Looking for a tasty and quick appetizer to serve at your next event?
Tired of trying out complicated recipes that never quite live up to the hype?
Look no further than this simple and delicious homemade meatball appetizer, made with lean ground beef and sweet and tangy cranberry sauce.
With its perfectly balanced sweet-and-savory flavor, this appetizer is the perfect crowd-pleasing treat that everyone will love.
And did I mention this meatball appetizer recipe can be made ahead and reheated before serving?
Which makes it the perfect party finger food!
And speaking of finger foods, you need to also try our savory stuffed mushroom recipe.
So jump to the recipe and try this easy and delicious homemade meatball appetizer today!Jump to Recipe
- What Ingredients Do You Need to Make This Homemade Meatball Appetizer?
- How Long Does it Take to Prepare This Appetizer?
- Are There Substitutions That Can Be Made with This Recipe?
- How Can I Make this Meatball Appetizer Ahead of Time, so It’s Ready to Serve When My Guests Arrive?
- Preparing Meatball Appetizer Mixture
- Form Meat Mixture into Balls
- Prepare Cranberry Sauce
- Combine Cranberry Sauce with Meatballs
- Reheat and Serve Meatball Appetizers in a Cranberry Sauce
- Shop Meatball Appetizer Recipe
What Ingredients Do You Need to Make This Homemade Meatball Appetizer?
To make this delicious homemade meatball appetizer, you will need a handful of simple ingredients, including ground beef, bread crumbs, eggs, prepared horseradish, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, fresh minced parsley, salt and pepper.
And for the sauce you’ll need whole berry cranberry sauce, lime juice, brown sugar and cornstarch.
How Long Does it Take to Prepare This Appetizer?
This homemade meatball appetizer can be prepared in just a few simple steps and in about 10 minutes.
First, you will need to combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, eggs, horseradish, tomato sauce, Worcestershire sauce, parsley, and salt and pepper.
Next, roll the mixture into small meatballs and place them in a baking dish, making sure to evenly space them out.
Finally, bake the meatballs in the oven until they are browned and cooked through, about 30 minutes.
While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, you can prepare the cranberry sauce.
This appetizer is so rich with flavor, your guests will think you’ve been slaving in the kitchen all day!
For more recipes to serve at your next party try these:
- Grandma’s Best No Bake Cherry Cheesecake
- Homemade Eggnog without Eggs
- Grandma’s Nuggot Cookies
- Peppermint Christmas Chex Mix
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Are There Substitutions That Can Be Made with This Recipe?
Yes, there are several substitutions that can be made with this meatball recipe.
For example, you can use ground pork or turkey in place of the ground beef.
You may also substitute crackers for the bread crumbs.
Or if you’d like to make it gluten free you may substitute ground pork rinds for the bread crumbs.
And for the sauce, fresh cranberry sauce may be substituted for the canned whole cranberry sauce, but you may need to add additional cornstarch.
How Can I Make this Meatball Appetizer Ahead of Time, so It’s Ready to Serve When My Guests Arrive?
One great thing about this homemade meatball appetizer is that it can be easily prepared ahead of time and stored in the fridge until you are ready to serve.
For best results, you should cover the baking dish with plastic wrap or foil, making sure to keep any air out.
Then, when you are ready to serve, simply preheat the oven and cover and bake the meatballs for 30 minutes, until they are heated through.
And voila – your appetizer is ready to share with your friends and family!
Preparing Meatball Appetizer Mixture
Place all of the ingredients for the meatballs in a large bowl.
And stir the meatball mixture until well combined.
Rather than using a spoon, I find it’s easier to put on some gloves and mix it with my hands.
Form Meat Mixture into Balls
When preparing my meatball appetizers, I like to use a 1″ scoop.
I find it easier to get all of my meatballs uniform in size and it’s a lot quicker.
First I scoop all of the meatballs into the baking dish.
Then I’ll take each meatball and roll it in my hands to form a ball.
Once they are all formed, place the baking dish in a preheated 350° oven and bake for 30 minutes, or until browned.
Prepare Cranberry Sauce
While the meatballs are cooking in the oven it’s time to prepare the cranberry sauce.
Place the cranberry sauce, brown sugar and lime juice in a pan, stir and cook over medium heat until the sugar dissolves.
In a small dish combine the cold water and cornstarch, stir until smooth.
Once the sugar is dissolved add the cornstarch and cook until the sauce is thickened.
Combine Cranberry Sauce with Meatballs
After the meatballs are cooked, place on a paper towel to drain off any fat.
Then stir the meatballs into the cranberry sauce to coat.
Finally place the coated meatball appetizers in a two quart serving dish, cover and refrigerate for at least 8 hours to allow the flavors to combine.
These meatball appetizers can be made 3-4 days in advance.
Just be sure they are covered well with plastic wrap or foil.
Reheat and Serve Meatball Appetizers in a Cranberry Sauce
Remove meatball appetizers from refrigerator about 40 minutes before serving.
Preheat oven to 350° and bake meatballs for 30 minutes or until heated through.
Garnish with fresh parsley and serve warm.
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Shop Meatball Appetizer Recipe
Savory Meatball Appetizer in a Cranberry Sauce
- 1 lb. lean ground beef
- 1 egg beaten
- 3/4 cup Italian style bread crumbs
- 1/2 cup tomato sauce
- 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish
- 1 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
- 1 tbsp. fresh parsley minced
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1/4 tsp. pepper
- 1 tbsp. cornstarch
- 1 tbsp. cold water
- 1 16 oz. can whole cranberry sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 tbsp. lime juice
- Preheat oven to 350°.
- Combine all ingredients in a large bowl until well combined. Shape into 1" balls and place on an ungreased 9×13 inch baking dish. Bake for 30 minutes, or until meat browns. Place meatballs on a paper towel to drain, set aside.
- Combine cold water and cornstarch in a small bowl, stir until smooth. In a pan combine the remaining ingredients. Cook over medium heat, stirring until sugar dissolves. Add cornstarch mixture, stirring constantly until sauce thickens. Stir in meatballs. Transfer to 2 quart casserole dish, cover, refridgerate 8 hours or overnight to allow flavors to blend.
- To serve, preheat oven to 350°. Cover meatballs with lid or foil and bake for 30 minutes or until heated through. Serve warm.
This homemade meatball appetizer is the perfect crowd-pleasing treat that everyone will love.
With its perfectly balanced sweet-and-savory flavor, this recipe is sure to be a hit at your next event.
And best of all, it can be made ahead and reheated before serving.
So what are you waiting for? Give this delicious recipe a try today!
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