Main Courses,  Sides,  Snacks

3-Ingredient BBQ Meatballs

I love party appetizers. I mean seriously, what is not to love? It is like the ultimate buffet – all the delicious foods you know you shouldn’t be eating, all in one place. Ready for you to NOM on, in small bite sized portions. It is so easy to just grab a toothpick and go nuts. Usually you end up regretting it the next day – but while in the act you think, THIS IS TOTALLY WORTH IT! The Superbowl is pretty much the ULTIMATE party appetizer event – every family his its own unique, or not so unique, traditional  Superbowl party app. My family is obsessed with food, so naturally we have MANY traditional Superbowl party apps. One of my favorites? 3-Ingredient BBQ Meatballs.

That’s right – I said 3-INGREDIENT BBQ MEATBALLS! Meaning there are only 3-INGREDIENTS!

What are these 3 mysterious ingredients?

Frozen pre-prepared meatballs – SHOCKER I KNOW!

BBQ sauce – OKAY YUM!

Grape jelly – wait what?

YES! That is seriously it! 3-Ingredient Meatballs are really truly made up of only 3-ingredients: meatballs, BBQ sauce, and grape jelly. They are so incredibly delicious and the EASIEST party appetizer you will EVER MAKE! I made these for the Superbowl this past weekend and I swear they were gone within the first 30 minutes! The combination of BBQ sauce and grape jelly, although it sounds weird, is PHENOM! Its tangy and sweet, with a little spice – yum, I want more now.

It’s true – you could absolutely make this recipe more complicated for yourself. You could make homemade meatballs, and/or homemade BBQ sauce – heck you could make homemade grape jelly! But, unlike a LOT of other appetizer recipes – there is a convenient option to skip all the hard work and still get the same delicious result.


Another fun aspect of this recipe? You can use any type of meatballs you’d like – pork, beef, chicken, turkey, vegetarian – the choice is yours! I personally used a frozen Swedish style meatball – but you do you!

BBQ Sauce

Personally, I think Sweet Baby Ray’s is the absolute best BBQ sauce on the market right now. It’s true – I haven’t tasted every BBQ sauce out there! But Sweet Baby Ray’s is readily available at any local grocery store and it is delicious. My family uses the original on pretty much anything BBQ – chicken, ribs, you name it, we eat it. Having said that, every once in a while my dad likes to sneak in the Hot N’ Spicy variety to see if anyone notices – my mom who is spice-averted ALWAYS does! Dad never gives up though – what? It’s too spicy? I wonder why... 🙂 Silly dad!

In this recipe, I used Sweet Baby Ray’s Original, but I am sure any of the varieties would be awesome!

Have a favorite brand of BBQ sauce – use it! The more you love your BBQ sauce, the more you will love these meatballs.

Have a favorite BBQ restaurant local to you? See if they see their BBQ sauce! In all likelihood, they do! And you can enjoy your favorite homemade BBQ sauce from your favorite BBQ restaurant.

What about Chili Sauce?

YES! You may see versions of this recipe using chili sauce instead of BBQ sauce – this version of the recipe is also delicious. I personally prefer the use of BBQ – but you should try both out and let me know what you prefer!

Grape Jelly

Is there really even a difference between jars of grape jelly? I like to joke that ALL tater tots are made in one factory and then distributed to every grocery store and restaurant out there – because they all taste the same!! Everywhere! I swear!

I think grape jelly might be the same. Of course, I am no grape jelly aficionado – so I could be wrong! But I cannot tell the difference between generic and branded grape jelly. In fact, if I am being honest – I don’t even like grape jelly! Not on toast anyway, it is just SO sweet. I prefer strawberry or raspberry. But, I digress.

In this recipe, I just used store brand grape jelly and absolutely think you can do the same!

The Result

An incredibly EASY appetizer to please the masses! Enjoy these delicious 3-Ingredient BBQ Meatballs with fun toothpicks for the game or serve over rice for incredibly easy and fun dinner! Dump, stir, heat, serve. That is pretty much all there is to it!

5 from 6 votes
3-Ingredient Meatballs
Prep Time
5 mins
Cook Time
45 mins
Total Time
50 mins

These 3-Ingredient BBQ Meatballs are incredibly EASY and will please the masses! Tangy yet sweet, with a little spice - Enjoy as an appetizer or serve over rice for quick and fun dinner! Dump, stir, heat, serve. That is pretty much all there is to it!

Course: Appetizer, Side Dish
Cuisine: American
Author: NOMaste Kitchen
  • 1 18-ounce container Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ Sauce or your favorite BBQ sauce
  • 1 18-ounce jar Grape Jelly
  • 1 25-ounce bag frozen fully cooked meatballs
  1. Set a large pot or dutch oven on the stove over low-medium heat. Add BBQ sauce and grape jelly to pot - stir well to combine. Add meatballs to the mix - stir to fully coat with sauce.

  2. Once sauce begins to boil, lower heat. Simmer meatballs over low heat (partially covered) until they are fully cooked through and sauce has thickened (about 45 minutes). Serve warm (with toothpicks as an appetizer or over rice as a main dish).

Recipe Notes

Storage: Refrigerate in an airtight container for up to one week.

Prefer to use a slow-cooker? Simply add all ingredients to the slow cooker, stir to combine, then cook on low for 3-4 hours.



Loved this appetizer recipe? Check out another: Easy Ham and Cheese Sliders26 BEST Superbowl Snacks


  • Tess Rountree

    I switch it up a little and use pepper jelly and jalapeño jelly in mine. It’s got a little kick but oh so delicious.

      • Chris

        5 stars
        Hi Haley……. I love the simplicity of this recipe! I am a single guy and like to do a crockpot dish on the weekends so I have some great leftovers for the week.
        I used some Stubbs spicy bbq sauce. Was excellent!!! I also added just a little hatch green chili. Went really well together.

        Thank you for this recipe. Would be interested in other crockpot recipes.

        Thanks Haley! Hope you are doing well.


        • Haley

          Hi Chris! So sorry for the delayed response – I am so glad you enjoyed the recipe! I love the idea of adding some hatch green chili, I will definitely have to try that! I will definitely try and come up with some additional crockpot recipes for you soon! I don’t know if you have looked at my recipe for One Pot Chicken Tortilla soup, but that can also go in a crockpot and (in my opinion) is delicious! Super easy – and super flavorful!

          Thanks for following along!

  • Corine Spring

    The recipe for the meatballs with grape jelly and BBQ sauce can I make my own meatballs and use them instead of the frozen ones?

    • Haley

      Hi Corine! Absolutely! I would recommend a smaller, bite-sized meatball if you are using this recipe as an appetizer. If your meatballs usually keep their shape cooking in tomato sauce, they should be fine here as well – but keep an eye on them while simmering (just in case)! Cook the meatballs as you normally would – on the stove or in the oven – then add to the sauce! If you are worried that they might fall apart while simmering, you can simmer the sauce on its own for 15-20 minutes (or until it has partially thickened) then add the meatballs and simmer an additional 15-20! Of course, just make sure your meatballs have fully cooked through before serving! Hope you enjoy!

    • Haley

      Hi Lynne!
      I think honey might be a little too sweet in combination with the grape jelly, but the brown sugar barbecue sauce should be okay! Most barbecue sauces have some sweetness to them anyway. If the sauce does taste too sweet, you could try adding a teaspoon of white or cider vinegar! This will tone down the sweetness but still keep the great barbecue flavor. Enjoy!

  • Debra weston

    5 stars
    I’ve made this plenty of times and love it because it’s quick and easy. I always add a can of chunk pineapples to the sauce to bring out a added flavor.

  • Heather

    5 stars
    I make these exactly as directed and they come out perfect every time!! Will be having tomorrow for our Christmas Eve appetizer food fest!

    • Haley

      Hi Gayle! So sorry for the delayed response – you sure can! Just place all the ingredients into the crockpot and cook on low for 4 hours or high for 2 hours (or until meatballs are fully heated through and sauce has thickened).

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