Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

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Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe – from-scratch meatballs in a grape jelly chili sauce that is spicy, sweet, and totally addictive!

picture of grape jelly meatballs in a bowl
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picture of grape jelly meatballs in a bowl

Easy Grape Jelly Meatballs

If you’ve never had grape jelly meatballs you might be wondering – what the heck? Grape jelly?

The combination of grape jelly with chili sauce brings a sweet heat that is completely addictive and great as an appetizer or main dish – it’s awesome at parties, for a simple dinner, in sandwiches – even over pasta!

We love meatballs here – Air Fryer Greek Chicken Meatballs, Ginger Sesame Chicken Meatballs, Meatball Sub Bake, Easy Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs, Easy Air Fried Meatballs, The Best Easy Meatballs Recipe, One Pot Creamy Meatball Soup, Slow Cooker Whiskey BBQ Meatballs, Vegan Hoisin Meatballs, Vegan Paleo BBQ Meatballs, and Cous Cous Porcupine Meatballs are some of all our time favorites – but you’re going to love this quirky sweet and spicy American classic appetizer!

  • Make these meatballs with store-bought frozen meatballs in a fraction of the time using our tips below!
  • Set and forget recipe – perfect for a party!
  • Serve with toothpicks – perfect for tailgating, potlucks, baby showers, open house parties, and more.
  • Works as an appetizer or a main course – we love these sweet and spicy meatballs in sandwiches or wraps for a hearty lunch!

This recipe is one of my favorites for it’s simplicity – it is truly a mix and cook dish.

After baking your meatballs (or using pre-cooked meatballs), all you need to do is dump the grape jelly and chili sauce and give it a quick stir to combine with the meatballs.

picture of grape jelly meatballs in a slow cooker

How To Make Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs

To make this recipe, you will need the following ingredients:

For the meatballs (optional, use pre-made meatballs):

  • Eggs – eggs are a perfect binder for meatballs, as it adds fat, rich creamy flavor, and a sticky texture that will help keep meatballs moist, keep them in a ball, and help the breadcrumbs and seasonings stick to the meat.
  • Panko breadcrumbs – panko breadcrumbs are made from crustless white bread and dried for a super crispy, light, and crunchy texture – they are great for meatballs, since they won’t add a dense, thick texture.
  • Garlic powder – garlic is a pungent, flavorful herb that helps up the addictive quality of recipes and enhances the umami-friendly flavors of meatballs. It also helps to balance out the sweet flavors of the grape jelly sauce, without being as susceptible to burning or turning acrid as raw minced garlic.
  • Onion powder – onion powder enhances the rich, meaty flavor of ground beef, and adds depth to meatballs, drawing out the sweetness of the grape jelly sauce and giving these meatballs more dimension.
  • Ground beef – ground beef has a classic hearty flavor, moderate fat content, and less fine ground texture that is easy to work with.
  • Ground pork – adding pork to meatballs helps thicken the meatball since the texture is usually finer and a bit more dense – and the flavor has a lightly sweeter, richer quality that compliments the beef for a melt-in-your-mouth meatball that is perfect everytime!

For the sauce:

  • Grape jelly – grape jelly is the base of our sauce, giving a sweet, sticky, and tart flavor that cooks down to a perfect molasses-like sauce that is balanced with the hearty meatballs and spicy chili.
  • Chili sauce – chili sauce adds a spicy kick to meatballs that balances out the sweet flavor of grape jelly to create a balanced sauce that is addictive and delicious!
  • Parsley (optional garnish) – we love to chop up a bit of parsley to sprinkle over cooked meatballs when done to add a pop of green color – it is a great way to add a little visual interest and help make your dish look more appetizing!
  • Add to slow cooker and mix. Grape jelly might not fully combine – which is totally fine. As it cooks, it will thin out and be easier to mix!
  • Cook. Cook for three hours on high, or five hours on low, stirring occasionally to prevent burning on the sides, until sauce has thickened.
  • Enjoy!
picture of grape jelly meatballs in front of a slow cooker

For this recipe, you can make your own homemade meatballs and quickly bake them, or use store-bought meatballs.

We love the flavor of home made, from-scratch meatballs, and how easy they are to whip up!

Follow our steps below to make your own meatballs:

  1. Mix. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, stir in the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until combined. Add the meat and mix to combine, I like to do this by hand. Take 1 & ½ tablespoons of the meat mixture (I like to use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop for this) and roll it into a ball.
  2. Bake to set. Place it on the sheet tray, make sure they are not touching. Repeat with the remaining meat. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  3. Place in slow cooker when firm. Meatballs won’t be fully cooked at this point – but will continue to cook in the slow cooker.
picture of grape jelly meatballs in a bowl

Tips For Perfect Grape Jelly Meatballs and FAQs

Use store-bought meatballs. If you’d prefer to use store-bought meatballs that are pre-cooked, this recipe is even easier – it is literally just dumped into the slow cooker, and go! Add meatballs from bag into slow cooker and add grape jelly and chili sauce, toss to mix well. Cover and cook for 2-3 hours on high, or 5 hours on low, stirring occasionally to prevent burning, until sauce has thickened.

Make it keto. If you’d like to make these meatballs keto, there are a couple swaps you can make:

picture of grape jelly meatballs in a slow cooker

FAQs

How long do grape jelly meatballs last?

Store leftover grape jelly meatballs in an airtight container for up to four days in the refrigerator.

Can grape jelly meatballs be frozen?

Freeze grape jelly meatballs for up to four months.

Can I make this on the stove if I don’t have a slow cooker?

This recipe can be made on the stove easily – prepare meatballs in the same way, and instead of adding to a slow cooker, add to a large pot or dutch oven with a tight fitting lid, on a stove, and place on medium low. Add sauce and grape jelly and mix, just as you would in slow cooker recipe. Cook 30-40 minutes, covered, until sauce has thickened.

Can I make in a pressure cooker?

To make in an instant pot or pressure cooker, prepare as listed below and add into instant pot in pan over trivet with 1 cup water in bottom of IP. Set IP for 5 minutes on high pressure and seal.
Vent steam to release and serve.

How do I know my meatballs are fully cooked?

Your meatballs will be fully cooked in the slow cooker by how long we’re cooking it – however if you want, you can cook meatballs in a slow cooker with a temperature probe inserted in one of the meatballs (pick one closer to the top, as it wont have the highest heat), and make sure it’s internal temperature reaches over 160 degrees, which is the temperature ground beef needs to reach to eliminate the risk of food borne illness.

picture of grape jelly meatballs in a bowl

What To Serve With Grape Jelly Meatballs

These meatballs are simple and delicious, and are great as a part of an epic appetizer spread, with baked chicken wings, Easy Mini Crab Cakes, Bacon Cheese Dip, The Best Easy Beer Bread, Easy Jalapeno Cheddar Bread, and more!

For more of our easy appetizer ideas that are guaranteed to get your party started, check out some of our favorites below:

You can find our complete appetizer recipe index here.

For delicious sweet treats to end your meal with, please find our desserts here!

Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe

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picture of a meatball with a toothpick in it and a bite taken out of it on top of a pile of grape jelly meatballs stacked on a plate with pieces of parsley chopped on top

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picture of grape jelly meatballs in a bowl

Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

Yield: 42 meatballs
Prep Time: 20 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours 4 seconds
Total Time: 2 hours 20 minutes 4 seconds

Slow Cooker Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe - from-scratch meatballs in a grape jelly chili sauce that is spicy, sweet, and totally addictive!

Ingredients

  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon onion powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 20 ounces grape jelly
  • 12 ounces chili sauce
  • chopped parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F. Line a large sheet tray with foil, set aside.
  2. Beat the eggs in a large bowl, stir in the breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper until combined.
  3. Add the meat and mix to combine, I like to do this by hand.
  4. Take 1 & ½ tablespoons of the meat mixture (I like to use a 1.5 tablespoon cookie scoop for this) and roll it into a ball.
  5. Place it on the sheet tray, make sure they are not touching.
  6. Repeat with the remaining meat. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until they are golden brown.
  7. Add the meatballs to the slow cooker, drain off any excess fat.
  8. Add the grape jelly and chili sauce to the slow cooker and stir everything until coated. If the grape jelly doesn’t mix in all the way that’s okay.
  9. Slow cook for 2-3 hours on high or 4-5 hours on low, stirring every 30 minutes or so to make sure the sauce doesn’t burn.
  10. They are ready when the sauce is thickened, you can set it on warm for up to three hours, stirring occasionally.
  11. Garnish with parsley, optional.
Nutrition Information
Yield 14 Serving Size 3 meatballs
Amount Per Serving Calories 331Total Fat 12gSaturated Fat 4gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 6gCholesterol 86mgSodium 473mgCarbohydrates 37gFiber 1gSugar 24gProtein 20g

Nutrition is automatically calculated by Nutritionix - please verify all nutrition information independently and consult with a doctor or nutritionist for any and all medical and diet advice.

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About Courtney

Courtney loves to share great wine, good food, and loves to explore far flung places- all while masting an everyday elegant and easy style at lifestyle blog Sweet C’s Designs. Sweet C's devoted to finding the best food and drinks you'll want to make or find, around the world!

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2 Comments

  1. This does sound interesting. Not being a big fan of grape jelly, I am thinking of using Orange Marmalade instead.

    Also this whole idea may not be as strange as you might have thought. Plum sauce has been used on meats for a long time. It is a small step from plum sauce to plum Jelly, and another small one to Grape Jelly.