3-Ingredient Grape Jelly Meatballs

Let’s take a walk down memory lane with this easy Grape Jelly Meatballs recipe. These slow cooker meatballs are a perfect appetizer for holiday parties, baby showers, game day gatherings, and other special occasions. They’re also delicious for a main dish served over rice or mashed potatoes. And with only 3 ingredients, these meatballs couldn’t be any easier to prepare. (And if you like vintage holiday recipes, also check out my recipe for Butterscotch Haystacks).

Grape Jelly Meatballs

This easy recipe for these delicious grape jelly meatballs is a bit of nostalgia that takes me straight back to my childhood. These are the meatballs my mom would make in her crock pot for holidays, parties, and baby showers. It’s not a fancy recipe, but it is a classic party appetizer that’s always a crowd favorite. And if you’re thinking that the combination of grape jelly and chili sauce is odd, let me assure you that this is a delicious recipe. These are really just cocktail meatballs in a simple sweet and tangy sauce.

This is also an effortless recipe with only a few ingredients, which I think makes it ideal for entertaining. In fact, these crockpot grape jelly meatballs are probably the easiest appetizer recipe that I can think of. And I love that you can heat them in the slow cooker and leave them on the warm setting while your guests help themselves. Talk about easy! 

Grape Jelly Cocktail Meatballs

So let’s talk about the ingredients for Grape Jelly Meatballs:

There are only 3 simple ingredients for the basic recipe:

Grape Jelly – Use your favorite store-bought or homemade grape jelly. I like Crofter’s brand of organic concord grape jelly and also Smucker’s Low Sugar Grape Jelly.

Chili Sauce – This is the tomato-based chili sauce similar to ketchup, not the Asian-style chili sauce. Heinz brand chili sauce is probably the most well-known brand of chili sauce and the one that I typically use. Aldi’s Burman brand chili sauce is also delicious. 

Meatballs – If you’ve followed me here for any length of time, you know that I tend to make most things from scratch. But for this recipe, I typically use frozen meatballs. I generally only make this recipe for special occasions, and that’s often when I need a shortcut the most.

Of course, you can also make your own meatballs. If you do, I recommend that you fully cook them first. It will firm up the meatballs so they hold together better in the sauce, and precooking will also remove the excess grease from the meatballs. (Because no one wants a greasy grape jelly meatball!). If you need a homemade meatball recipe, I recommend this Classic Meatball Recipe by Betty Crocker.

And you can use whatever meat you like for your meatballs. Beef, turkey, chicken, pork, or venison will all work. Flavor-wise, you can use either plain meatballs or Italian meatballs. I have used both and they are equally delicious. 

Variations of Grape Jelly Meatballs:

You can make other varieties of cocktail meatballs using this basic recipe. Try using different flavors of jelly in place of grape jelly. Great choices include apricot jelly, hot pepper jelly, or even cranberry sauce. If you want to make crockpot BBQ grape jelly meatballs, substitute barbecue sauce in place of chili sauce. 

A few tips for making grape jelly and chili sauce meatballs:

  • Heat the meatballs to an internal temperature of at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit. The exact cooking time will depend on the temperature of your slow cooker, but it should take about 2-3 hours on high. After it reaches temperature, turn the slow cooker to the warm setting to keep the meatballs warm for serving. 
  • If you prefer to make the meatballs without using a slow cooker, you can heat them in a pot on the stove. Heat the meatballs over medium-low heat until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit, then reduce the heat to low. Gently simmer for 1-2 hours before serving to allow the sauce to thicken and soak into the meatballs. 
  • If using homemade meatballs, I recommend baking them in the oven until fully cooked. This helps to firm up the meatballs so that they hold together while simmering in the sauce. Precooking the meatballs and draining off any excess grease before adding them to the sauce also makes for a nicer sauce. 
  • Serve these grape jelly meatballs as an appetizer with toothpicks or cocktail skewers. You can also serve these meatballs as a meal. This recipe makes plenty of sauce to smother a side of mashed potatoes, egg noodles, or rice.
  • I like to promptly cool and then store leftovers in an airtight container in the refrigerator. For best quality, I find they are best eaten within 1-2 days. Reheat in the oven or on the stovetop until the meatballs are fully heated through. 

If you try this recipe for Grape Jelly Meatballs, I hope you love it. Please leave a review below, and don’t forget to follow me on FacebookPinterest, and Instagram so you don’t miss a post. 

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Grape Jelly Cocktail Meatballs

3-Ingredient Grape Jelly Meatballs

  • Author: Melissa


Sweet and savory cocktail meatballs made with just 3 ingredients.


Units Scale
  • 12-ounce bottle of chili sauce (like Heinz)
  • 12 ounces grape jelly
  • 32 ounces of frozen meatballs (or homemade meatballs, pre-baked)


  1. In a slow cooker or a large, heavy-bottomed pot, whisk the jelly and chili sauce together. It’s OK if it’s not completely mixed.
  2. Add the meatballs and toss gently with the sauce.
  3. If using a slow cooker, cook the meatballs on high for 2-3 hours, gently stirring occasionally. Switch the slow cooker to warm for serving.
  4. If cooking on the stove, simmer the meatballs on medium-low heat for 1-2 hours, or until the meatballs are completely heated through. Stir occasionally. Turn the heat to low to keep warm for serving.


  • Cammie
    January 1, 2023 at 1:24 am

    Very tasty and easy!

    • Melissa
      January 4, 2023 at 6:24 pm

      I’m glad you enjoyed the recipe!

  • […] Are you ready for a dish that will make your taste buds dance? Hot Crab Artichoke Dip is an easy-to-make, delicious appetizer that’s sure to please. With its creamy, cheesy texture and succulent crab meat, this dip is the perfect way to start a party. Whether you’re hosting a summer barbecue or a cozy winter gathering, this baked crab dip will surely be a hit! So, let’s get started and create a dip that will have everyone asking for more! (And if you are looking for party appetizer recipes, take a look at this recipe for vintage Grape Jelly Meatballs.) […]

  • Amelia
    April 21, 2024 at 5:43 pm

    I made these last weekend for my sister’s baby shower and they were a huge hit! I used turkey meatballs and kept them warm in the crockpot. Thanks for the recipe!


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