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From the Archives: Sweet & Tangy Balls

With only 3 ingredients these sweet & tangy balls make a quick and easy party appetizer. Your guests will love them!

I asked everyone on Twitter & Facebook last night what I should post today. I was torn between posting a savory or a sweet and needed some votes. Of course they ended up with the same amount of sweet votes and savory votes so luckily I have both in one dish for y’all today :)

I’m bringing a post back from the past today. These sweet & tangy balls were first on the blog last year and they definitely needed to be in the spotlight again cause first, I doubt you guys even went back that far in my archives to find them, and secondly, I doubt my pictures back then could’ve whet your appetite ;)

Whenever I throw a party, this is my NUMBER ONE go to dish, and for extremely good reason. These meatballs are like crack. They fly out of the crockpot. Everyone’s plate is always full of these and I don’t blame them. Honestly, if you make a double batch of these and have chip, guac, salsa (and some booze, duh) and nothing else; your guests would be more than satisfied. I could’ve sworn, at the rate the meatballs were being consumed at our housewarming a couple weekends ago, there could’ve been a rock-paper-scissor championship for the last couple meatballs.

One of the BEST parts of this appetizer is: it’s three ingredients, you don’t do anything except throw everything in the crockpot, stir every few hours, and serve. So easy. Who needs a complicated dish when they’re hosting?

I guarantee you that if you make these for your next party, everyone will go ape-sh!t over them. No exaggeration. These are 200% guaranteed to be a hit. My mom made these for us when were younger and we ate them over white rice for dinner. Yeah, we were healthy kids.

Man, now I’m craving some (meat)balls.

Oh, bee-tee-dubs, officially 8 months today ’til the big day…who’s counting? Certainly not me ;)

From the Archives: Sweet & Tangy Balls
Recipe type: Appetizer, Slow Cooker
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 64 meatballs
  • Large pack of frozen meatballs (mine had about 64 in them)
  • 1 16 oz. jar grape jelly
  • 1 12 oz. jar of chili sauce (I used a Wegman's brand but Heinz sells them too, it's usually located near the ketchup & hot sauce)
  1. In a small pot on medium high heat, combine jelly and chili sauce until they're combined and jelly is not chunky.
  2. Put the entire bag of meatballs in the slow cooker insert and pour the jelly chili sauce on top, stir the meatballs around until they're all coated.
  3. Cook on high for 4 hours or low for 6 hours. Toss every couple hours or so to re-coat the meatballs in the sauce.
  4. Serve hot.



  1. 08/27/2012 at 7:40 am

    Yum! I love party recipes!

  2. 08/27/2012 at 8:09 am

    Ohhhhh these look GOOD Julie!! Glad you brought’em back!

  3. 08/27/2012 at 8:10 am

    Love how easy these are! Great pictures!

  4. Colette
    08/27/2012 at 8:57 am

    This is the same recipe that I have used for years. Always a favorite, simple to make and they taste great!

  5. 08/27/2012 at 9:00 am

    I love the pictures – what an elegant way to serve meatballs compared to the standard crockpot and toothpicks.

  6. 08/27/2012 at 9:35 am

    Amazing! You made me craving for meat balls now…

  7. 08/27/2012 at 9:39 am

    HOW FUNNY! My mom used the SAME.EXACT.RECIPE. growing up too!!!! Must’ve been “a thing” back then ;) I can confirm that these are mega addicting!

  8. 08/27/2012 at 9:42 am

    I have SO much fun going through my archives and bringing older recipes back to life – especially ones that will get lost due to poor photography. Not saying your photos were ever POOR, but mine sure were! I’m glad you remade these Julie. And what a great party dish!!

  9. 08/27/2012 at 9:52 am

    i’ve made this recipe before, too, and absolutely love it! so easy, so delicious.

  10. 08/27/2012 at 9:58 am

    TWSS? ;)

    Give these to me now.

  11. 08/27/2012 at 10:03 am

    Swoon! These look awesome – now, I need to throw a dinner party!!

  12. 08/27/2012 at 10:57 am

    Freaking. Out. over these meatballs. I love them! And that glaze/sauce is incredible. Want!

  13. 08/27/2012 at 11:01 am

    I’m so glad you brought these back! They look amazing, and you know we all need more slow cooker recipes!

  14. 08/27/2012 at 11:09 am

    Yum, I remember these. Still on my list of ‘to make one day’ meals! And I’d be surprised if you weren’t counting down!

  15. 08/27/2012 at 11:11 am

    Nothing beats a super easy recipe for entertaining that your guests will love. Glad you brought out this blast from the past…totally worth it!

  16. 08/27/2012 at 11:58 am

    These sound just packed full of flavour, love it!

  17. 08/27/2012 at 12:00 pm

    you totally had me at the title! I’ve always heard people rave about this recipe–I’ve never tried it. I guess it’s time I give it a go!

  18. I love easy party recipes like this! It makes entertaining more fun! :)

    I like that you brought this back from the archives – I have lots of wonderful recipes from the early days of my blog that will probably never see the light of day again (but thats probably due to my awful photos lol)

  19. 08/27/2012 at 12:33 pm

    hehehe sweet and tangy balls. Childish laughter is erupting from me right now. But seriously, I love meat balls. Perfect party food. I can go back 15 million times and never feel guilty.

    Ahhh I missed you girl!!

  20. 08/27/2012 at 1:01 pm

    I LOVE meatballs! These looks amazing!

  21. 08/27/2012 at 1:37 pm

    Yup, these look fantastic and I love the pick up and go style to them…only thing is I could prob eat the whole platter :)

  22. Jennifer @ Mother Thyme
    08/27/2012 at 1:45 pm

    I love these meatballs! You have me craving these now too. What a great idea to revisit an old recipe.

  23. 08/27/2012 at 3:27 pm

    I love the idea of revamping and bringing back old recipes that deserve more attention. I have a few of those. What a fantastic appetizer!

  24. Kath
    08/27/2012 at 3:29 pm

    Yum these are so good! My mom always made them for appetizers when we were growing up but stuck them on skewers with a pineapple chunk and a slice of red bell pepper.

  25. 08/27/2012 at 3:42 pm

    these look like a brilliant canape and I love how you’ve plated them

  26. 08/27/2012 at 3:54 pm

    These are THE best. Love this recipe Julie!!

  27. Pam
    08/27/2012 at 3:57 pm

    Look delicious and love your presentation!

  28. 08/27/2012 at 4:02 pm

    These sound so good today! Lovely photos as always!

  29. 08/27/2012 at 6:56 pm

    You have inspired me to re-visit some of my old posts! I want to cringe when I get a comment on them, the photos were awful!
    And I totally love these, so great for a party.

    • 08/27/2012 at 6:59 pm

      I know exactly what you mean! Everytime I look at my stats and an old post is getting hits, I cringe & think, “wow I feel bad for my readers that are getting such a tragedy of a picture” haha :) but I keep them so you can see progress and far along we’ve come from our start :)

      • Christne
        03/31/2014 at 6:12 pm

        These look amazing!!! Quick question-do I put the meatballs in the crockpot frozen?

        Can’t wait to make these! ty!

      • Christne
        03/31/2014 at 6:22 pm

        Hi Julie-never mind! I scrolled a
        further and found the answer! ty!

      • Julie
        03/31/2014 at 9:18 pm

        Awesome – glad you found the answer!

  30. 08/28/2012 at 1:18 am

    These are gorgeous, and I’m always amazed too what a hit meatballs are at parties! I’ll definitely be trying these if they’re you’re go-to :)

  31. 08/28/2012 at 1:40 pm

    I love how simple these are! I need to make them next time we have a get together! :) I love the pictures. So beautiful!

  32. 08/29/2012 at 11:21 am

    I’m throwing a surprise party for my husband on Sunday and am still planning the food. I knew I wanted to make meatballs, but still needed a recipe. So when I saw this recipe, I was super excited! But then I saw the ingredient list. I have never seen grape jelly here. :( I’ll have to go to a larger store and see if they have it!

  33. 08/30/2012 at 8:17 pm

    Fantastic party food and I love your presentation! Definitely have to give these a try!

  34. Blondie
    09/13/2012 at 3:55 pm

    I went back and looked at your old post. Considering it was only a year ago, the improvement in your photography is quite impressive. Your current work is gorgeous!

    • 09/13/2012 at 3:56 pm

      Wow, thank you! That means a lot :)

  35. Tressa
    09/26/2012 at 12:42 pm

    I recommend using Sweet Baby Ray’s bbq sauce. Soooo good!

  36. Charlene
    10/17/2012 at 1:12 pm

    “Bee-tee-dubs” LMAO! We would be best friends in real life.

  37. L
    10/19/2012 at 1:00 pm

    Does it matter if the meatballs are preseasoned “Italian” flavored? I am using meatballs I found in the freezer section

    • 10/19/2012 at 1:06 pm

      Nope – it doesn’t. Mine were the same :)

  38. Kim
    11/16/2012 at 11:29 am

    Is the grape jelly the same as concord grape jelly

  39. Kim
    11/19/2012 at 2:10 pm

    Thanks Julie. This recipe looks amazing. It is a must try, in the very near future (:

  40. Nataly
    11/26/2012 at 5:38 pm

    Hi Julie, I just found your blog in my intent to keep inspired in my kitchen and it looks amazing. I am a foodie too. However, I have to admit that I enjoy cooking more than I do eating. I enjoy spending time with my family and I found out that my passion for cooking drives us to spend quality family time together. On the other hand, I have a question, for how long I have to cook the meatballs, if I cook them in a regular pot? Thanks!

    • 11/26/2012 at 6:37 pm

      I would say you’d cook them for 2 hours. Cover and let it gently simmer.

  41. Lisa
    12/05/2012 at 5:33 pm

    I just made these last night but I didn’t have grape jelly so I substituted with jellied cranberry sauce! Yummy

  42. Lauretta
    12/10/2012 at 10:16 am

    I was wondering if you can use homemade meatballs instead of the frozen ones?

    • 12/10/2012 at 10:19 am

      Yes, you can!

  43. Lauretta
    12/10/2012 at 10:28 am

    Thanks!…would you put them in the slow cooker cooked or raw?

    • 12/10/2012 at 10:28 am

      Raw, it will cook with the sauce.

  44. Lauretta
    12/10/2012 at 10:30 am

    Thanks so much!!…. Can’t wait to try them!…I bet the sauce would go great on chicken and pork as well :)

  45. Mary
    12/13/2012 at 3:21 pm

    do you thaw your meatballs first?

    • 12/13/2012 at 3:23 pm

      No, as answered in previous comments, I just throw them in with the sauce and it defrosts in there and cooks.

  46. Mary
    12/13/2012 at 3:23 pm

    Also, aren’t the meatballs you bought in the frozen section fully cooked?

    • 12/13/2012 at 3:26 pm

      Yes. But you still need to reheat them so might as well just throw it all in the crockpot. If you’re worried about the meatballs disintegrating or falling apart because they’re already cooked & you’re technically “cooking again”, no worries of that, they’ll be fine.

  47. 12/13/2012 at 8:31 pm

    I love this will make some for Sunday thanks a bunch.

  48. 12/20/2012 at 8:32 pm

    I make these but use red currant jelly instead of grape. So amazing!

  49. Arielle
    12/26/2012 at 9:25 am

    Do you put the meatballs in the slow cooker when they are frozen or do you thaw them out first? I can’t wait to try this recipe!

    • 12/26/2012 at 9:30 am

      Hi Arielle! As answered in previous comments, you put them in frozen. Enjoy!

  50. Arlene Kennedy
    02/13/2013 at 1:18 pm

    I’m making the meatballs now for our condo get-together. Can’t wait to taste them!

  51. 06/24/2013 at 7:22 pm

    These look absolutely amazing. I’m not sure if we have frozen meatballs here in Australia so I’m off to find them. Just wondering if there is a different kind of thing I could use instead of a jar of grape jelly. We don’t have grape flavour here. Is there another flavour you think would work just as well?

    Thank you so much.

    • 06/24/2013 at 8:47 pm

      Apricot preserves or jam would work wonderfully!

  52. kathryn
    07/13/2013 at 4:22 am

    If I make these the day beforehand what’s the best way to reheat? Thanks

    • 07/13/2013 at 8:54 am

      I would put it in a pot over medium heat and reheat, stirring occasionally for 25-30 mins until it’s all warmed through.

      • Jesica H
        10/12/2013 at 11:07 am

        Can you just put them in the crockpot and reheat? Also, have you ever had them a second day…just wondering if the taste changes.
        I would like to make these the day before and then reheat so they are ready for a brunch party. :-)

      • 10/13/2013 at 10:08 am

        Yup, you certainly can! I’ve had them the second day before and they taste just like the first! Enjoy :)

  53. Christina K.
    08/06/2014 at 7:05 pm

    I usually use bbq and grape jelly on my homemade meatballs. I have never found a frozen meatball that taste good to me, what brand(s) have you and others used? Also, what does the chili sauce taste like, spicy, hot? I don’t like “hot” things.

    • Julie
      08/06/2014 at 8:26 pm

      I don’t remember which one I used. I got it from Wegmans and it had a grandma photo on the logo, haha. The chili sauce is more sweet than hot. I didn’t really feel much heat with it but everyone has a different heat preference.


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