Cranberry Bourbon Meatballs

Growing up my mom always used to make bourbon meatballs around the holidays which we would devour on little tooth picks feeling oh so fancy. This year I wanted to try making a new version that incorporated some of my homemade cranberry sauce (available for purchase through Preserve International) and boy is it a winner.

To make this dish even easier (which, let’s face it is exactly what you need in a holiday appetizer) I use store-bought, frozen Swedish style meatballs. You can totally use homemade meatballs if you prefer, just make sure they are cooked through before adding to the sauce.

I like making this recipe on the stovetop it’s a bit quicker but you can just as easily do it in a slow cooker. Just combine the sauce ingredients, add meatballs and cook on low for about 4 hours until meatballs are fully heated through. I also recommend using a good quality bourbon as it really does make a difference in this recipe. I’m a big fan of Clyde May’s Bourbon or Four Roses Bourbon, but your favorite will do!

Happy holidays!

Cranberry Bourbon Meatballs

Cranberry Bourbon Meatballs

Recipe by The Jam Jar Kitchen
5 from 15 votes
Course: Appetizers and Lite Bites, Beef, Cooking with Preserves, Dairy Free, Feed a Crowd, Holiday, Pork, Slow Cooker, SnacksCuisine: AmericanDifficulty: Easy
Prep time


Cooking time




  • 1 cup ketchup

  • 1 cup Bourbon, I recommend good quality

  • 1 cup cranberry sauce or jam, whole berry

  • 1/2 cup brown sugar

  • 2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce

  • 2 tbsp soy sauce

  • 1 tsp garlic chili sauce

  • 1-2 26 oz bags Swedish style frozen meatballs


  • Combine the first 7 ingredients in a dutch oven and bring to a simmer over medium heat.
  • Simmer for about 5 minutes and then add the meatballs to the pot. Cover with a lid and then simmer on low for about 40 minutes until meatballs are heated through.
  • Serve and enjoy!


  • If you would prefer to make this recipe in a slow cooker, simply combine all ingredients in your slow cooker and cook on low for about 4 hours until meatballs are cooked through.

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