Sweet and Spicy Crockpot Meatballs are the perfect appetizer for any party or gathering. Smothered in a peach BBQ sauce, these meatballs are super simple to make with just 6 ingredients – and the slow cooker does all of the work!
Ready for the easiest appetizer ever? Just heat frozen meatballs in the crockpot with my sweet and tangy peach BBQ sauce, and you’re good to go! These slow cooker meatballs are practically hands off. Serve them as an easy weeknight dinner over some Coconut Rice or as a simple appetizer.
Meatballs are an incredibly tasty and wildly popular appetizer. They are satisfying, filling, and have a simple flavor that pairs well with a ton of different sauces, like grape jelly or buffalo ranch.
For this recipe, I’ve paired them with an insanely delicious Peach BBQ Sauce. The sauce has a sweet and tangy flavor with just enough heat to keep things interesting.
Meatballs – Like I mentioned, I used frozen meatballs. You can find these in big bags in the freezer section of your grocery store. Or, you can make them fresh. I like frozen because it makes my job so much easier.
Sauce – For the sauce, I combined peach jam, honey, BBQ sauce, red chile flakes, and a little bit of garlic powder. Feel free to experiment with different flavor of jam for a unique flavor. Apricot jam works well as a substitute for the peach, and brown sugar can be used in place of honey.
How to Make Appetizer Meatballs in the Crockpot
Add the meatballs to your slow cooker.
Combine the sauce ingredients and pour it over the meatballs.
Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours.
Do you thaw meatballs before putting them in the crockpot?
Nope! You can put frozen meatballs in the crockpot and they will thaw and be warm in about a couple of hours.
Can you overcook meatballs in a slow cooker?
Because the meatballs are already fully cooked, you only need to cook them in the slow cooker for a few hours. They generally stay pretty tender, so it would take a while to overcook them. I’d be more worried about scorching the sauce.
Can you put raw meatballs in the slow cooker?
You can put raw meatballs in the slow cooker, but they won’t hold their shape very well. You also need to make sure they are fully cooked to 165 degrees F.
Storage and Reheating
Storage: Any leftovers should be completely cooled then placed in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4-5 days.
Freezer: To freeze, store cooled meatballs in a freezer bag, squeezing out as much air as possible. Freeze for up to 6 months.
Reheating: Thaw completely in the fridge if frozen, then reheat in the slow cooker, in a saucepan on the stove, or in the microwave.
The meatballs: Since the sauce is sweet, I don’t recommend using Parmesan cheese or Italian seasoning if you make your meatballs from scratch. You should be fine just leaving those ingredients out, or stick with regular frozen meatballs.
Sauce variations: I used a peach jam and a spicy BBQ sauce for my recipe, but you could use different flavors if you wish. Orange marmalade or raspberry jam would both be fantastic.
Heat: This sauce is more on the sweet side, so if you’re wanting to give it a kick, try using a spicy BBQ sauce or adding more of the red chili flakes.
Cook Time: This recipe only takes a few minutes to prepare. Cook the meatballs on high for 1-2 hours or low for 2-3 hours. You can set your appliance to warm once they are heated through and serve them straight out of the slow cooker for parties.
Stovetop instructions: If you’re in a hurry, you can make this recipe on the stovetop. Mix the sauce in a large saucepan, add the frozen meatballs, and simmer over low-medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the meatballs are heated through. Stir a few times to keep the sauce from scorching.
Place frozen meatballs into the bottom of your crockpot.
Mix remaining ingredients in a medium bowl until well combined.
Pour the sauce mixture over the meatballs and stir to coat. Cover and cook on low for 2-3 hours or high for 1-2 hour.
Stir well and garnish with parsley before serving. Serve over rice for a main dish or with toothpicks as an appetizer.
Store leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 4-5 days. Freeze for up to 6 months. Thaw fully then reheat in a saucepan or in the slow cooker. Apricot jam works great as a peach substitute. Brown sugar can be substituted for the honey.Meatballs do not need to be defrosted; they are placed frozen into the crockpot.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.