5 Mouthwatering Cocktail Meatballs

Drunken Cranberry Meatballs

5 Mouthwatering Cocktail Meatballs ~ ah the cocktail meatball, equal parts dainty, elegant, and, well, meatball. If you’re looking for a crowd pleasing appetizer that doubles as dinner, get your toothpicks ready and look no further than this cocktail hour classic. 

Drunken Cranberry Meatballs

Secrets to Making Fabulous Meatballs ~

  • Add a fatty meat like pork to your meatball mix, it lightens the texture and the extra fat insures your meatballs are juicy. If you are using all beef, choose a ground beef with higher fat content.
  • Season well, since you can’t taste the meatballs before they’ve cooked, you need to make sure you add enough salt or other seasonings to the meat. Aim for about 3/4 tsp salt per pound of meat, and don’t be afraid to use other appropriate seasonings like onion or garlic powder, white or black pepper, etc. Finely chopped fresh herbs like parsley, thyme, rosemary, sage, etc. are great flavor boosters, too.
  • Don’t forget the filler ~ you need to lighten up ground meat with something like bread or cracker crumbs, oatmeal, wheat germ, or even mashed potatoes! I generally use 1/2 cup per pound of meat. Don’t skip this because filler is what makes meatballs pillowy, just the way I love them. I also add an egg, which helps to further bind everything together.
  • I blend my meatball mixture in my KitchenAid mixer. It might sound crazy but it blends them quickly, evenly, and better than I can do with my hands.
  • After an initial browning I like to braise my meatballs in some sort of liquid whenever possible, whether it’s broth, sauce, or gravy. That way the meat stays nice and moist.
  • If you need to make meatballs ahead, make the mixture and form the balls, but don’t cook until you’re ready to serve them. Meatballs become tough when they’re reheated.

apple butter brandy meatballs ready to go into the oven



Swedish Cocktail Meatballs

Classic wintry fare, Swedish meatballs in delicious gravy make the perfect appetizer bite.

Make Swedish Meatballs in a large pot and set out with toothpicks so everyone can help themselves ~ this is one popular holiday appetizer! ~ theviewfromgreatisland.com



Apple Butter Brandy Meatballs

The name really says it all, these apple butter brandy meatballs are beyond delicious.

Apple Butter Brandy Meatballs in a skillet with a cocktail fork



Cheesy Skillet Meatballs

There’s no way there won’t be a crowd around the skillet when you pull these out of the oven.

Meatballs in tomato sauce topped with cheese



Bourbon Meatballs

These juicy vintage inspired meatballs are lightened up with a secret ingredient ~ crushed Ritz crackers!

Bourbon cocktail meatballs on a plate with cocktail forks.



Drunken Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

Fresh cranberry sauce makes these meatballs so festive, and provides a delicious sweet, tangy sauce for dipping!

Cooking drunken cranberry cocktail meatballs



Cheesy skillet meatballs with bread.


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    Leave a Reply

  • Reply
    January 2, 2019 at 5:35 am

    Hi – these all look so scrumptious! Can you share where you found those lovely bejeweled picks?

    • Reply
      January 2, 2019 at 8:25 am

      I made them, Colleen, and I link to the tutorial in the post above, here it is: Beaded Cocktail Pick Tutoriall.

  • Reply
    December 30, 2018 at 7:53 pm

    Yum to all the meatballs! I always wonder what you’re coming up with next Sue!

    Have a Healthy and Happy New Year with your family!

    • Reply
      December 31, 2018 at 9:19 am

      Thanks J, I like to keep my readers on their toes! Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    Nancy Shaw
    December 30, 2018 at 12:11 pm

    Hi Sue, I’m a sister Angeleno new to your food site but just love it! I found it by googling a recipe for Scottish Lemon Shortbread. I made it yesterday but because of guest dietary preferences I used GF flour and Coconut sugar and they ended up coming out just great! The coconut sugar is the color of brown sugar so they came out darker but still delicious and buttery! They disappeared off the plates and washed down with tea after dinner.
    I saw your recipe for the cocktail meatballs and they look stunning. Can I substitute ground turkey for the pork and beef? Is there way to keep them light and flavorful? I’m basically a vegetarian who eats fish and a bit of turkey and ham Thank you so much for all that you do!

    • Reply
      December 30, 2018 at 2:22 pm

      Hey Nancy, welcome in! I’m so glad that shortbread worked out for you, I love coconut sugar. As for the meatballs, you can always substitute ground turkey, and I’m actually fond of ground chicken as well, if you eat that. I’d say make sure you don’t over work the meat, and basically proceed with the recipes as written otherwise.

    • Reply
      January 5, 2019 at 3:29 pm

      They worked with gluten free flour, 2 1/2 cups full?? Did you use a particular brand? 1 cup of all purpose flour would be the maximum to convert to gluten free for me. Gluten free flour costs so much more than all purpose flour, I would hate to waste it!

  • Reply
    December 30, 2018 at 12:07 pm

    Bite size meatballs! Love them! Your collection and comments are unbeatable Sue. Thank you. Wish you a great New Year and hope you have some good rest these days. It is time for a caterer or better, be invited! Take care,

    • Reply
      December 30, 2018 at 2:23 pm

      We’ll be hanging out on the couch in front of the tv with some good meatballs for sure Alexandra ๐Ÿ˜‰ Happy New year <3

  • Reply
    December 30, 2018 at 8:59 am

    I love the tips for juicy meatballs. THANKS! Think we’ll have meatballs New Year’s Day.

  • Reply
    Ellen Flanagan
    December 30, 2018 at 7:39 am

    Happy New Year! I reallt enjoy your posts! Can you share where you obtained those colorful appetizers picks featured on your FB post? The tops resemble Venetian glass beads! Lovely! Thank you!

    • Reply
      December 30, 2018 at 7:47 am

      Oh I love that you asked, Ellen, I made them, and have a tutorial here! Happy New Year ๐Ÿ™‚

  • Reply
    December 30, 2018 at 7:28 am

    I wish you and lour loved ones to have a healthy and prosperous 2019.

    • Reply
      December 30, 2018 at 8:11 am

      To you as well!

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