Easy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs Recipe – An update on a classic party favorite, these sweet and spicy cranberry cocktail meatballs are always a hit!
These cranberry meatballs make a delicious quick and easy recipe ready to serve in 30 minutes. Perfect for busy weeknights and entertaining.
How to Make Cranberry Meatballs
For these Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, I like to begin with my homemade meatballs.
I generally like to make batches of these meatballs and stash them away in the freezer for quick and easy weeknight meals, as well as for making these cocktail meatballs for easy entertaining.
Make the Meatballs
To make the meatballs, I mix the lean ground beef, onion, lightly beaten egg, milk, salt, pepper, bread crumbs, and Worcestershire sauce until well combined.
Using a tablespoon, scoop the mixture and roll it into a ball. Place onto the prepared rack-lined baking sheet and bake until they are just done about 20 minutes.
Make the Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Sauce
As the meatballs are baking, add all of the ingredients for the sauce to a large skillet over medium heat on the stovetop and cook the sauce until it has thickened about 10 minutes.
To Serve the Cranberry Meatballs
Serve in Slow Cooker (Entertaining): I love to serve these when we are entertaining. Add the cooked meatballs to a slow cooker and pour the sauce over them, giving them a gentle stir to make sure they are all well coated in the sauce.
Set the heat to low (or warm even) on the slow cooker to keep them perfect for serving throughout the party.
Serve in Skillet (Easy Meal): I also love to serve these cocktail meatballs for supper or lunch!
If so, I just add the cooked meatballs to the sauce in the skillet on the stovetop, give them a gentle stir to coat, and serve them straight from the skillet.
How to Make Ahead, Store and Freeze Cranberry Meatballs
To make ahead: Prepare meatballs and sauce as instructed. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator, reheat and serve.
To freeze: Prepare meatballs and store them in freezer-safe bags in the freezer for recipes such as this. You then just add the frozen meatballs to the heated sauce and cook until warmed throughout in the skillet or the slow cooker.
Here’s my Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs recipe. I hope you love them!
Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs Recipe
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- 1/4 medium onion, finely diced
- 1 large egg, lightly beaten
- 1/4 cup whole milk
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
For the Sauce:
- 3/4 cup ketchup
- 1/4 cup cranberry juice
- 1 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- 1/2 cup packed brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1/2 teaspoons ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 clove garlic, minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 medium jalapeno pepper, deseeded and diced
- Preheat the oven to 325º F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil, arrange a wire rack onto the lined baking sheet, spray the wire rack well with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.
- Mix together ground beef, onion, egg, milk, salt, pepper, bread crumb, and Worcestershire sauce in a medium mixing bowl until well combined. Scoop the mixture into about tablespoon sized balls and roll firmly between palms of hand to form meatballs. Place onto the wire rack lined baking sheet.
- Once all of the meatballs are formed, bake until the meatballs are cooked through, about 20 minutes.
- Meanwhile, combine all of the ingredients for the sauce in a large skillet set over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the sauce has thickened, about 10 minutes.
- Arrange the cooked meatballs in a slow cooker and pour the thickened sauce over the meatballs. Gently stir the meatballs to coat with the sauce. Secure the lid on the slow cooker and set on low setting to keep warm as serving.
How to Make Ahead, Store and Freeze Cocktail MeatballsTo make ahead: Prepare meatballs and sauce as instructed. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator, reheat and serve. To freeze: Prepare meatballs and store them in freezer-safe bags in the freezer for recipes such as this. You then just add the frozen meatballs to the heated sauce and cook until warmed throughout in the skillet or the slow cooker.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.