Grape Jelly Meatballs

Grape jelly meatballs on a white plate with parsley

The Spruce


Prep: 15 mins
Cook: 45 mins
Total: 60 mins
Servings: 12 servings
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
299 Calories
9g Fat
30g Carbs
23g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 12
Amount per serving
Calories 299
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 9g 12%
Saturated Fat 4g 18%
Cholesterol 67mg 22%
Sodium 597mg 26%
Total Carbohydrate 30g 11%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 19g
Protein 23g
Vitamin C 6mg 31%
Calcium 34mg 3%
Iron 3mg 17%
Potassium 483mg 10%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

These popular meatballs are made with ground beef, herbs, and a fabulous sweet-and-sour sauce made with grape jelly and ketchup. Perfect for tailgating, holiday parties, game day gatherings, or potluck lunches, these meatballs are easy to transport and eat—keep on WARM in the crock pot and provide toothpicks, napkins, and small disposable paper plates.

Use cocktail sausages, frozen meatballs, or ground turkey in this recipe instead of lean beef if you'd like. Take a look at the tips and variations section below for slow cooker instructions and more.


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef, 85 to 90 percent fat-free

  • 1 tablespoon parsley flakes

  • 2 teaspoons dried leaf oregano

  • 2 teaspoons dried leaf basil

  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic salt

  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs

  • 1 1/2 cups ketchup, or chili sauce

  • 1 1/2 cups grape jelly

  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice, optional

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for meatballs
    The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Line a large baking pan with foil.

  3. Thoroughly mix all the ingredients together.

    Grape jelly meatball mixture.
    The Spruce
  4. Shape the beef into 1-inch balls.

    Formed grape jelly meatballs.
    The Spruce
  5. Using olive oil, brown the meatballs on all sides in a large skillet over medium heat.

    Browned grape jelly meatballs.
    The Spruce
  6. Place meatballs in the prepared baking pan.

    Baking grape jelly meatballs.
    The Spruce
  7. In a medium-size bowl, combine the ketchup, lemon juice, and grape jelly. Mix thoroughly.

    Grape jelly meatball sauce.
    The Spruce
  8. Pour the grape jelly sauce mixture onto the meatballs and bake in the preheated oven for 30 to 35 minutes.

    Grape jelly meatballs in sauce.
    The Spruce
  9. Once cooked, place the meatballs into the crock pot or in a chafing dish to keep warm until it's time to serve.

    Grape jelly meatballs.
    The Spruce
  10. Enjoy.

Slow Cook Version

These meatballs can be cooked in the slow cooker as well:

  • Shape the meatballs and place them in the foil-lined baking pan.
  • Bake them in the preheated oven for about 25 minutes or until the meatballs register at least 160 F, the minimum safe temperature for ground meat consumption.
  • Transfer the meatballs to the slow cooker and pour the sauce on top. Cook until the sauce is bubbling—2 to 3 hours on LOW or about 1 1/2 hours on HIGH.

For an even easier crock pot version:

  • Use about 2 pounds of good quality frozen meatballs instead of homemade meatballs. Put them in the slow cooker with the sauce ingredients and cook them on HIGH for about 1 1/2 hours and then turn to LOW for about an hour, or until the meatballs are hot.

Other Flavors and Additions

You can also try to:

  • Make the meatballs with part or all ground turkey. Ground turkey thighs are best for meatballs. If too lean, the meatballs will be tough and somewhat dry.
  • Use 2 pounds of cocktail sausages or mini wieners instead of the ground beef mixture. Prepare the sauce and bake with the sausages for 30 minutes or cook in the slow cooker for about 2 to 3 hours on LOW or about 1 1/2 hours on HIGH.
  • Make a spicy jelly sauce adding 2 tablespoons of hot sauce or 1 teaspoon of chile flakes.