Grape Jelly Party Meatballs

  • Author:
  • Prep Time: 20 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 36 to 40 meatballs


These sweet and sour (spicy) meatballs are one of my very favorite party foods. When I was growing up, my mother made these cocktail meatballs for all our parties. I think they are the perfect appetizer. They can be cooked in a slow cooker or on the stovetop. They disappear fast so you might want to go ahead and double the recipe.


For the meatballs

  • 2 pounds lean ground beef or ground chuck
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten 
  • ½ cup finely chopped onion
  • ¾ cup soft bread crumbs
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder

For the sauce

  • 1 (12-ounce) jar chile sauce (for the best tasting, I prefer Heinz’s Chile sauce)
  • 1 (30-ounce) jar grape jelly or grape jam
  • Juice of 1 lemon


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray or grease a cookie sheet pan. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, beaten eggs, chopped onion, bread crumbs, milk, salt, pepper, and garlic powder. Mix until everything is well combined and shape into 1-inch size meatballs. (about the shape of a walnut)
  3. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until lightly browned. Drain off any grease. 
  4. In a large-size saucepan, combine the chile sauce, grape jelly, and lemon juice. Heat over medium heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Add the cooked meatballs, and simmer for 8 to 10 minutes. Stir gently so not to break up the meatball. Pour meatballs into a chafing dish or slow cooker to serve. (NOTE: you may also mix the sauce up in a slow cooker and then add the cooked meatballs and let them simmer on low heat and serve out of the slow cooker or crockpot.


Do ahead/Freeze tip: You can make the meatballs and sauce up serval days ahead of serving. Keep stored in the refrigerator. You may also freeze the uncooked meatballs or the cooked meatballs for up to two months. Any cooked leftovers with the sauce can be frozen for up to two months as well. Thaw out in the refrigerator overnight and then reheat in the slow cooker or stovetop. For the uncooked meatballs. Cook in the oven and follow the directions in the recipe.

Recipe Note: This is one of my all-time favorite party foods and they are always a huge hit. You might want to go ahead and double the recipe because they disappear fast. On another note, if you are totally short on time, buy the already cooked meatballs in the frozen section at the grocery store.