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These slow cooker whiskey meatballs take just 5 minutes to prep and are the perfect quick and simple appetizer for the holidays, football season or a Saturday night at home with the family! Everyone will be asking for seconds (and the recipe), so you'll definitely want to make a double batch.
Why you're going to love these quick and easy meatballs:
- They're so easy to throw together! Just dump the sauce ingredients into your crock pot, add frozen meatballs and stir to combine. The crock pot does the rest and in two hours you'll have a delicious party appetizer ready to go!
- These meatballs are a great "make ahead" appetizer. Stir all the sauce ingredients together in the crock pot insert and refrigerate for up to a week. Stir in the frozen meatballs and cook on high for 2 hours or on low for 4 hours.
- They have whiskey in them! Bourbon whiskey packs these little meatballs with a punch but don't worry, the alcohol will be cooked off by the time you serve them! You'll just be left with a deep, subtle whiskey flavor mixed with the sweet, tangy BBQ and chili sauce - giving you a cozy, comforting appetizer that's perfect for the holidays!
How to make bourbon whiskey meatballs:
Add frozen meatballs.
Stir until meatballs are coated in sauce.
Cover and cook on high for 2 hours (or low for 4 hours) or until meatballs are heated through. Garnish with sliced green onion if desired and enjoy!
Tips for making the best Slow Cooker Whiskey Meatballs:
- Those little bottles of liquor that you'll find near the check out in the liquor department are ¼ of a cup. So you'll need three of those small bottles for this recipe. Better make it four bottles though, so you can make yourself a cocktail while you're hard at work in the kitchen!
- Try a flavored whiskey for more dimension. I've tried peach and apple whiskey in this recipe and both turned out great. Classic whiskey is delish but feel free to switch up and add some more flavor in there!
- To make these meatballs ahead of time just mix the sauce ingredients in the crock pot insert and stick it in the fridge until about 2 hours before you'd like to serve them. Then stir in the frozen meatballs, crank it up to high and let the slow cooker do all the work.
Frequently asked questions:
- Do I need to cook meatballs before adding them to the crock pot?
- Nope! Frozen meatballs come fully cooked, so you are basically just warming them through and marinating them in a delicious whiskey bourbon BBQ sauce.
- Toss them into the crock pot frozen and two hours later they'll be piping hot and ready to enjoy!
- Do I need to make my own meatballs?
- NO! You certainly could make your own meatballs for this yummy appetizer if you're cool like that. But honestly, that's just going to leave less time for snuggling and watching cheesy Christmas movies (or football if that's what you're into). So I mean, do whatever makes you happy. And if it's buying a frozen bag of meatballs (or 3) then let's do that!
- This recipe is written for frozen meatballs, so if using freshly cooked homemade meatballs, you can reduce the cook time by at least half.
- Also, don't worry about garnishing your meatballs with green onion if you're not feeling it. I just needed to dress them up a bit as a bowl of brown meatballs doesn't scream "delicious food photo!" Thanks for understanding 🙂
- Can kids eat these whiskey meatballs?
- Yep. The alcohol cooks off in the slow cooker leaving behind that toasty whisky flavor that warms you from the inside out.
- By the time the meatballs are ready to eat, there is no actual alcohol left. No one will get drunk from cooked whiskey meatballs - promise!
If you loved these meatballs, check out these other appetizer faves:
- Loaded Jalapeno Popper Potato Skins
- Baked Spinach & Artichoke Dip
- Caramelized Onion Puff Pastry Tarts
- Curry Pork Meatballs
- Baked Korean Beef Meatballs
- Baked Jalapeno Poppers
- Roasted Garlic & Goat Cheese Dip
This post was originally published in November 2017. It was updated in November 2019 to include process shots, step-by-step instructions and tips for making the best bourbon whiskey meatballs every single time.