Cranberry Meatballs

Cranberry Meatballs are a delightful fusion of sweet and savory flavors, creating a culinary sensation that’s perfect for any gathering. These tender meatballs, crafted from ground turkey and aromatic minced onion, are bathed in a zesty cranberry sauce infused with a hint of chili and orange. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply seeking a tasty addition to your dinner menu, these meatballs are guaranteed to leave taste buds tingling with delight.


  • Meatballs:
    • 1 pound ground turkey
    • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
    • 1 large egg
    • ¼ cup milk
    • ¼ cup minced onion
    • 1 teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper
  • Cranberry Sauce:
    • ¾ cup jellied cranberry sauce
    • ½ cup chili sauce
    • ¼ cup BBQ sauce
    • 2 tablespoons orange juice
    • ½ teaspoon Dijon mustard
    • ½ teaspoon Sriracha chili sauce
    • ¼ teaspoon salt
    • ¼ teaspoon pepper


  1. Preheat and Prepare:
    • Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup.
  2. Mix and Form:
    • In a medium mixing bowl, combine ground turkey, panko bread crumbs, egg, milk, minced onion, salt, and pepper. Mix until thoroughly combined. Roll the mixture into 1 1/2 inch meatballs and place them on the prepared baking sheet.
  3. Bake to Perfection:
    • Bake the meatballs in the preheated oven for 20-25 minutes until they are cooked through and golden brown, ensuring tender and flavorful results.
  4. Simmer the Sauce:
    • While the meatballs are baking, prepare the cranberry sauce. In a large saucepan, combine jellied cranberry sauce, chili sauce, BBQ sauce, orange juice, Dijon mustard, Sriracha chili sauce, salt, and pepper. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer until the sauce thickens and reduces.
  5. Coat and Serve:
    • Once the meatballs are cooked, add them to the saucepan with the cranberry sauce, stirring gently to coat evenly. Optionally, transfer the meatballs and sauce to a slow cooker set on low heat to keep warm until ready to serve.
  6. Garnish and Enjoy:
    • Garnish the meatballs with orange zest for a burst of citrus flavor, if desired, and serve with toothpicks for easy serving, allowing guests to indulge in each delectable bite.

Serving and Storage Tips :

Serving Suggestions:

  1. Party Platter Perfection: Arrange the Cranberry Meatballs on a festive platter and garnish with fresh parsley or orange zest for an eye-catching presentation.
  2. Dipping Delight: Serve alongside extra cranberry sauce or a side of tangy mustard for dipping, allowing guests to customize their flavor experience.
  3. Slider Sensation: Transform these meatballs into mini sliders by placing them between small buns or rolls, topped with a dollop of cranberry sauce and a slice of cheese for a delightful appetizer or main course.
  4. Rice or Pasta Pairing: Serve the Cranberry Meatballs over a bed of cooked rice or pasta for a satisfying meal that’s both hearty and flavorful.

Storage Guidelines:

  1. Refrigeration: Store any leftover Cranberry Meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure they are completely cooled before storing to maintain freshness.
  2. Freezing Option: To prolong their shelf life, freeze the cooked meatballs without the sauce in a single layer on a baking sheet. Once frozen, transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to 2-3 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator before reheating.
  3. Reheating Instructions: Reheat the refrigerated or thawed meatballs in a saucepan over medium heat, adding additional cranberry sauce if necessary to prevent drying out. Alternatively, reheat them in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes until heated through.

By following these serving and storage tips, you can ensure that your Cranberry Meatballs remain fresh, flavorful, and ready to enjoy whenever the craving strikes. Whether you’re hosting a party or simply looking for a convenient and delicious meal option, these meatballs are sure to be a hit with family and friends alike.


  1. Sweet & Tangy Pineapple Twist: Add pineapple chunks to the meatball mixture for a tropical flavor infusion that pairs perfectly with the cranberry sauce.
  2. Asian-Inspired Fusion: Incorporate soy sauce, ginger, and garlic into the meatball mixture for an Asian twist. Serve with a side of steamed rice and stir-fried vegetables for a complete meal.
  3. Italian-Inspired Meatballs: Replace the ground turkey with ground beef and add Italian seasoning, garlic powder, and Parmesan cheese to the meatball mixture for a classic Italian flavor profile.
  4. Vegetarian Option: Swap the ground turkey for a meat alternative such as lentils, quinoa, or chickpeas to create flavorful vegetarian meatballs. Coat them in the cranberry sauce for a satisfying vegetarian dish.
  5. Cranberry BBQ Glaze: Mix cranberry sauce with your favorite barbecue sauce for a sweet and smoky glaze that adds depth of flavor to the meatballs.
  6. Spicy Cranberry Jalapeño Kick: Add diced jalapeños to the cranberry sauce for a spicy twist that balances the sweetness of the cranberries.
  7. Maple Glazed Meatballs: Replace the BBQ sauce with maple syrup in the cranberry sauce for a deliciously sweet and savory flavor combination.
  8. Mediterranean-Inspired Meatballs: Use ground lamb or a mixture of lamb and beef for the meatballs and add Mediterranean spices like oregano, cumin, and cinnamon. Serve with tzatziki sauce for dipping.
  9. Buffalo Cranberry Fusion: Toss the meatballs in buffalo sauce before coating them in the cranberry sauce for a spicy and tangy flavor explosion.
  10. Teriyaki Cranberry Meatballs: Use teriyaki sauce instead of BBQ sauce in the cranberry sauce for an Asian-inspired twist. Garnish with sesame seeds and green onions for a pop of color and flavor.


  1. Can I use frozen meatballs for this recipe? Yes, you can use store-bought frozen meatballs if you’re short on time. Simply thaw them before adding them to the cranberry sauce.
  2. Can I make the meatballs ahead of time? Yes, you can prepare the meatballs in advance and store them in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking. Alternatively, you can freeze the unbaked meatballs for future use.
  3. Can I use cranberry jelly instead of jellied cranberry sauce? Yes, cranberry jelly can be used as a substitute for jellied cranberry sauce in the recipe. Just make sure to adjust the consistency of the sauce accordingly.
  4. Can I make the sauce less spicy? Absolutely! Adjust the amount of Sriracha chili sauce or omit it altogether if you prefer a milder flavor.
  5. Can I use fresh cranberries instead of cranberry sauce? Yes, you can use fresh cranberries to make your own cranberry sauce from scratch. Simply cook the cranberries with sugar and water until they burst and thicken into a sauce.
  6. Can I use ground chicken instead of ground turkey? Yes, ground chicken can be used as a substitute for ground turkey in this recipe. The meatballs will have a slightly different flavor but will still be delicious.
  7. Can I use gluten-free breadcrumbs for the meatballs? Yes, you can use gluten-free breadcrumbs or crushed gluten-free crackers as a substitute for panko breadcrumbs to make the meatballs gluten-free.
  8. Can I make the meatballs smaller for bite-sized appetizers? Yes, you can make smaller meatballs for bite-sized appetizers. Just adjust the cooking time accordingly to ensure they are fully cooked through.
  9. Can I use cranberry sauce leftovers for other dishes? Absolutely! Leftover cranberry sauce can be used as a topping for yogurt, oatmeal, pancakes, or toast. It can also be used as a glaze for roasted meats or added to smoothies for a fruity kick.
  10. Can I make this recipe in a slow cooker? Yes, you can cook the meatballs in a slow cooker instead of baking them. Place the cooked meatballs and sauce in the slow cooker on low heat for 2-3 hours, stirring occasionally, until heated through and tender.

With just a few simple steps, you can create a culinary masterpiece that’s sure to impress even the most discerning palates. These Cranberry Meatballs offer a delightful combination of flavors and textures that will elevate any occasion, from casual gatherings to formal celebrations. So gather your ingredients, fire up the oven, and get ready to savor the irresistible taste of these mouthwatering meatballs!