Baked Cranberry Meatballs

Delight Your Taste Buds with Savory Baked Cranberry Meatballs

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Elevate your appetizer game with a tantalizing twist on a classic favorite – Baked Cranberry Meatballs! Bursting with flavor and perfect for any occasion, these tender meatballs are smothered in a sweet and tangy cranberry sauce that will leave your taste buds begging for more. Join us as we unravel the secrets to creating this mouthwatering dish, complete with step-by-step instructions, helpful tips, and answers to your burning questions. Get ready to impress your guests and take your culinary skills to new heights with Baked Cranberry Meatballs!


  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/4 cup bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1 cup cranberry sauce (canned or homemade)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup ketchup
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Preheat the Oven:
    • Preheat your oven to 400°F (200°C) and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or aluminum foil.
  2. Prepare the Meatball Mixture:
    • In a large mixing bowl, combine the ground beef, bread crumbs, egg, milk, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and onion powder. Mix until well combined.
  3. Form the Meatballs:
    • Using your hands, roll the meat mixture into small meatballs, approximately 1 inch in diameter. Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, spacing them evenly apart.
  4. Bake the Meatballs:
    • Transfer the baking sheet to the preheated oven and bake the meatballs for 15-20 minutes, or until they are cooked through and lightly browned.
  5. Prepare the Cranberry Sauce:
    • While the meatballs are baking, prepare the cranberry sauce. In a small saucepan, combine the cranberry sauce, brown sugar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce. Cook over medium heat, stirring occasionally, until the sauce is heated through and slightly thickened, about 5-7 minutes.
  6. Coat the Meatballs:
    • Once the meatballs are cooked, remove them from the oven and transfer them to a large bowl. Pour the warm cranberry sauce over the meatballs and toss gently to coat.
  7. Serve and Enjoy:
    • Arrange the coated meatballs on a serving platter and garnish with fresh parsley or thyme, if desired. Serve hot and enjoy the irresistible combination of savory meatballs and sweet cranberry sauce!

Cook Notes and Variations:

  • Make-Ahead Option: Prepare the meatball mixture and shape the meatballs in advance, then store them in the refrigerator until ready to bake. You can also make the cranberry sauce ahead of time and reheat it before serving.
  • Gluten-Free Option: Use gluten-free bread crumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers in place of traditional bread crumbs to make the meatballs gluten-free.
  • Turkey Variation: Substitute ground turkey for ground beef for a lighter option with a slightly different flavor profile.

Keto Version: For a keto-friendly version of Baked Cranberry Meatballs, use almond flour or crushed pork rinds instead of bread crumbs, and replace the milk with heavy cream or almond milk. Sweeten the cranberry sauce with a keto-friendly sweetener such as erythritol or stevia, and use sugar-free ketchup to reduce the carb content.

Low Carb Version: To make Baked Cranberry Meatballs low-carb, opt for a low-carb cranberry sauce or make your own using fresh cranberries and a low-carb sweetener such as monk fruit or stevia. Skip the bread crumbs altogether or use a small amount of almond flour, and choose a low-carb ketchup or tomato paste in place of regular ketchup.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

Q: Can I use frozen meatballs instead of making them from scratch? A: Yes, you can use pre-made frozen meatballs if you’re short on time. Simply bake or cook them according to the package instructions, then coat them with the cranberry sauce.

Q: Can I use other types of meat for the meatballs? A: Absolutely! You can use ground turkey, chicken, pork, or even a combination of meats for the meatballs, depending on your preference.

Q: Can I make these meatballs in a slow cooker? A: Yes, you can cook the meatballs in a slow cooker instead of baking them in the oven. Simply place the cooked meatballs in the slow cooker, pour the cranberry sauce over them, and cook on low for 2-3 hours or until heated through.

In conclusion, Baked Cranberry Meatballs are a delightful fusion of savory and sweet flavors that will tantalize your taste buds and leave you craving more. With their juicy, tender meatballs coated in a rich cranberry sauce, they’re perfect for parties, gatherings, or a cozy night in. Whether you’re serving them as an appetizer, a main dish, or even as a festive holiday treat, these meatballs are sure to be a hit with family and friends. So, gather your ingredients, roll up your sleeves, and get ready to enjoy the deliciousness of Baked Cranberry Meatballs!

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