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This is my go-to slow cooker meatball recipe. It’s so easy, there’s only 3 ingredients

Easy Slow Cooker Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs: A Crowd-Pleasing Appetizer

When it comes to crowd-pleasing appetizers, there are a few dishes that never fail to hit the mark, and one of those is the beloved meatball. Whether you’re hosting a game day party, a holiday potluck, or a casual family gathering, meatballs are always a surefire hit. However, making meatballs from scratch can be time-consuming and may deter some from attempting this delectable dish. That’s where this recipe for Easy Slow Cooker Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs comes to the rescue—taking the effort out of the equation and leaving you with a tantalizing appetizer that will have everyone asking for seconds.

A Recipe with a Story

As a busy mom of three, I’m always on the lookout for recipes that save time without sacrificing flavor. A few years ago, I attended a potluck where I was introduced to these grape jelly BBQ meatballs. I was blown away by how delicious they were and even more surprised when the hostess shared her simple slow cooker recipe. She explained how she often made these meatballs for family gatherings because they were so easy to prepare and always a hit with both kids and adults alike. I took her recipe home with me, and it’s been a staple in our household ever since. So, if you’re looking for a dish that’s easy to make, full of flavor, and sure to please a crowd, look no further. I encourage you to save this recipe and give it a try—you won’t be disappointed!

Easy Slow Cooker Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs


  • 1 (32-ounce) bag frozen fully cooked meatballs
  • 1 (18-ounce) jar grape jelly
  • 1 (18-ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 cup water
  • Optional: chopped green onions or parsley for garnish


Step 1: Prepare the Meatballs

Place the frozen meatballs in the slow cooker. There’s no need to thaw them first, which saves you time and effort.

Step 2: Make the Sauce

In a medium mixing bowl, combine the grape jelly, barbecue sauce, and water. Whisk together until well blended. The combination of sweet grape jelly and tangy barbecue sauce creates a unique and delicious flavor profile that coats the meatballs beautifully.

Step 3: Combine Meatballs and Sauce

Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs in the slow cooker, making sure all meatballs are coated with the sauce. Stir gently to ensure even coverage.

Step 4: Cook the Meatballs

Set the slow cooker to low heat and cook for 4 to 5 hours, or until the meatballs are heated through and the sauce is thickened. Alternatively, you can set the slow cooker to high heat and cook for 2 to 3 hours. The slow cooking process allows the flavors to meld together perfectly.

Step 5: Finishing Touches

Gently stir the meatballs to ensure they are evenly coated in the sauce before serving. If desired, garnish with chopped green onions or parsley for a pop of color and added freshness.

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Serving Suggestions

Serve the meatballs with toothpicks or small serving forks as an appetizer. They are perfect for casual gatherings, allowing guests to help themselves. Alternatively, you can serve them as a main dish alongside your favorite sides such as mashed potatoes, rice, or a fresh salad.

Tips for the Best Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs

  • Choose Quality Meatballs: Opt for high-quality frozen meatballs for the best texture and flavor. You can also use homemade meatballs if you prefer.
  • Balance the Sauce: If you prefer a less sweet sauce, you can adjust the ratio of grape jelly to barbecue sauce to suit your taste.
  • Cooking Time: Make sure to cook the meatballs long enough for the sauce to thicken and coat the meatballs well. The low and slow method works best for deep flavor.
  • Garnishing: Adding fresh herbs like green onions or parsley not only enhances the presentation but also adds a fresh note that complements the rich sauce.
  • Storage: Leftover meatballs can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days. Reheat gently in the microwave or on the stovetop.


Can I use a different type of jelly?

Yes, you can experiment with different types of jelly such as apricot or raspberry for a different flavor twist. Each will add a unique sweetness to the sauce.

What type of barbecue sauce works best?

A classic, tangy barbecue sauce pairs well with grape jelly. However, you can use your favorite barbecue sauce, whether it’s smoky, spicy, or sweet.

Can I make these meatballs in advance?

Yes, you can prepare the meatballs and sauce mixture in advance and refrigerate them. Combine and cook them in the slow cooker just before serving.

How can I make this dish spicier?

To add a spicy kick, consider adding a dash of hot sauce or a pinch of red pepper flakes to the sauce mixture.

Are there any vegetarian alternatives?

Yes, you can use vegetarian or plant-based meatballs in place of traditional meatballs to make this dish vegetarian-friendly.

How do I prevent the meatballs from sticking to the slow cooker?

Spraying the slow cooker with a bit of non-stick cooking spray before adding the meatballs and sauce can help prevent sticking and make cleanup easier.

These Easy Slow Cooker Grape Jelly BBQ Meatballs are a fantastic addition to any party or gathering. With minimal effort and maximum flavor, they’re sure to become a favorite in your recipe collection. Enjoy the simplicity and deliciousness of this crowd-pleasing appetizer!