Slow Cooker Meatballs and Little Smokies


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All you need are just four ingredients to make a batch of these Slow Cooker Meatballs and Little Smokies. This is a ridiculously easy meatball appetizer recipe you’ll want to save, especially for your next game day or family gathering.

Looking for other family favorite appetizer recipes that can easily be cooked in the crock pot? Check out my tasty Slow Cooker Bacon Wrapped Little Smokies or Slow Cooker Candied Kielbasa.

close up of meatballs and little smokies in a white slow cooker.

Why this little smokies and meatballs recipe works

Making a delicious appetizer like this has never been easier. Seriously, frozen meatballs combine with a pack of little smokies right before being tossed with Sweet Baby Rays barbecue sauce and grape jelly. How easy is that? Something about a grape jelly and bbq sauce combination is irresistible.

Not to mention, there’s so much you can do with crockpot meatballs like these. This simple recipe can become the base of something you can play around with to create epic game day meatballs, a quick-pickin’ appetizer for a potluck, or to enjoy anytime during the week. These are always a big hit!

Recipe Ingredients

ingredients for meatballs and smokies on a table.
  • Little Smokies: I used two packages of beef lil’ smokies for this recipe. It provides just enough to toss along with the meatballs.
  • Meatballs: Using a bag of frozen meatballs makes this part incredibly quick and easy. I personally like the homestyle type of meatballs, but you can choose whatever flavor you want.
  • Grape Jelly: Using grape jelly adds the perfect amount of sweetness and merges perfectly with the tanginess of the bbq sauce.
  • Barbecue Sauce: I always opt in for using Sweet Baby Rays; however, you can use a brand of bbq sauce of your choice. There are a variety of flavors you can play around with as well.

Step-by-Step Directions

Four images showing how to make little smokies in the slow cooker.

Step One – Combine frozen meatballs and lil’ smokies in the slow cooker.

Step Two – Pour in the bbq sauce and grape jelly.

Step Three – Stir the meatballs and smokies with the sauces to ensure they are coated well.

Step Four – Cover and cook on HIGH for 3.5 hours or LOW for 5 hours. Serve and enjoy!

overhead shot of meatballs and little smokies.

Recipe FAQs and Variations

What can I add to these meatballs and lil smokies to make them more flavorful?

When it comes to flavor, you can play around with adding Heinz chili sauce, pineapple chunks, and chopped onion.

Why the long cook time for this easy appetizer?

This may seem like a long cooking time, but this only improves them with time. They will start absorbing the sauce later in the cooking time.

Can I substitute the grape jelly?

Yes. Apricot preserves are a type of jelly I have heard of others using. I have not used this personally, but it does sound good.

What other types of meatballs do you suggest?

For this appetizer recipe, you can always use beef meatballs, pork meatballs, turkey meatballs, chicken meatballs, or a combination.

What is the best way to serve these grape jelly meatballs?

You can serve them directly from the crockpot or pour them into a serving bowl. Provide your guests with small plates and toothpicks to help themselves. Another idea is to add meatballs and smokies to a serving platter along with cubes of cheese and crackers.

What should I put the heat on if serving them from the slow cooker?

You don’t want them to continue cooking, so set the temperature to KEEP WARM. Turn it off completely when the meatballs and smokies get low.

How do I store leftover crockpot meatballs and smokies?

Store any remaining meatballs and smokies in an airtight container. Keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them on the stovetop over medium heat.

meatball on a toothpick.

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overhead shot of meatballs and little smokies.

Slow Cooker Meatballs and Little Smokies

5 from 12 votes
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 5 hours
Total Time: 5 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 12
Four ingredients come together to make the tastiest appetizer ever.

Ingredients 
 

  • 28 oz. beef lil' smokies, (two 14-oz. packages)
  • 26 oz. frozen meatballs, I use homestyle
  • 20 oz. grape jelly, I use Welch's squeeze bottle type
  • 18 oz. Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ sauce, original

Instructions 

  • Add the meatballs and little smokies to the slow cooker.
  • Squeeze over the barbecue sauce and grape jelly.
  • Stir. Don't worry about mixing in the grape jelly completely, it will melt when it heats up.
  • Cook on LOW for 5 hours or HIGH for 3.5.
  • This may seem like a long cooking time, but these only improve with time. They will start absorbing the sauce later in the cooking time.

Notes

  • Store any remaining meatballs and smokies in an airtight container. Keep them in the fridge for up to 4 days. Reheat them on the stovetop over medium heat.
  • For this appetizer recipe, you can always use beef meatballs, pork meatballs, turkey meatballs, chicken meatballs, or a combination.
  • When it comes to flavor, you can play around with adding Heinz chili sauce, pineapple chunks, and chopped onion.

Nutrition

Calories: 565kcal | Carbohydrates: 51g | Protein: 19g | Fat: 31g | Saturated Fat: 11g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 3g | Monounsaturated Fat: 14g | Cholesterol: 87mg | Sodium: 1164mg | Potassium: 426mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 38g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 5mg | Calcium: 39mg | Iron: 2mg

Nutrition info is auto-generated. This information is an estimate; if you are on a special diet, please use your own calculations.

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6 Comments

  1. Linda Hurt says:

    I would like more recipes like this one

  2. Tiffany says:

    5 stars
    Making this for the second time, as it was a hit at my baby shower! So, now sharing for thanksgiving.

  3. WILLIS LYNN says:

    Hello,

    I was wondering if this could be modified for cooking in the oven? Don’t have a big enough slow cooker.

    Thanks in advance

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      I’m sure it would do just fine in the oven!

  4. Jack says:

    5 stars
    I am a retired gentleman living on my own and I have been trying your recipes since buying my Slow Cooker in January. Mostly they have turned out well with some fantastic. I usually get 3 meals from 1 batch and I love the idea of freezing the amount I don’t initially eat for later.
    My next challenge will be to bake a cake.
    Please keep up the good work, thank you.

    1. Sarah Olson says:

      That’s great to hear Jack! Thank you for the comment.