These Classic Cocktail Meatballs are a staple for parties and get togethers! I love that they can be prepped ahead of time and warmed up when ready to serve!
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Christmas is huge with my family, especially on my dad’s side and with food reason. Christmas Eve is Dad’s birthday. Dad and my awesome step-mom Joyce host the whole family at their house and we all pile into the living rooms and kitchen for a day of food and hanging out. We spend the late afternoon/early evening fawning over Dad, and eating platefuls of the food everyone has brought along. Buts soon as his birthday presents are open it’s Christmas time and the madness starts. All the kids who’ve been starting at presents for hours rip into the colorful wrapping paper. It’s pandemonium and we love it!
This year instead of having a themed potluck dinner like we usually do, Joyce and sister Lisa made all the entrees, side dishes, and a few appetizers. It was all super delicious! I’m still obsessing over the pasta Lisa made. My job was to assemble the antipasti platter. It became really hard to keep my hands off the fresh mozzarella cheese. Luckily the rest of the food appeared shortly after I made an effort at self-control, so I was able to redirect my hunger.I swear it’s the smells. If everything didn’t smell so damn good I would totally be able to hold off, but no such luck.
For the appetizer course, Joyce whipped up a batch of these meatballs and boy were they good. A little sweet, a little spicy, and completely addicting. I lost count of how many I had over the course of the night. While you can serve these meatballs up in a serving as soon as everything’s ready, we like to keep them in a slow cooker set on WARM so they are ready to eat all night long.
The best part about this recipe is that you can prep ahead of time! Prep and cook the meatballs, then let them cool to room temperature. Pop the meatballs in a Ziploc bag and freeze. Then, when you’re ready for your party, dump the meatballs into your slow cooker and top with the jelly and chili sauce. Set your slow cooker to HIGH and cook for 1-2 hours or until the meatballs are thawed. (While you prep the rest of the food. Set and forget kids. Set and forget.) Turn the heat to WARM and you’re in business!
Classic Cocktail Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground beef
- 1 cup Italian seasoned bread crumbs
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
- 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup milk
- 12 ounces grape jelly
- 12 ounces sweet chili sauce
Heat oven to 400 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with silicone mats or parchment paper.
Mix together ground beef, bread crumbs, oregano, basil, garlic powder, salt pepper, Worcestershire sauce, eggs, and milk until well combined.
Use a cookie scoop (or tablespoon measuring spoon) to portion the beef mixture into meatballs onto the prepared baking sheets.
Once portioned, use your hands to roll the beef into balls.
Bake for 20 minutes, or until the meatballs are no longer pink in the center and the outsides have browned.
Carefully remove from the oven. Transfer the meatballs to a serving bowl or slow cooker.
Place a medium saucepan over medium heat. Pour the jelly and sweet chili sauce into the pan. Cook until just starting to simmer, whisking often.
Once the jelly is melted and the sauce starts to bubble, remove the saucepan from the stove and pour the sauce over the meatballs.
Gently stir the meatballs so they all get coated in the sauce.
Serve immediately, or cover the slow cooker and turn the heat setting to WARM.