These Grape Jelly Meatballs are super easy to make and perfect for game day!
Looking for a delicious meatball recipe you can serve as an easy appetizer or a snack? You can even serve these quick and easy grape jelly meatballs for dinner alongside mashed potatoes and vegetables if you like.
Guests will love the unique sweet and savory flavor combination, and you’ll love how simple it is to prepare this simple but satisfying appetizer.
Why You’ll Love 3 Ingredient Meatballs
We’ve got two ways to cook them – using an instant pot or a crock pot. This 3 ingredient cocktail meatballs appetizer recipe is so easy to make!
And you can get these homemade meatballs started, then move on to other things – the 5 minute prep is a bonus! Let them cook until ready and then serve them warm.
You can use either frozen meatballs (available in the frozen food section of your grocery store) or make your own homemade meatballs. Either way these are going to be a big hit!
3 Ingredients Meatballs
- frozen cooked meatballs – using pre-cooked meatballs make this recipe so simple to prepare!
- grape jelly – gives your meatballs a nice sweetness.
- barbecue sauce – for some smoky and savory flavor to balance out the sweetness of the jelly.
Instructions for Meatballs in the Instant Pot
- To make these instant pot grape jelly meatballs, defrost your meatballs before cooking. You may want to move the meatballs from the freezer to the fridge the night before so they can thaw safely.
- Once thawed, add the meatballs to the instant pot. This Instant Pot has over 24,000 reviews! If you can get it under $170.00, it’s a great deal!
- In a medium size bowl, mix together the grape jelly and barbecue sauce. Stir together well. Add to the instant pot and stir again, covering the meatballs in the sauce.
- Place the lid onto the instant pot. Set the valve to the sealing position. Press pressure cook or manual button and set timer on the pressure cooker to 7 minutes. Once the instant pot stops counting and beeps, you can use the quick release feature to get it the rest of the way.
- After the pressure is released, remove the meatballs from the instant pot and place on a serving platter. Serve with these bamboo cocktail forks or these exquisite stainless steel leaf cocktail forks – so pretty!
- Pair with these Whiskey Champagne cocktails or this delish Coconut Bourbon Eggnog if you’re looking for the ideal beverage companion!
Crockpot Meatballs Recipe
You can easily use your slow cooker instead of an instant pot for these grape jelly instant pot meatballs! Just spray the inside of your crockpot with cooking spray first to save time on clean up.
Mix ingredients together, combine with the meatballs, add to your slow cooker and choose your cook time:
Fast Cooking Time: Cook on high for 2.5 hours
Slow Cooking Time: Cook on low for 5 hours.
If you want more sauce for this meatballs recipe, just add more grape jelly and bbq sauce in equal amounts!
More Easy Dipping Sauce for Meatballs
There are so many variations you can use for the meatball sauce. Here are a few of our favorites:
- Apricot and Dijon Mustard Dipping Sauce – 1/2 cup apricot preserves mixed with 1/4 cup Dijon mustard
- Chili Cranberry Dipping Sauce – 1 1/2 cups chili sauce mixed with 1 can cranberry sauce (Heinz chili sauce is perfect!)
- Honey Mustard Dipping Sauce – 1/2 cup mayonnaise mixed with 2 tablespoons honey and 2 tablespoons mustard.
- Grape Jelly and Mustard Meatballs Sauce – heat 1 cup of grape jelly and one cup of mustard slowly on the stove until blended.
- Jelly and Chili sauce – replace the barbecue sauce in this recipe with your favorite chili sauce for a sweet and spicy combination that’s commonly used for crock pot meatball recipes like this one.
Why is grape jelly used in meatballs?
The sugars in the jelly naturally enhance the flavors in the meatballs, and fruits and meats historically pair well together.
This provides a quick and easy base for a sweet and flavorful sauce that pairs perfectly with your favorite meatballs!
Can you substitute grape jam for grape jelly?
Yes! In fact, you can use any kind of jelly, jam, or preserves for this recipe.
Switch things up by using a different flavor like strawberry, apricot, apple, or raspberry to see what flavor combinations work best for you.
How do you thicken BBQ and grape jelly sauce?
The sauce should naturally thicken on its own during the cooking process.
Allowing it to cool will also help you see the consistency, as the heat will cause it to thin out a bit and it will thicken up as it cools.
Popular Variations and Substitutions
- Feel free to make your own meatballs for this recipe! I like to use frozen to make prep much easier, but if you have a meatball recipe that you swear by, don’t be afraid to use that instead.
- Serve over top of noodles, mashed potatoes, or rice for a flavorful meal, or serve on their own with skewers as a fun appetizer. A side salad, green beans or even brussels sprouts would fit perfectly.
- Garnish with parsley or chives for a pop of green color and fresh flavor.
- Use ground turkey instead of ground beef to turn these into turkey meatballs.
- If you like your meatballs extra spicy, throw in a pinch of chili powder, cayenne pepper, or red pepper flakes to give your meatball appetizer an extra kick!
Grape Jelly Meatball Recipe
- Defrost the meatballs and add them to the instant pot.
- In a bowl, mix the grape jelly and barbecue sauce well.
- Add to the instant pot and coat meatballs well. Stir everything until mixed well.
- Cook in instant pot for 7 minutes. Serve while warm.
Crock pot instructions: Cook on high for 2 1/2 hours or Low for 5 hours.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 76Total Fat: 4gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 11mgSodium: 188mgCarbohydrates: 8gFiber: 1gSugar: 6gProtein: 3g