BBQ Grape Jelly Meatballs transforms 3-ingredients, including frozen meatballs, grape jelly, and BBQ sauce into a slow cooker appetizer perfect for parties. These grape jelly meatballs are kid-friendly, budget-friendly, easy to make, and perfect for dinner, holiday parties, or tailgating.
Today’s Freezer Essential: Frozen Meatballs
You can make meatballs from scratch or buy them pre-made. One thing is for sure though, when you’re looking for a kid-friendly, budget-friendly, quick meal to make on a busy weeknight – you’ll be thankful to have frozen meatballs to pull from.
A Party Favorite
If you’re on a budget and looking to feed a crowd or have been asked to bring a dish to a holiday party, this is the perfect recipe. Everyone loves this crock pot appetizer and it’s loaded with possibilities. Grape and BBQ are the traditional flavors, but you can mix it up to make it your own and use any leftovers you have.
Don’t worry if you don’t have exactly 18 ounces of jelly or you have to mix BBQ sauce with ketchup or chili sauce to meet the ratios required. This recipe is very forgiving and flavorful however you decide to make it.
This recipe requires a larger crock pot, so keep that in mind. If you halve the recipe, use a smaller slow cooker like a 2 or 3 quart. The ratios can halve, double, even triple just fine. There are hardly ever any leftovers, so you may want to double the recipe just to have enough for yourself!
Exact measurements can be found in the printable recipe card below.
- Use a different variety of jelly or BBQ sauce. You could use apricot jam with pineapple BBQ sauce or strawberry with chili sauce for a more sweet and sour meatball.
- Use ground turkey or ground chicken meatballs for a leaner variety.
- Feel free to use homemade meatballs, homemade jam, and/or homemade BBQ sauce. This will all work together jut fine.
- This can also be made in a Dutch oven over a low simmer, stirring occasionally to coat the meatballs.
Tips for making it your own!
It can be nerve wracking to make your own recipe using what you have on hand. But simple recipes like this one are a good place to start. Take a sample of each jelly and BBQ sauce (or chili sauce) you have, just a spoonful. Mix it together and taste. If it tastes good, use it! If it needs tweaking with different ratios or flavor combinations, you can do that on the smaller scale before adding it to the whole crock pot.
This is an overview of the instructions. For complete directions, scroll down to the bottom.
- Add all the ingredients to the slow cooker and stir to coat well.
- Cook on low for 2-4 hours, stirring occasionally to coat.
- Serve as dinner or with a bowl of toothpicks for easy access by guests.
How to store and love your leftovers
- Refrigerate: Leftovers in an airtight container for up to 5 days.
- Freeze: Once the dish is completely cooled, transfer to an airtight container for 2-3 months.
- Reheat: Thaw in the refrigerator overnight if possible. Transfer to a slow cooker and warm, stirring occasionally. Or heat on high in the microwave slightly covered to prevent splatter, for 60 second increments.
Use leftovers from this recipe serve over rice for a quick and easy lunch idea!
Food Storage Guide
Print off this food storage guide from the FDA. Laminate or put into a plastic sleeve and tape to the inside of a cupboard or pantry, or in your meal planning binder for easy access.
Yes, for this to come together quickly, easily, and with minimal grease, you’ll want to pre-cook the meatballs. You can use fresh meatballs or frozen, you just don’t want the extra cooking liquid otherwise they become soupy instead of glazed.
No these are definitely more sweet and smokey. It will depend a bit on the BBQ sauce you use, but if you want a real slow cooker sweet and sour meatball recipe, click here.
Absolutely! If you need your crock pot for something else on game day or at your holiday party, you can make these ahead of time and transfer to an aluminum foil pan. Just cover and keep warm in a low heat oven until ready to serve.
Use whatever you have on hand, but homestyle works best.
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BBQ Grape Jelly Meatballs
- 6 quart slow cooker
- 48 ounces frozen meatballs (9.96)
- 18 ounces grape jelly (1.98) about 2 cups
- 12 ounces BBQ sauce (0.99) about 1-1/2 cups
- Combine all ingredients in the slow cooker and stir well to combine and coat. Cook on low for 2-4 hours, stirring halfway through.