Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs Recipe (Cranberry Meatballs)

COCKTAIL MEATBALLS are the best holiday appetizer! These sweet and spicy Cranberry Meatballs are cooked in a cranberry pepper jelly sauce, which gives them the perfect kick of flavor. These cranberry sauce meatballs are just so delicious! The best Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years Eve appetizer without a doubt.

Cocktail Meatballs in a skillet, covered in cranberry sauce

Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

Cocktail Meatballs are a must for any holiday party. These delicious Cranberry Meatballs are perfectly sweet and spicy, and so delicious!

Holiday appetizers are MY ABSOLUTE FAVORITE TYPE OF FOOD ON THIS EARTH, so this amazing cocktail meatballs recipe is ideal. You guys know I just love my dips, appetizers, and any type of finger food. And Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Years are the absolute best time to try out new appetizer recipes. There are so many parties with family and friends, and delicious shareable foods are a must!

These Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Meatballs are my new favorite appetizer. They have so much flavor, they are super easy to make, and of course they are ultra delicious. YUM! Mom came over and made me some of these meatballs and I just could not get enough. So I knew I had to share the recipe with all of you!

These Cranberry Sauce Meatballs are a real winner, so buckle up, prepare your holiday grocery list, and get excited for COCKTAIL MEATBALLS!

These Cranberry Meatballs are the perfect holiday appetizer. Every party needs a cocktail meatball recipe, so add these to your party plate!


Sweet ans spicy cranberry meatballs in a skillet

Cranberry cocktail meatball recipe in a skillet

Cranberry Meatballs

I’ve always loved pepper jelly, and it adds just enough zip to these Cranberry Meatballs. They don’t have a strong cranberry taste, but it’s just the right amount. Just enough spice and just enough sweetness. These cocktail meatballs are sure to please anyone and everyone at your holiday party! I’m already getting excited just thinking about all of the food!

How to Make Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

Lucky for you (and for me), these cranberry meatballs are super easy to make. An easy cocktail meatball recipe? What more could you ask for during the holidays?

How to Make Cranberry Meatballs:

  1. Combine ground chuck, chili sauce, eggs, Worcestershire sauce, breadcrumbs, onion, & salt. (Everything should be blended but don’t over mix)
  2. Make 1 1/2 inch meatballs & place on baking sheet.
  3. Cook for 10 minutes at 350°F. Then turn meatballs over and cook another 10-15 minutes.
  4. (Prepare the sauce while the meatballs are cooking) Combine all sauce ingredients in a skillet over low heat.
  5. Once meatballs are cooked, place them in the skillet with the sauce and let them simmer for 1 hour.

You can let the cocktail meatballs simmer in the sauce in a slow cooker if you prefer! This is a great option if you’d like to prepare them ahead of time, then let them simmer just before the party.

Recommended Products to make Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

Cranberry sauce meatballs in a skillet

A skillet filled with cranberry cocktail meatballs

What is the best sauce for meatballs?

This cocktail meatballs recipe is extra delicious thanks to the amazing sauce. We made a sweet and spicy cranberry sauce to cook these meatballs in, and it is so perfect for holiday parties!

Best New Year’s Eve Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

If your’e having a Thanksgiving, Christmas, or NYE party this year, this cocktail meatballs recipe is simply an absolute must. You can’t have a holiday get together without meatballs! It’s the American way! These sweet and spicy cranberry meatballs are just a great flavor combo for Fall/Winter, and I hope you love them as much as we do. I know they’ll be on our holiday table…for a few minutes at least. These don’t last very long around Pat!

See the recipe card below for details on how to make Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs. Enjoy!

If you like these cranberry meatballs, try some of our other favorite cocktail meatball recipes:

3 from 11 votes
Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs
Prep Time
20 mins
Cook Time
1 hr 30 mins
Total Time
1 hr 50 mins

COCKTAIL MEATBALLS are the best holiday appetizer! These sweet and spicy Cranberry Meatballs are cooked in a cranberry pepper jelly sauce, which gives them the perfect kick of flavor. These cranberry sauce meatballs are just so delicious! The best Thanksgiving, Christmas, or New Years Eve appetizer without a doubt.

Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Keyword: cranberry meatballs, meatballs
Servings: 4
Calories: 761 kcal
Author: Becky Hardin | The Cookie Rookie
For the Meatballs:
  • 2 lbs. ground chuck
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 large eggs slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Sweet Chili Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons minced onion opt.
  • ½ teaspoon salt
For the Cranberry Pepper Jelly Sauce:
  • 10 oz. jar Hot Pepper Jelly
  • 12 oz. jar Chili Sauce
  • 8 oz. can Jellied Cranberry Sauce
  • 2 tablespoons dark brown sugar
  • juice from ½ lemon
For the Meatballs:
  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine ground chuck, breadcrumbs, eggs, chili sauce, Worcestershire Sauce, onion and salt. Mix until all ingredients are incorporated but do not overwork the mixture or the meatballs will be tough.
  3. Form into 1½ inch meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet. Leave at least 1-inch space between meatballs.
  4. Cook at 350F for 10 minutes then turn each meatball over. Cook another 10-15 minutes or until meatballs are cooked through. Remove from oven.
  5. *While meatballs are cooking, prepare the sauce.
For the Sauce:
  1. In a large skillet over LOW heat, combine all sauce ingredients. Stir until well blended then remove from heat until the meatballs are ready.
  2. When meatballs are cooked, place them in the sauce in the skillet and simmer for 1-hour or until sauce has thickened.
  3. ENJOY!
  4. *The meatballs and sauce can simmer on HIGH in a slow-cooker for the last hour.

Recipe Video

Nutrition Facts
Sweet and Spicy Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 761 Calories from Fat 432
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 48g 74%
Saturated Fat 18g 90%
Cholesterol 242mg 81%
Sodium 841mg 35%
Potassium 763mg 22%
Total Carbohydrates 31g 10%
Dietary Fiber 1g 4%
Sugars 12g
Protein 45g 90%
Vitamin A 2.4%
Vitamin C 1.3%
Calcium 11.7%
Iron 36.3%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.
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Odessa Stotler
Love your recipes. They're easy and you dont have to buy lots of forvisl ingredients! Looking forward to you COOKBOOK!
    Becky Hardin
    Aw thank you!! That's the best kind of comment to ever receive. A cookbook might happen someday, I would love that!
Thanks for the recipe! It really looks great!
Anne Puls
Love you images! They are amazing. The meatballs look so delicious! I will try it this weekend.
For the chili sauce in the recipe, are you referring to the tomato based bottled chili sauce, like you would use to make cocktail sauce for seafood? Trader Joes also makes a sweet chili sauce that is more of a liquidy pepper jelly. Which type do you mean?
    Becky Hardin
    Hey Shelly, we used this sauce: https://jet.com/product/detail/2a1daaf04fc24fdf9ec61cc776cbc312?jcmp=pla:ggl:a_jd_cons_gen_food_beverages_tobacco_a3_b1:food_items_condiments_sauces_hot_sauce_a3_other:na:PLA_648191734_39624894304_pla-154139722140:na:na:na:2&code=PLA15&gclid=CPn878iJxdACFek8MgodEnUJXw&gclsrc=ds
    Can’t you make them in a crockpot? And what kind of chili sauce do you use?
I couldn't find pepper jelly. Will it turn out okay if I don't use the pepper jelly?
    Becky Hardin
    The taste would be much sweeter, less spicy, but would still probably be tasty. Usually pepper jelly can be found at the grocery store but he pb and jelly. Hope you love them either way!
WhT kind of pepper jelly? Tabasco makes a spicy pepper jelly or there was jalapeño pepper jelly. Too many options, what did you use?
    Becky Hardin
    We used red pepper jelly, but if you prefer the taste of jalapeños that would also work! Basically you just want that combo of sweet and spicy. Enjoy!
Can i make the sauc a day or two ahead and put meatballs in to simmer the day I serve them.
Top 10 Temples
This sounds great.
Made these for my daughter's first birthday today- the theme was sugar and spice. They were awesome. Multiple people asked me for the recipe!
Love your images! They are amazing. The meatballs look so delicious! I will try it this weekend.
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