Sweet-and-Spicy Appetizer Meatballs

We have long enjoyed our favorite appetizer meatball recipe, but this version of sweet-and-spicy appetizer meatballs from Johnsonville takes the idea to a new level.

Johnsonville recently came out with a line of meatballs. They are soooooo much better than the usual pre-made meatballs you can pick up in your grocer’s freezer section. This is our first time using them, but I can definitely see us cooking with them more!

Sweet-and-Spicy Appetizer Meatballs

I think the elements that really make these meatballs stand out are the great meatballs, of course, and also the Kalamata olives. They really add a great richness to the sauce. These are perfect for game-time munching!

For something a bit spicier, give your guests some fire-eater chicken meatballs. Also try my meatball sliders. They make great appetizers too.

Sweet-and-Spicy Appetizer Meatballs

I think the elements that really make these meatballs stand out are the great meatballs, of course, and also the Kalamata olives. They really add a great richness to the sauce. These are perfect for game-time munching!
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour 10 minutes
Servings 8
Calories 265kcal

Ingredients

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1/4 cup Kalamata olives sliced
  • 1/2 small onion chopped
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • 24 ounce meatballs frozen, thawed
  • 1/2 14 ounce cranberry sauce
  • 16 ounce diced tomatoes un-drained
  • 1/4 cup chili sauce
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried red pepper flake or more
  • 2 teaspoons dried basil
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese shaved

Instructions

  • Heat oil in a large pot or Dutch oven over medium-high heat.
  • Add in the olives, onion and garlic. Cook for 3 minutes or until the onion starts to soften.
  • Add all of the remaining ingredients except for the cheese. Stir. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to a simmer.
  • Add in the cheese and stir to melt.
  • Continue simmering for 30 minutes or until the meatballs are completely warmed through.
  • Keep warm for serving.

Nutrition

Calories: 265kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 16g | Fat: 20g | Saturated Fat: 7g | Cholesterol: 63mg | Sodium: 301mg | Potassium: 404mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 3g | Vitamin A: 214IU | Vitamin C: 8mg | Calcium: 79mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutritional values are approximate.

Sweet-and-Sassy Appetizer Meatballs

Everyone’s seen them. Everyone’s had them. The key to really good appetizer meatballs? The BBQ sauce. And good meatballs too of course. I had some leftover pre-made meatballs, so that’s what I ended up using. The sauce has to be sweet-and-sassy. I want some bite behind that kiss. Know what I mean?

Sweet-and-Sassy Appetizer Meatballs

We’re big fans of Grandma Foster’s sauces. The smooth & spicy has just the right amount of kick, and is perfect on ribs, pulled pork… and in these appetizer meatballs! If you don’t have Grandma Foster’s where you’re at, our second-best (and it’s a very close second) is Weber’s Kick’N Spicy BBQ sauce. You can find it at your local grocery store.

Also try my slow cooker bourbon cocktail sausages and my peach and chili sauce meatballs.

Sweet-and-Sassy Appetizer Meatballs

Everyone’s seen them. Everyone’s had them. The key to really good appetizer meatballs? The BBQ sauce. And good meatballs too of course.
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 20 minutes
Servings 12
Calories 65kcal
Author Mike

Ingredients

Instructions

  • Add cranberry sauce and BBQ sauce to a large pot over medium heat. Cook until the cranberry sauce is melted, stirring often.
  • Add the meatballs and cook until heated through, about 10 minutes.
  • I served these in a fondue pot to keep them warm, but a crockpot also works well.

Nutrition

Calories: 65kcal | Carbohydrates: 15g | Protein: 1g | Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 1mg | Sodium: 388mg | Potassium: 88mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 13g | Vitamin A: 85IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg

Nutritional values are approximate.