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Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs - Easy and delicious, these sweet and spicy meatballs need to make an appearance at your next cocktail party!

Earlier this summer, we shared a delicious coconut shrimp recipe that was served with a fantastic sweet chili dipping sauce! Shortly after we made that recipe, we had an impromptu get-together at our house after a day at the beach.

To feed our friends, we grilled up some burgers and also pulled all sorts of leftovers we had in the refrigerator from cooking recipes for the blog – including some of that sweet chili dipping sauce.

My husband Jack (always an adventurous eater!) decided to slather his grilled burger with some of the leftover dipping sauce. I tried a bite of his burger – and it was really delicious! Next thing we knew – all of our friends were spreading the sauce on their burgers – and we knew we were on to something good!

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs - Easy and delicious, these sweet and spicy meatballs need to make an appearance at your next cocktail party!

I suggested to Jack that the sweet chili dipping sauce would make a great sauce for some cocktail meatballs, and after a little experimenting in the kitchen – this recipe for Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs was created!

These Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs are a delicious alternative to the classic grape jelly meatballs that so many people bring to parties. We started with a classic meatball recipe made with beef and pork – but changed up the spices a bit to complement the sweet chili sauce.

But the sauce is really the star! Fresh ginger, garlic and jalapenos are combined with dried fruit (we used pineapple), champagne vinegar, ketchup, sugar and seasonings. It has a perfectly balanced sweet and spicy flavor that complements the cocktail meatballs perfectly!

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Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs - A Family Feast

Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs

  • Author: A Family Feast
  • Prep Time: 30 mins
  • Cook Time: 30 mins
  • Total Time: 1 hour
  • Yield: 36 cocktail meatballs


For the Meatballs

  • 1 cup chopped white bread with crusts removed (Sandwich or Italian or sourdough or ciabatta, etc.)
  • ¼ cup heavy cream
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup finely minced onion
  • 1 teaspoon minced garlic
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
  • 1 teaspoon granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon white vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons ketchup
  • ½ pound ground pork
  • 1 pound 80/20 ground beef

For the Sauce

  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger
  • 2 tablespoons chopped garlic
  • 3 tablespoons chopped jalapeno peppers, seeds removed (unless you like it hot)
  • ¼ cup dried pineapple pieces (or any other dried fruit such as mango)
  • ¼ cup champagne vinegar
  • ½ cup water
  • ¼ cup ketchup
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 1½ teaspoons kosher salt
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1½ tablespoons corn starch


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. In a small bowl place bread and cream. Mix and press down so bread absorbs liquid.
  3. In a large bowl place egg, onion, garlic, salt, pepper, ginger, sugar, vinegar and ketchup. Mix to combine.
  4. Go back to small bowl with bread and beat with a fork or small whip so mixture is mushy with no pieces.
  5. Add to large bowl along with pork and mix thoroughly to combine.
  6. Add beef and gently fold into mixture until just incorporated.
  7. Using a small scoop, scoop out 36 meatballs.
  8. Line a sheet tray with parchment paper.
  9. Fill a small bowl with water and start wetting your hands and rolling each meatball and place on prepared pan. Keep wetting your hands as you roll.
  10. Bake for 15 minutes and remove from oven.
  11. While meatballs are cooking make the sauce. Place ginger, garlic, peppers, dried fruit, vinegar, water, ketchup, sugar and salt in a blender and puree. Place this mixture in a medium to large sauce pan and heat.
  12. Mix water with corn starch and add to pan and stir to form a thick sauce.
  13. Place meatballs in sauce and simmer for 15 minutes.
  14. To serve, remove meatballs from the sauce and serve on a platter.

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Sweet and Spicy Cocktail Meatballs - Easy and delicious, these sweet and spicy meatballs need to make an appearance at your next cocktail party!

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  • Rose | The Clean Dish wrote:

    Who can resist cocktail meatball, especially if they come with a delicious sauce like this!

  • Nancy | The Bitter Side of Sweet wrote:

    That dripping sauce is normally the best kind of sauce. It has so much flavor! And these meatballs would be perfect for game day!

  • Cookin Canuck wrote:

    I can see why you fell in love with that sauce – love that ginger and jalapeño combination! These would be gone in a flash at any cocktail party.

  • Angie | Big Bear’s Wife wrote:

    We love Cocktail Meatballs around here and my husband could probably eat all of these himself! He loves stuff like this! (I mean I do too but he really LOVES party meatballs), Love the garlic and ginger in the sauce!

  • Sarah Walker Caron (Sarah’s Cucina Bella) wrote:

    These look ridiculously good. I cannot wait to try them!

  • Lauren @ Healthy Delicious wrote:

    These look so good – and I bet my husband would adore them. Can’t wait to try them the next chance I get!

  • Paula – bell’alimento wrote:

    I’m all about sweet and spicy and can’t ever turn down a meatball!

  • Ashley @ Wishes & Dishes wrote:

    Oh my are a genius!! Great use of that sauce. Now I also want to try it on a burger!

  • The Food Hunter wrote:

    Don’t you love when recipes come together by chance!

  • Stephanie wrote:

    These are so great for parties!

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