Delicious tender pork meatballs mixed with a homemade cranberry sauce makes a perfect holiday appetizer. This Cranberry Meatballs Appetizer is bursting with cranberry flavor and makes for a beautiful dish.
Some of my other favorite seasonal recipes to serve at holiday parties include this Cranberry Brie Pull-Apart Bread and this Smoked Cheese Ball.
Cranberry Meatballs Appetizer
With Thanksgiving next week and the holidays ahead of us I’ve been dreaming up delicious recipes to serve. Each year it seems the sweet potato casserole and sausage stuffing are the first to go. We rarely have leftovers of these two family favorites, however, the cranberry sauce remains. Not much, though there is always plenty for leftovers.
The standard turkey sandwiches are always a day after Thanksgiving option, but serving something simple such as these cranberry meatballs is a delicious treat. They’re something you can take as much or as few as you’d like. Personally, I always leave room for more pie. This year change up your leftovers and make this simple meatballs appetizer to serve after all the guest have gone home.
Can I use beef instead of pork?
Yes. The meat in this recipe can easily be swapped out for any ground meat such as beef, chicken, or turkey. Pork creates the most tender meatballs, but the meat choice is yours to make.
Can you cook the meatballs in the skillet?
Yes. After you’ve formed the pork mixture into balls heat 2 tablespoons of oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Place the balls into the heated skillet and cook, turning frequently, until they reach an internal temperature of 160℉. Usually, this takes about 20 minutes to reach.
Can this recipe be made gluten-free?
Yes. In order to make this a gluten-free recipe you’ll need swap the breadcrumbs for almond meal or gluten-free measure-for-measure flour. Then use a steak sauce or even a tamari sauce instead of the Worcestershire sauce. As with all ingredients, it’s good to read the labels to make sure there is no hidden gluten in them.
Which type of cranberry sauce is best for cranberry meatballs?
My preference is to use a homemade version of cranberry sauce and one that contains whole cranberries in the sauce. This creates that sweet and sour flavor from the cranberries as they burst into your mouth. My favorite cranberry sauce recipe is this Maple Bourbon Cranberry Sauce.
If you’re short on time and don’t have a homemade version you can make a quick cranberry sauce using the steps below or you can use canned cranberry sauce and just add some fresh cranberries to the sauce.
How to make a quick cranberry sauce:
To make a quick sauce combine 2 cups of fresh cranberries in 1 ½ cups of water. Bring to a boil and cook for 5 minutes. Turn heat to low and simmer for 10 more minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 2 tablespoons sugar and 2 teaspoons vanilla.
Cranberry Meatballs Appetizer
- Cooking Oil
- 2 large Eggs beaten
- 1 cup Breadcrumbs
- ⅓ cup Ketchup
- 2 tablespoons Olive Oil
- 2 tablespoons Garlic Powder
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire Sauce
- ½ teaspoon Salt
- 2 lbs Ground Pork
- 2 cups Cranberry Sauce homemade or canned
- 1 cup Ketchup
- 3 tablespoons Brown Sugar
- Preheat the oven to 350℉ and cover a 13×9 rimmed baking sheet in aluminum foil. Spray the foil with cooking oil.
- Mix the eggs, breadcrumbs, ketchup, olive oil, garlic powder, Worcestershire sauce, and salt together in a large bowl. Add the ground pork to the bowl and mash together, using your hands until fully combined. Shape into 1-inch sized meatballs and place on the prepared baking sheet.
- Bake for 25 minutes or until a thermometer inserted inside reads 160℉. Drain any access fat after cooking.
- In a large skillet heat the cranberry sauce, ketchup, and brown sugar over medium heat until blended, about 5 minutes. Add in the meatballs and gently toss to coat.