Cocktail Meatballs (One Pot)
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The best, classic, quick and easy cocktail meatballs recipe, homemade with simple ingredients in one pot in 30 minutes. A sweet and spicy appetizer! Also known as party meatballs.
These are a “must make” item at holiday parties, dinner parties and game day parties, just like my Instant Pot Grape Jelly Meatballs or these Grape Jelly Little Smokies (One Pot). Honestly, people love them and there are never any leftovers!
For parties, serve them on a serving platter and garnish with thinly sliced green onions. Attach toothpicks to each meatball or keep them aside for people to spear themselves.
How to make cocktail meatballs?
- Make sauce– Mix together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili paste, Coca Cola and cook until thick.
- Add frozen cooked meatballs– Toss them in the sauce.
- Cover and cook– Do this for only a few minutes so that the sauce has a chance to seep into the meatballs.
- Enjoy– Garnish with green onions or parsley and dig in.
Best cocktail meatball sauce
Everyone has their own version. This is our family’s favorite sauce. It’s made by mixing together ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, steak sauce, liquid smoke, salt, pepper, garlic powder, onion powder, chili paste, Coca Cola. Cook until sauce becomes thick and smooth.
What to serve with cocktail meatballs?
They are typically served on their own as an appetizer.
You can serve it alongside a dipping sauce or vegetable dip. Small bread rolls would be great too. You can even make mini sliders! Add some sliced vegetables like carrots and celery to the platter too.
How do you keep meatballs warm for a party?
After they are fully cooked, put them in a slow cooker and set up the “Low” setting. If you are worried about the sauce getting too thick or burning, add a splash of water.
How do you thicken meatball sauce?
Let it cook uncovered until excess liquid evaporates and sauce it reduced. Alternatively, if the sauce is too thick, add a little water to thin it out.
What size should meatballs be?
Party meatballs should about 2 inches in diameter. If they are any bigger, they would no longer be bite-sized and it would be hard to eat them on a toothpick.
Make it spicy– By adding jalapenos, red chili flakes or additional chili sauce.
Use other types of meatballs– Such as turkey meatballs, chicken meatballs or pork meatballs.
Add other herbs and spices- Try Italian seasoning, Cajun seasoning or taco seasoning.
Add grape jelly or cranberry sauce– Add a couple of tablespoons of either one of these to add a different flavor profile.
Tips and Techniques
Can you freeze cocktail meatballs? Yes, you can freeze them once they cool down fully. Then, reheat slowly on low heat at the stovetop in a non-stick pan. You may have to add a splash of water to get the right consistency again.
Make ahead instructions– Make them, as per instructions below and store them in the fridge. Reheat in the microwave or stovetop, prior to serving.
How many party meatballs per person? Typically, 1 serving is considered to be 2 meatballs per person but I prefer at least 3 meatballs per person.
Serve a crowd– By doubling all the ingredients and using a bigger pot or pan.
Homemade meatballs vs. Frozen meatballs– Either can be used. Frozen is obviously more convenient because it’s already pre-cooked. If you are using homemade ones, you will need to bake or pan-fry them first. Then, prepare the sauce and mix in the meatballs until fully coated.
Coca Cola vs. Pepsi– Either can be used and it doesn’t make a difference in flavor.
Don’t omit liquid smoke– Because it gives these meatballs an awesome BBQ smokey flavor. However, go easy on it. If you add too much, the flavor and smell will become overwhelming.
More One Pot Appetizer Recipes
- Caprese Skewers (One Pan)
- Crockpot Little Smokies Recipe (Cocktail Sausages)
- Bacon Wrapped Dates (One Pan)
- Bacon Wrapped Smokies (One Pan)
One Pot Cocktail Meatballs
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 1/4 cup Worcestershire sauce
- 1/4 cup Steak sauce
- 1 tsp Liquid smoke
- 1/2 tsp Onion powder
- 1/2 tsp Garlic powder
- Salt, To taste
- Pepper, To taste
- 1 tbsp Chili paste, Or chili sauce
- 1 cup Coca Cola, Or Pepsi
- 25 Meatballs, Frozen, Pre-cooked
- 1 tbsp Green onions, Thinly sliced, For garnish
- Heat a wide non-stick pan over medium-high heat and add ketchup, Worcestershire sauce, Steak sauce, liquid smoke, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, chili paste and mix.
- Add Coke and mix until smooth.
- Allow the Coca-Cola bbq sauce to cook until the liquid is reduced and mixture becomes thick.
- Add meatballs and toss until fully coated.
- Cover and cook for 3-5 minutes.
- Garnish with green onions and enjoy!
- Read all my tips above.
- Leftovers can be stored in a sealed container in the fridge for up to 2 days and can be reheated in the microwave.
Happy cooking everyone!