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Cranberry Chili Meatballs

My friends look forward to enjoying these chili sauce meatballs at our holiday gatherings and there are never any leftovers! Using packaged meatballs helps save time in the kitchen and they are just as tasty as homemade. The sauce is tangy yet sweet, and the festive color is perfect for any holiday party. —Amy Scamerhorn, Indianapolis, Indiana
  • Total Time
    Prep/Total Time: 30 min.
  • Makes
    about 5 dozen


  • 1 can (14 ounces) jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1 bottle (12 ounces) chili sauce
  • 3/4 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1 package (32 ounces) frozen fully cooked homestyle meatballs, thawed


  • In a large saucepan over medium heat, combine the first six ingredients; stir until sugar is dissolved. Add meatballs; cook for 20-25 minutes or until heated through, stirring occasionally.
  • Editor's Note: To prepare in a slow cooker, heat sauce ingredients as directed. Add sauce and meatballs to a 4-qt. slow cooker. Cook, covered, on low 2-3 hours or until heated through.
  • Freeze Option: Freeze cooled meatball mixture in freezer containers. To use, partially thaw in refrigerator overnight. Microwave, covered, on high in a microwave-safe dish until heated through, gently stirring and adding a little water if necessary.

Test Kitchen Tips
  • You can find chili sauce in the condiment aisle of your market.
  • Find more meatball recipes here.
  • Nutrition Facts
    1 meatball: 74 calories, 4g fat (2g saturated fat), 6mg cholesterol, 191mg sodium, 8g carbohydrate (5g sugars, 0 fiber), 2g protein.

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    Average Rating:
    • luann8190
      Sep 28, 2020

      Perfect combo of sweet and tangy!

    • Ashaline
      Feb 25, 2019

      I have been making these meatballs for years and they are delicious. It is such a simple recipe as well. I actually make them for dinner and serve them over rice. I also make these when I need to make dinner for a large group such as 20-50 people. Everyone always raves about how good they are and it's such an easy one to whip together. Serve it with the rice and salad and a texas sheet cake and everyone is happy!

    • fnstlug
      Nov 17, 2018

      Good, easy, but nothing special

    • May21
      May 21, 2018

      Good one

    • Violet
      Apr 1, 2018

      Have made these before , using my own meatballs. This time, thought I'd try the frozen, which are 26 OZ. ,equalling 26 meatballs. How in the world did you get 72 meatballs out of only six oz.more? I had to make a batch of my own to make up the difference. My daughter swears by the Heinz chili sauce, and I use store brand, which I think is just as good, and not so pricy.

    • gunslinger
      Dec 18, 2017

      I made these for a finger food potluck and they were a hit. Very quick and easy to prepare , a nice blend of sweet and spicy, they were delicious!

    • TheDix
      Dec 12, 2017

      Excellent meatballs - everybody loved them. I have a recipe to make my own meatballs. I think the recipe could be improved by using that homemade meatballs. Otherwise, good, easy, and I'm looking forward to eating the leftovers!

      Nov 24, 2017


    • ransonjay
      Apr 20, 2017

      My husband hates cranberries but loves these meatballs. I make these all the time for the family. They are a big hit at our potlucks at work, too.

    • TerriObie
      Aug 28, 2016

      Anyone have specifics on what type / brand of chili sauce works best?