This recipe for Sticky BBQ Slow Cooker Meatballs uses barbecue sauce to make a delicious homemade party appetizer! They are easy to make as the crockpot does most of the work for you. Made with beef, breadcrumbs, seasoning and barbecue sauce. The best of comfort foods for fall and winter.
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See those gorgeous crockpot meatballs? They are the result of 4 hours of labor – from my crockpot!
Seriously, if you don’t have a slow cooker yet, you need to hop on over to Amazon and order yourself one ASAP*.
It’s fine I’ll wait.
Ready? OK. I’ve started using my beloved little slow cooker more and more lately, to make delicious things like slow cooker sausage pasta sauce, healthy slow cooker chili or even slow cooker cranberry walnut bread pudding with caramel sauce. And now there’s these easy meatballs in crockpot land.
How to make sticky bbq crock pot meatballs:
Watch the Video:
Start with making the meatballs, cook the meatballs on the stove or make oven baked meatballs (or use ready-made ones, like I do in these 5 Ingredient Cranberry Glazed Turkey Slow Cooker Meatballs!) and then throw them into your crockpot with some barbecue sauce and a handful of other delicious things and wham!
…3-4 hours later you’re ready to start partying!
P.S: If you need more help, I have step-by-step photos and a video for you on How to Make Meatballs. And if you want to take a shortcut (no judgment here, shortcuts were made for busy seasons!) and need help choosing frozen meatballs…
How to choose frozen meatballs:
- Read the ingredients: I don’t know about you, but I want my meatballs to actually contain meat. Read the ingredients on the back of the bag and look for a brand that uses mainly ground meat, breadcrumbs, egg and seasoning. Too many additives and fillers aren’t necessary.
- Buy a large bag: If you have the freezer space, it’s more economical to buy a large bag – even if you don’t need all of the meatballs right now. They will keep for some time in your freezer and might just save you on a busy day.
- Make sure they’re fully cooked: You’ll want fully cooked meatballs for this recipe, or you’ll have to defrost and cook them first. Otherwise they could fall apart in the sauce and you’ll end up with BBQ spaghetti sauce.
- Looking for a healthier option? You can also make this recipe with turkey meatballs, or choose a lower sodium brand.
- Defrosting: If you’re using fully cooked, frozen meatballs (either homemade or store-bought), it’s easier to use them frozen. THAT BEING SAID, do so at your own risk because using frozen foods in crockpots isn’t generally recommended. Since the frozen meatballs are fully cooked, I myself do it. I check the internal temperature of the meatballs before serving with a thermometer to make sure it has reached 160°F (see more about safe meat temperatures here).
- There’s no need to stir! You should actually never open your crockpot while it’s on (unless the recipe says so), because the heat in there decreases super fast. And stirring the meatballs too much will make them scraggly and will eventually break them up too much – not a nice result!
- Use the appropriate crockpot size: If you want to make a larger batch, use a larger crockpot, too. You don’t want to stuff your crockpot to the brim with meatballs and sauce. They will have a harder time heating through and the sauce won’t get as nice and sticky.
Looking for side dish ideas to turn these into dinner?
- Serve them with mashed potatoes or rice as a simple dinner for families. Or see more ideas:
- What Can You Serve With Meatballs?
- What can you Pair with BBQ Meatballs?
You’ll Like These, Too:
- Cranberry BBQ Crockpot Meatballs
- Honey Garlic Crockpot Meatballs
- 5 Ingredient Cranberry Glazed Crockpot Turkey Meatballs
Now go, make yourself some slow cooker meatballs.
For your Christmas party next Saturday. For football on Sunday. Or for the kids on Friday as a nice start-of-the-holidays treat.
Whatever, just make them because oh my, are they awesome!
Sticky BBQ Slow Cooker Meatballs Recipe
To Make the Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 egg
- 1 teaspoon mustard
- 1 small shallot chopped
- 1/3 cup bread crumbs
- Salt & pepper to taste
- OR use ready-made meatballs to make the recipe even easier!
To Make the Sauce
- 1 cup barbecue sauce
- 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
- 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- To make the meatballs, mix all ingredients in a large bowl and shape into small meatballs. Heat a non-stick frying pan over medium-high heat and add some oil. Cook the meatballs until browned on the outside and entirely cooked through.
- Once the meatballs are cooked, mix all sauce ingredients together. Add to the slow cooker with the meatballs and cook on low for 3-4 hours. The meatballs keep in the slow cooker for another 1-2 hours.