Last updated on September 13th, 2019 at 08:08 pm
These tangy sweet crockpot meatballs are the perfect party meatball. Made in the crockpot, slow cooker, or instant pot, they are a delicious appetizer!
Crockpot Sweet and Sour Meatballs
With all the crockpot and slow cooker appetizer meatballs out there, quite a few boast a sweet and tangy flavor profile. If you look at enough, the ingredients all look the same.
- Chili Sauce & Grape Jelly
- Grape Jelly & Ketchup
- BBQ Sauce and Mustard
- Pineapple Juice & BBQ Sauce
- Vinegar & Soy Sauce
But I don’t see any with Russian dressing. Or apricots. By the way, I stole this idea from a friend of mine who makes Sweet and Sour Chicken with Russian dressing and apricot preserves. A simple mixture of the two poured over chicken and baked until done.
I thought I would give it a try over some meatballs instead of chicken, and give it a whirl in my slow cooker. They turned out great, in case you are wondering. Which I why I am sharing these tangy sweet crockpot meatballs with you today.
Just take me to the Tangy Sweet Crockpot Meatballs Recipe Already!
If you’d rather skip my (very helpful, I think) tips and tricks, essential cooking info, and similar recipe ideas – and get straight to this delicious easy Tangy Sweet Crockpot Meatballs recipe – simply scroll to the bottom of the page where you can find the printable recipe card.
Crockpot Meatballs are Easy
Lots of recipes claim they are easy. Just when you start to read it you figure out that it takes 75 ingredients and 4 hours just to prep it. NOPE! Not for me. Easy, to me, means 5 ingredients or less, and 10 minutes or less to prep. Preferably with ingredients I don’t have to cook before I add them to the recipe, or that I can use store-bought shortcuts.
If someone gets in your face about using store-bought ingredients, like bottled dressings, sauces, frozen meatballs, you can tell them to stuff it and go hungry. I get that homemade is best, but let’s be real. I would rather use a store-bought dressing and spend time with my family than spending all day in the kitchen to make one recipe, only to do it all over again tomorrow.
The table is the place, dinner is the occasion, and the love is time spent together as a family. Even though specific dishes bring back memories, it’s the memories that we made around that dish that I cherish, not the food itself.
You can always recreate the recipe, but you can’t get that time spent together back.
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Crockpot Meatballs and Sauce
Can I tell you how awesome this sauce is? The perfect combination of sweet and tangy. Some may say sour, but I like the word tangy better. Sweet and Sour flavoring brings visions of Chinese chicken with bell peppers and pineapple, and that is not what I am going for with this version.
The Russian dressing in these tangy sweet crockpot meatballs is not the same Russian dressing on a Reuben sandwich. That Russian dressing is closer to 1000 Island salad dressing and not for cooking in a crockpot. The Russian dressing I use is closer to a Catalina or French dressing. There is a recipe called a Red Russian dressing that is close, but for the purpose of this recipe, don’t worry about all that.
Just grab a bottle of Russian, Catalina, or French dressing. Whichever you find in the store will work. These versions are made from red wine vinegar, ketchup, olive oil, paprika for the extra red color, and a little celery salt. No mayonnaise. Not in this crockpot!
With all the Russian dressing, the apricot preserves, and the Worcestershire mixed together, your sauce is the perfect combination of sweet, sour, tangy, and delicious!
FAQ about Tangy Sweet Crockpot Meatballs:
- Q: Can I make my own Russian dressing?
A: Yes, but make sure it is a recipe similar to Catalina or French dressing.
- Q: Can I substitute something for the apricot preserves?
A: You can use orange marmalade but it would be as tangy as with the apricot.
- Q: Can I reuse the leftover sauce?
A: Yes, but be sure to store it properly and reheat all the way through before using it in another recipe.
- Q: Can I make these in the instant pot?
A: Yes, just cook them on manual for 7-8 minutes.
Speaking of sauce, this recipe makes a lot of it. So much in fact, that you will have some leftover! I saved mine in the freezer for use later on chicken, pork, meatloaf, and chicken wings. Just be sure to reheat it thoroughly before using again.
I hope you enjoy these tangy sweet crockpot meatballs at your next party, for an easy midweek meal over rice, or for a lazy Sunday afternoon watching football!
Other great Crockpot Meatballs recipes to try!
Looking for a Crockpot Appetizer to take to a party you’ve been invited to? Check out all my crockpot appetizer recipes to fit your special occasion!
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Easy Tangy Sweet Crockpot Meatball Recipe
- 28 ounces frozen meatballs
- 16 ounces Russian dressing
- 18 ounces apricot preserves
- 2/3 cup Worcestershire sauce
Prepare the Tangy Sweet sauce
- Combine the Russian dressing, apricot preserves, and Worcestershire sauce.
- Stir to thoroughly mix.
Prepare the Meatballs
- Add the frozen meatballs to the crockpot or slow cooker.
- Pour the Tangy Sweet sauce over the meatballs.
- Stir to coat evenly.
- Cook on high for 2 hours or low for 3-4 hours.
- If you are using an Instant Pot, cook on high for 7 minutes.
- Keep warm in the crockpot/slow cooker/instant pot while serving.
- Serve with toothpicks or mini forks.
*If you like this recipe, please leave me a comment and rate it with some stars. Thank you!
Nutrition Information:Yield: 20 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving:Calories: 263 Total Fat: 15g Saturated Fat: 4g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 10g Cholesterol: 26mg Sodium: 622mg Carbohydrates: 29g Net Carbohydrates: 0g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 17g Sugar Alcohols: 0g Protein: 6g
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