3 ingredients meatballs are the simplest game day appetizer you can serve whether you are at home or tailgating. The little cocktail meatballs are also the perfect appetizer for baby showers, holiday parties or graduation parties.
If served with a side dish or two, this easy recipe makes a great main course for a busy weeknight.
You'll want to have this grape jelly meatballs recipe in your back pocket for your next event, no matter what time of year it is. The best part of this recipe is the simple ingredients are delicious enough to serve on special occasions and it only requires a few minutes of prep.
These slow cooker meatballs only require a few basic ingredients available at any grocery store.
- frozen meatballs- I used all beef Italian meatballs
- bbq sauce- You know I love global flavors, so I had to get the Korean BBQ sauce for this recipe!
- grape jelly- keep scrolling for some other jelly flavors that would work well with this recipe
See recipe card for quantities.
This is the easiest slow cooker recipe you'll ever make. Just place meatballs in a slow cooker then add the grape jelly. Pour the bbq sauce all over the meatballs and cover with the lid. Cook on high for 2-3 hours or on low for 3-4 hours or until the meatballs are heated through.
This recipe will create plenty of grape jelly sauce so be sure to serve some in a ramekin on the side for dipping. Sprinkle sliced green onions and sesame seeds on top of the meatballs just before serving.
- Grape Jelly - instead of grape jelly, you can use orange marmalade or even apple jelly for the slow cooker sweet meatballs. Cranberry sauce would also taste delicious in these 3-ingredient meatballs, especially during the holiday season.
- BBQ sauce - use your favorite type of sauce, I usually have a few bottles of sweet baby Rays on hand, but any brand will work. I like to make sure it's not too spicy so all of my friends and family members are able to enjoy it.
- Meatballs -you can make this recipe with little smokies or thick-sliced kielbasa for perfect party food. Homemade meatballs that have been pre-cooked would also work in this recipe. https://easybudgetrecipes.com/freezer-meatballs/ I used beef meatballs for this recipe, but turkey meatballs will work too!
- Pineapple - add a bag of frozen pineapple to the slow cooker along with the grape jelly mixture and you'll have tasty pineapple bbq meatballs.
- Oven baked - Place all of the ingredients in an oven safe baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Bake at 350 F for 45 minutes or until the meatballs reach 165F internal temperature. Stir the meatballs halfway through if you are using this method because the meatballs along the edges tend to get done first, while the meatballs in the center remain cold.
- Stove top directions- heat the bbq sauce and grape jelly in a large pot on the stovetop, whisking until the jelly is melted. Add the meatballs and stir to coat with the sauce. Cover and cook the meatballs over a low temperature until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165F. You may need to add a little water if you notice the sauce is getting too thick. Stir the mixture every 5-10 minutes to ensure the meatballs are heating evenly and the sauce is not burning.
🥗 Side dishes
Here are a few side dish recipes you can serve with this 3 ingredient meatballs recipe for an easy dinner.
- Fried rice or white rice
- Sauteed romaine
- Kimchi from the store
- Shiitake noodles
- Mashed potatoes
For this cocktail meatball recipe, I used a 6 qt slow cooker. Using a slow cooker or a 3-section crock pot like this one would be great for a holiday party. You can try 3 of the different variations of this easy appetizer recipe for your guests to easily serve themselves. You can also use an instant pot on the slow cook setting.
Store the leftover meatballs in an airtight container with the barbecue sauce mixture for up to 5 days. When you want to reheat them, just pop them in the microwave for a minute or two until they are heated to your liking. The sauce likes to make a mess in the microwave though, so be sure to use a microwave cover.
Some similar recipes for crockpot meatballs call for heating the sauce and the grape jelly together in a pot on the stove before adding them to the crockpot. You really can just dump all of the ingredients in the crockpot in one go and save yourself from having to wash more dishes. Slow cooker liners are also great to have on hand for even easier cleanup.
3 ingredient meatballs
- 1 slow cooker 6 quart
- 1 bag frozen meatballs (28 ounces)
- 1 cup grape jelly
- 2 cups korean BBQ sauce
- 1 each scallions optional
- 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds optional
- Place the meatballs in the slow cooker.1 bag frozen meatballs (28 ounces)
- Pour the grape jelly and korean bbq sauce all over the meatballs and cover with the slow cooker lid.1 cup grape jelly, 2 cups korean BBQ sauce
- Cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.
- Garnish the cooked meatballs with scallions and sesame seeds.1 each scallions, 1 Tablespoon sesame seeds