Photo: Lee Harrelson; Styling: Jan Gautro
Prep Time
10 Mins
Cook Time
50 Mins
Makes 12 to 14 appetizer servings

Start with a package of frozen meatballs and cook with bottled barbecue sauce and cherry preserves for this easy, 5-ingredient appetizer.

How to Make It

Step 1

Whisk together first 4 ingredients and 1 1/2 cups water in a Dutch oven. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Add meatballs; return to a boil. Reduce heat to medium, and simmer, stirring occasionally, 40 to 45 minutes. (Sauce will thicken.) Keep warm in a slow cooker on WARM or LOW, if desired.

Step 2

Note: For testing purposes only, we used Rosina Italian Style Meatballs.

Step 3

Chipotle-Barbecue Sausage Bites: Substitute 2 (16-oz.) packages cocktail-size smoked sausages for meatballs. Proceed with recipe as directed, decreasing water to 1/2 cup and simmering mixture 15 minutes. Makes 12 to 14 appetizer servings. Prep: 10 min., Cook: 20 min.

Ratings & Reviews

EllenM's Review

December 12, 2008
Easily takes the lead as the best appetizer meatballs I've ever had. The chipotle peppers give it a nice little kick. Use the leftover peppers in the Colby Pepper Jack Cheese Dip, which is another 5 star appetizer dish. Both of these will be star players at your next party or holiday function.

TheAspiringChef's Review

December 14, 2014
A hot dish that takes less than 5 min to prepare? Definitely a keeper. I used two bags of party meatballs from Trader Joe's and listened to other reviewers tip about just throwing everything in the slow cooker for 3 hours on low. Everyone loved them!

Allure's Review

July 13, 2014
I made these for our FIFA World Cup viewing party. I made the meatballs from scratch using ground turkey. They were easy to make and the sauce was a hit!!! Hardly any left over for lunch tomorrow. I have to make another batch for my hubby soon.

ericajohnson27's Review

January 13, 2014
I'm now asked to bring these to parties. They disappear fast! Easy, crowd-pleasing, make-ahead - what's not to like!

imaginethat2's Review

January 11, 2014
We made these as a test for our impending wedding reception (where we're providing the majority of the food). We loved it, and can't wait to share with our friends & family.

DeweyDell's Review

January 05, 2014
I made this for a party. It was delicious, a big hit, and couldn't have been easier to put together.

Jenniferson's Review

January 02, 2014
I have to agree with all the reviews, these were a huge success! I made these for a New Year's Eve party. I bought frozen meatballs from Sam's Club and instead of adding the 3 chipotle peppers, I added the whole small (8 ounze) can of them. I didn't have the adobe sauce, so I substitued 1 (8 ounze) can of chipotle sauce. These meatballs had lots of kick and everyone wanted the recipe!

CourtneyM's Review

September 08, 2012
Made these for a family reunion and they were gone very quickly! Everyone loved them. I just threw all the ingredients in a crock pot for three hours and they were done. Super easy!

Kel1017's Review

December 08, 2011
Have made these for 2 different events and everyone LOVED them! I did make them in the crockpot. Baked the Meatballs in the Oven Also

linzr12's Review

June 09, 2010
This also works for cocktail sausages. I cook on the stove and then put into crockpot - they disappear!