‘Tis the season for parties and where there are parties, there are meatball recipes. These Instant Pot Cranberry Meatballs are one of the quickest, easiest cocktail meatballs I’ve ever made. So good too!
Why you will love this Cranberry Meatballs Recipe
Is it just me or does every holiday party seem to have at least one cocktail meatball offering? Whether it’s a work Christmas party, a family gathering or a big NYE bash, it seems that party meatballs are a must.
My Instant Pot Cranberry Meatballs takes frozen meatballs to hot, fully cooked and covered in a delicious sauce in just 8 minutes. Eight minutes! That is amazing!
The best part? There are only 4 ingredients, including the meatballs. As you can imagine, the main ingredients are cranberry sauce, sweet chili sauce and meatballs. It’s a great way to use up leftover cranberry sauce too.
But I also include one secret ingredient many may leave out – Dijon mustard. It just adds a tiny kick of flavor that I think makes these the best cocktail meatballs out there.
Instant Pot Frozen Meatballs ingredients
You just can’t beat a perfect appetizer recipe with simple ingredients. And that’s just what these cranberry sauce meatballs are.
- Frozen cocktail meatballs – These are easily found in the frozen section of your grocery store. The amount you need for this recipe is usually one large bag. I always use store-bought meatballs, but you could use your own homemade meatballs instead.
- Jellied cranberry sauce – I know there are people that loathe a can of cranberry sauce, but I promise it works for this cranberry meatball recipe! And don’t worry, we use fresh cranberries too!
- Sweet chili sauce – Just like those chili sauce and grape jelly meatballs, we need some chili sauce to add a little zip and flavor to these meatballs. It’s not a very spicy sauce, just flavorful.
- Cranberries – As promised, we use real cranberries too! You can either use these fresh or frozen. Depending on the time of year that you make them, finding fresh cranberries might be a little difficult.
- Dijon mustard – To add just a touch of tang, I like to use some dijon mustard for this perfect party appetizer.
Cranberry Meatball Recipe variations
I love these cranberry meatballs as is, but there are several ways that you can make them your own.
- Crockpot meatballs – Don’t have an Instant Pot? No problem! You can easily make this cranberry meatballs recipe in the crockpot instead. Cook on high for 2 to 3 hours or low heat for 3 to 4 hours.
- Meat – If you aren’t into red meat, you could certainly swap these meatballs out for your favorite chicken or turkey meatballs instead.
- Barbecue sauce – Instead of the chili sauce, you could certainly use your favorite bbq sauce instead. You still get that deliciously sweet, tangy flavor.
- Orange juice – I love the combination of orange and cranberry, so add a splash of orange juice into the mix to take the flavor to the next level.
- Stove top – This is an easy recipe to make on the stove as well. Combine the sauce ingredients in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the meatballs and cook until warmed through.
How to Make Cranberry Meatballs
- Combine ingredients. Place frozen cocktail meatballs, jellied cranberry sauce, cranberries, sweet chili sauce and Dijon mustard into the Instant Pot, stir to cover all of the meatballs as best you can. The jellied cranberry won’t mix well and that is ok.
- Cook. Lock lid in place and cook on manual high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Quick release. Use quick release method.
- Stir. Stir sauce and meatballs until sauces fully combine.
- Enjoy. Serve immediately or turn Instant Pot onto warm setting and serve out of the pot.
How to serve Cranberry Meatballs
Honestly, these meatballs don’t need much, they stand out on their own. Serve them with a plate of cheese and crackers, maybe some dips and finger sandwiches for a nice spread.
Storing Cranberry Sauce Meatballs
Storage: You can store leftover meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.
Freezing: These meatballs also freeze well. Just keep in an airtight container or freezer bag and they will keep for about three months.
Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce FAQs
Meatballs can be soggy if too much liquid and not enough binder was used when making homemade meatballs.
This could be that the meatballs were overcooked, but it can also be the brand. Not all are created equal. Taste different brands until you find a flavor and consistency you enjoy.
Browning does add flavor, but it isn’t necessary. Especially for this recipe that is supposed to be easy with less steps (and dishes).
More Party Appetizers
Meatballs with Cranberry Sauce
- Place frozen cocktail meatballs, jellied cranberry sauce, cranberries, sweet chili sauce and Dijon mustard into the Instant Pot, stir to cover all of the meatballs as best you can. The jellied cranberry won't mix well and that is ok.
- Lock lid in place and cook on manual high pressure for 8 minutes.
- Use quick release method.
- Stir sauce and meatballs until sauces fully combine.
- Serve immediately or turn Instant Pot onto “warm” function and serve out of the pot.
- If you’ve tried this recipe, come back and let us know how it was!