These Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs are incredibly easy to make. They require just three simple ingredients and can be made right on the stovetop, or for convenience, in your slow cooker. Serve on their own as a hearty appetizer for Thanksgiving or Christmas, or serve with rice for a simple weeknight meal.
HOW TO MAKE CRANBERRY BBQ MEATBALLS
I can’t stop staring at that photo – isn’t that glaze just gorgeous? It’s the most simple thing too, and it tastes amazing. A can of sweet and tart cranberry sauce is mixed with a spicy barbecue sauce…and that’s it! If you have the time, you can make your own meatballs, but for simplicity I usually use frozen store bought meatballs. (Need a quick and easy meatball recipe? Try this one).
- Start by combining the spicy barbecue sauce with a can of cranberry sauce on the stove over a medium flame. Because of the sugars in the sauces you’ll want to watch it closely to make sure it doesn’t overheat and burn. Stirring it often will also help to prevent burning.
- Add frozen meatballs to the pan and stir them around to coat them with the sauce. You can also use fresh if you have the time to make them. It will drastically cut down on the cooking time.
- Cover the pan with it’s lid and let the meatballs simmer in the sauce for about 10-15 minutes. For thawed meatballs, simmer just until heated through.
- We love these Cranberry BBQ Meatballs as an appetizer, but also just for dinner! The sauce pairs deliciously with white rice; just add a green salad and you have a complete meal!
HOW TO COOK BBQ CROCKPOT MEATBALLS
I like to cook these on the stovetop and let the sauce reduce a bit while the meatballs heat through. That’s how you get that yummy, sticky glaze. You could also use your slow cooker. It all depends on how you are serving them and how much time you have. For appetizers, crockpot meatballs are probably easiest but for a meal, I like the stovetop.
- Pour the sauces into the slow cooker and stir them together. Because they are both thick, you may want to use a whisk to really mix them.
- Add the frozen or thawed meatballs, put the lid on and set the slow cooker to low.
- Let cook on low for a couple of hours or until meatballs are heated through. BBQ Meatballs should be kept at the warm or low setting until ready to serve; up to 8 hours.
For more holiday appetizer ideas, try these:
- Spicy Barbecue Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Italian Meatball Sliders
- Buffalo Ranch Meatballs
- Spicy Honey Garlic Meatballs
- Bacon Cheddar Pinwheels
- Crispy Baked Chicken Wings
- Smoked Sausage Bites
- Meatball Marinara Poppers
Spicy Cranberry Barbecue Meatballs
- 2 14- ounce packages frozen meatballs if using homemade, about 55-60 small
- 1 14- ounce can whole cranberry sauce
- 1 17- ounce bottle spicy barbecue sauce
- Combine sauces over medium heat in a large deep skillet and cook until bubbly.
- Add meatballs in a single layer and stir to coat completely. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover and cook until meatballs are heated through; about 15 minutes for frozen.
- Remove cover and continue to cook for several minutes, stirring occasionally, until sauce is reduced and completely coating the meatballs.
- Serve on their own as an appetizer, or as a main dish over rice.
- For slow cooker method, place meatballs in the slow cooker and pour sauces over. Stir ingredients together and cook on low for a few hours or until ready to serve. Stir again just before serving.