Slow Cooker Party Meatballs in Raspberry Balsamic Glaze are easy and flavorful. Included is a simple recipe for basic meatballs, or use packaged, frozen.
These are some of the most tender and flavorful party meatballs I’ve ever made. First of all, the basic meatball recipe that follows is incredibly simple yet flavorful. Plus they taste better than pre-frozen, store-bought. But whether you make your own meatballs, or have a good brand of pre-made meatballs, you’ll LOVE creating this dish in your slow cooker. The sauce is the perfect balance of sweet and tangy. You can make them a little spicy, too, if you like. The recipe can be served as a delicious hot appetizer, or double the sauce and serve these yummies over rice.
For the meat, you can easily use purchased meatballs, but I highly recommend making these super easy and perfectly delicious meatballs from The Food Charlatan. I have a recipe for Ultimate Meatballs that I love but I admit, it’s quite involved. Karen has come up with this simple recipe that results in nicely seasoned, basic meatballs that will also work in many other recipes. It’s just a matter of combining some nicely complimented seasonings plus panko, with ground beef, pork, egg and milk. Then mix it all with your hands, roll meatballs and bake. Done. These also freeze well, so I recommend doubling the recipe and freezing half for another time.
The sauce combines sweet raspberry jam with balsamic vinegar, Worcestershire, fresh ginger and a touch of red pepper flakes. They look festive and inviting sprinkled with chopped scallions and sesame seeds. Plus the scallion adds a fresh bite. As written, the recipe makes the perfect amount for cocktail meatballs, and they’re ready in no time. I recommend serving the day the sauce is made. But you can make and bake the meatballs in advance and freeze until needed for serving. The meatballs can be placed frozen into the sauce in the slow cooker.
Slow Cooker Party Meatballs with Raspberry Balsamic Glaze
For the Meatballs:
- 1 pound ground beef
- ¾ pound ground pork
- 2 large eggs
- 1 cup milk
- ½ cup panko breadcrumbs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon pepper
- ¾ teaspoon onion powder
- ¾ teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- ⅛-¼ teaspoon cayenne pepper
For the Raspberry Balsamic Glaze:
- 1 cup seedless raspberry preserves
- 2 teaspoon sugar
- 3 Tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 ½ Tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 ½ Tablespoon ginger, freshly grated, or 1 tsp ground ginger
- sliced scallions, for garnish
- sesame seeds, for garnish
Make the meatballs:
- Pre-heat your oven to 450F degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with aluminum foil and spray with non-stick spray.
- Add all ingredients to a large bowl. Use your hands to mix everything together. Don't over mix; this will result in tough meatballs.
- Shape the mixture into walnut-sized meatballs. To speed this process, using a small cookie scoop is very helpful.
- Place the meatballs close together (but not touching) on the prepared baking sheet. Bake at 450 for about 10 minutes, or until browned on the bottom. Serve hot.
- Let the meatballs cool. Use a fork or spoon to scrape the fat away from the sides. Place the meatballs on the same pan that you just baked them on, without the tin foil. (Just fold it up as you go.) I didn't grease the pan and they came off fine. Place the pan in the freezer and set a timer for 45 minutes to an hour. Transfer the meatballs to a large ziplock bag, seal, and return to the freezer.
- Makes about 60-65 meatballs, depending on the size you make.
Make the raspberry balsamic glaze and to finish the meatballs in the slow cooker:
- To a slow cooker, add 1 cup raspberry preserves, 2 teaspoon sugar, 3 Tablespoons vinegar, 1 ½ Tablespoons Worcestershire sauce, and ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes, and stir together, using a whisk if you want.
- Once combined, remove ½ cup of the mixture and set aside. Add the meatballs (it's okay if they are frozen) and stir to coat. Cover and cook on low for 4 hours, or on high for 2 hours. Using a slotted spoon, remove the meatballs and set aside.
- Pour the sauce through a sieve into a small sauce pan. The sieve ensures the sauce is smooth. Some bits of the meatballs just naturally break off into the sauce during cooking in the crock pot. Add reserved ½ cup sauce.Turn the heat to medium-high and let sauce come to a simmer. Stirring occasionally, let sauce cook until thickened and slightly reduced, about 10 minutes. This will take longer if you doubled the sauce quantities for serving as a main dish.
- If you want the sauce a little more spicy, add a dash more red pepper flakes to the glaze at this point.Once sauce has thickened, add the meatballs back in and stir gently until all meatballs are covered.Garnish with scallions and/or sesame seeds.
- Meatballs may be made and baked, then frozen for up to a month before placing in the slow cooker with the sauce. You can add them frozen and they'll be just fine by the end of 4 hours on low.
- Alternately, you can shape the meatballs and freeze before baking. To bake the frozen meatballs, defrost them overnight in the refrigerator and then bake according to the directions.
I’m in a bind for today! I already have the meatballs but they are Italian, will this glaze work well with them?
Sally Humeniuk says
H Lin, sorry I’m so late in replying. Too late obviously. The Italian meatballs would’ve worked fine.
when do we add the ginger?
Sorry Casey, I’ve gone in and edited the recipe. Hope you got me email reply while I was out of town.
Y daughter made the sauce as written but eye-ball measurements rather than exact. They turned out awesome. One smart thing she did was to save the strained out pepper flakes & put them aside with some sauce mixed inThat way those who love SPICY could dip some of their meatball in it. I thought they were SPICY enough when strained….but some used the peppered sauce and loved the heat.
Jo, Thanks for taking the time to stop by with this great tip! I love offering a little extra for those who like some heat. I’ll be trying that when I make them again. Glad everyone liked them and please tell your daughter thank you for trying the recipe.