Meatballs are classic party food and they're always a welcome addition to the menu. These made-from-scratch Slow Cooker Party Meatballs are cooked entirely in a slow cooker. Simmered on low in a sweet and spicy sauce they're ideal for game day snacks, parties and potluck gatherings.
Frozen Versus Fresh Meatballs
When time is a factor, I think it's perfectly fine to utilize quality frozen meatballs. I've done so myself from time to time for a timesaver. This Slow Cooker Party Meatballs recipe is for those moments you want to go the extra mile and make them yourself. As we all know, homemade is best. When making meatballs from scratch, you can control the amount of salt and seasonings and personalize the flavor to your taste. It's also a perk that you can use ingredients that you already have on hand and stocked in your pantry.
Things To Keep In Mind When Slow Cooking Meatballs
When starting this, or any recipe with uncooked meatballs, it's important to use lean ground beef and high quality sausage to decrease the amount of fat that cooks into the sauce. Fat adds flavor but, once the meatballs are cooked it needs to be removed. It's simple to use a large spoon to skim the fat from the top at the end of cooking before thickening the sauce with tomato paste. You can use as little or as much tomato paste as you like. One tablespoon is a good starting point simply repeat adding more until you're pleased with the thickness.
Other Slow Cooker Meatball Recipes
Meatballs are classic party fare and other recipes you may like to try are my Jamaican Jerk Meatballs and Slow Cooked Asian Meatballs with an Orange Chili Sauce. A couple of other tasty meatball recipes to look at are these holiday Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs and classic Slow Cooker Swedish Meatballs.
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Helpful Kitchen Items:
Slow Cooker Party Meatballs
- 2 lb extra lean ground beef
- 1 lb mild Italian Sausage
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- ½ cup buttermilk or whole milk
- 1 medium sweet onion finely diced
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 4 Tbsp chopped Italian parsley
- 2 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tsp seasoned salt
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 18 oz bottle honey barbecue sauce
- 1 12 oz bottle chili sauce i.e. Heinz
- ⅔ cup pineapple preserves
- 1 Tbsp Dijon or whole grain mustard
- 1 tsp garlic salt
- 1 tsp onion powder
- ½-1 tsp crushed red pepper flakes adjust to taste
- ¼ tsp ground cumin
- ¼ tsp ground chipotle or dark chili powder
- tomato paste as needed for thickening
- Spray the inside of a 6 quart slow cooker with cooking spray. Set aside.
- In a large mixing bowl, mix together the beef, sausage, breadcrumbs, buttermilk, onion, eggs, parsley, worcestershire, seasoned salt and garlic. Mix until ingredients are evenly distributed.
- Roll into 1-inch balls.. Arrange in the slow cooker.
- In a small bowl whisk together the barbecue, chili sauce, pineapple preserves, Dijon, garlic salt, onion powder, pepper flakes, cumin and chipotle powder. Mix well, then pour evenly over meatballs.
- Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or until meatballs are cooked through and no pink remains. Use a large spoon to skim any fat from the top at the end of cooking.
- Use tomato paste to thicken sauce, if desired. Gently stir meatballs to coat with sauce. Keep warm until serving.
- May use the same amount of frozen meatballs for a timesaver.
- Apricot or peach preserves may be used in place of pineapple preserves, if desired.