Got Cranberry Sauce? Use it up on this amazing Cranberry BBQ Meatballs from Scratch recipe that only takes a few minutes to prep and you end up with mouthwatering, flavor-popping Cranberry BBQ Meatballs perfect for a holiday party or a football gathering!
Quick question for you? Do you buy extra cans of cranberry sauce because you have to have it for Thanksgiving and/or Christmas dinner and you're afraid it'll be sold out when you need it?
I do. Because I absolutely love cranberry sauce and can't eat cornbread dressing without it.
So at the end of the holidays, I always have a can or two that will sit in my cabinets for a whole year until the holidays roll around again.
Until now. Because cranberry sauce is one of the ingredients in this recipe and there are so many occasions to make these meatballs.
Make them for a New Years' party. Make them for a football party or to watch the Super Bowl. Heck - make them for a potluck or any other occasion where you need a good appetizer and any crowd is going to love them!
All because they're made with cranberry sauce!
Cranberry BBQ Meatballs for dinner?
These meatballs are really perfect for a party appetizer, but could be made into a dinner when served with small Hawaiian Rolls to make little meatball sandwiches.
My kids love sliders and small sandwiches like this for supper so I'm certain this would be a big hit at our house. Add a salad or some fries and they'd be all set!
Ingredients for Cranberry BBQ Meatballs
This recipe only uses simple ingredients and I imagine most of you have them already in your pantry - especially following the holidays!
- Extra lean ground beef
- Mild country sausage
- Quick oats
- Evaporated milk
- Ground black pepper
- Garlic powder
- Onion powder
- Jellied cranberry sauce
- Chili sauce
- Brown sugar
Substitutions & Tips for the Cranberry Meatballs
I 100% suggest making them from scratch for the very best flavor and texture. But if you're in a hurry, you could absolutely skip all that and use frozen meatballs. Bake the frozen meatballs at 350°F for 20 minutes and skip down to making the sauce. Follow the recipe from there.
Turkey Meatballs? Turkey meatballs are often dry and bland, but if you really want to use turkey, I recommend subbing in ground turkey for the ground beef and ground turkey sausage for the pork sausage. Your results may vary depending on the fat content and flavor of the sausage.
Or make it super easy and buy pre-made frozen turkey meatballs.
Chili Sauce. If you're not familiar with it, chili sauce is sort of like spicy ketchup (maybe?) and can be found on the same aisle as other condiments, usually near the ketchup. You can also shop for it on Amazon.
Follow the instructions through step 6, then transfer the cooked meatballs into a slow cooker instead of a glass baking dish. The barbecue sauce can then be poured over the meatballs in the crock pot and they can be cooked on low for 1 hour then kept on the warm setting.
How to make Cranberry BBQ Meatballs
Okay... let me show you how to make these delicious meatballs. They may seem complicated but the prep time is really only 10-15 minutes!
First, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Then, dice up your onion.
After it's mixed, shape the meat mixture into 1 ½ inch balls and place on a large baking sheet greased with non-stick cooking spray.
Tip: You could also use a large cookie scoop for this step. You might still have to shape them some with your hands (again, use food prep gloves if you like), but it'll be easier to get a uniform size if you start with a scoop!
Bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes at 350°F until browned and cooked through.
Then cook over medium heat until the sauce begins to simmer. Cover with a lid and simmer on low for 10 minutes, stirring often.
Stir them around to be sure they're all completely covered with the sauce.
Bake the meatballs at 350°F for another 10-15 minutes.
BAM - they are ready to eat and gosh, they're so good!
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