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These Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Meatballs are perfect for a holiday dinner or party! Sweet, tangy and so easy!

Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Meatballs being scooped up by a big serving spoon.

Happy holidays friends! Ashley here from The Recipe Rebel one of my favorite things to see pop up on the holiday buffet table — meatballs!

Speaking of holiday buffet tables — can you believe we are here at the end of 2017 already? It seems that every year that comes goes by more and more quickly, especially as kids get older and life gets busier. I don’t know if I’m ready to ring in 2018 just yet!

I don’t know if meatballs are a regular at your holiday gatherings and special occasions, but around here they people would definitely notice if they were missing. They rank right up near the top of our holiday must-haves list!

Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Meatballs with white rice on a plate.

The cranberry sauce makes this Cranberry Balsamic version perfect for Christmas or New Years. The balsamic vinegar gives the sauce a rich, deep, flavor and color and the slow cooker makes these perfect for entertaining. Any holiday dish that can be prepped ahead and doesn’t require the use of my oven gets extra points in my book!

That way, you actually get to wander around and mingle with your guests instead of slaving in the kitchen with a hundred different pots and pans and serving dishes as you are also trying to get the table set. Just set the crockpot to “on”, pour your own glass of bubbly and put your feet up.

You can definitely use either homemade or store-bought meatballs in this recipe. If I can find lean ground beef on sale, I will spend an hour or two making a whole whack of meatballs to keep in the freezer for a quick meal. But if this is more than you can handle during the holiday chaos, simply dump in a bag of frozen meatballs and call it good. I promise no one will ever know, and you’ll still be the hostess with the mostest 😉

Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Meatballs with white rice.

Happy holidays!

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Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Meatballs

5 from 1 vote
By: Ashley Fehr
These Slow Cooker Cranberry Balsamic Meatballs are perfect for a holiday dinner or party! Sweet, tangy and so easy!
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 4 hours
Total Time: 4 hours 5 minutes
Servings: 6


  • 1 14oz can jellied cranberry sauce
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
  • 1/3 cup low sodium beef broth
  • 1 tablespoon corn starch
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 1 lb precooked beef meatballs


  • In a 2-4 quart slow cooker, combine cranberry sauce, honey, vinegar, broth, corn starch, garlic, salt and pepper flakes with a whisk until relatively smooth.
  • Stir in the meatballs.
  • Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours, until meatballs are heated through and sauce has thickened.
  • Serve alone as an appetizer or over rice or mashed potatoes.


1 lb of meatballs will leave a good amount of sauce for spooning over rice or mashed potatoes. If you're serving this as an appetizer and don't need the extra sauce, add up to 1.5-2 lbs of meatballs to serve more people.


Calories: 305kcalCarbohydrates: 27gProtein: 13gFat: 16gSaturated Fat: 6gCholesterol: 54mgSodium: 265mgPotassium: 274mgFiber: 1gSugar: 25gVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 16mgIron: 1mg

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Additional Info

Course: Appetizer, Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American, Italian American
Tried this recipe?Mention @alyssa_therecipecritic or tag #therecipecritic!




About Ashley Fehr

Ashley loves all kinds of food: easy, healthy dinners, extravagant desserts, baked goods, and homemade breads! She believes in enjoying everything in moderation and strives to find ways to make her favorite foods a little healthier (including sneaking in those veggies occasionally!)

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Recipe Rating


  1. 5 stars
    I recently came to find your cranberry meatballs recipe. I made it and was so delicious. It was so easy to make and truly great tasting. I come to cook it with orzo. Because I love cranberries so much, I may try adding some dried cranberries next time. Thanks for such a great recipe.

  2. I clicked to get this recipe, found a second one I wanted to try also. So I just subscribed! Thanks, I’m looking forward to trying the recipes next week

    1. YAY!! That is what I love to hear! I am so glad that you found two recipes to try! Let me know what you think! Thanks so much for following along with me! XOXO

  3. Ooh I can’t wait to make these! I love making slow cooker meatballs for parties, but this looks perfect for a family dinner too!

    1. Yes, they are so versatile! I love that they can be for appetizers, party food and even dinner for a family!! XOXO