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Great Cocktail Meatballs Recipe


Cocktail Meatballs are a classic party appetizer that combines tender, flavorful meatballs with a sweet and tangy sauce. This recipe is perfect for any gathering, from holiday parties to casual get-togethers. In this blog post, we’ll walk you through the ingredients, instructions, and tips for making the perfect Cocktail Meatballs. Additionally, we’ll provide variations and address frequently asked questions to ensure you achieve the best results.



For the Meatballs:

  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons water
  • 1/2 cup bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons minced onion

For the Sauce:

  • 1 (8 ounce) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 3/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon juice


Step 1: Prepare the Meatballs

  1. Preheat Oven: Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Mix Meatball Ingredients: In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, egg, water, bread crumbs, and minced onion. Mix until all ingredients are well incorporated.
  3. Form Meatballs: Shape the mixture into small meatballs, about 1 inch in diameter. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.
  4. Bake Meatballs: Bake in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are cooked through and browned.

Step 2: Prepare the Sauce

  1. Combine Sauce Ingredients: In a medium saucepan, combine the jellied cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Heat over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the cranberry sauce is melted and the mixture is smooth.

Step 3: Cook the Meatballs in the Sauce

  1. Combine Meatballs and Sauce: Transfer the baked meatballs to the saucepan with the sauce. Gently stir to coat the meatballs evenly with the sauce.
  2. Simmer: Reduce the heat to low and simmer the meatballs in the sauce for 10-15 minutes, allowing the flavors to meld together.

Step 4: Serve

  1. Serve Hot: Serve the cocktail meatballs hot, with toothpicks or small forks for easy eating. Enjoy!

Cooking Notes and Variations

Cooking Notes

  • Ground Beef: Use lean ground beef to reduce the amount of fat in the meatballs. You can also use a mix of ground beef and ground pork for extra flavor.
  • Bread Crumbs: If you don’t have bread crumbs, you can substitute with crushed crackers or panko bread crumbs.


  1. Spicy Meatballs: Add a pinch of cayenne pepper or a few dashes of hot sauce to the meatball mixture or the sauce for a spicy kick.
  2. BBQ Meatballs: Substitute the chili sauce with your favorite BBQ sauce for a different flavor profile.
  3. Gluten-Free: Use gluten-free bread crumbs to make this recipe gluten-free.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Q1: Can I make this dish ahead of time?

A: Yes, you can prepare the meatballs and sauce ahead of time. Store them separately in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. Reheat the meatballs in the sauce on the stovetop before serving.


Q2: How do I store leftovers?

A: Store any leftover cocktail meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat in the microwave or on the stovetop before serving.


Q3: Can I freeze these meatballs?

A: Yes, you can freeze the baked meatballs before adding them to the sauce. Place them on a baking sheet and freeze until solid, then transfer to a freezer-safe container. Freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before reheating in the sauce.


Q4: What can I serve with Cocktail Meatballs?

A: These meatballs are great on their own as an appetizer, but you can also serve them with rice, pasta, or a fresh salad for a more substantial meal.


Q5: Can I use a different type of meat?

A: Yes, you can use ground turkey, chicken, or pork instead of beef for a different flavor and texture.

Great Cocktail Meatballs are a delicious and easy-to-make appetizer that’s perfect for any gathering. With their tender meatballs and sweet, tangy sauce, they’re sure to be a hit with family and friends. Follow these simple steps and tips to create a tasty and satisfying dish that everyone will love. Serve these delightful meatballs hot with toothpicks or small forks for easy eating!


Whether you’re hosting a holiday party, a casual get-together, or just looking for a fun and flavorful snack, these Cocktail Meatballs are an excellent choice. Enjoy the rich flavors and the ease of preparation, and feel free to experiment with different variations to make this recipe your own.