Cranberry Chili Meatballs

You know those little cocktail meatballs in a sauce somebody always ends up bringing to any given potluck or party? Oh my God, I loved those things. I would eat them by the plateful. Until I found out that 99% of them were made with Grape Jelly and I’m sorry…I just can’t get over that.

Same goes with those little cocktail smokies. Grape Jelly.┬áThere are just some things you don’t do.

And yeah, I get it…I LOVED them so why should it matter?

It matters because now I know, and knowing is half the battle. (Admit it, you sang the rest of that line…)

And then Jennifer found this recipe online for some random party we were throwing. I’ll admit, I had my reservations. It sounded weird with the cranberries and all but TRUST ME. These are good. No, better than good. These are great. Especially around the holidays because, cranberry.

We’ve tweaked ours a bit to make them in the crock pot. I also use frozen meatballs because, convenience.


  • 1 large bag (approx 2 lb) frozen Italian-style Meatballs (you can substitute vegetarian “meat”balls to make them veggie friendly)
  • 1 jar (12 oz) Chili Sauce
  • 1 can (14 oz) jellied Cranberry Sauce
  • 1 tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp lemon juice

In a pot on the stovetop, melt together cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar and lemon juice (you can do this in the crock pot itself but it takes A LOT longer)

Pour mixture into large crock pot. Add frozen meatballs. Stir to cover the meatballs with the sauce. Cook on low (or high if you are short on time), stirring occasionally until meatballs are hot and no longer frozen. This will take a few hours. I like to start these first thing in the morning to get them going then forget about them. Once they’re done, pop the crock pot onto warm and they’re good all day long.


by Stephanie


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