Looking for an easy appetizer to serve at your holiday party this year? Try these delicious crowd-pleasing cranberry bbq meatballs!
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!
- 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)
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!
- Cook the meatballs according to the recipe directions below.
- Once they’re done, you can either store them for later or prepare them to be served right away.
- 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.
- 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”.
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!
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!
- Mashed/roasted potatoes
- Mashed/roasted butternut squash
- Sautéed green beans (I love adding garlic and almonds for some crunch too.)
- Roasted broccoli
- Roasted asparagus
- Sautéed/roasted brussel sprouts (Try adding maple syrup and bacon bits for a really special treat! 😉 )
- Apple bacon & cranberry salad
- Pear gorgonzola & candied walnut salad
- Cinnamon roasted butternut squash & kale salad
- Grape & feta kale salad
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:
- Italian Turkey Meatballs with Marinara Sauce
- Easy Pineapple Teriyaki Chicken Meatballs
- Greek Turkey Meatballs
- Egg Roll Meatballs with Honey Sriracha Sauce
- Easy Buffalo Turkey Meatballs
[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
For the meatballs:
- 1 lb. ground turkey
- ⅓ 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.