Flavorful, tender Crockpot meatballs are first baked in the oven then cooked in an irresistible Sriracha-flavored sauce for an easy slow cooker appetizer everyone will love.
This post is in partnership with Kroger
Easy Crockpot Meatballs
What is it about meatballs at a party that makes everyone lose all self control?
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been at a buffet table where I’ve never not heard exclamations of delight at the mere sighting of a Crockpot loaded with the little orbs of meaty bites. “Oh, those look good. I think I’ll have just one more.”
And one more.
So when Kroger asked me to create a recipe worthy of celebrating the New Year, I envisioned myself nibbling on noshes, and then I asked myself, “What is one more splurge I’m going to enjoy before the new year resolutions kick in?”
Little flavor bombs of meatballs it is.
What’s in These Crockpot Meatballs?
This is an incredibly easy party meatball recipe. I start with a homemade meatball mixture and pour over the most incredible spicy-sweet Sriracha sauce.
Here’s what all goes into this slow cooker meatballs recipe:
- Ground pork
- Egg yolk
- Soy sauce
- Fresh ginger
- Green onion
- Fresh cilantro
- Panko bread crumbs
- Sriracha ketchup
- Regular ketchup
- Pepper jelly
- Brown sugar
- Sesame oil
How to Make Crockpot Meatballs
I’ve seen recipes for jelly-sauced meatballs for years and at every party they seem to always be the center of appetizer-ing attention. This slow cooker meatballs recipe kicks that meatball and jelly combination up a notch or three, depending on your penchant for their tangy Sriracha taste.
My recipe starts with baked homemade meatballs flavored simply with soy sauce, green onion, garlic and cilantro. If you’re cilantro-averse, you can certainly leave it out.
I use just one egg yolk to bind these little rounded pork jewels because I feel like the whole egg makes them just a bit loose to hold together. To keep the Asian vibe flowing, I use panko bread crumbs because they’re lighter and crisper than regular bread crumbs and come out far less gummy when rolling.
I prefer to bake these meatballs rather than frying because it’s simply easier and less of a clean-up. And I’m all about less clean-up.
For the sauce (this recipe makes about 2 cups) I took the traditional notion of combining sweet jelly with ketchup to make our base. But this is where we take a turn to the Asian aisle of the store and load up on Kroger’s Sriracha flavored ketchup. I only recently discovered it and my husband and I both became immediate fans of its sweet and spicy bite.
For the jelly portion of this recipe I used Private Selection Red Pepper Jelly.
The jellies themselves have the perfect balance of sweet with a spicy undertone that I just love, and often eat with my avocado and cottage cheese toast for a savory snack or breakfast. Private Selection also has an Oregon Pear and Pepper Jelly flavor that I think would be dynamite to try in this recipe, too.
You can serve the finished Crockpot appetizer meatballs (they only take about 2 hours in the slow cooker) straight from my new favorite kitchen accessory, the Instant Pot, or garnish and present in a bowl or as passed apps that are ready-to-stab-with-a-toothpick ready.
While I love these guys as an appetizer to share with friends, I’m going to be selfish and save some for myself. This New Years Eve I’ll be doubling my batch of meatballs so I have leftovers to top one of my favorite healthier ways to eat soba noodles for New Years Day.
Long noodle, long life. I’d say that’s a pretty great way to start the year’s resolutions off right.
Can I Use Frozen Meatballs Instead of Homemade?
If you’re not into making homemade meatballs, or simply don’t have the time, you could certainly purchase frozen meatballs from the freezer case or pre-made from the meat counter but they won’t have the same Asian flavor through and through, but thanks to this killer sauce, you just might find that perfectly okay.
Can I Make Sriracha Ketchup at Home?
If you can’t find sriracha ketchup at your local grocery store, I recommend starting with the same amount of ketchup and adding 1 teaspoon of Sriracha to begin. From there, you can up the amount by 1 teaspoon at a time to taste.
Can I Use Another Type of Ground Meat?
You could likely achieve a similar flavor and texture with a lean ground beef.
Can I Make These Meatballs on the Stove?
I’m not sure! If you don’t have a Crockpot, you may be able to bake these meatballs low and slow in the oven instead. But I’ve only ever made them in my Crockpot, so I can’t say for certain.
Can I Freeze Crockpot Meatballs?
Yes, you can freeze the homemade Asian meatballs plain or in the sauce. Baked then frozen meatballs are easily reheated in the oven and are great for throwing together last-minute meals or appetizers.
Can I Double This Recipe?
Yes, this recipe is forgiving in that regard. Just make sure your Crockpot is large enough to fit 70 to 80 meatballs before doubling the recipe!
Tips for Making the Best Crockpot Meatballs
I toned down the heat a bit by mixing the Sriracha ketchup with regular for those guests who prefer a milder but still flavorful bite. But if you’re into the Sriracha flavor like we are, go ahead and use just the Sriracha ketchup rather than a mix with regular ketchup. The Sriracha flavor isn’t hot per se, but comes on and lingers after the first bite. Personally, it’s my favorite part of eating these little buggers.
If you’re sensitive to salt, you may want to consider using low-sodium soy sauce and adding more kosher salt as needed to the meatballs and sauce. That way, you have more control over how much salt goes into this dish.
When baking the meatballs, it’s okay if they’re not fully cooked through when you remove them from the oven. They’ll continue cooking in the slow cooker.
Recipe Ideas to Serve With Your Meatballs
These little meatballs make for a pretty fantastic appetizer all on their own, but you can totally make a meal out of them! Here’s how…
- Yummy Bowl: Soba Noodles with Sriracha Meatballs
- Salad: Crunchy Asian Cucumber Watermelon Salad
- Starchy Side: Easy Coconut Rice
- Side: Sweet and Sour Asian Pickled Cucumbers
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Slow Cooker Sriracha Meatballs
For the meatballs:
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 egg yolk , whisked
- ¼ cup soy sauce
- 1 tablespoon fresh ginger , grated or finely minced (about 1-inch knob)
- 2 cloves garlic , pressed or finely minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- ¼ cup chopped green onion . about 3 green onions
- ¼ cup fresh cilantro leaves , minced
- ½ cup panko bread crumbs
For the meatball sauce:
- ¾ cup Kroger Sriracha ketchup *
- ¼ cup regular ketchup
- 1 10- ounce jar pepper jelly
- ½ cup soy sauce
- ¼ cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Green onion and sesame seeds for garnish
- In a medium bowl, add the pork and drizzle with the egg yolk, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and ground pepper and gently mix together with your fingers. Add the green onion, cilantro leaves and panko bread crumbs and mix gently until incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Use a small scoop or spoon to form ½-inch balls and gently roll between your palms and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. The meatballs may not be cooked all the way through and will continue to cook in the slow cooker. Transfer to a slow cooker.
- For the sauce, in a medium size bowl or 4 cup measuring cup, mix the Sriracha ketchup with the regular ketchup, pepper jelly, soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil. Pour over the meatballs and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.
- Garnish with chopped green onion and sesame seeds and serve.
More Easy Appetizers to Make
- Pigs in a Puff Pastry Blanket
- Hot Crab Dip
- Garlic Butter Pepperoni Pizza Rolls
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Cheesy Texas Trash Dip
- Slow Cooker Little Smokies
Hey, thanks for stopping by, make it a great day and make something good.
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This post is sponsored by Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. There may be affiliate links in this post of which I receive a small commission. All opinions are always my own.