Cranberry BBQ Meatballs

Made by Joy of Lunches & Littles

  • preparation

    Preparation time

    15 min.

  • portions


    6-8 People

  • cooks

    Cooks In

    3-4 hours


This recipe is so easy and delicious- perfect for small gatherings and get togethers or even just a night at home. These meatballs all come together in an Instant Pot, or the recipe can be easily modified to be made in a Crockpot as well (those instructions included below as well). The cranberries make this sauce sweet and tangy- perfect for the whole family. This recipe is from Joy over at the Lunches + Littles, who regularly shares simple recipes that are both kid and family-approved.



1 Cup Orange Juice*
3/4 Cup Sugara Pinch Of Ground Cinnamon
1/4 Tsp Pure Honey
4 Heaping Cups Cape Cod Select Frozen Cranberries
1 And 1.2 Cups Bbq Sauce (Use Your Fav!)
1 Bag (32oz) Frozen Appetizer Meatballs
fresh Parsley, Chopped (For Garnish)


– Start off by setting your Instant Pot to Sauté mode and start.
– Add orange juice and sugar to Instant Pot and heat up until sugar dissolves. Alternatively (if you do not have an Instant Pot, you can
use a medium-sized pot on your stovetop for this part).
– Once sugar has dissolved, add in your cinnamon, honey and cranberries. In your Instant Pot, continue on Sauté mode for an
additional 5- 6 minutes, or until cranberries begin to soften and even start to pop a little.
– Next, using a potato masher (or equivalent), mash cranberries until you have a homemade cranberry sauce, *adding more orange
juice, as/if needed to thin.
– Turn Instant Pot off. Alternatively, remove pan from heat and set aside.
– If using an Instant Pot- mix BBQ sauce with cranberry sauce right inside of the IP bowl. Then, add thawed meatballs and turn
Instant Pot to Slow Cook mode. Then, press Adjust to change the heat setting to high. Cook for approx. 3 hours, checking and stirring often to move meatballs around and ensure they are cooking evenly. We did have the Instant Pot covered, but loosely- it
was not locked in place.
– If using the alternative method, utilizing your stovetop and Crockpot, do the following: add BBQ sauce to pot with cranberry sauce.
Mix well. Then, add thawed meatballs to the bottom of your Crockpot and pour sauce over top. Slowly stir to combine. Cover
Crockpot and cook on low for 3- 4 hours.
– Regardless of cooking method, if you want your sauce to be more glaze-like (as shown) take lid completely off of your Instant Pot
or Crockpot during the last 20- 30 min. of cook time.
– Garnish with fresh chopped parsley, as desired and serve immediately.


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