BBQ Meatballs are the easiest ever, portable game day snack!

Just a few simple ingredients, and bare minimum work on you’re part and you’ve got yourself a sweet and savory slow cooker meatball recipe that your friends will love!


A hand holding a toothpick picking up a BBQ Meatball for a bowl of BBQ Meatballs.

BBQ Meatballs Crockpot Recipe

I feel like it’s just not game day without a crockpot full of meatballs! In my family we love to make a bunch of delicious appetizers to enjoy while we watch football every Sunday. In truth, I’m not a huge football fan. I’m kind of just there for the food!

We had a friend who would often bring BBQ Meatballs with Grape Jelly. And while they were super tasty, I was just dying to make my own BBQ meatballs recipe that was a little different than the those. I knew I wanted a seriously easy recipe that didn’t take up too much time. I also wanted then to be super addictive and the kind of snack you’d happily chow down on along with the rest of your game day spread.

A Blue bowl containing BBQ Meatballs

I had a few prerequisites for my BBQ Meatballs recipe:

  1. They should be made in a slow cooker- I love that the crockpot allows us to “set it and forget it” and that it’s also super portable. I’m sure you can easily work out how to make BBQ Meatballs on the stove as well. But I made these with every intention of using a crockpot.
  2. They should include minimal ingredients- I want to be able to to throw a few things into the crockpot with less than 10 minutes prep and then not have to touch it until it’s time to eat. I also gave a tasty substitution option for one ingredient that isn’t super uncommon, but that perhaps everyone might not have on hand.
  3. You shouldn’t have to spend your time rolling ground meat into meatballs- Look, I love homemade meatballs (check out my Grandma’s real-deal Italian meatballs!) but The last thing I want to be doing on a Sunday morning is rolling ground beef into homemade meatballs; that’s too much work. So buy frozen, pre-made meatballs! I promise this will still taste great.

A close up to the side of a bowl of BBQ Meatballs.

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A close up to the side of a bowl of BBQ Meatballs.

BBQ Meatballs

5 from 2 votes
 BBQ Meatballs are the easiest ever, portable game day snack! 
Prep Time 7 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Inactive time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 7 minutes
Yield 8 servings
Serving Size 1 serving


  • 2 cups tomato ketchup
  • 2 Tablespoons liquid smoke (you can also substitute soy sauce for a less smoky flavor)
  • 1 1/2 cups brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup onion, minced
  • 1 24 ounce package pre-made frozen meatballs


  • In the bowl of the slow cooker, whisk together the ketchup, liquid smoke (or soy sauce) and brown sugar until well combined.
  • Stir in onions and meatballs until evenly coated.
  • Cover the slow cooker and set to high.
  • Cook for 2 hours until hot and bubbly.
  • Set the slow cooker to warm and serve hot.

Recipe Nutrition

Serving: 1serving | Calories: 228kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Sodium: 564mg | Potassium: 258mg | Sugar: 53g | Vitamin A: 310IU | Vitamin C: 3.2mg | Calcium: 46mg | Iron: 0.5mg
Nutritional information not guaranteed to be accurate
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Keyword BBQ Meatballs

Some of my other favorite breakfast recipes include:

Classic Swedish Meatballs

Swedish Meatballs | The Life Jolie

Porcupine Meatballs

Porcupine Meatballs | The Life Jolie

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