Appetizer Meatballs With Only 4 Ingredients

Appetizer meatballs

The Spruce

  • Total: 3 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 3 hrs
  • Servings: 24 servings

These sweet, sticky meatballs make a delicious appetizer for a party or game day gathering. Or take them along to the game if you're tailgating. Use good quality frozen meatballs in this recipe.

Slice some green onion tops or cilantro to give the meatballs a little color, or leave them in the slow cooker to keep them warm for leisurely serving.


  • 4 dozen frozen meatballs
  • 1 tablespoon dried minced onion
  • 1 cup currant jelly
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • Optional: 1/2 cup green onion (sliced, or chopped fresh cilantro)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Appetizer meatballs recipe ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Put the frozen meatballs in the slow cooker.

    Frozen meatballs arranged in slow cooker
    The Spruce
  3. In a bowl, combine the minced onion, currant jelly, and barbecue sauce. Whisk to blend thoroughly. 

    Whisk mixing currant jelly, barbecue sauce, and minced onion
    The Spruce
  4. Pour the sauce mixture into the slow cooker and mix to coat the meatballs.

    Pouring sauce into slow cooker atop meatballs
    The Spruce
  5. Cover and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours or on HIGH for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. 

  6. Serve hot from the slow cooker set on LOW or transfer to a chafing dish. Garnish with thinly sliced green onion tops or chopped cilantro, if desired.

    Meatballs on a dish topped with chopped green onion
    The Spruce

These meatballs can also be served as a main dish. Serve them with rice or noodles and a side vegetable, such as carrots, green beans, or steamed broccoli. 


  • Frozen meatballs can be spongy and tasteless. If you don't like the frozen meatballs you have locally, you can easily make your own. You can make them ahead of time and freeze them, or refrigerate them for a day or two.
  • Use a cookie scoop or tablespoon to keep the meatballs uniform in size, or weigh them as you shape them.
  • Bake the meatballs on a rack in a baking pan to keep them from sitting in the drippings.
  • Freeze them on a baking sheet in a single layer, then put them in a zip-close freezer bag labeled with the name and date. Frozen at 0 F, food can last indefinitely, but for best quality, use your frozen meatballs within 2 to 3 months.
  • Use a homemade barbecue sauce or chili sauce in place of the purchased barbecue sauce.