Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Today I’m sharing my go-to appetizer recipe: Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs. It’s easy, it’s delicious, and it uses my crockpot… what more could you possibly ask for?!Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

I actually made these meatballs for Thanksgiving last week and they were a big hit.  I was in charge of bringing a veggie tray (which I whole-heartedly embraced, as you can see!)

Gobble Gobble- Mama's Turkey Day Veggie Tray

But my in-laws were hosting close to 50 people, so I thought a second appetizer might be in order! It’s always nice to have things for people to munch on as they arrive. I know I always start to get hungry smelling all the amazing Thanksgiving food cooking while we’re waiting for dinnertime…

This is a great post-Thanksgiving recipe, too, because if you have any leftover cranberry sauce you can put it right in! Also, we’re officially in holiday party season now… so if you want a quick recipe for entertaining or to take along to a get-together, this is it!

I use frozen meatballs for this recipe, but I like to warm them through in the microwave before adding them to the crockpot.  That way, if someone (namely my husband) were to sneak one before the party they would still be perfectly edible.

Mama's Meatball Tester

Also, Hunter likes to taste-test the meatballs ahead of the spicier sauce.  You know, quality control.

While the meatballs are warming, I get the sauce ready.  After putting in a crockpot liner, I add one can of jellied cranberry sauce and one cup of bbq sauce.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Add Cranberry Sauce and BBQ Sauce

Then, I cut up one pepper.  I use chipotle peppers in adobo sauce.  I take one pepper out, slice it open, and scrape out the seeds.  I don’t like these to be knock-your-socks-off spicy, but if you LOVE heat, feel free to leave the seeds in or even add a second pepper to the mix.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Chopping Your Chipotle Pepper

After I scrape the seeds out, I finely chop the pepper and add it to the other ingredients in the crockpot.  I also add in about one tablespoon of the adobo sauce that the peppers come in.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Add Adobo Sauce

Stir all the sauce ingredients until they are combined.  It will still look a little lumpy just from the jellied cranberry sauce, but the sauce will smooth out as it heats up.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs- Stir All Sauce Ingredients

Next, add in your cooked meatballs and stir until they are completely coated.

Turn your slow cooker on low and let the flavors get nice and friendly while it cooks for at least 1-2 hours before serving. 3-4 hours is ideal, but mine often don’t make it that long before people want to dig in!

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Hope it’s just as much of a favorite in your house!


Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

2 bags frozen meatballs (homestyle variety works best)

1 can jellied cranberry sauce

1 cup bbq sauce

1 chipotle pepper in adobo sauce, finely chopped 

1 T adobo sauce from can of chipotle peppers

Heat frozen meatballs according to package directions.

In a slow cooker, combine remaining ingredients and stir until combined.

Add in meatballs, stirring to coat. Cook on LOW for 2-4 hours.


Hope you enjoy!


Hunter and Mama