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This Year’s Must-Make Holiday App: Slow-Cooker Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

By Cindy Rahe
Created January 10, 2017
Classic cocktail meatballs get an extra flavor kick from cranberry sauce and chipotle peppers in adobo.
Slow-Cooker Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

When I was a kid, the famous cocktail meatballs made with jelly were a staple at all of our holiday parties. Fast forward many years and they are making a serious comeback in my family, thanks to my mom and her new recipe using a secret ingredient: cranberry sauce! I decided to adapt her version and make it my own by adding chipotle chiles, which add a smoky, spicy kick that complements the sweet cranberry sauce nicely. Even better, these meatballs are made in the slow cooker, so there is hardly any work involved! Here’s how to make them.

The first step is to make the meatballs. (In a pinch, you can use store-bought meatballs and skip to making the sauce.) You will need the following ingredients: ground beef, onions, garlic, Progresso bread crumbs, milk, an egg, salt, pepper and allspice. Exact measurements are in the recipe listed below!


In an 8-inch skillet, heat some oil over medium heat and cook the onions for 3 to 5 minutes until they are translucent and softened. Add the garlic next and cook for an additional 2 minutes, and remove the mixture from the heat, giving it some time to cool.

Next, in a large bowl, soak the bread crumbs in milk and then add the beef, cooled onion mixture, egg, salt, pepper and allspice. Mix everything together well and shape the mixture into about 30 walnut-sized meatballs and place them in the slow cooker.

All that’s left now is the sauce, and it couldn’t be simpler to make! All you need is a can of cranberry sauce and some chipotle chiles in adobo sauce.


Mix the cranberry sauce and chipotle chiles together and slowly pour over the meatballs in the slow cooker. Cover and cook on Low for 8 hours—it’s that easy! Once you set this yummy dish out, serve it with some toothpicks and/or bread and snag some for yourself before they completely disappear!