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You know those meatballs that are at pretty much every party you’ve ever been to? Those ones in the slow cooker with the sweet and sticky grape jelly sauce that you can’t stop yourself from stopping by? Yeah, you do. We all do. And it might not be an exaggeration to say that we all love them, universally. So why mess with a good thing? I wouldn’t say that we have – I’ll just say that we’re giving you more of a good thing with this sweet and slightly spicy cranberry version. A little more festive, just as perfect for parties, and only five ingredients needed.

These are the perfect party appetizer because they’re so darn easy. Well, that and they’re incredibly delicious so they have major crowd-pleaser status. And they just take a handful of ingredients! You start with store-bought turkey meatballs (because what goes better with cranberry than turkey?) and mix them with some cranberry sauce, chili sauce, brown sugar, and a squeeze of lemon.

It’s not a lot of ingredients but it is a very successful combination because of how they balance each other out. The cranberry is slightly tart while the brown sugar keeps things from going too tart, and the chili sauce adds a faint kick while the lemon juice keeps the mix from tasting too syrupy. It’s a true harmony of a sauce. And turkey meatballs are just the vehicle to carry it.

All you really need to do is heat things through, so you can put this all together on the stovetop or in a slow cooker. I prefer the slow cooker because you can just leave it on ‘warm’ as long as you’re planning to serve these. People can reach in with their toothpicks, extract a delicious sweet-tart-spicy meatball, and get back to mingling.

These are sure easy on the host but that won’t stop people from giving you rave reviews!

Serves 6

5m prep time

10m cook time

Rated 5 out of 5
Rated by 4 reviewers
  • 2 lbs pre-cooked turkey meatballs
  • 1 (12 oz) bottle chili sauce
  • 1 (14 oz) can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Juice of 1 lemon
Stovetop instructions:
  1. In a large saucepan, combine the chili sauce, cranberry sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice over medium heat. Stir until smooth and melted.
  2. Add meatballs and cook until heated through. Serve and enjoy!
Slow Cooker instructions:
  1. In the insert of a slow cooker, combine chili sauce, cranberry sauce, brown sugar, and lemon juice. Using a wooden spoon, break up cranberry sauce and stir ingredients together.
  2. Add meatballs and stir to combine. Cover and cook on low until sauce is smooth and meatballs are heated through, 3-4 hours. Enjoy!

Recipe adapted from Taste of Home.

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