Bake a large batch of tender, spicy Cocktail Party Meatballs and stir them into a smoky BBQ sauce for your next gathering. It's so easy to prepare on the stovetop or slow cooker; serve immediately or freeze for later.
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There's nothing like biting into juicy meatballs in a most irresistible sauce. This easy recipe gives you both. The saucy meatballs can be a pleasing main dish or the perfect appetizer.
I get many compliments every time I make this cocktail meatball recipe. You'll find similar ingredients in My Meatloaf Recipe and this Comforting Cajun Meatball Stew, which gives them that tender meaty taste.
So satisfy your guests and family at your next party of finger foods or a Sunday dinner main course with these delicious bites.
Here are the simple ingredients from a classic recipe.
- Ground meat- any kind or combination of chicken, turkey, venison, and pork can be used. I prefer beef, and the more fat in the meat, the better to make the most tender meatballs.
- Italian bread crumbs - the dry bread crumbs act as a binder and soften the meatballs, adding moisture when mixed with milk; they also keep them from shrinking and add the perfect flavor from the herbs and cheeses.
- Canned milk - its rich concentrated flavor with the bread crumbs serves as a binder to make tender meatballs.
- Onion - yellow or white, chopped fine for bite-size meatballs.
- Garlic cloves - pressed or chopped fine.
- Celery - about one stalk, chopped fine.
- Eggs - help to bind the meatballs together and add moisture.
- Salt - to enhance the flavors of the ingredients.
- Black pepper - fresh ground is best to bring the right amount of spicy flavor.
- Cayenne pepper - Compliments the black pepper for a spicy meatball.
- Barbecue sauce - your favorite smoky grocery store brand or homemade sauce; I use the Sweet Baby Ray brand.
- Golden Cream of Mushroom Condensed Soup - or regular cream of mushroom soup mellows the flavor of the barbecue sauce.
- Butter - melted, enriches the taste of the sauce.
- Water - from the tap or bottled spring or filtered to thin the sauce.
- Butter - salted for a flavorful, buttery taste.
- Onion - it's the first part of the Cajun holy trinity.
- Celery - is another vegetable in the trinity, adding its unique flavor.
- Green bell peppers - the sweet green peppers are part of the threesome, too.
- Garlic - Use it pressed or minced to disperse the flavor evenly throughout this classic dish.
- Cornstarch - enough to thicken the sauce for a blonde roux.
- Crawfish - peeled frozen or fresh crawfish tails.
- Salt - the seasoning of all seasonings.
- Cayenne pepper - more or less for just the right peppery taste.
- Water - add to the butter and cornstarch roux to make the sauce.
- Parsley and green onions- chopped for garnish before serving, which is optional.
Making these homemade meatballs may take a little bit of extra time compared to buying store-bought ones, but it's still a quick and easy task. It only takes minutes of prep time.
And you can also use these mouth-watering meatballs in other dishes. For example, by themselves or in a marinara or cheese sauce with pasta. Yum!
- Mix the bread crumbs and milk together to make a panade (a fancy name for a bread and milk paste used in making tender meatballs, meatloaf, and burgers).
- Add ground beef, onion, garlic, celery, panade, eggs, and seasonings together into a large bowl and mix well. (You may use your clean hands.)
- Preheat the oven to 350° F and line 3 baking sheets with parchment paper.
- Measure out one tablespoon of the ground beef mixture for each meatball, or use a small cookie scoop; they will be about the size of a walnut. Lightly handle the meat; do not pack the bite-size balls. (Too tight = too tough.)
- The five pounds of meat make 127 savory meatballs, plenty for a party.
- Place meatballs on parchment paper-lined baking sheets.
- Bake for 30 minutes or until they are cooked through and through.
- While the meatballs bake, mix the barbecue sauce, soup, butter, and water together in a large, heavy pot and heat on medium heat until it's bubbly.
- Turn the heat under the sauce off.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and add them to the sauce; stir and heat under medium-high until it returns to its bubbly state, then serve warm from the pot, a crock pot, or from a chafing dish.
- Or for slow cooker party meatballs, while the meatballs are baking, mix the sauce together in a crock pot and heat on high for 30 minutes or more; add the cooked meatballs to the sauce in the slow cooker and keep warm until you're ready to eat.
- Use a panade, a simple bread and milk paste, to turn ground meat into soft and tender meatballs. Use it also in this Best Sizzle Burger Recipe and other burger, meatball, and meatloaf dishes. It's a simple step that makes a big difference in the result of these meatball appetizers.
- You can use regular cream of mushroom condensed soup instead of the golden to mellow out the sharp barbecue sauce taste.
- This recipe divides easily for smaller gatherings.
SERVING PARTY MEATBALLS
This is a great recipe for the holiday season, finger food meals, game day parties, or anytime.
- Place a toothpick in them and serve on a plate or platter.
- Spoon on rolls as meatball sliders; Hawaiian rolls are perfect for this.
- You can plate the sauce separately in a small bowl beside the cocktail meatballs to use as a dipping sauce for your party guests instead of combining the two.
- This delicious sauce is also great with little smokies for another easy appetizer.
Store party meatballs in the refrigerator in an airtight container for 3 to 4 days, with the sauce or separately; or prepare meatballs and store, then make the sauce right before serving.
You can keep it in the freezer with the sauce or without the sauce for up to 2 months; if frozen separately, defrost the frozen meatballs and sauce before combining.
When making meatballs or burgers, be sure to handle the meat lightly, this gives a soft and tender result. Do not overwork and compress the meatball or patty too tight, which will toughen the meat.
Here are more appetizing appetizers perfect for snacking or your holiday party.
- 5 pounds of ground beef
- 10 ounces Italian bread crumbs
- .5 cup canned milk
- 2.5 cups finely chopped onion
- 3 garlic cloves, pressed
- .5 cup 1 stalk of celery, chopped
- 2 whole eggs
- 3.75 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon black pepper
- .5 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- 24 ounces barbecue sauce
- 1 (10.5 ounces) can of regular or golden cream of mushroom condensed soup
- .33 cup butter, melted
- 1 cup water
- Mix bread crumbs and milk together to make a panade; see notes below.
- A panade is a simple paste of bread and milk that makes the meatballs tender and juicy.
- Gently form the ground meat into meatballs; too much pressure when handling makes a tough meatball.
- Party meatballs will be about the size of a walnut.
- Easily divide the recipe in half for a smaller batch.
- Prep Time: 30 minutes
- Cook Time: 30 minutes
- Category: Appetizers
- Method: Bake and Simmer
- Cuisine: American
Keywords: party meatballs, cocktail party meatballs, beefy meatballs in barbecue sauce
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"Let God's promises shine on your problems."Corrie Ten Boom