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40+ Delicious Meatball Appetizers

When looking for a quick and easy recipes for party food, that will feed a crowd with minimal effort, I always choose meatball appetizers. They are hearty, filling, and when made in the slow cooker, they are the easiest party food around. Pick out one of these delicious recipes for your next party!

collage of party meatballs

Meatball Appetizers

When looking for a quick and easy recipes for party food, that will feed a crowd with minimal effort, I always choose meatball appetizers.

They are hearty, filling, and when made in the slow cooker, they are the easiest party food around. Pick out one of these delicious recipes for your next party!

Crockpot Meatballs make the perfect appetizers. They are a great option when you are struggling to find something to serve and most only require minimal prep. Just toss in the cooked meatballs, add the sauce and you are good to go.

Cut the prep with precooked frozen meatballs you find at the market.

Check out these meatball appetizer recipes for the best ways to bring frozen meatballs to the next level. Perfect for parties, tailgating, or any occasion where you are getting together with friends and family.

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close up of baked meatballs

Tips for Meatball Appetizers

Planning on serving meatballs at your next get together? Here are some tips for making your recipe perfect!

How to make homemade meatballs for appetizers

Use ground beef or pork for meatballs as they will make the juiciest ones. If you are using ground turkey or chicken, be sure to add some fat to the mixture or they will be dry. Combine the ingredients, place meatballs on a baking sheet in a single layer.

If you start with lean ground beef or meat you will need to add moisture to them by adding milk, bread crumbs, or another meat with more fat in it. Like sausage.

When baking the meatballs, be sure to leave a little space between each one so they can sear on all sides and keep in their juices. Cool and freeze until ready to use. Bake until the internal temperature reaches 145F. If making them from poultry, be sure they reach 165F.

Here are some recipes for homemade frozen meatballs, air fryer meatballs, and a gluten free option too.

Do I need to thaw the meatballs before adding to my slow cooker?

The beauty of a crock pot recipe is that you can add frozen meatballs directly to it. Simply add in the sauce ingredients and give them a stir.

Do I need to cook the meatballs first?

Most of the meatballs you find in the frozen foods section of the grocery store are precooked. If they are not, or if you are making them homemade, be sure to cook them before adding to the slow cooker.

How to keep cocktail meatballs warm during a party

If you are making slow cooker meatball appetizers, simply turn the temperature to either low or the warm setting on your crockpot.

Cooking them a different way? You can add the meatballs and sauce to a chafing dish or place in a pot on the stove top. If you are hosting an outdoor party, place them in a disposable aluminum pan and place on indirect heat on your grill or smoker.

toothpick holding a meatball

Beef Meatball Appetizers

1. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

Not your traditional recipe with Russian dressing and apricot preserves but you must try it! Perfectly sweet and sour with a dash of Worcestershire sauce to balance it all out.

white slow cooker with meatballs, sauce, and a wood spoon

2. Grape Jelly Meatballs

A great recipe because it has just 3 ingredients. It’s one of the easiest appetizers around. Grab some frozen meatballs from the grocery store.

bbq meatballs on a toothpick

3. BBQ Meatballs

Made with bbq sauce and a homemade steak seasoning, these are rich and delicious!

mini cheeseburger meatballs on a toothpick

4. Bacon Cheeseburger Meatballs

Smaller than sliders these mini bacon cheeseburger meatballs are super cute and fun for a kid’s party or backyard gathering.

Don’t they just scream summer?!?

cranberry jalapeno meatballs

5. Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs

Spicy Cranberry Jalapeno Meatballs are the perfect party appetizer with tons of flavor! Sweet, spicy, tangy, and delicious!

three cocktail appetizers on a white plate with forks

6. Honey Mustard Meatballs

The perfect blend of smoky bbq sauce, sweet honey, and tangy Dijon mustard. Topped with pickled mustard seeds, these are a unique party meatball!

italian meatballs

7. Italian Meatballs

These flavorful, moist meatballs come together in minutes and are oven baked for a quick dinner. Homemade Italian Meatballs are always satisfying and well received.

small white bowl with meatballs and sesame seeds

Pork Meatball Appetizers

8. Hawaiian Meatballs

Also known as Waikiki meatballs, the sweet pineapple and fragrant ginger make the perfect sauce for meatballs. Serve with some steamed rice and sliced green onions.

black pot with meatballs and sesame seeds in it

9. Teriyaki Meatballs

Sweet and tangy with a sticky glaze that will have you licking your fingers. Top with sliced green onions and toasted sesame seeds for even more flavor and texture.

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Crock Pot Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs

Chicken Meatball Appetizers

10. Nashville Hot Chicken Meatballs

Easier to make than fried chicken, these meatballs are slow simmered in hot and spicy butter sauce. Serve with pickle slices to keep the heat to a minimum.

spoon sauce on meatballs and rice

11. Firecracker Meatballs

The next time you’re looking for delicious dinners, try this recipe for low carb spicy meatballs that everyone will love. 

close up of meatball on a stick

12. French Onion Meatballs

The instant pot is the king when making these. The caramelized onions only add to the richness of the dish. Topped with cheese and they only get better.

fork with lamb meatball and tzatziki sauce

13. Lamb Meatballs

Take a trip to the Mediterranean with these easy lamb meatballs. The sauce alone is worth the trip!

Reuben Meatballs in a skillet and one on a fork

14. Reuben Meatballs

These are perfect for a St. Patrick’s day get together! Serve on rye toasts for even more flavor.

More Meatball Recipes

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collage of meatball appetizers

Each of the party meatballs make for easy appetizers or an easy main dish for am busy week night. Make them ahead of time, serve in a crockpot where they will stay warm throughout the entire get together. If they last that long.

More Party Foods

bowl of meatballs with text "best meatball side dishes"

Looking to make any of these appetizer recipes into a full meal? Check out Side Dishes for Meatballs!

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