Southern Grape Jelly Meatballs

Grape jelly meatballs

The Spruce

  • Total: 6 hrs 20 mins
  • Prep: 20 mins
  • Cook: 6 hrs
  • Yield: 18 servings

These sweet-and-savory meatballs are a wonderful addition to your holiday menu, as they make for a tasty appetizer and can be served with toothpicks, avoiding the use of silverware altogether, which means less work for you and delicious food for your guests.

The combination of chili sauce, grape jelly, and Dijon mustard is a flavorful, tangy sauce, and if you offer these meatballs with other small bites like shrimp empanadas, a cheese plate, a charcuterie selection, and fresh bread, your party can run smoothly without you working on the stove. The meatballs are finished on the crockpot so after the oven time you just mix, cover, and come back to ready-to-eat little morsels.

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups chili sauce
  • 1 cup grape jelly
  • 1 to 3 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 egg (lightly beaten)
  • 3 tablespoons dry breadcrumbs (fine)
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    grape jelly meatballs ingredients
    The Spruce
  2. Preheat the oven to 400 F.

  3. Combine chili sauce, grape jelly, and mustard in the crockpot and stir well. Cook covered on HIGH while preparing the meatballs.

    Grape jelly meatball sauce.
     The Spruce
  4. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Grease or spray with cooking oil.

    Foil-lined baking sheet.
     The Spruce
  5. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef with the beaten egg, bread crumbs, Worcestershire sauce, and salt. Mix thoroughly with a wooden spoon or your hands, if needed.

    Mixing meatballs.
     The Spruce
  6. Shape into about 2 or 3 dozen (half-ounce) meatballs or 16 to 18 (one ounce) meatballs. Arrange the meatballs in the prepared baking pan and bake for 12 to 18 minutes, or until cooked through. Alternatively, place a cooling rack in the pan and bake the meatballs on the rack.

    Baked meatballs.
     The Spruce
  7. Once cooked, discard any liquid from the baking pan and transfer the meatballs to the crockpot. Stir to coat, cover, and cook on LOW for 3 to 4 hours.

    Meatballs in the crockpot.
     The Spruce
  8. Stir well before serving.

    Grape jelly crockpot meatballs.
     The Spruce
  9. Enjoy!

If You Need Lots of Meatballs

This recipe is easily doubled or tripled to feed a crowd. Here are a few ideas to make it easier for you to host a large party:

  • Use prepared frozen meatballs to save time.
  • Prepare the meatballs the night before, bake them first thing in the morning, and place them in the crockpot.
  • For a quick version, heat the sauce ingredients in a Dutch oven or stockpot. Add the cooked or frozen meatballs, cover, and simmer for 20 to 30 minutes. Transfer to the slow cooker (LOW setting) or chafing dish for serving.

Different Flavors

Add these flavors to your sweet-savory meatballs:

  • Use currant jelly or apple jelly instead of grape jelly.
  • If you don't have chili sauce, or don't like it, combine 1 1/2 cups of ketchup with 2 tablespoons of brown sugar, 1 tablespoon of vinegar, a dash of cinnamon, and a dash of allspice.
  • Use a thick, mild barbecue sauce in place of the chili sauce and Dijon mustard. 
  • Use ground turkey or chicken instead of beef, or use a combination of beef and lean ground pork.