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Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

Looking for easy Christmas meatballs? Look no further than these Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, a perfect appetizer for any holiday parties!

Looking for easy Christmas meatballs? Look no further than these Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, a perfect appetizer for any holiday parties!

These cranberry sauce meatballs are the perfect appetizer for your Christmas party. These homemade meatballs are an easy appetizer recipe that’s perfect for holiday gatherings! This dish is sweet and tangy, with a touch of heat, and it’s packed with flavour.

Every year at Christmas, there are two things I always look forward to: family and food. While the latter is more important than the former, it’s hard for me not to get excited about sitting down with family around a table piled high with rich foods that remind us of Christmases past.

Just about every holiday party I’ve ever gone to has had a crock pot full of party meatballs. Cocktail Meatballs are an absolute crowd pleaser. Not only are they delicious, but they are an easy and economical appetizer for serving a crowd which is exactly why they make an appearance at so many holiday parties.

The typical party meatball are the slow cooker grape jelly meatballs and those are plenty delicious, but I sometimes like to change things up.

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs are a delicious appetizer recipe that combines the flavors of Thanksgiving and Christmas into one amazing dish. These meatballs are sweet, tangy, and savory all at the same time. Perfect for serving at parties throughout the holiday season from Thanksgiving to New Years!

While I do love serving these at Christmas, they really are a perfect and easy recipe for any special occasion. Don’t wait for Christmas dinner to enjoy these little meatballs.

Looking for easy Christmas meatballs? Look no further than these Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, a perfect appetizer for any holiday parties!

How to Make Cocktail Meatballs Ahead of Time

These cocktail meatballs store well in the fridge for up to 3-4 days if placed in an airtight container. This makes them ideal for making them a day in advance and re-heating when ready to serve.

Freeze Option: Simply allow the meatballs to cool upon removing from the oven. Place them in freezer-safe containers and freeze. When ready to eat – place frozen meatballs on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until heated through. Complete steps 4-5 and serve.

Can You Make these Christmas Meatballs in a Slow Cooker?

Yes! You can use this recipe to make crockpot meatballs. If you make just the meatballs ahead of time you could also finish them in the crock pot. You can also skip making your own meatballs and prepare the cranberry sauce with frozen meatballs, but homemade meatballs are worth the small extra effort.

To make slow cooker meatballs using pre-made meatballs, mix sauce ingredients in your slow cooker, then add your cooked meatballs and stir to coat them well. Put in crock pot on LOW for 6-8 hours or HIGH for 2-2 1/2 hours.

About the Ingredients for Cranberry Meatballs

Ground Meat – We use extra lean ground beef which I think is ideal, but lean ground beef is fine too. You could also use ground turkey or chicken if you like.

Onion – Yellow or white onions, minced, not diced or chopped. You don’t want a giant chunk of onion.

Oats – You can use bread crumbs instead if desired. Just a matter of preference really. Don’t use steel cut oats, it needs to be oat flakes.

Garlic – 2 garlic cloves is a minimum really, I usually double that at least.

Egg – To bind the meatball.

Cheese – Grated parmesan cheese.

Tomato paste – Not pasta sauce, tomato paste.

Cranberry sauce – This is best with real cranberry sauce with the whole berries in them. I like to use homemade made with fresh cranberries since it’s so easy to make. Avoid cranberry jelly, it might work but it won’t be quite as good.

Orange juice – Adds sweetness and tang to the glaze, plus liquid.

Honey – If you don’t have honey, brown sugar works really well here.

Chili Sauce – Adds a little bite. If you want more of a spicy cranberry sauce, add more chili to taste.

Orange zest – Adds a touch more citrus flavour.

Looking for more tasty Holiday Appetizer Recipes?

Check out some of my favourite appetizers perfect for serving at any Christmas party or Thanksgiving dinner:

When it comes to entertaining, having an easy and delicious appetizer in your repertoire like these Bacon Spinach Pinwheels is a must. They are a crowd pleasing appetizer made with ingredients that are easy to find which are sure to make them a go-to recipe.

My Hot Cheese Dip with Emmental is an easy-to-make hot dip.  The dijon mustard & white wine lends extra depth to this crowd-pleasing baked dip

These Bacon Wrapped Dates with Goat Cheese are a perfect holiday appetizer. This is one of those party foods that will have everyone raving!

Looking for easy Christmas meatballs? Look no further than these Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, a perfect appetizer for any holiday parties!

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

Yields: 45 meatballs | Prep Time: 15 minutes | Cook Time: 14-16 minutes | Total: 31 minutes

Ingredients:

For the meat mixture:

1 pound ground beef
½ onion, minced
¼ cup old fashioned oats (use GF if needed)
2 garlic cloves, minced
1 egg
¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon dried parsley

For the cranberry sauce:

1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
1 cup orange juice
1/3 cup honey
½ cup chili sauce
1 teaspoon orange zest
Salt and pepper to taste

Optional: a dash of cayenne pepper or red pepper flakes

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.

Place oats in a food processor and pulse a few times to break them down a bit.

Place all ingredients for the meat mixture in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix the ingredients – being careful not to overmix as this could result in tougher meatballs.

Scoop the meat using a rounded teaspoon. Lightly roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.

Prepare the sauce while the meatballs are cooking. In a small saucepan on medium heat, add cranberry sauce, orange juice, honey and chili sauce. Whisk until the sauce starts to break down and becomes a smooth consistency. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste and optional dash of cayenne pepper if desired. Add orange zest and stir.

Once meatballs are done cooking, place them in your serving dish and pour the sauce over the top to completely coat them. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs
Yield: 45 meatballs

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 16 minutes 14 seconds
Total Time: 31 minutes 14 seconds

Looking for easy Christmas meatballs? Look no further than these Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, a perfect appetizer for any holiday parties!

Ingredients

For the meat mixture:

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • ½ onion, minced
  • ¼ cup old fashioned oats, use GF if needed
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, grated
  • 2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley

For the cranberry sauce:

  • 1 can whole berry cranberry sauce
  • 1 cup orange juice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • ½ cup chili sauce
  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Optional: a dash of cayenne pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly coat a baking sheet with cooking spray and set aside.
  2. Place oats in a food processor and pulse a few times to break them down a bit.
  3. Place all ingredients for the meat mixture in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix the ingredients - being careful not to overmix as this could result in tougher meatballs.
  4. Scoop the meat using a rounded teaspoon. Lightly roll into a ball and place on prepared baking sheet. Bake for 14-16 minutes or until the meat is cooked through.
  5. Prepare the sauce while the meatballs are cooking. In a small saucepan on medium heat, add cranberry sauce, orange juice, honey and chili sauce. Whisk until the sauce starts to break down and becomes a smooth consistency. Sprinkle in salt and pepper to taste and optional dash of cayenne pepper if desired. Add orange zest and stir.
  6. Once meatballs are done cooking, place them in your serving dish and pour the sauce over the top to completely coat them. The sauce will thicken as it cools.

Notes

Freeze Option: Simply allow the meatballs to cool upon removing from the oven. Place them in freezer-safe containers and freeze. When ready to eat – place frozen meatballs on a baking sheet in a 350 degree oven for 10 minutes or until heated through. Complete steps 4-5 and serve.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

45

Serving Size:

1 Meatball

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 57Total Fat: 2gSaturated Fat: 1gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 1gCholesterol: 14mgSodium: 116mgCarbohydrates: 6gFiber: 0gSugar: 5gProtein: 3g

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Looking for easy Christmas meatballs? Look no further than these Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs, a perfect appetizer for any holiday parties!
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