Grape jelly meatballs are the perfect mix of sweet, salty, and spicy. Made with frozen grocery store meatballs and just 5 minutes of prep, they’re about to become your favorite no-fuss appetizer!
Grape jelly meatballs are a fun spin on traditional cocktail meatballs. This easy recipe only requires three ingredients – frozen, store-bought meatballs, grape jelly, and chili sauce. The result is a sweet and savory meatball that is just begging to be snagged up with a toothpick.
The ingredients might sound a little funny, but trust me, these meatballs pack some serious flavor and are utterly addicting. As the meatballs bake in the oven, the grape jelly and chili sauce caramelize to make the most irresistible sauce on the planet.
Whether you’re hosting a party for game day (sorry if you got stuck with the cooking and don’t care for the sport!) or just having a few friends over for a movie, this is the ultimate “set it and forget it” recipe that allows you to focus on the other dishes you need to whip up.
If you want the recipe to be even more hands-off, find some instructions below on how to turn this recipe into crockpot meatballs…
Let’s dive in!
How to Make Grape Jelly Meatballs
Making this dish couldn’t get any simpler. Simply combine all the ingredients in a heavy cast iron pot and let the oven work its magic. Below, find a quick overview of the recipe.
- Make the Sauce: In a large mixing bowl, combine the grape jelly and chili sauce with a whisk.
- Combine Ingredients Together: In an oven-safe heavy cast iron pot with a lid, add the meatballs followed by the sauce.
- Cover and Bake: Place the lid over the pot and cook for 30 minutes at 300°F. Serve warm and enjoy!
Have a Dutch oven? If so, use it! A Dutch oven will make your meatballs ultra-tender. If you need a recommendation, I’m obsessed with my Staub.
Tips for Making the Best Grape Jelly Covered Meatballs
Below, find a couple of tips to make the best grape jelly meatballs on the planet.
- Use whatever meatballs you prefer. You can use beef, chicken, or turkey meatballs. Whatever you prefer will work great with the sauce!
- Add a little hot sauce if you like it spicy. Add a bit of sriracha if you like it extra spicy.
- Swap out the jelly. If grape jelly isn’t your thing, feel free to use any kind you like. Apricot jelly works really well too!
Slow Cooker Hack: Hosting a large party? Combine frozen meatballs, chili sauce, and jelly in a Crock Pot or other slow cooker. Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours. Switch the setting to “warm” and let your guests serve themselves!
Serving Grape Jelly Meatballs
Grape jelly meatballs are a great appetizer to serve when you’re hosting a big crowd or in need of any easy, low-maintenance appetizer. Simply throw them in a bowl or slow cooker to keep warm next to a bowl of toothpicks. Serve alongside chips and whipped feta dip or spinach artichoke dip. For a thirst quencher, sparkling cranberry punch is the perfect refreshment for a crowd!
You can also serve these meatballs on top of steamed white rice for a quick weeknight dinner. If you’re more in the mood for a sandwich, grab some french rolls and make meatball subs. Melt some provolone cheese on top of the meatballs and chow down!
Storing Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Refrigerator: Store leftover grape jelly meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator. They should keep for 3-5 days. To reheat, microwave the meatballs until warmed through or place them on low in a saucepan.
- Freezer: To freeze grape jelly meatballs, allow them to cool down completely first. Then, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag. They should keep for up to 3 months. To reheat, allow them to thaw in the refrigerator for a couple of hours. Reheat in the microwave or in a saucepan over low heat.
Can I put frozen meatballs in the sauce?
You can place frozen meatballs directly into the sauce. There’s no need to thaw them! Since frozen meatballs typically come fully cooked, all you need to do is allow them to warm through in the oven.
Can I substitute grape jelly for something else?
You can substitute grape jelly for apple, apricot, or currant jelly.
What chili sauce should I buy?
You should buy Heinz Chili Sauce if you don’t already have a favorite. It has such a great flavor!
Can I make my own chili sauce?
To make your own chili sauce, combine two cups of ketchup with four tablespoons of brown sugar, two tablespoons of vinegar, and a dash of allspice. So easy if you don’t have chili sauce on hand!
What other meats can I use?
You can use beef, chicken, pork, or turkey meatballs. You could also substitute cocktail sausages.
More Yummy Appetizer Recipes
- Crispy Air Fryer Chicken Wings – Guilt-free chicken wings
- Crab Stuffed Mushrooms – Creamy seafood stuffed baked mushrooms
- 15-Minute Avocado Hummus – Healthy avocado hummus
- Spinach Artichoke Dip – Cheesy hot veggie dip
- 24 oz chili sauce (Heinz brand recommended)
- 2 cups grape jelly
- 2 lbs frozen meatballs
- In a large mixing bowl, whisk together grape jelly and chili sauce.
- Place meatballs into an oven-safe heavy cast iron pot (Dutch oven recommended) with a lid. Cover them with the grape jelly and chili sauce mixture.
- Cover the pot with the lid and place into the oven. Cook for 30 minutes at 300°F.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven. Serve & enjoy!