There’s nothing like meatballs as a game day treat, a party appetizer, or served over rice with a side of veggies as the main dish for dinner. The 2 classic meatball recipes we all know are Swedish meatballs and spaghetti and meatballs. But, have you ever tried chipotle meatballs? Once you do, you might just be making this recipe all the time!

To make this yummy dish, you’ll need to start by making the basic meatball recipe, which has grated parmesan cheese that adds depth of flavor. After combining all the meatball ingredients, they are ready for a short bake in the oven.

To make the savory-sweet honey chipotle BBQ sauce requires two ingredients you might not casually have in your pantry, but they make all the difference in the world: cherry preserves and chipotle chilis in adobo sauce.

While some meatball recipes use grape jelly to add sweetness and a brighter flavor, the cherry preserves in this recipe act similarly. The spice level of this recipe isn’t too hot, but you can always add some rooster sauce or dried chipotle if you want to go for something even spicier.

Once the sauce ingredients are combined and the meatballs cooked, it’s time to layer them in the slow cooker and set it to low. After 2 hours, with one stir in the middle of cooking, the meatballs are ready to be served. They look (and taste) really nice with a garnish of chopped green onion or parsley.

This recipe can be served as an appetizer or as the main dish- it’s up to you! Either way these flavorful and tender meatballs are a crowd-pleaser.

Slow Cooker Chipotle Meatballs

Serves 14-16 appetizer portions; 15 minutes active, 2 hours inactive

Ingredients
  • For the meatballs
  • 2 pounds ground chicken, turkey, or pork
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 1/2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 to 1/4 teaspoon pepper
  • For the sauce
  • 1 (13-ounce) jar cherry preserves
  • 3/4 (12 ounces) bottle of BBQ sauce
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 7-ounce can chipotle chilis in adobo sauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • parsley or green onion for garnish
Preparation
  1. Preheat the oven to 400ยบ and place the rack in the center of the oven. Line 2 baking sheets with foil.
  2. Mix eggs, bread crumbs, meatball seasonings, meat into a large bowl.
  3. Measure the meatballs with a 1 tablespoon measuring scoop and form into balls by hand. Place meatballs on baking sheet and bake for 9 minutes.
  4. Whisk together sauce ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour in one third of the sauce and then add meatballs. Cover with the rest of the sauce.
  5. Cover with lid and set slow cooker to low heat. Cook for 2 hours, stirring once after about one hour.
  6. Garnish with green onions or parsley (optional). Serve as an appetizer or with rice as a main dish.

Recipe adapted from Little Spice Jar.