cocktail party appetizers, sweet and spicy meatballs

I love the story behind the recipe for these sweet and spicy meatballs.

As part of my commitment to show up in my community I volunteer once a month cooking dinner at our local transitional homeless center. After cooking all the food my family and I join the residents for dinner which gives us the opportunity to get to know them. Last month I sat with a woman and we struck up a conversation about cooking (my love language) and she asked, have you ever made those sweet and spicy meatballs with grape jelly? I told her no, but it sounded just crazy enough that I was for sure going to try it. So when Jonshonville reached out to see if I’d like to share a meatball recipe for holiday cocktail parties I was like, Oh my gosh! Yes! I have the perfect one!!

At first glance this recipe is crazy town. But if you think about it, the jelly is going to reduce to create a sweet glaze and the cocktail sauce is going to give it a kick of heat. Your guests are going to love this one!

Need some ideas for how to serve it at your holiday cocktail party? 

– Get some display ideas here. A beautiful display filled with meats and cheeses is the perfect centerpiece for any party.

– Find the perfect cocktail recipes here. Everyone loves a little something bubbly to start the party off right.

– Need more inspiration? Check out my holiday party from last year here and feel free to steal all the ideas!

Johnsonville homestyle meatballs, sweet and spicy meatballs

In the bowl of your slow cooker, whisk together the grape jelly and chili sauce until smooth. 

two ingredient meatball sauce

Throw in the fully cooked frozen meatballs and toss in the sauce to evenly coat each. 

frozen meatballs slow cooker

party appetizers

Cook on high for 4 hours or on low for about 6 to 8. Even though the meatballs are fully cooked, you want the sauce to cook down, thicken and really flavor the meatballs. 

party ideas

Make sure to toss the meatballs every so often to ensure that don’t burn. Serve the meatballs hot right out of the slow cooker with toothpicks or place them on a nice platter! 

meatballs for appetizer

These sweet and spicy meatballs are great to serve at parties or holiday gatherings! 

buffet table

jazz up frozen meatballs

Once the sauce has thickened and cooked down a bit, you can turn your slow cooker down to the “keep warm” option and have them ready to go for your party or gathering. 

holiday party ideas

Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
Serves 12
Turn frozen store-bought meatballs into a fast and easy appetizer that everyone will love!
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Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 5 min
Prep Time
5 min
Cook Time
4 hr
Total Time
4 hr 5 min
  1. 1 1/2 cups grape jelly
  2. 1 (12 oz) jar chili sauce
  3. 2 (24 oz) bags Johnsonville frozen Homestyle Meatballs
  4. Parsley for garnish
  1. In the bowl of your slow cooker, whisk together the jelly and chili sauce until smooth. Add in the meatballs and toss to evenly combine. Cover with lid and cook on high for 4 hours or on low for 6 to 8 hours. Make sure to toss the meatballs every so often.
  2. Keep warm until ready to serve. Right before serving, garnish with chopped fresh parsley.
Rachel Hollis