Cranberry Meatballs Recipe | Slow Cooker Meatballs | Slow Cooker Appetizer | Crockpot Meatballs #meatballs #cranberry #appetizer #slowcooker #crockpot #dinneratthezoo Cranberry Meatballs Recipe | Slow Cooker Meatballs | Slow Cooker Appetizer | Crockpot Meatballs #meatballs #cranberry #appetizer #slowcooker #crockpot #dinneratthezoo

These slow cooker cranberry meatballs are a 5 ingredient appetizer that are sure to be the hit of any party!

A crock pot full of cranberry meatballs.

I am sooooo tired of this crazy heat we’ve got going on here in California. It is hot and humid with no sign of it letting up any time before November. I’m dreaming of cooler weather and fall food, like these amazingly easy slow cranberry meatballs. These meatballs take just minutes to put together and they’re sweet, savory and absolutely delicious. I’m thinking this will be the perfect appetizer for Thanksgiving or really any fall get together!

A slow cooker full of cranberry meatballs with cocktail forks.

How To Make Cranberry Meatballs

Here’s what you need to make this recipe: frozen meatballs, cranberry sauce, chili sauce, orange juice and brown sugar. That’s it!! You can add a little parsley for color like I did here, but that’s totally optional. You can use your favorite variety of frozen pre-cooked meatballs in this recipe. I like to use turkey meatballs, because turkey and cranberry is a classic combination that can’t be beat. Not to mention, turkey meatballs tend to be a little lighter than their beef and pork counterparts, so you won’t fill up too much before the main course. I use a jellied cranberry sauce because I like a smooth sauce for my meatballs, but you could use a whole berry sauce if you prefer.

Cranberry meatballs in a crock pot topped with parsley.

Remember those old school meatballs with grape jelly sauce? This is a similar concept expect the cranberry sauce keeps things on the more savory side because it’s not as sweet as grape jelly. While these cranberry meatballs are perfect for appetizer hour, they also make a great dinner served over rice with a side of broccoli.

I am so excited to serve these easy meatballs all fall and winter long, I know my family and friends are going to adore them!

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5 from 64 votes

Cranberry Meatballs

AuthorSara Welch
A crock pot full of cranberry meatballs.
These slow cooker cranberry meatballs are a 5 ingredient appetizer that are sure to be the hit of any party!
Prep Time5 minutes
Cook Time3 hours
Total Time3 hours 5 minutes
Course Appetizers
Cuisine American
Serves 10


  • 1 2 lb bag frozen pre-cooked meatballs I recommend turkey meatballs
  • 1 12 ounce bottle chili sauce
  • 1 14 ounce can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 2 tablespoons orange juice
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • optional: 1 tablespoon chopped parsley


  • Place the cranberry sauce in a bowl and microwave at 45 second intervals until just melted.
  • Whisk in the chili sauce, orange juice and brown sugar; stir until mostly smooth.
  • Place the meatballs in a slow cooker and pour the sauce over them.
  • Cook for 4 hours on LOW then serve, topped with parsley if desired.


Recipe adapted from Ocean Spray.


Calories: 306kcal | Carbohydrates: 29g | Protein: 18g | Fat: 14g | Saturated Fat: 4g | Cholesterol: 86mg | Sodium: 623mg | Potassium: 115mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 16g

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Recipe Rating


  1. I have made the Ocean Spray version of this recipe and have served it with steamed carrots and rice, but I would love to add some (canned) pineapple chunks, too. Can I substitute some pineapple juice (from the can of pineapple chunks) in place of the orange juice?

  2. 5 stars
    I made these for superbowl yesterday; They were so easy to throw together and absolutely delicious! They were such a hit! You know it’s good when you get asked for the recipe!

  3. Do you use frozen Italian meatballs or Swedish meatballs for this? I was thinking the garlic and cheese in Italian would clash with the flavors in this recope…

    1. 5 stars
      I used an Italian beef meatball and it was still delicious! Neutral would be better but I couldn’t find any.
      I also cooked 3 lbs with the same amount of sauce ingredients.
      And I made the mistake of mixing the sauce ingredients in the crockpot without melting the cranberry sauce first.
      None of these errors kept these from being the best meatballs ever!

  4. 5 stars
    I made this at the holidays and it was fantastic. It’s now going to be a holiday appetizer staple at my house. Easy, delicious and zero leftovers = WINNING!