Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs

As the seasons change and festive gatherings approach, having a go-to recipe that’s both easy and crowd-pleasing is a culinary blessing. Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs perfectly fit the bill, offering a harmonious blend of sweet and savory flavors that can elevate any occasion. Whether you’re preparing for a holiday feast or a casual get-together, these meatballs bring a delightful twist to the table. In this article, we’ll explore the ingredients, step-by-step preparation, valuable tips, creative variations, and conclude with the assurance that your slow cooker will become your best ally in crafting this delectable dish.



To embark on the journey of creating Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs, gather the following ingredients:

  • Ground beef or a meatball mix
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Egg
  • Garlic powder
  • Onion powder
  • Salt and pepper to taste
  • Cranberry sauce
  • Ketchup
  • Brown sugar
  • Worcestershire sauce

These ingredients work in harmony to produce meatballs that are not only juicy and flavorful but also bathed in a luscious cranberry glaze.


Step-by-Step Guide

  1. Prepare the Meatballs: In a mixing bowl, combine the ground beef or meatball mix with breadcrumbs, egg, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, and pepper. Mix until well combined, then shape the mixture into bite-sized meatballs.
  2. Brown the Meatballs: In a skillet over medium heat, brown the meatballs on all sides. This step adds a layer of flavor and helps the meatballs hold their shape during the slow cooking process.
  3. Create the Sauce: In a separate bowl, mix together cranberry sauce, ketchup, brown sugar, and Worcestershire sauce. This sauce strikes the perfect balance between sweetness and tanginess, complementing the savory meatballs.
  4. Layer in the Slow Cooker: Place the browned meatballs in the slow cooker, covering them with the cranberry sauce mixture. Ensure that each meatball is generously coated for maximum flavor infusion.
  5. Slow Cook to Perfection: Set the slow cooker to low and let the magic happen. Allow the meatballs to simmer in the cranberry sauce for 3-4 hours, letting the flavors meld and intensify.
  6. Serve and Enjoy: Once the meatballs are tender and the sauce has thickened, it’s time to serve. Arrange the meatballs on a platter, drizzling extra sauce over the top for a visually appealing finish.


Tips for Success

Achieving meatball perfection in the slow cooker requires attention to detail. Here are some tips to ensure your Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs are a hit:

  • Choose the Right Meat: Opt for a meatball mix or a combination of ground meats to achieve a balanced flavor and texture.
  • Browning for Flavor: Don’t skip the step of browning the meatballs before placing them in the slow cooker. This adds a depth of flavor that enhances the overall dish.
  • Adjust Sweetness: Depending on personal preferences, feel free to adjust the sweetness of the cranberry sauce by adding more or less brown sugar.
  • Keep it Warm: Once the meatballs are cooked, set the slow cooker to the “warm” setting to keep them at the perfect temperature for serving throughout your event.



While the classic Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs are a crowd-pleaser, consider these variations to suit different tastes:

  • Spicy Kick: Add a dash of hot sauce or red pepper flakes to the cranberry sauce for a spicy twist.
  • Gourmet Upgrade: Experiment with different meats, such as a blend of ground pork and beef, to add richness and complexity to the meatballs.
  • Fruity Fusion: Introduce a medley of fruits, such as pineapple chunks or orange zest, to the cranberry sauce for a refreshing flavor dimension.


In conclusion, Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs are a versatile and flavorful addition to your culinary repertoire. The simplicity of the slow cooker method, combined with the sweet and savory allure of cranberry sauce, makes this dish a standout for any occasion. Whether served as a holiday appetizer, a party snack, or a family dinner, these meatballs are sure to leave a lasting impression. So, gather your ingredients, set your slow cooker to low, and get ready to savor the deliciousness of Slow Cooker Cranberry Meatballs at your next gathering.

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