Cranberry meatballs are a festive holiday appetizer that everyone loves. The soft meatballs are first baked (easy!) then put into your crockpot with a simple sauce made with fresh cranberries. They're so delicious that we make them year-round!

Cranberry meatballs in a pot.

Why we think these cranberry meatballs are the best

  • The sweet sauce that is a little like BBQ sauce is totally addictive.
  • Fresh cranberries are so festive. Christmas meatballs!
  • Easily made on the stovetop or in a crockpot.
  • If you choose to make these slow cooker meatballs, they can hang out in the pot for several hours. No last-minute rush!
  • We make the meatballs with healthy almond flour. But if you're pinched on time, store-bought meatballs will work just fine.
  • Unlike most cranberry meatballs recipes, this one is made with no refined sugar or unhealthy ingredients. Give it up for healthy recipes that taste great, too!

A collage of how to make cranberry meatballs.

How to make this cranberry meatballs recipe

  1. Start by mixing the meatballs ingredients together then use a tablespoon to scoop the meat. Roll the meat into balls then put them into your oven.
  2. Make the cranberry sauce while the meatballs bake. All you have to do is put the ingredients into your blender and turn it on. So easy!
  3. When the meatballs are cooked (about 15 minutes) then put them into a pot or your slow cooker and pour the cranberry sauce over the top. They'll need about 2-3 hours in a crockpot but are much faster in a pot.

What ingredients are in cranberry meatballs

The meatballs are a simple, grain-free recipe. We use ground beef, but pork and chicken are also nice options. The seasonings are simple and in powdered form as we find the meatballs hold their shape better this way.

We put a couple of eggs and some almond flour and a little beef broth in to keep them soft.

The cranberry sauce is made with fresh cranberries, honey, tomato paste, sriracha, and salt. And don't worry if spice isn't your thing, the sriracha is barely noticeable and just add a little something special.

Refined sugar free cranberry sauce for meatballs.

Are these cranberry meatballs healthy?

Yes! Beef is a healthy protein and cranberries are considered a superfood because of their nutrition and high antioxidants. And because we sweeten our cranberry sauce with honey, it's refined sugar-free.

Note: most cranberry meatball recipes are made with canned cranberry sauce which is NOT healthy. It's loaded with sugar (often high-fructose corn syrup) so you definitely want to skip this.

Luckily, making the cranberry sauce for these meatballs is almost as easy as opening a can. Bonus that it tastes so much better, too!

Cranberry meatballs on a serving tray with little forks in them and some greens sprinkled around.

What to serve with cranberry sauce meatballs

These meatballs pair perfectly with your favorite finger foods and are ideal as a part of a larger appetizer buffet. A few of our favorites that pair well with these meatballs are:

You'll have a hard time keeping people away until you're ready to serve them …

Hands reaching for these cranberry meatballs on a white plate.

Love meatball recipes?

Try these meatball appetizers:

Or these dinner meatballs recipes:

Cranberry meatballs in a serving bowl with cocktail forks in them.

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Easy Holiday Appetizers

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Cranberry meatballs in a pot.

Cranberry Meatballs

  • Author: Kristen Stevens
  • Prep Time: 15 mins
  • Cook Time: 25 mins (longer for slow cooker option)
  • Total Time: 40 minutes
  • Yield: 50 meatballs 1x
  • Category: Appetizer
  • Method: Slow Cooker
  • Cuisine: American

Description

Cranberry meatballs are a festive holiday appetizer that everyone loves. The soft meatballs are first baked (easy!) then put into your crockpot with a simple sauce made with fresh cranberries. They're so delicious that we make them year-round!


Scale

Ingredients

Meatballs

  • 2 lbs. ground beef
  • ¾ cup almond flour
  • ½ cup beef broth
  • ¼ cup minced parsley
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon each: pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, and ginger powder

Cranberry Sauce

  • 2 ½ cups fresh or frozen and thawed cranberries
  • ¾ cup honey
  • 1 can tomato paste
  • 1 tablespoon sriracha
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt

Instructions

  1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.
  2. Mix the meatball ingredients together in a large bowl. Using a tablespoon, scoop the meat into 50 portions. Roll them into balls and place them on baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 15-17 minutes, or until they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
  4. While the meatballs are cooking, place the cranberry sauce ingredients into your blender and blend on high until smooth.

Slow Cooker Method

  1. Place the cooked meatballs into your crockpot and pour the cranberry sauce over the top. Let them cook for 2-3 hours on high or on low for 6-7 hours.

Stovetop Method

  1. Place the cooked meatballs into a large pot and pour the cranberry sauce over the top. Cook them over medium heat until heated through.

Notes

To save time, you can use cooked frozen meatballs. Thaw them first before adding them to your pot or slow cooker.

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A close up of cranberry meatballs in a pot with the recipe title on top of the picture.