meatballs watery?
While your grape jelly meatballs should never be watery, the grape jelly chili sauce isn’t thick.
If you feel like the consistency is too watery for you, mix some cornstarch and water in a small bowl and add it to the slow cooker during the last hour while cooking the meatballs. You’ll want a 1:1 ratio of both cornstarch and water, I’d recommend 1 TSP each but if you like a SUPER thick sauce, feel free to bump it up to 2 TSP each.Print
Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs
If you’re after a mostly hands off appetizer to serve friends and family during the holidays (or parties in general), these slow cooker grape jelly meatballs are perfect for you!
- Prep Time: 5 Minutes
- Cook Time: 6 Hours
- Total Time: 6 Hours and 5 Minutes
- Yield: About 6 Servings 1x
- 16 oz bag frozen meatballs
- 1 cup BBQ sauce
- 1/2 cup grape jelly
- 2 TBSP Trader Joe’s Chili Onion Crunch
- All all ingredients to a slow cooker and toss to combine. Cook on high for 6 hours or on low for 8 hours.
- Once fully cooked, remove from slow cooker and enjoy! Alternatively, you can leave the grape jelly meatballs in the slow cooker and keep it on the “warm” setting to enjoy hot for a few hours. Enjoy!