Easy Cranberry BBQ Turkey Meatballs

Looking for an easy appetizer to serve at your holiday party this year? Try these delicious crowd-pleasing cranberry bbq meatballs!

Healthier cranberry bbq turkey meatballs that are baked to perfection and tossed in a simple 2 ingredient sauce! They're the perfect appetizer for the holidays!

Meatballs are 100% my appetizer of choice whenever the holidays come around! (Which I guess is a good thing considering I’m ALWAYS asked to bring them for every party, potluck or random get-together… 😉 ) But I just feel like there’s something so special about them that gives off this warm and cozy vibe that everyone just can’t seem to get enough of. Especially during this festive time of the year! Soo if you’re a meatball lover like me (or a lover of anything warm and cozy) then you need to make these incredibly simple cranberry bbq turkey meatballs! They slightly sweet, tangy, super moist and made with better for you ingredients too!

Cranberry bbq meatballs make a great holiday appetizer or even an easy lunch or dinner option too! They're sweet, tangy and so incredibly tender!


  • Ground turkey: Provides a super lean base that pairs perfectly with your sweet and tangy bbq sauce!
  • Panko breadcrumbs: Gives the meatballs their incredibly tender texture! I love using panko breadcrumbs instead of regular breadcrumbs in my meatball recipes because they’re light and airy which makes your meatballs lighter and lese dense too! (Nobody likes a dense and dry meatball! 😉 ) You can also use gluten free panko instead too!
  • Red onion: Adds even more texture.
  • Eggs: Helps to bind the meatballs together.
  • Spices: Adds flavor and compliments your bbq sauce.
  • BBQ sauce: Helps to keep the meatballs moist and gives them so much flavor too!
  • Cranberry-BBQ sauce: (Recipe below)
These simple and delicious meatballs are perfect to serve for a crowd! Just place them in a crockpot, pour your sauce over the top and they're ready for your next holiday gathering!

How to make cranberry bbq sauce

All you need are two ingredients to make this delicious crowd-pleasing sauce!

  • 1 17oz. jar of bbq sauce (I love using Stubbs Smokey Mesquite sauce for this recipe but feel free to use your favorite!)
  • 1 14oz. can whole cranberry sauce

Simply mix these two together in a large bowl and pour it over your meatballs once they’re done!

How do I serve these meatballs for a crowd?

These are by far my favorite appetizer to serve at holidays parties! 1) Because they’re insanely easy to make and can even be make a day in advance too! 2) The cranberry sauce adds a fun little holiday spin. 3) Let’s be honest…who doesn’t love some good bbq meatballs, right?! And serving them for a crowd couldn’t be easier!

  1. Cook the meatballs according to the recipe directions below.
  2. Once they’re done, you can either store them for later or prepare them to be served right away.
  3. If serving right away: Place the meatballs in a large crockpot and pour your cranberry bbq sauce over the top. Stir the meatballs to make sure they’re full coated.
  4. Turn the crockpot on to the “warm setting” and cover it with the lid. Now the meatballs are ready for your guests to enjoy and will stay warm for the rest of your party
    • If you’re heating the meatballs up after they’ve been stored in the fridge, I would suggest start them out on “low” in the crockpot until they’re hot to the touch and then turning it down to “warm”.
Quick, easy and so tasty too! Your guests are going to love this simple slow cooker appetizer! Plus they're easily made gluten free too!

Can I make these cranberry bbq turkey meatballs ahead of time?

Absolutely! In fact, I do this 99% of time whenever I make them for a party! All you have to do is cook the meatballs according to the recipe’s directions, then place them in an air tight container and store them in the fridge until the day the of your party. They can even be made 1-2 days in advance too! Talk about easy-peasy right?!

And because the sauce is incredibly simple too, these meatballs literally take 5 minutes to throw together on the day of your get-together!

These delicious bbq meatballs are always a huge hit at parties! They're tender, moist and packed with so much sweet and smokey flavor!

What do I serve this with these meatballs to make it a meal?

Ok, so maybe you’re not going to some fancy party this year but instead want to make these for yourself or your family… That’s 100% A-ok too! These meatballs make a fantastic easy dinner for during the week or can even be meal prepped for a simple lunch too! Here are a few of our favorite side dishes we love to serve with them to make it a complete well-rounded meal!

I hope you’re all having the best day loves and I can’t wait to hear what you think about this easy appetizer!

More meatball recipes you might like:

[Made one of my recipes? Make sure to tag my Instagram @kalefornia_kravings & leave a review in the comments. I love seeing what you create!]

Easy Cranberry BBQ Meatballs

Tender turkey meatballs are baked to perfection and coated in a tangy cranberry bbq sauce! They're the perfect holiday appetizer or even make an easy weeknight meal!
Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time40 mins
Course: Appetizer, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Holiday
Keyword: bbq, cranberry, dairy free, easy, meatballs
Servings: 15 medium sized meatballs
Author: Caitlin


For the meatballs:

  • 1 lb. ground turkey
  • cup red onion
  • 1 egg
  • 2 Tbsp panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 Tbsp bbq sauce*
  • ½ tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp salt
  • ¼ tsp pepper

For the cranberry bbq sauce:

  • 1 17oz. jar bbq sauce*
  • 1 14oz. can whole cranberry sauce


To make the cranberry bbq sauce:

  • Mix the bbq sauce and cranberry sauce together in a large bowl. Set it aside while you prepare your meatballs.

To make the meatballs:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a broiler pan with non-stick cooking spray. (Or you can line a baking sheet with parchment paper too.)
  • Combine all of your meatball ingredients together in a bowl. Form the mixture into 1 inch balls and place them on your broiler pan/baking sheet. (If you're making "cocktail meatballs" for an appetizer you can make them smaller in size.) Bake the meatballs for 25-30 minutes.
  • If serving for an appetizer party: Place the cooked meatballs in a crockpot and pour your sauce over the top. Stir the meatballs and sauce and turn your crockpot on to "warm" for the duration of the party.
    If serving for a meal: Toss your cooked meatballs in the sauce and serve immediately with your side dishes.


*I love using Stubbs Smokey Mesquite BBQ Sauce for this recipe but feel free to use your favorite!

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