Snacks and Appetizers

Cranberry Meatballs

A tasty meatball smothered in a sweet and tang sauce. These Cranberry Meatballs are sure to become a favorite!

saucy cranberry meatballs_

It’s the holiday season and that means lots of getting together with friends and family. For all these gatherings, everyone needs a few “go-to” appetizers in their recipe box.  This recipe for Cranberry Meatballs is one of mine. Whenever I am planning a party or invited to bring an hor’s devoure to someone’s house, this is always at the top of my list.

The original recipe is a newspaper clipping from my mom’s files. It has stars drawn next to it and the words “newspaper contest winner” scribbled in the margin. I know that my parents’ local paper ran a cooking contest every year at the holidays, so I an assuming that’s where the recipe originated. I made a few tweaks to the meatballs, using part ground beef and part ground pork, simply because I think it makes a more flavorful and juicier meatball.

I adjusted the meatball seasonings slightly, but the sauce stayed the same. And really, it’s ALL about the sauce! (Isn’t it always about the sauce?). This particular sauce recipe couldn’t be any easier! Just four ingredients mixed together and heated. I keep a jar of chili sauce and a can of cranberries in the pantry, so I am always ready.

MEATBALL INGREDIENTScranberry meatball closeup

I usually make the meatballs ahead of time and freeze them. That way, I can quickly bake them on a pan, toss them in the sauce and I am good to go! It’s perfect!

saucy cranberry meatballs

Make some for your next gathering and I am sure someone will ask for the recipe! Happy Cooking and Happy Holidays!

Cranberry Meatballs

Servings 3 dozen meatballs


  • Meatballs:
  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/3 cup parsley flakes
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 eggs
  • 3 tablespoons ketchup
  • 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • Sauce:
  • 1 16-oz. can cranberry sauce
  • 1 12-oz. bottle chili sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoons lemon juice


  1. Heat oven to 325 degrees F.
  2. In large bowl, combine all meatball ingredients and mix well until combined. Shape by tablespoonfuls into 2-inch meatballs and place in large shallow baking dish.
  3. Bake for 10-15 minutes.
  4. While meatballs are baking, in a medium saucepan, combine all sauce ingredients. Cook over medium heat for 5-10 minutes, stirring often, until well blended.
  5. Drain excess grease from meatballs and pour sauce over all. Return to oven and bake 10-15 minutes, until sauce is bubbly.

Recipe Notes

Note: This can be a great make-ahead party appetizer. Meatballs can be baked, cooled and frozen up to 4 weeks ahead of time. The sauce can be made the day before the party. On the day of the party, place meatballs in oven-safe serving dish; pour sauce over all and bake at 325 degrees F for 35-40 minutes, until hot and bubbly.

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