Crockpot Bbq Meatballs

Nothing beats coming home to a hot, homemade meal ready and waiting for you. Especially when that meal requires minimal effort but delivers maximum flavor. That’s exactly what this crockpot bbq meatball recipe offers. Simply toss the ingredients in the slow cooker in the morning and you’ll have tender, saucy meatballs ready for dinner.

This crockpot bbq meatball recipe truly couldn’t be easier. With just a handful of ingredients that likely are already in your pantry and fridge, you’ll have the most delicious sweet and tangy meatballs ready with no fuss. The meatballs cook low and slow in a homemade barbecue sauce infused with flavors of grape jelly, ketchup, and sloppy joe sauce. Just a few hours on low produces meatballs that are fall-apart tender and coated in finger-licking good barbecue sauce. It’s a recipe that’s perfect for busy weeknights or feeding a crowd with minimal effort.

What type of meatballs can I use?

You can use frozen Italian-style meatballs, or substitute with vegetarian or vegan meatballs. Just make sure they are fully cooked.

Can I prepare this recipe in advance?

Yes! One of the best things about this crockpot recipe is that everything can be prepped the night before or morning of, then cooked while you’re away.

What if I don’t have all the ingredients?

The sloppy joe sauce, barbecue sauce, grape jelly, and ketchup are key for the flavor, but you can adjust amounts to taste. The sweet chili sauce just adds extra flavor.

How long will the meatballs keep?

Properly stored leftovers will keep 3-4 days refrigerated. The sauce also freezes well for longer storage.

Can I use a different crockpot size?

Yes, just adjust the ingredient amounts accordingly. Use about 1-1.5 lbs of meatballs per quart size of your slow cooker.

What sides go well with this recipe?

These saucy meatballs would pair great with rice, pasta, mashed potatoes, or a fresh salad.

Can I make this recipe gluten-free?

Yes! Use gluten-free meatballs and double check that the sauces are gluten-free.


  • 4-5 lbs. Frozen Italian Meatballs (or vegetarian, or vegan meatballs)
  • 2 cups Grape Jelly (Welches concord grape jelly)
  • 1 can (16oz) Sloppy Joe Sauce (Hunt’s Manwich Sauce)
  • 2 cups BBQ Sauce (I used sweet baby ray’s)
  • 1/2 cup sweet chili sauce
  • 1/2 cup ketchup


  1. Add the frozen meatballs to your crockpot. I used about 4-5 lbs for my 6 quart crockpot which was the perfect amount.
  2. In a medium bowl, combine the grape jelly, sloppy joe sauce, bbq sauce, sweet chili sauce and ketchup. Whisk well until thoroughly combined.
  3. Pour the sauce over the meatballs and stir gently to coat. Recipe by
  4. Cook on low heat for 6-8 hours, until the meatballs are cooked through and the sauce has thickened.
  5. Stir the meatballs occasionally as they cook to further coat in the sauce.
  6. Once finished cooking, use a slotted spoon to transfer the meatballs to a serving platter.
  7. Spoon some of the sauce over top and serve while hot. Enjoy!


  • Use fully cooked frozen meatballs to save time and avoid raw meat in the slow cooker. Thaw slightly before adding to crockpot.
  • Whisk the sauce ingredients thoroughly before pouring over meatballs to distribute flavors evenly.
  • Cook on low heat for best results. The low gentle heat allows the meatballs to cook through without burning.
  • Stir the meatballs every few hours while cooking to coat in sauce. Use a wooden spoon or spatula to avoid damaging the meatballs.
  • For maximum flavor, resist peeking under the lid often. Keeping the lid on will lock in steam and intensity.
  • If the sauce is too thin at the end, remove lid and cook on high for 15-30 minutes to reduce and thicken.
  • Garnish with chopped parsley or green onions before serving for a pop of color.
  • Cook a big batch and freeze leftovers for easy meals later. The sauce freezes well for up to 3 months.
  • Substitute grape jelly with chili sauce or apricot jam for a flavor twist.
  • Serve meatballs over rice, pasta or mashed potatoes to soak up the yummy sauce.
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