Farmhouse Cocktail Meatballs

A simple appetizer with a grape jelly and chili sauce glaze this Cocktail Meatballs recipe is perfect for a tailgate or holiday party.

Close up of easy cocktail meatballs in a grape jelly sauce

Easy Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

Sweet with a little bit of kick, a very simple sauce with grape jelly is heated together and poured over the meatballs. A generous amount of grape jelly sauce is the most memorable part of this recipe.

My mom has made this easy meatball recipe and her Sweet and Sour Meatballs from scratch for parties for years. These Farmhouse Style Cocktail Meatballs only take a few minutes to mix up and can be made ahead to save time on party day.

Just like our Cold Crab Dip, Jalapeno Bacon Cheese Ball, and Salami Roll-Ups, meatballs served with toothpicks are great snacks to graze on at a party.

Moist meatballs with grape jelly chili sauce in a bowl

We like to bake the homemade meatballs because baking takes less hands-on time than making them in a skillet. Precooked meatballs can be warmed and served out of a crock pot for hours. With all of the options this is a very versatile recipe to keep!

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For meatballs that work well as a main dish check out these Sauerkraut Meatballs and Zucchini Meatballs.

Can This Recipe Be Made in a Crock Pot?

We prefer to cook the meatballs on a baking sheet in the oven or on the stove top. This ensures the meatball is cooked through and maintains its round shape.

Meatballs can be reheated with precooked sauce or reheated with freshly made sauce. A crock pot set to keep warm and stirred on occasion is the perfect way to serve them.

Meatballs on a baking sheet

Two Ingredient Sauce

Heat Grape jelly and chili sauce are in a saucepan over medium heat. When the jelly is melted the two ingredient sauce is ready to pour over meatballs.

Serve warm for hours with this simple sauce that flavors basic meatballs and keeps them moist.

Grape jelly and chili sauce make a two ingredient glaze

Ingredients Needed:

  • Lean ground beef
  • Bread crumbs
  • Onion
  • Milk
  • Egg
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Parsley
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Grape Jelly
  • Chili Sauce
Bowl full of the best cocktail meatballs on a napkin

Tips & Tricks:

  • Use a cookie scoop to make uniform meatballs that will all bake evenly
  • Shake baking sheet mid way through baking to prevent balls from sticking, use a spatula to loosen if necessary
  • Mix and handle meatballs gently to help preserve the integrity of the mixture and shape
  • Recipe can be easily doubled and a portion of the meatballs frozen to serve at another meal with spaghetti and meatballs or on a sub with spaghetti sauce
  • To fry meatballs use shortening in a skillet over medium-high heat and turn meatballs often until cooked
  • Freeze meatballs in a single layer in a freezer bag or container. Once balls are firm enough to keep their shape they can be stacked to store frozen
  • Bread crumbs help bind the meat together and can be substituted for saltine crackers or quick oats

Can Frozen Meatballs Be Used?

A bag of frozen meatballs can be used in this recipe, but the homemade version has so much more flavor and are typically much more tender.

How to Make Cocktail Meatballs

Finely chop onions. I like to use a mini-food processor for a shortcut that makes small, uniform pieces.

Finely chopped onions in a mini food processor

Add all meatball ingredients to a mixing bowl and sprinkle seasonings over top of the lean ground beef.

Simple ingredients to make cocktail meatballs

Use hands to gently mix ingredients. I always wash my hands and use wet hands to both mix and shape balls. A plastic glove can be used if preferred.

Mixing meatball ingredients by hand

A scoop helps create even portions of beef. Level the scoop to create uniform balls.

Using a cookie scoop to make even one inch meat balls

Use hands to make balls round on all sides. Arrange on a generously greased baking sheet. Leave space between each meatball.

One inch ground beef meatballs spread out on a greased baking sheet

Bake at 350°F for 15 minutes and then shake tray or use a rubber coated spatula to balls and prevent them from sticking.

Bake for another 15 minutes or until a digital meat thermometer inserted in the center of a couple meat balls reads 160°F.

Heat sauce over medium heat until the jelly is melted. Pour over meatballs and serve warm.

More Delicious Recipes with Beef

Cream Cheese and Beef Stuffed Shells is a delicious family meal. I shared more about the sustainability of beef and what I learned on a ranch in Kansas this summer.

I absolutely love the combination of steak tips and mushrooms in this simple skillet Steak Tips with Mushroom Gravy meal.

Bacon Cheeseburger Sliders We’re always looking for easy ground beef recipes and these easy sliders take a burger to the next level.

Slow Cooker Pot Roast is a regular on our farmhouse table. We enjoy this pot roast a couple times a month in the winter.

Printable Farmhouse Cocktail Meatball Recipe

Easy meatballs soaking in grape jelly sauce

Cocktail Meatballs

Servings 30 meatballs
Author: Jennifer
A simple recipe with a grape jelly and chili sauce glaze this Cocktail Meatballs recipe is perfect finger food for a tailgate or holiday party.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 45 minutes



  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1/3 cup onions finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon parsley
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/8 teaspoon pepper


  • 12 ounces chili sauce
  • 10 ounces grape jelly



  • Mix meatball ingredients together by hand.
  • Gently shape into 1-inch balls.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F and generously grease a large baking sheet.
  • Arrange round meatballs on baking sheet so that they do not touch and bake for 15 minutes.
  • Shake pan to loosen meatballs or use a spatula. Bake another 10 – 15 minutes until meatballs are beginning to brown on the outside and cooked on the inside.


  • Heat chili sauce and jelly in a saucepan, stirring constantly until jelly is melted. Pour over meatballs and serve warm.


Calories: 70kcalCarbohydrates: 10gProtein: 4gFat: 1gSaturated Fat: 1gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 1gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 260mgPotassium: 114mgFiber: 1gSugar: 6gVitamin A: 100IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg

Nutritional Disclaimer

“Plowing Through Life” is not a dietitian or nutrition professional. Any nutritional information shared is an estimate and can vary greatly depending on specific products are used. If calorie count and other nutritional values are important to you, we recommend running the ingredients through an online nutritional calculator of your choice.

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One Comment

  1. Carolyn E says:

    5 stars
    Try this for your next get together

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