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Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs for New Year’s Eve - Every Little Thing

Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs for New Year’s Eve

I’m telling you, the best decision I’ve made during this holiday season was to take January 2nd off work. I can’t even tell you how much I’m looking forward to just one more day to get things together before the new year begins!

I have to say though, our break was fantastic and in fact, rather productive. We got everything done for the holidays and spent a few days with family, but we also made major decisions regarding the wedding and made a major house change – we painted our kitchen! Here’s a sneak peak (with our new buffet!) until we get everything squared away:


More to come! For now, it’s New Year’s Eve and that should mean food, so here’s a classic cocktail meatball recipe, inspired by Food & Wine, that is perfectly simmered in a slow cooker until you’re ready to serve!

Slow Cooker Meatballs | everylittlethingblog.com

Cocktail Meatballs

by Every Little Thing

Keywords: slow-cooker appetizer side Super Bowl Italian winter

Ingredients (40 meatballs)

  • 5 slices of white sandwich bread
  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 large eggs, beaten
  • 1 tbsp salt
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • 2 tbsp dried minced onion
  • 1 tbsp garlic powder
  • 1 tsp dried mustard
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 lb lean ground beef
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1 tbsp vegetable oil
  • 2 cups ketchup
  • 1 cup currant (or grape) jelly
  • 1 cup dry sherry
  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tbsp chile sauce (Sriracha or otherwise)


In a large bowl, soak the bread in the milk for 1 minute, until softened. Squeeze out any excess milk and return bread to the bowl. Add the eggs, salt, pepper, and spices and mix until smooth. Add the ground beef and ground pork and, using your fingers or a potato masher, mix until evenly combined.

Brush a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Form the meat into 1 1/2-inch balls and roll until smooth. Transfer the meatballs to the baking sheet broil for approximately 10 minutes, until the meatballs are sizzling and browned.

Meanwhile, in a slow cooker, combine the ketchup, jelly, dry sherry, Worcestershire, and chile sauce. Add 1/2 cup of water, cover, and set slow cooker on high.

Using a slotted spoon, add the meatballs to the sauce and continue cooking on high for 2-3 hours. Transfer the meatballs to a bowl and serve with toothpicks.

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Slow Cooker Meatballs | everylittlethingblog.com

This appetizer plays on that 1950’s classic combo: frozen meatballs, grape jelly, slow cooker. That said, once you realize how little work making cocktail meatballs actually entails, you’ll never go back to frozen (unless you freeze your own!), promise. I made these balls even more simple by not including fresh onion or garlic and reverting to dried spices. After covering these puppies in sauce, you’ll never mess the fresh onion.

Speaking of sauce, instead of the traditional grape jelly, I took a hint from Food & Wine and used currant jelly, to add a little more depth of flavor and a unique touch to the classic. I also added Sriracha to spice things up!

Slow Cooker Meatballs | everylittlethingblog.com

The sauce thickens the longer it simmers in the slow cooker, so leave it 2-3 hours at least. If you’d rather make the sauce in a skillet, let the sauce simmer for 15-20 minutes uncovered, until thickened.

No matter what appetizer you bring this New Year’s Eve, enjoy the night, be safe, and we’ll see you back here next year!

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