This Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs recipe has been a family favorite of ours for DECADES! It makes the best appetizer for game day or holiday parties with only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time! Ketchup and grape jelly combine to form a sweet and sour sauce that’s the best for coating homemade or frozen meatballs.

A toothpick is shown picking up a grape jelly meatball.

Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

Growing up I always looked forward to these sticky sweet and a little tangy meatballs my mom would make for our holiday or game day parties.

It wasn’t until I was older that I finally asked my mom what made those meatballs so good.

“Oh honey, it’s just a bit of ketchup and grape jelly!”

Since then, I always love to bring out this easy recipe when I’m hosting a bunch of guests for a Christmas or Super Bowl party.

It’s super quick to throw together, only requires 3 simple ingredients (with an optional fourth!), and they stay warm all night long if you make them in a Crockpot!

Not to mention, I always get a kick out of the look on my friends’ faces when I tell them they’re eating a ketchup and grape jelly meatball recipe!

Prepping for the big game? Get your hands on more Healthy Super Bowl Recipes.

Meatballs, grape jelly, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce are the ingredients for this recipe.

Ingredients

  • Meatballs. Choose either frozen or homemade meatballs. Ground beef, pork, or turkey work. If you select pre-made cooked meatballs from the grocery store, make sure to get the homestyle kind and not the ones with Italian seasoning. 
  • Grape jelly. Organic or conventional jelly or jam can be used. (Read below for different ways to combine flavors.)
  • Ketchup. Both regular or no sugar added will work. I even use barbecue sauce sometimes to make a slightly more sour meatball recipe.
  • Worcestershire sauce. This adds a great depth of flavor to help counteract the sweetness of the jelly. You can leave it out if you don’t have any available.
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

How to Make Grape Jelly Meatballs

Please see the recipe card below for more detailed ingredient amounts.

1. Whisk the Sauce

Combine the ketchup, grape jelly, and Worcestershire sauce with a whisk. Mix the sauce directly in a large pot on the stove, or in the bottom of a 6-quart Crockpot to avoid extra dirty dishes.

For the best results, do this before adding in the meatballs so all of the sauce ingredients are well incorporated.

Sauce ingredients are whisked together in the Crockpot.

2. Add Meatballs to Crockpot

Toss in the meatballs until they are completely coated. You want to make sure they are covered in sauce so they do not dry out.

Meatballs are added to the slow cooker.

3. Cook in Crockpot

The cooking time will vary based on the method.

To make slow cooker meatballs, set the Crockpot to low for 3-4 hours, or high for 1-2 hours. Warm until heated through.

Avoid burning by stirring the meatballs in the sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking.

Or Simmer on the Stove

Once everything has been mixed, cover the pot with a lid. Cook the meatballs over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until completely warm.

Stir occasionally to make sure they do not burn.

Recipe Tip

For both the slow cooker and the stovetop cooking methods you can either add frozen meatballs directly to the pot or thaw before adding them in. Frozen meatballs will take longer to cook all the way through so you’ll need to add an extra hour for the Crockpot and 5-10 minutes on the stovetop.

4. Serving

Garnish the crock pot grape jelly meatballs with a sprinkle of parsley. 

Spoon the meatballs and sauce over rice or mashed potatoes as a main course. Or, serve with toothpicks for a party appetizer. For a little kick, try them as a meatball sandwich!

A toothpick is shown holding a meatball.

More Meatball Sauce Flavor Variations

What’s so fun about this recipe is that there are so many other ingredient combinations you can try:

  • BBQ sauce + apricot preserves
  • Ketchup + pineapple preserves
  • Heinz chili sauce + orange marmalade
  • Ketchup + cranberry sauce
Meatballs are served in a white bowl on the table.

FAQs

What’s a good side dish for meatballs?

This delicious recipe goes great with rice, mashed potatoes, peppers and onions, or rolls.

Is jelly high in carbohydrates?

It depends on the brand, but yes, jelly can contain high amounts of carbs from the fruit and any added sugars.

Do you need to thaw frozen meatballs?

It is not necessary to thaw meatballs before cooking. However, they will take longer to heat all of the way through.

What can I substitute for grape jelly?

You can use any jelly you enjoy the taste of, or even cranberry sauce.

Recipe Tips

  • Whisk it good. Make sure the sauce ingredients are thoroughly combined for the right flavor.
  • Skip a step. Buy pre-made meatballs instead of making your own to save time.
  • Get creative. Try different jelly and sauce combinations to mix it up.
  • Add a kick. Mix in some cayenne pepper to make this recipe spicy.
  • Keep them hot. If you are serving at a potluck you can set the Crockpot to the “warm” setting once they are heated through.
Crockpot grape jelly meatballs are served with a sweet and sour sauce.

More Easy Appetizer Recipes

Serve these crockpot meatballs along with these other dishes for a complete party spread:

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 19 votes

Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs Recipe

This Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs recipe has been a family favorite of ours for DECADES! It makes the perfect appetizer for game day or holiday parties with only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes of prep time!
Yield 12 servings
Prep 5 minutes
Cook 4 hours
Total 4 hours 5 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 1 ½ cups ketchup or barbecue sauce
  • ¾ cup grape jelly or other fruit jam or preserves
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce optional
  • 36 oz. meatballs cooked
  • Parsley for garnish, optional

Instructions 

  • Combine Ingredients: Whisk ketchup, jelly, and Worcestershire in either the bottom of a 6-quart Crockpot or in a large pot on the stovetop until smooth.
    1 ½ cups ketchup, ¾ cup grape jelly, 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • Add Meatballs: Toss meatballs until they are all well coated. For both the slow cooker and the stovetop cooking methods you can either add frozen meatballs directly to the pot or thaw before adding them in. Frozen meatballs will take longer to cook all the way through so you'll need to add an extra hour for the Crockpot and 5-10 minutes on the stovetop.
    36 oz. meatballs
  • Cook Meatballs in Crockpot: Cook on low for 3-4 hours, or on high for 1-2 hours. Stir the meatballs in the sauce during the last 30 minutes of cooking to ensure they do not burn.
    -OR- Stovetop Instructions: Cover the pot with a lid and cook over medium-low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until heated through. Give the meatballs a good stir a few times throughout cooking to ensure they do not burn.
  • Serve meatballs with a sprinkle of finely chopped parsley and enjoy!
    Parsley

Tap stars to rate!

5 from 19 votes

Video

Notes

Prep-Ahead Instructions:
Mix up the sauce and refrigerate until you are ready to use.
Storage Directions:
 Mix up the sauce and refrigerate until you are ready to use. Keep leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. To freeze, seal the meatballs in a freezer-safe container for up to 3 months. Make a big batch to have ready for a holiday party. To reheat, return to a slow cooker, warm in a pot in the stove, or pop them in the microwave. 
Recipe Tips
  • Whisk it good. Make sure the sauce ingredients are thoroughly combined for the right flavor.
  • Skip a step. Buy pre-made meatballs instead of making your own to save time.
  • Get creative. Try different jelly and sauce combinations to mix it up.
  • Add a kick. Mix in some cayenne pepper to make this recipe spicy.
  • Keep them hot. If you are serving at a potluck you can set the Crockpot to the “warm” setting once they are heated through.

Nutrition

Calories: 317kcal, Carbohydrates: 23g, Protein: 15g, Fat: 18g, Saturated Fat: 7g, Polyunsaturated Fat: 2g, Monounsaturated Fat: 8g, Cholesterol: 61mg, Sodium: 339mg, Potassium: 365mg, Fiber: 1g, Sugar: 17g, Vitamin A: 161IU, Vitamin C: 4mg, Calcium: 22mg, Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Made this recipe?Leave a comment below!
5 Secrets to Healthier Family Dinners
Tips & recipes for getting yummy — and healthy — meals on the table.

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Comments

  1. 5 stars
    My mom use to make these many years ago. We loved them and I’d lost the simple recipe. So, now I can make them! Thanks for posting this!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! It’s such an easy and classic dish. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  2. 4 stars
    I served your delicious sweet and sour meatballs over roasted spaghetti squash, and it was really good! Thanks for your yummy recipe!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe, Christine! That sounds absolutely amazing. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!

  3. 5 stars
    I had everything on hand to make these meatballs for a potluck and they were great! We used the Worcestershire!

    1. Yay! So happy to hear you enjoyed the recipe! So glad you had everything already! Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a comment and rating!