Amazing Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipe

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This easy meatball appetizer recipe is perfect for parties! They’re incredibly flavorful and seasoned with fresh chives, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. If you’re looking for the best homemade meatball appetizer, this is it! Pair them with our garlic dipping sauce for the most flavorful cocktail meatballs.

The classic Italian meatball traces its origins back to ancient Rome. More recently, cocktail meatballs have become a staple of dinner parties and other forms of entertainment. We love the tradition of serving meatballs at gatherings.

This recipe is as easy as tossing everything into a bowl, then using a cookie scooper to make little balls! They bake pretty quickly and that’s it. It’s one of our favorite appetizer recipes.

They’re a delicious appetizer and perfect for parties and special occasions. Serve these juicy meatballs with a delicious dipping sauce, vegetable platter, and other small party appetizers.

meatball appetizers

We made these meatballs and they were gone within a few minutes! Everyone loved them and couldn’t get enough, even kids!

Read on to learn everything you need to know about making cocktail meatballs.

Why We Love This Cocktail Meatball Recipe

This is a unique meatball appetizer that uses unique ground spices for flavor. They almost have a Moroccan flavor to them and they’re really delicious!

Truly these are the best homemade meatballs. We do not use frozen, pre-made meatballs and the recipe is still very easy cocktail meatballs to make.

These are tender meatballs that are bite-size and are a great appetizer.

All of the ingredients are tossed into one bowl, making cleanup much easier!

No hand rolling, just scoop and place on a cookie sheet.

How to Make Meatball Appetizers

Supplies

Here are a few supplies you’ll need to make these mini meatballs:

ground spices, chives, garlic, egg and meat in bowls

Ingredients

Here are the basic ingredients you’ll need to make this perfect meatball recipe. You can get all of these ingredients at your local grocery store.

The full recipe is in the recipe card below.

Organic Beef – We always use organic, grass-fed beef when we cook with beef. It’s really important to use good quality meat. You can also make the meatballs with turkey too.

Chives – These are like green onions, they’re long and skinny and taste similar to an onion and shallot. They had a lot of flavor to these

Bread Crumbs – Use Panko, classic breadcrumbs. The breadcrumbs add structure to the meat.

Egg – Add add moisture and stability to the meatballs.

Garlic – There is no better flavor than garlic! Garlic adds so much deliciousness to these meatballs. We recommend a garlic press, as it comes out perfectly minced.

Ground Spices – We use ground cumin, coriander, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper.

Olive Oil – This is used to enhance the flavor in the meatballs and gives them a golden brown color.

Salt and Pepper – Salt enhances flavor, while pepper adds flavor.

meat, bread crumbs, chives, ground spices and an egg in a mixing bowl.

5 Steps For Making This Meatball Appetizer

Here is how you make this easy recipe in 5 steps:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix all of the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.
  3. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  4. Use a small cookie scoop to make the meatballs. No need to roll them in your hand, just scoop and place meatballs on the prepared pan. Place them closer together so you can bake at least 24 cocktail meatballs.
  5. Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.

Quick Tips for Making Appetizer Meatballs

  • For the best results, place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place the meatballs on the rack to bake.
  • Use high-quality ingredients when making these meatballs.
  • Make sure to make enough for each guest to have 4 meatballs. They are really good and easy to eat!
  • If you don’t have a small cookie scooper, you can use a spoon and then roll small balls. However, we highly recommend a scooper as it makes this recipe so easy and they all turn out the same size.

How to Keep Cocktail Meatballs Warm

Now that you finally mastered the juicy turkey meatball recipe, you’ll need to keep those meatballs warm.

Whichever method you choose, make sure that you don’t overheat the appetizers. You’ll also want to ensure that your cocktail meatball offerings are kept sealed.

You can set your slow cooker to low for the job. Or you can keep them in the oven at a temperature of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Before sure to keep them wrapped in aluminum foil so they don’t dry out. 

mini meatball appetizers

How to Reheat Meatballs

Preheat your oven. Place the meatballs (presumably cooked) on a tray topped with aluminum foil. 

Cover with additional foil to prevent drying. Place in the oven for about 15 minutes. 

Recipe Variations

If you’re looking to make a few adjustments to our favorite meatball appetizers, try these recipe variations:

Make mini meatball sliders using Hawaiian sliders. Similar to our ham and cheese sliders, make this with meatballs and a little garlic sauce.

Use ground turkey or ground pork instead of beef.

Add more ground cayenne for an extra spicy flavor.

If you like cheesy meatballs, add 1/4 cup parmesan cheese into the mixture.

Add a little soy sauce or Worcestershire sauce to the recipe if you like.

the best meatball appetizers

Frequently Asked Questions

Can You Freeze Cocktail Meatballs?

Cocktail meatballs freeze incredibly well. You’ll want to seal them in a Ziplock bag of some kind so they don’t lose moisture.
You can even take the frozen meatballs straight to a slow cooker. Three to four hours is typically enough time to revive the frozen appetizers. 

Can You Put Raw Meatballs in a Cooker?

Here’s that all-important question. Can you put raw meatballs in the cooker? The short answer is yes you can make these crockpot meatballs. You’ll need to adjust the cooking time to allow for thorough cooking. 
Then set the raw balls of meat to simmer in a sauce for six to eight hours. Cooked meatballs only require a few hours of heating.
Cooking the meatballs offers benefits that shouldn’t be overlooked. Only a hot stove or grill can sear the outer layer of meat for a texture that is grilled outside and tender throughout.  

What Do I Do with Leftovers?

So your delicious meatballs were a hit. Now what? Place your cheesy meatballs or saucy meatballs in the fridge while considering some of these leftover ideas. 
You can dunk meatballs into your favorite soup. You can add them to any pasta or casserole. 
Meatballs make for a great pizza topping, especially if you slice the balls up beforehand. The classic meatball sub is another easy option.
Simply fill a baguette or similar type of bread with meatballs, mozzarella cheese, and tomato sauce. Then bake into a gooey and delicious sandwich. 

appetizer for parties

What Goes with a Meatballs Appetizer Recipe?

Meatballs are a juicy, savory treat, so consider a little variety when planning side dishes to go along with them. 

Potatoes should top your list. Some of your guests might even be tempted to release their inner kid and mash up the potatoes and meatballs. 

Any kind of grain or starch offers textural nuance and something to sop up the juiciness of the meatballs. White rice, crusty bread, baked potatoes, and baked beans are great options. 

Or you can go for something sweeter like sweet potato fries to contrast the meat’s savoriness.

How Many Meatballs Do You Need for a Party?

This answer really depends on the size of the meatball. Cocktail meatballs tend to come in diameters of one or two inches. If you make larger two-inch balls, you can plan on preparing two or three per guest.

Smaller one-inch balls will require that you make four to five per guest. Another thing to consider is how many side dishes you’ll have. 

If you are preparing for a party of around 25, you’ll need to buy around 3 pounds of meat for this main course. If you calculate that 25 guests will eat 4 meatballs each, then you’ll need 100 meatballs. 1 lb of beef makes about 3-40 mini meatballs.

dipping a cocktail meatball into garlic sauce

What Sauce Goes Well with Meatballs?

It’s all about the sauce! We have the perfect sauce recipes for you. Our readers rave about our garlic cilantro sauce. However, any of these delicious sauce recipes would go perfectly with this recipe.

Other popular dipping options include:

  • Honey Garlic – These flavors would pair nicely with the spices in this recipe.
  • BBQ Sauce – We love a good BBQ sauce to add even more flavors to these meatballs. Try Carolina BBQ sauce or try making your own!
  • Chili Sauce – If you love spicy meatballs, serve them with a classic chili sauce. You can buy this at most grocery stores or you can make your own.
  • Cranberry Sauce or Grape Jelly – This sauce is perfect for Thanksgiving or Christmas.

Pretty much anything that enhances the savory flavor of meatballs will work well. 

What Wines Pair with Meatballs?

If you are serving wine with your meatballs, red wines will generally pair best with most meats and even lean ground beef. Pork is typically served with white wine while turkey meatballs can be served with either. 

In general, a robust red wine like merlot helps cut through fattier cuts of meat. This helps cleanse the palate.

White wines generally go better with lighter, less fatty meats. Oily meat like ground beef might obscure the natural sweetness of a Riesling, for example. When in doubt, serve both options and let your guests choose. 

Check out our types of wine chart to learn more about wine pairings.

When to Serve This Meatball Appetizer Recipe

This meatball appetizer recipe is perfect for any time of the year. It’s great for parties or even for dinner. Here are some celebrations when you can serve cocktail meatballs.

Game Day Parties

Brunch

Pool Party

Birthday Party it’s also perfect for a last-minute birthday party!

Carnival Party

Garden Party 

Baby and Bridal Showers

Wine and Cheese Party

Holiday Parties

mini meatballs on small wooden spoons with sauce

How to Serve Cocktail Meatballs

There are two ways to serve this meatball appetizer:

  1. Serve on a platter with a cocktail pick in each meatball so guests can quickly grab and eat one.
  2. For more of an elegant presentation, serve on small wooden spoons with a dollop of sauce over the meatball.

Cocktail meatballs are always a crowd-pleaser. No matter what type of meatball appetizer recipe you use, putting a little thought into how you serve and reheat them can go a long way in impressing your friends.

More Party Appetizers You’ll Love

You might be wondering, what do you eat with cocktail meatballs? If you’re looking for more delicious party appetizers, we have you covered! Try any of these incredible appetizers:

Marinated Olives

How to Create a Cheese Platter – You can also add these to our holiday Halloween cheese platter.

The Best Goat Cheese Dip

Prosciutto and Potato Chip Appetizer

Mini Lobster Rolls

Also, check out our easy party desserts and easy mixed drinks to serve at a party.

Let us know if you make this delicious meatball appetizer recipe for your next gathering!

We would love to know your thoughts. Please leave a review and comment below!

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meatball appetizers

Easy Meatball Appetizer

This easy meatball appetizer recipe is perfect for parties! They’re incredibly flavorful and seasoned with fresh chives, cumin, paprika, cinnamon, and cayenne pepper. 
5 from 5 votes
Print Pin Rate
Course: Appetizer
Cuisine: American
Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
0 minutes
Total Time: 20 minutes
Servings: 40 mini meatballs
Calories: 40kcal
Author: Eden

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef
  • 1/2 cup chives, chopped
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 1 tsp smoked paprika
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp black pepper
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

Instructions

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  • Mix all of the ingredients into a medium mixing bowl.
    ingredients in a bowl to make meatball appetizer
  • Line a baking pan with a rack or with parchment paper or a Silpat.
  • Use a small cookie scoop to make the meatballs. No need to roll them in your hand, just scoop and place meatballs on the prepared pan.
    small cookie scooper to make mini meatballs
  • Place them closer together so you can bake at least 24 cocktail meatballs.
    mini meatballs on a baking sheet
  • Bake for 15-20 minutes until golden brown and cooked through.
    meatball appetizers
  • Add a cocktail pick into each meatball before serving.

Notes

  • For the best results, place a cooling rack over a baking sheet and place the meatballs on the rack to bake.
  • Use high-quality ingredients when making these meatballs.
  • Make sure to make enough for each guest to have 4 meatballs. They are really good and easy to eat!
  • Use ground turkey or ground pork instead of beef.

    HOW TO KEEP COCKTAIL MEATBALLS WARM

    Now that you finally mastered the juicy turkey meatball recipe, you’ll need to keep those meatballs warm. Whichever method you choose, make sure that you don’t overheat the appetizers. You’ll also want to ensure that your cocktail meatball offerings are kept sealed. You can set your slow cooker to low for the job. Or you can keep them in the oven at a temperature of around 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Before sure to keep them wrapped in aluminum foil so they don’t dry out. 

Nutrition

Calories: 40kcal | Carbohydrates: 1g | Protein: 2g | Fat: 3g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 1g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 13mg | Sodium: 49mg | Potassium: 40mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 54IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 7mg | Iron: 1mg
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cocktail meatball graphic

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3 thoughts on “Amazing Easy Meatball Appetizer Recipe”

  1. 5 stars
    I’m a little OCD, so I had to roll mine in balls after I scooped them. 🙂 They were a hit with the whole family just dipped in BBQ sauce. Can’t wait to try them again with your garlic cilantro sauce. That sounds amazing!

    Reply
  2. 5 stars
    These are so flavorful! And that garlic cilantro dipping sauce- chef’s kiss! These are sure to be a hit at any party.

    Reply

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