Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs are store-bought meatballs smothered in jellied cranberry sauce and chili sauce that are the perfect holiday appetizer. Be sure to add them to your list of New Year’s Eve appetizers! I also have Crockpot Grape Jelly Meatballs that you will love.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs from Overhead.
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Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs

If you are looking for easy and festive appetizers or Christmas side dishes, these Crockpot Cranberry Meatballs have to make the list! But, just because they are easy (only three ingredients) does not mean they lack flavor! Meatballs are smothered in cranberry sauce and chili sauce for a little bit of cranberry taste with a slight kick from the chili sauce. Be ready to make more; they won’t last!

Meaatballs, Chili Sauce, and Cranberries on a Counter before assembling Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs.

Ingredients & Substitutions

Meatballs: Look for a package of pre-cooked frozen meatballs to use in the recipe. They can be placed in the bowl of your slow cooker right from frozen. Or, you could let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. You could try different varieties of meatballs like Italian or turkey meatballs, too. (my homemade meatballs are in the picture above)

Cranberry Sauce: Grab a can of jellied cranberry sauce for that holiday flavor (if Christmas had a flavor). This is one time that I will advise you to opt for store-bought cranberry sauce. Homemade cranberry sauce is so flavorful and wonderful, and those flavors might get lost in this recipe.

Chili Sauce: Chili sauce is a condiment as much as a sauce and is a step up from ketchup when it comes to flavor. It has a little more of a kick when compared to ketchup. But, be careful not to use Thai chili sauce or sriracha, which are different.

Bowl of Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs from Overhead with a Spoon Next to Bowl on Cutting Board.

Can I Use Homemade Meatballs?

Sure! In fact, I think my homemade meatballs are pretty great. However, make sure they are completely cooked before adding them to the crockpot with the sauces. Raw meatballs in the crockpot may take too long to completely cook, which can lead to too much time in the food ‘danger zone’.

Hand Holding a Toothpick with a Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatball on It.

Can I Make Cranberry Meatballs Without a Slow Cooker?

Yes. If your crockpot is being used for another appetizer like Slow Cooker Bourbon Glazed Kielbasa Bites, you can get these made on the stovetop. Place the meatballs into a large pot with the sauces. Cook over medium heat for 20-25 minutes, or until heated through.

Hand Holding a Toothpick with a Bit Into Cranberry Meatball.

How to Store Cranberry Meatballs

If you have any leftovers of these cranberry meatballs, let them cool down before storing them in an airtight container. They will last in the refrigerator for 3-4 days.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs from Overhead.
4.96 from 23 votes

Cranberry Meatballs

Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 3 hours
Total Time 3 hours 5 minutes
Cranberry Meatballs are store-bought meatballs smothered in jellied cranberry and chili sauce, cooked in a crockpot, that are the perfect holiday appetizer.


  • 1 bag (32 ounces) frozen meatballs*, fully cooked
  • 1 can (14 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
  • parsley or green onions, for garnish



  • To the bowl of a slow cooker, add the meatballs, cranberry sauce, and chili sauce.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3 hours, or until heated through.
  • Adjust the heat setting to warm. The meatballs can be kept on the warm setting for about 3 hours for serving.


*Recipe for Homemade Meatballs here.

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You can tag me at @iamhomesteader.

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Reader Comments

  1. 4 stars
    I made this tonight. Very sweet and tart at first taste of the sauce so I added chicken broth and some seasoning to tone it down. I made my own turkey meatballs and added. It was good.

      1. 5 stars
        Hi Amanda,
        I enjoy all of your recipes🙏😊 my question is…what chile sauce did you use? To me when you said Chile sauce I think about the one used for Shrimp, or chili beans. Do you mean like a hot sauce; Tabasco, Tapatio or a pace picante sauce.
        ? Thank you😊

      2. Hi Rose! There is an image in the post which shows the kind I use. Heinz Chili Sauce. I hope that helps!

  2. 5 stars
    For years, this is an appetizer I take to functions and the difference is in the condiments, a group of ladies were asked to each make a batch for a wedding reception a friend of ours was giving for her son. We used jalapeño jelly and cocktail sauce. It has just the right amount of sweet/spicey taste that is perfect! I used to make it according to your recipe, only difference was instead of cranberry jelly, we used grape jelly.

  3. I was given this recipe 51 years ago. Mine also calls for 2 tablespoons of brown sugar and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice

  4. 5 stars
    This may be a stupid question but I am trying to eat plant based. Would a plant based meatball stand up to this sauce? I am of course gonna try, but wondering if this is something that needs a hearty meatball.

    1. I think it will work with some modifications. Gardein’s instructions for their meatballs are to add their frozen meatballs to the last 15-20 minutes of a simmering sauce. So I would cook the sauce first and add the meatballs in just at the end.

  5. Have made this only slightly different. I use canned whole cranberries brown sugar&canned sauerkraut & chili sauce. I usually cook in oven but I guess I’ll try crockpot pot next time. Yummy

    1. Hello Sandra,

      You can use the link here :

      To figure that out ☺️ Especially if you are making your own meatballs or buying frozen ones! That page will tell you exactly the information you are asking for!

      I did it real quick selected Schwann frozen Italian meatballs said serving size was 3 meatballs and it was 74 calories and provided ball the information you requested. Easy peasy

4.96 from 23 votes (14 ratings without comment)

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