Pineapple Barbecue Cocktail Meatballs

Cocktail meatballs simmered in a sweet and tangy barbecue sauce are perfect as appetizers or for weeknight dinner with rice and vegetables!


Are you as obsessed about meatballs as I am?

If you’re looking for a nibble for any party, these are definitely a winner. It’s a great recipe for parties and other gatherings since it feeds a crowd and can be kept warm in a slow cooker. You can make the meatballs ahead of time and then keep them on a bare simmer during the party. As people come and go, you can replenish with more cooked meatballs. I served cocktail meatballs for a Fourth of July party one year, and as the saying goes, the rest is history.


These meatballs are baked – with no browning of the meat required – making it all the simpler and healthier. I had made a large batch of meatballs, baked them, and then stashed them in the freezer for the times when a quick meal is needed. When ready to use, just pull out one portion, let them thaw, and then simply pop them in a pot of simmering sauce.

These meatballs are delicious on their own served on a party platter with toothpicks, but they’re also great on top of a mound of brown rice and grilled veggies. Leftover meatballs make great lunches the next day, too. Put some of the meatballs on a toasted hoagie or bun with a slather of barbecue sauce and a pile of carrot cabbage slaw – quick and delicious!

Pineapple Barbecue Cocktail Meatballs

Serves: 6


For meatballs:
1½ lbs lean ground beef
1 small onion, finely chopped
½ cup plain breadcrumbs
¼ cup milk
1 egg
½ tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp salt
½ tsp ground black pepper
For sauce:
½ cup pineapple juice
1 cup barbecue sauce (use your favorite brand - I used Sweet Baby Ray's)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Preheat oven to 350F. Line baking sheets with greased aluminum foil.

In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients for meatballs and mix well. Shape into meatballs about 1-inch in diameter. Place meatballs on prepared baking sheets, spacing one inch apart, and bake for 18-20 minutes or until meat is no longer pink.

Meanwhile, combine the sauce ingredients in a large saucepan and bring to a boil. Add meatballs, and simmer on low, covered, for 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve hot.

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