Diet Recipes

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs

These Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs make the perfect holiday appetizer that are easy to throw together with the perfect blend of sweet and savory flavors!

The holidays are definitely my favorite time of the year and just about any party I go to serves up cocktail meatballs.  Why??  Well they’re always such a crowdpleaser, not only because they’re tasty, but they’re super easy to eat while mingling with friends and walking around.  I’m all about devouring some holiday appetizers and meatballs are hands down the BEST!

Most cocktail meatball recipes have the same variation – a jar of jelly and some chili sauce.  Well I wanted to mix things up a bit and make a sauce that was delicious, but was also on the cleaner side so I used fresh cranberries, fresh squeezed orange juice, a little honey and, yes, chili sauce.  I mean it is sort of a MUST right?  Thankfully my local Safeway had everything I needed to throw these yummy bite-sized apps together in no time!

When shopping for quality organic products, it can usually get pretty expensive which is why I always do my shopping at Safeway.  Safeway has everything I need whether I’m running out for just a few items or need to do a large grocery haul and their O Organics® and Open Nature® lines make it super EASY for anyone to purchase great-tasting organic food at affordable prices!  I love that my local Safeway is now right down the road from my house and their fresh produce is always so vibrant and fully stocked.

O Organics and Open Nature products are available in my area exclusively at Safeway.  Don’t have a Safeway in your area?  That’s okay because you can find these products at all Albertsons Companies family of stores, including Albertsons, ACME Markets, Jewel-Osco, Vons, Pavilions, Randalls, Tom Thumb, Shaw’s, Star Market, United Express, United Supermarkets, Market Street and Carrs/Safeway.

Don’t forget Safeway also has a Just for U® savings tool which gives you tons of digital coupons and savings, allows you to create your own personal shopping list which has been super helpful to me when doing a large grocery haul, and it also lets you know which items are on sale each week!

To make these meatballs, I used Safeway’s Open Nature grass-fed beef which is what I always use because it’s free of antibiotics or added hormones as well as Open Nature’s cage free eggs.  I also threw in some finely chopped onion, because I mean I love onions in my meatballs, some fresh garlic, a little parmesan cheese, breadcrumbs and a little tomato paste.  If you don’t have tomato paste on hand you can just use ketchup!  These meatballs are literally so easy to make too, you simply just mix everything together and form little 1-inch balls.  You should come out with roughly 28 to 30 meatballs once you’re done.

I decided to bake these since I guess I’m just an instant gratification sort of person and didn’t feel like waiting for them to be done in the slow cooker, but you could easily throw these into your crock pot too for convenience!  This is helpful, especially for parties, when you need time to prep other food.  Just set it and forget it!  I would suggest still baking the meatballs (or searing them in a pan) for a bit just to seal in those flavors then cooking them the rest of the way in the crock pot for about 2 hours on low.  Either way is easy and just as delicious!

The sauce, OH this sauce.  It’s finger licking good!  Literally.  I always make this sauce while the meatballs are baking then just toss everything together at the end.  As I said before, I used fresh cranberries, along with some orange juice, a little orange zest, some honey and chili sauce.  I also threw in a pinch of cayenne pepper because I wanted a sweet and spicy combo, but you can leave this ingredient out if you don’t like a lot of spice.  Top with a little chopped parsley and garnish with some rosemary for a festive look and you’ve got yourself quite the crowd pleasing dish on your hands!  I would just go ahead and double this recipe because these meatballs are sure to go fast.

Meatballs are such a staple recipe to have on hand because not only do they make great party appetizers, but this basic recipe is good for just about any meal or any type of sauce!  I’ve used this meatball recipe in Italian dishes with tomato sauce and I’ve also used it with my honey sriracha sauce for meal prep.  You can use beef or turkey in this recipe too, either one will turn out delicious!

So whether you’re getting together for Thanksgiving, Christmas or New Years, make sure to include these delicious Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs at your next holiday gathering because I can guarantee you they’ll be a huge hit!  A staple meatball recipe is a MUST-have and these are definitely a winner!

Cranberry Cocktail Meatballs


  • 1 lb. grass fed ground beef
  • ½ onion, finely chopped
  • ¼ cup whole wheat panko breadcrumbs
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parmesan cheese, finely grated
  • 2 Tbsp tomato paste
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • ¼ tsp. pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh parsley, minced
  • 1 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • ⅓ cup honey
  • 12 oz. fresh cranberries
  • ½ cup chili sauce
  • 1 tsp. orange zest
  • Pinch of cayenne pepper
  • Salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
  2. In a large bowl, mix together ground beef, onion, breadcrumbs, garlic, egg, parmesan cheese, tomato paste, salt, pepper and parsley until well combined. Shape mixture into 1-inch balls (you’ll make roughly 30 balls) and place spaced apart on prepared baking sheets lightly sprayed with cooking spray.
  3. Bake meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes, or until browned and cooked through.
  4. While the meatballs are baking, whisk together orange juice and honey in a small saucepan over medium heat until the honey dissolves. Add cranberries and cook for about 10 minutes, until the berries start to pop, then reduce heat and add chili sauce, orange zest and cayenne pepper, cooking an additional 10 to 15 minutes. Feel free to mash the cranberries with the back of a wooden spoon to achieve a jam-like consistency and add ¼ cup of water if you like a thinner sauce.
  5. Remove cranberry sauce from heat and season with salt and pepper as needed. Toss sauce with baked meatballs, garnish with fresh parsley and enjoy!

Serving Size: 5 meatballs • Calories: 282 • Fat: 8.7 g • Saturated Fat: 3.6 g • Carbs: 27.5 g • Fiber: 1.9 g • Protein: 20.1 g • Sugars: 18.2 g • WW Points+: 7 • Smart Points: 10


If you want to learn more about the O Organics and Open Nature lines along with meal prep tips and recipe ideas, make sure to follow Safeway on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram or head to your local Safeway grocery store and stock up on your favorite products! 

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