Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs Recipe – An update on a classic party favorite, these sweet and spicy cranberry cocktail meatballs are always a hit!
Oh friends, do I have something special to share with you today!
These cocktail meatballs!
And let me just begin by saying, these are not the cocktail meatballs that I grew up and have even shared before that include grape jelly and chili sauce, while these meatballs do include a more than just four ingredients, I love that I know each and every ingredient in these delicious bites! These are right up there with my most favorite Swedish Meatballs for favorite meatball recipes!
Besides the incredible flavor, the other thing that I love about these meatballs is that they come together quickly and easily and are ready in about 30 minutes! I call that a win-win-win!
How to Make Cranberry Cocktail 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 away in the freezer for quick and easy weeknight meals as well as for making these cocktail meatballs for easy entertaining.
I’ve shared the Freezer Friendly information following this recipe if that sounds like something that would be helpful for you as well.
To make the meatballs, I mix together 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 into a ball. Place onto the prepared rack-lined baking sheet and bake until they are just done, about 20 minutes.
Sweet and Spicy Sauce
As the meatballs are baking, I make this incredible sweet and spicy cranberry sauce that just tastes amazing on these meatballs!
I 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.
If I’m making these cocktail meatballs to serve for a party, then I’ll add the cooked meatballs to my slow cooker and pour the sauce over them, giving them a gentle stir to make sure they are all well coated in the sauce.
I’ll then set the heat to low (or warm even) on the slow cooker to keep them perfect for serving throughout the party or get together.
But, I’ve also been known to serve these cocktail meatballs for supper or even lunch!
If so, I just add the cooked meatballs to the sauce in the skillet on the stovetop, give them a gentle stir in the sauce to coat and serve them straight from the skillet.
How to Make Ahead, Store and Freeze Cocktail Meatballs
How to Make Ahead
Prepare meatballs and sauce as instructed. Store in the refrigerator in a airtight container for up to 3 days. Remove from the refrigerator, reheat and serve.
How to Freeze
Prepare meatballs ahead and store 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 in the slow cooker.
Here’s my Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs recipe. I hope you love ’em!
Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs Recipe
For the Meatballs
- 1 pound lean 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 freshly ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 clove garlic minced or 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 medium jalapeno 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.