These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

The holidays are definitely my favorite time of the year and just about any party I go to serves up cocktail meatballs.  Why??  Well they’re always such a crowdpleaser, not only because they’re tasty, but they’re super easy to eat while mingling with friends and walking around.  I’m all about devouring some holiday appetizers and meatballs are hands down the BEST!

Most cocktail meatball recipes have the same variation – a jar of jelly and some chili sauce.  Well I wanted to mix things up a bit and make a sauce that was delicious, but was also on the cleaner side so I used fresh cranberries, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little honey and, yes, chili sauce.  I mean it is sort of a MUST right?  Of course you can also easily just use cranberry sauce in place of the fresh cranberries, sometimes that is much easier!

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

HOW TO MAKE THE MEATBALLS

To make these meatballs, I used Safeway’s Open Nature grass-fed beef which is what I always use because it’s free of antibiotics or added hormones as well as Open Nature’s cage free eggs.  I also threw in some finely chopped onion, because I mean I love onions in my meatballs, some fresh garlic, a little parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and a little tomato paste.  If you don’t have tomato paste on hand you can just use ketchup!  These meatballs are literally so easy to make too, you simply just mix everything together and form little 1-inch balls.  You should come out with roughly 28 to 30 meatballs once you’re done.

I decided to bake these since I guess I’m just an instant gratification sort of person and didn’t feel like waiting for them to be done in the slow cooker, but you could easily throw these into your crock pot too for convenience!  This is helpful, especially for parties, when you need time to prep other food.  Just set it and forget it!  I would suggest still baking the meatballs (or searing them in a pan) for a bit just to seal in those flavors then cooking them the rest of the way in the crock pot for about 2 hours on low.  Either way is easy and just as delicious!

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

The sauce, OH this sauce.  It really is finger licking good!  I like to make this sauce while the meatballs are baking then just toss everything together at the end.  As I said before, I used fresh cranberries, along with some orange juice, a little orange zest, some honey and chili sauce.  I also threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper because I wanted a sweet and spicy combo, but you can leave this ingredient out if you don’t like a lot of spice.  Top with a little chopped parsley and garnish with some rosemary for a festive look and you’ve got yourself quite the crowd pleasing dish on your hands!  As I said before, you can easily just use cranberry sauce in place of the fresh cranberries if you’re short on time, it’s totally up to you!

Meatballs are such a staple recipe to have on hand because not only do they make great party appetizers, but this basic recipe is good for just about any meal or any type of sauce!  I’ve used this meatball recipe in Italian dishes with tomato sauce and I’ve also used it with my honey sriracha sauce for meal prep.  You can use beef or turkey in this recipe too, either one will turn out delicious!

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

So whether you’re getting together for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, make sure to include these delicious Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs at your next holiday gathering because I can guarantee you they’ll be a huge hit!  A staple meatball recipe is a MUST-have and these are definitely a winner!

RECIPE

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

Yield: 6 Servings 1x
Scale
  • Prep Time: 5 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins
  • Total Time: 30 mins

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • 1/2 onion, finely chopped
  • 1/4 cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced

For the cranberry sauce:

  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries (or you can use cranberry sauce)
  • 1/2 cup chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, pepper and parsley until well combined. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls (you’ll make roughly 30 balls) and place spaced apart on prepared baking sheets lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. While the meatballs are baking, whisk together orange juice and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey dissolves. Add cranberries and cook for about 10 minutes, until the berries start to pop, then reduce heat and add chili sauce, orange zest and cayenne pepper, cooking an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Feel free to mash the cranberries with the back of a wooden spoon to achieve a jam-like consistency and add 1/4 cup of water if you like a thinner sauce.
  5. Remove cranberry sauce from heat and season with salt and pepper as needed. Toss sauce with baked meatballs, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Nutrition Facts:

  • Serving Size: 5 meatballs
  • Calories: 282
  • Sugar: 19.2 g
  • Sodium: 722.8 mg
  • Fat: 8.7 g
  • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g
  • Carbohydrates: 27.5 g
  • Fiber: 1.9 g
  • Protein: 20.1 g

* Please note that all nutrition information are just estimates. Values will vary among brands, so we encourage you to calculate these on your own for most accurate results.

If you make this recipe, share a photo on Instagram and tag it #EatYourselfSkinny . I love seeing what you made!

 

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Albertsons Companies. The opinions and text are all mine.