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3 Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs for Your Holiday Parties

3 Cocktail Meatballs
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Recipe At-A-Glance

Holidays, Game Day

40 minutes

Slow cooker cocktail meatballs are the perfect holiday appetizer! Pick your favorite flavor: Sweet and Sour, Mozzarella Stuffed, or Spicy Sticky Thai!

Slow Cooker Cocktail Meatballs 3 Ways

We’ve been doing this for as long as I can remember, and as the years have gone by, some dishes have become tradition to have in our spread. My parents always make stuffed mushrooms and peel-and-eat shrimp. I always make my mini Christmas quiche (they’re vegetarian, which my veggie brother and sister-in-law appreciate). And in the past few years, I’ve also been making meaaattttballlllllsssss (which my veggie brother and sister-in-law, obviously, don’t appreciate as much). Cocktail meatballs feel like an appetizer from another era, but I’m officially calling it—meatballs are totally hip again. So tasty! So easy! So crowd-pleasing!

3 Cocktail Meatballs

A few weeks back, my friends at Crock-Pot® brand sent me their latest creation—their Swing and Serve Slow Cooker—and the second I saw this sucker, I knew it was time to expand my meatball repertoire.

This bad mammajamma has THREE crocks that you can control separately, all contained in the same amount of counter space as a regular slow cooker. If this baby doesn’t scream “HOLIDAY PARTY!,” I don’t know what does!

3 Cocktail Meatballs

I love using a slow cooker for holiday cooking. The holidays are stressful enough, so using a slow cooker to help you out is a no-brainer. I always put my Christmas meatballs into my slow cooker to keep them warm and delicious while we celebrate, and now that I have three separate crocks, I have space for three different flavors.

MY OTHER RECIPES

You can make all three of these if you really want to knock the socks off your holiday guests, or you can just make one flavor! These meatball recipes aren’t just for cocktail parties either. The Mozzarella-Stuffed Italian Meatballs are perfecto on top of spaghetti. The Sticky Thai Meatballs are wonderful served on a big pile of fluffy rice. And we eat the Sweet and Sour Meatballs as a main dinner dish sometimes. Yum! Let’s dig into each one.

Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs

These meatballs are packed with Italian flavor and stuffed with ooey, gooey mozzarella cheese. Serve them with your favorite marinara sauce.

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3 Cocktail Meatballs

Mozzarella Stuffed Italian Meatballs


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 36 meatballs

Ingredients

  • 1 pound mild Italian sausage
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons Italian seasoning
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 4 sticks mozzarella string cheese, cut into 1/4″ slices
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • Parmesan and minced parsley, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the Italian sausage, ground beef, salt, cheese, eggs, Italian seasoning, and breadcrumbs. Mix well (your best bet is to use clean hands).
  3. Grab a couple of tablespoons of the mixture and form into a ball around one of the slices of string cheese. Roll into a ball.
  4. Place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meat and cheese.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are brown and cooked through.
  6. Serve immediately with marinara sauce, or pour marinara sauce into the slow cooker with the cooked meatballs, and keep on warm until ready to serve. Top with more Parm and parsley before serving.
Sweet and Sour Meatballs

It doesn’t get much more classic than these cocktail meatballs. The sauce is a little odd (grape jam, what?), but trust me, the end result is tangy, sweet, and super addictive.

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3 Cocktail Meatballs

Sweet and Sour Meatballs


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 36 meatballs

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon dried onion flakes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

For the Sauce

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1/3 cup ketchup
  • 1/4 cup grape jelly
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients. Mix well (your best bet is to use clean hands).
  3. Grab a couple of tablespoons of the mixture and form into a ball. Place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meat.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are brown and cooked through.
  5. In the basin of a slow cooker, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, Worcestershire sauce, ketchup, and jelly. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker and whisk.
  6. Add in the cooked meatballs, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for about an hour, until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Reduce heat to warm until ready to serve.
Spicy Sticky Thai Meatballs

If you’re looking for an appetizer with a bit of a kick, these are for you! I recommend starting off with 1/4 teaspoon of cayenne pepper, but if you really like to bring the heat, add some more.

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Sticky Thai Meatballs

Spicy Sticky Thai Meatballs


  • Author: Cassie Johnston
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 90 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour 45 minutes
  • Yield: 36 meatballs

Ingredients

For the Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cup panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons red curry paste
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon ground ginger
  • 2 teaspoons garlic powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne pepper (more if you like it spicy!)

For the Sauce

  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup Thai sweet chile sauce
  • 1/3 cup soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1/3 cup water
  • Chopped peanuts, minced cilantro, and lime juice, for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all the meatball ingredients. Mix well (your best bet is to use clean hands).
  3. Grab a couple of tablespoons of the mixture and form into a ball. Place on a large baking sheet. Repeat with remaining meat.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, or until the meatballs are brown and cooked through.
  5. In the basin of a slow cooker, combine the brown sugar, vinegar, chile sauce, and soy sauce. In a small bowl, whisk together the cornstarch and water. Add cornstarch slurry to the slow cooker and whisk.
  6. Add in the cooked meatballs, cover the slow cooker, and cook on high for about an hour, until the sauce is thick and bubbly. Reduce heat to warm until ready to serve. Top with chopped peanuts, cilantro, and a squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving.
Sticky Thai Meatballs

Pick just one flavor to serve this holiday season, or go all out and make all three using your Crock-Pot® Swing and Serve slow cooker. Wholefully readers get an extra 25% off of select Crock-Pot® slow cookers through this link! That’s such a great holiday steal!

Crock-Pot

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This post is brought to you by a Wholefully partner.

This post is brought to you by a Wholefully partner.

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