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Cocktail Meatballs

Cocktail Meatballs Recipe

As featured in Holiday 2023 issue of The Applegatarian.


"We do Christmas Eve with my husband's family and these meatballs are always on the menu. My mother-in-law Marcia Burke-I call her 'Mama B'­ makes batches and batches of them and usually serves them in a slow cooker. Everyone loves them!" - Claudia Burke, Applegate Specifications Coordinator.


Claudia Burke, Applegate Specifications Coordinator



The Applegatarian, an outlet where employees and advocates of the nation’s leading natural and organic meat brand dish about their favorite recipes, tips, products, partners and more.


Serves 6 | Total Time: Less Than 60 Mins


For the sauce 

  • 1 cup ketchup 
  • ½ cup water 
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar 
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar 
  • 1 tablespoon minced onions 
  • 1 tablespoon prepared horseradish 
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce 
  • 1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt 
  • 1 teaspoon dry mustard 
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • 3 drops hot sauce, or to taste 


To make the sauce, combine all ingredients in a bowl and stir well. Set aside. 

For the meatballs


  • 1 pound ground beef 
  • ¾ to 1 cup fine breadcrumbs 
  • 1 ½ tablespoons minced onions 
  • ½ teaspoon prepared horseradish 
  • 3 drops hot sauce, or to taste 
  • 2 large eggs, beaten 
  • ¾ teaspoon kosher salt 
  • ½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper 
  • Chopped fresh parsley, for garnish 




  1. To make the meatballs, combine all ingredients in a bowl and mix together by hand until well combined. 
  2. Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil. 
  3. Form small cocktail-sized meatballs by hand and arrange on the lined baking sheet. Bake meatballs until browned, 12 to 15 minutes. 
  4. Transfer browned meatballs to a pan or saucepan and pour sauce over meatballs. Bring to a simmer over moderate heat and cook gently, stirring occasionally, until cooked through, about 10 minutes. Garnish with parsley and serve hot.