These slow cooker cranberry chili meatballs are so dang good! I always hope there will be leftovers when I make them, but there never are.
I used to make them exclusively as holiday meatballs for parties during the Christmas season but I’ve since realized that meatballs with cranberry sauce and chili sauce can absolutely be eaten year-round because the ingredients are available year-round.
Homemade meatballs are the BEST.
Ingredients for meatballs with cranberry chili sauce
- Cranberry sauce in a can – I personally like the whole berry sauce, but you can absolutely use the jellied sauce too.
- Chili sauce – Heinz makes a really good one
- Brown sugar
- Chili powder
- Ground red pepper
- Meatballs – about 2 or 3 dozen homemade (or you can use a 32 oz bag of pre-cooked frozen meatballs)
Can you make cranberry chili meatballs with store-bought meatballs?
Yep, you sure can. It’s a great way to save time, although I think homemade meatballs are always going to taste better because they’re so fresh.
Plus, I like to choose my own seasoning for meatballs.
How to make easy homemade meatballs
Mix the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl.
Shape the meat mixture into round meatball shapes. The size can be up to you, but I made 24 meatballs about 1 1/2-inches round.
Brown the meatballs in a large skillet on the stove. Once browned, you’ll add them to the sauce ingredients in the slow cooker.
How to make cranberry chili meatballs in a slow cooker
Stir all the sauce ingredients together in the slow cooker, then gently stir in the browned (or pre-cooked meatballs) making sure they’re all coated with sauce. Cover and cook on high about 3 hours. Stir before serving.
What to serve with slow cooker meatballs
A crisp green salad and some freshly baked bread would complete the meal perfectly.
You could also serve the meatballs with rice or noodles or stick toothpicks into each of them and serve them as meatball appetizers.
Can you make cranberry chili meatballs on the stove?
Yep. Heat the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan over medium heat, stirring to thoroughly mix ingredients. Add browned meatballs (or pre-cooked meatballs), cover, and let cook on a low simmer for 45 minutes or until heated through.
Other meatball recipes to try:
Pin this easy meatball recipe to Pinterest!
Slow Cooker Cranberry Chili Meatballs
- 1 1/2 lbs ground beef
- 3/4 cup plain bread crumbs
- 1 large egg
- 2 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 2 Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 14-oz can cranberry sauce (whole berry or jellied)
- 1 12 oz bottle Heinz chili sauce 12 ounces chili sauce
- 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- In large bowl, mix all ingredients together. Shape into your preferred size of meatball.
- Brown meatballs in large skillet over medium-high heat. Set aside.
Cooking meatballs in sauce
- Combine all sauce ingredients in slow cooker, mixing to combine. Gently stir in meatballs making sure they're all coated with sauce. Cover and cook 3 hours or until heated through.