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These Sweet and Spicy Meatballs are the best party meatball recipe! The juicy meatballs are made from scratch and tossed in a simple 2-ingredient sauce for the perfect bite-sized appetizer. Make this cocktail meatball recipe, and they’ll be a crowd favorite at your next party!
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Best Party Meatballs Recipe
Everyone needs a great meatball appetizer for parties, and these sweet and spicy meatballs are my favorite recipe. It’s so easy, and the flavors are great – it’s the perfect appetizer! That sweet and spicy flavor in the sauce just takes a humble meatball over the top in the flavor department.
So, whether you need an easy snack for Super Bowl, other game day parties, special occasions, or holiday parties, these classic cocktail meatballs are a great way to serve a crowd. I love recipes for party meatballs, and this one is one of the easiest recipes! You only need simple ingredients, and they come out perfect every time.
Why you’ll love this recipe
- This easy appetizer recipe starts with a super-easy meatball recipe. It’s simple, but it doesn’t skimp on flavor! My secret ingredient is Lipton onion soup mix – it gives the meatballs tons of flavor.
- I bake the meatballs instead of frying them to save on the oil. While they bake, warm up the sauce ingredients – you only need two! Toss the meatballs in it, and they are ready to serve!
- The best part is that they’re not just meatballs for parties either. I’ve also made these as a main dish, and they’re always a hit. So, they’re an amazing appetizer AND dinner – these sweet and sour meatballs are always a favorite.
Ingredients in Sweet and Spicy Meatballs
- Ground beef: You can also use ground turkey. I prefer a 93/7 mix for either meat.
- Breadcrumbs: I always buy Italian breadcrumbs but plain is fine too.
- Large egg
- Lipton Onion Soup Mix: This has all the spices you need!
- Chili sauce: I use Heinz brand or the store equivalent (sold with condiments)
- Jelly: Any flavor – grape, strawberry or orange marmalade are best.
How to Make Meatballs for Parties
- Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, and soup mix in a large mixing bowl. Form the meat mixture into 1” meatballs (a cookie scoop makes this easy) and place them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
- Bake them for 18 to 25 minutes or until they are browned and cooked through. I like turning them halfway through baking, so they brown evenly.
- While the meatballs bake, you can make the sauce. Heat the chili sauce and jelly in a large skillet or sauté pan until it’s bubbling. Add the cooked meatballs to the spicy sauce and stir to coat them evenly.
Storing and Make Ahead Instructions
Make-Ahead: You can make and bake the savory party meatballs ahead of time and coat them in the sauce. Store them in an airtight container and just warm them up before the party! It’s a good idea to place them in a crock pot or slow cooker set on the warm setting to warm them up and keep them warm during the party. Making them ahead is a great option to save time!
Storage: Leftover party meatballs with jelly will keep in the refrigerator for three to four days.
Freezing: You can make and bake the sticky meatballs and then freeze them for up to three months. When you’re ready to serve them, make the sauce and warm the frozen meatballs in it before serving them.
What to serve with Party Meatballs
Appetizers: Pair these easy cocktail meatballs with other party food like pigs in a blanket, jalapeno poppers, pull apart pizza, or spinach dip. They also are great with cold snacks like cheese boards and charcuteries boards.
Main Courses: This is a great recipe for a simple dinner, too! Pair the meatballs in the tangy sauce with a cooked vegetable (air fryer broccoli is a fav) with cooked rice on the side. You can also use them to make meatball sliders – they’re always a family favorite.
Milk adds moisture and fat, making meatballs juicy and tender. It’s often used when meatballs are made with day-old bread crumbs which help soften them.
For my sweet and spicy meatball recipe, we’re using store-bought dried breadcrumbs, so the egg in the recipe adds the perfect amount of moisture.
Yes, this recipe doubles great! You can double or triple it for a holiday party, game day, or whenever you need to serve a crowd.
It depends on how big your meatballs are. For this recipe, I make small meatballs about one ounce big, so you would want to have at least four to five per person. So, if you’re serving 100 people, you’d want to make between 400 and 500 meatballs. If you are serving other appetizers, you can reduce that amount.
Other Appetizers We Love
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Sweet & Spicy Meatballs
- 1 pound ground beef
- ⅓ cup (39g) breadcrumbs
- 1 large egg
- 1 packet Lipton Onion Soup Mix
- 1 (12 ounce ) jar chili sauce
- ¾ cup (229g) jelly (grape, raspberry, or apricot)
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a cookie sheet with parchment paper.
- Stir together meatball ingredients in a large bowl. Form 1-inch size meatballs and roll between your palms to form into balls.
- Place meatballs on cookie sheet. No need to space them – but just make sure they aren’t touching each other. Bake 18-25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through to 165°F. Tip: flip them halfway through baking so they’re evenly cooked and browned.
- Towards the end of the baking process, stir chili sauce and jelly in a large skillet over medium-low heat. Cook until the jelly is melted and combined into the sauce and the sauce bubbles.
- Toss hot sauce with cooked meatballs and serve immediately.
Easy Party Meatballs – this sweet and spicy meatball recipe is so easy to make with just a few ingredients – we love making stovetop meatballs for dinner or a party!