Grape Jelly Meatballs sounds weird but it’s amazing. I promise. You need just 3 simple ingredients to make this appetizer that everyone will absolutely love.

Cocktail Meatballs are great to make ahead by simply adding the ingredients to the slow cooker and turning it on. Use premade or homemade meatballs.

Grape jelly meatballs in a crockpot garnished with parsley

How to Make Meatballs with Grape Jelly

This is the easiest homemade appetizer recipe ever, but you’ll get the most compliments for it, because everyone loves these incredibly tasty little morsels! I can’t get enough of them.

If Making Homemade Meatballs:

  1. Prepare and bake according to the meatball recipe you are using.
  2. Add all ingredients to the crockpot.
  3. Cook on per recipe below.

If Using Frozen Meatballs:

Ensure the package of frozen meatballs states that it’s fully cooked.

  1. Add all ingredients to the crockpot. Meatballs can be added frozen.
  2. Cook on per recipe below.

If you have a large Crock Pot, this recipe can be doubled (or the sauce can be doubled and you can add in some little smokies too). Leave a box of toothpicks near the crockpot, and they’ll disappear quickly!

Ingredients for grape jelly meatballs

About the Sauce (Variations)

We don’t usually have a need to thicken the sauce (and it does thicken some as it cools slightly or if you leave the lid off and keep them warm during a party). If you’d like it thicker, combine equal parts cornstarch and water and stir a little bit in.

You can change this recipe up a bit too, you need something sweet and something zesty.

Replace Grape Jelly With: apricot preserves, orange marmalade, canned cranberry sauce, raspberry preserves, hot pepper jelly

Replace Ketchup With: chili sauce, barbecue sauce

Ingredients for grape jelly meatballs in a crock pot

To Serve

Grape Jelly Meatballs can be an appetizer or served as a complete meal.

  • Slider rolls or hoagie rolls.
  • Serve over a bed of steaming white rice!
  • Add sauteed peppers and onions to make a sweet and sour meatball dish.

Leftovers/Make Ahead

Grape Jelly Meatballs are a great make ahead dish! You can cook them the day before, store in the fridge overnight, and then reheat them in in the Crockpot. If you didn’t use lean ground beef, you may want to skim off any fat that may rise to the top. They’ll be even better! Or, freeze them for a rainy day! (Or for next game day!)

  • To store: According to the FDA Refrigerator and Freezer Storage Chart, cooked meat dishes will keep in the fridge for 3 to 4 days, and in the freezer for 2 to 3 months. Make sure to use a sealable container, and leave room for the sauce to expand, if freezing.
  • To reheat: Defrost overnight and either place them back in the Crockpot and reheat for 2 to 3 hours, or put them in a pot on the stove top, add a little extra ketchup or some chili sauce if desired, and heat until bubbly and hot! They will be just as good as the day you made them, and probably even better!

An easy and delicious recipe like this one is something you’ll always be grateful to have on reserve!

Easy Meatball Appetizers

Grape jelly meatballs in a crockpot garnished with parsley
4.97 from 126 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
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Grape Jelly Meatballs

Grape Jelly Meatballs are a sweet and savory appetizer that is made with just 3 simple ingredients.
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 10 minutes
Servings 12 servings


  • 2 pounds frozen fully cooked meatballs or 48 small homemade meatballs
  • 1 ½ cups ketchup
  • ¾ cup grape jelly


  • Cook meatballs according to recipe directions if using raw meatballs.
  • Place meatballs, ketchup and grape jelly in a small slow cooker. Stir to combine.
  • Cook on low 3-4 hours or until heated through.
4.97 from 126 votes↑ Click stars to rate now!
Or to leave a comment, click here!

Nutrition Information

Calories: 292 | Carbohydrates: 23g | Protein: 13g | Fat: 16g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 54mg | Sodium: 321mg | Potassium: 328mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 17g | Vitamin A: 159IU | Vitamin C: 4mg | Calcium: 20mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutrition information provided is an estimate and will vary based on cooking methods and brands of ingredients used.

Course Appetizer, Beef
Cuisine American

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Ingredients for Crock-Pot grape jelly meatballs in a crockpot and Crock-Pot grape jelly meatballs in a casserole dish with writing


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About the author

Holly is a wine and cheese lover, recipe creator, shopping enthusiast and self appointed foodie. Her greatest passion is creating in the kitchen and making deliciously comforting recipes for the everyday home cook!
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    1. Great question Linda! These can be cooked on the stovetop. Bake meatballs for 18-20 minutes (or bake frozen meatballs according to package directions).
      Combine sauce ingredients in a small saucepan over medium-low heat. Stir until preserves/jelly melts. Allow to come to a boil for 1 minute. Toss with meatballs and allow to simmer on low 10-15 minutes.

  1. Thank you! Your recipes are always my “go to” when looking for a certain recipe for something. Have you ever made this with any of the other substitutions for the grape jelly? (I just really hate grape jelly) I have plenty of the other substitutions always on hand and would love to give it a try.

  2. This is my go-to item for gatherings. I love that the meatballs aren’t too sweet, so I enjoy that they have less grape jelly than other recipes. They’re always a hit!5 stars

  3. I have made this for years but instead of Ketchup I use the chili sauce and instead of meatballs I use slices of Polish sausage and have plenty of Ritz crackers5 stars

    1. In the first instruction, we cook raw meatballs per directions. We have not tried with raw meatballs.

      1. Your dish will taste much better if you bake or fry the meatballs first. Also, you can get pre-cooked meatballs in the frozen section of most grocery stores . Of course you get better meatballs if you make them yourself but the frozen version is great in a pinch.

  4. I’m always looking for a good meal idea without having to get a whole bunch of ingredients to make the recipe I love to cook

  5. Love your web site with all of your wonderful recipes. I just wanted to give you another version of the Grape Jelly Meatballs. Everyone around here uses Chili sauce instead of ketchup. It like ketchup but has a kick. You use equal amounts Chili Sauce and Grape Jelly.
    You find the Chili Sauce with the Cocktail Sauce. Made by Heinz.

    1. Yes, Nanci, so happy to hear you’re enjoying the recipes! We love chili sauce in place of the ketchup!

  6. Holly, why don’t you create a best seller set of recipes for Seniors and the Elderly that are as simple as Grape Jelly Meatballs. You have no idea how difficult it is for someone like me, 88 — but in great shape to try to feed my husband and myself. It has to be simple, and easy!

    You can’t imagine how many of us would be so delighted and grateful for such recipes! It’s not fun trying to find simple recipes among the myriad of recipes available. Thanks for your consideration,
    Royanne Boyer~

  7. I make these with sugar-free hickory smoke BBQ sauce and sugar-free grape jelly. I also add Lil Smokies.

    1. It can depend on the size of the meatballs, this is made into 12 servings. If you have 48 small meatballs, it will be 4 meatballs per serving.

  8. I use Pace medium picante sauce instead of the ketchup. Gives it a nice spicy kick. My husband will eat these as a main dish.

    1. I accidentally added a little to much grape jelly compared to the chili sauce I had. Can I use ketchup to make up for it? Or will the combo be gross?

  9. These are the best as an appetizer. I made them a second time substituting BBQ sauce for the ketchup. My grandkids loved it this way. I served this over rice with stir fried vegetables. Also, I left the meatballs in the fridge overnight by accident and found that it worked just as well only it cooked more quickly because they weren’t frozen. Great tecipe!!5 stars