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.
Gather the ingredients.
Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Combine chili sauce, grape jelly, and mustard in the crockpot and stir well. Cook covered on HIGH while preparing the meatballs.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. Grease or spray with cooking oil.
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.
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.
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.
Stir well before serving.
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.
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.