Our 25+ BEST Meatball Appetizers

There’s nothing that can bring a smile to your guests’ faces like savory, juicy, saucy, delicious meatball appetizers.

Who doesn’t love spaghetti and meatballs? This classic dish is a beloved American tradition, even though spaghetti originated in Italy. You can also make Bisquick meatballs for a great party appetizer, or you can heat meatballs up with sweet and sour sauce for something different. And don’t forget Swedish meatballs.

These plump appetizer meatballs can be seasoned in so many tasty ways, and they are always super easy to whip up.

Meatball appetizers are a delicious and versatile option for any gathering, as they can be prepared in various ways to suit different tastes and dietary preferences. From the classic Italian meatball to adventurous, globally-inspired flavors, these small bites can serve as excellent starters or even as part of a larger buffet.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of creating meatball appetizers is experimenting with recipes that incorporate a mix of ingredients, textures, and flavors. By using a reliable base recipe and incorporating personal touches or unique flavors, it’s possible to customize meatballs to delight every guest’s palate. In addition to using various types of meat, such as beef, pork, or turkey, options like vegetarian or gluten-free versions guarantee there is something for everyone.

When preparing meatball appetizers, it is essential to consider both the cooking method and the sauce or dip that complements their flavors. Depending on the recipe, meatballs can be baked, pan-fried, or even cooked in a slow cooker, each with its distinct advantages and impact on the dish. Additionally, pairing the appetizers with the perfect sauce or dip, whether it’s a classic marinara, tangy barbecue, or something more adventurous, can elevate the experience and leave a lasting impression on guests.

Some appetizer meatballs can be made in the oven, while others cook best using a crockpot or slow cooker.

And if you want to change things up, you can create meatball appetizers that go beyond simple meatballs you eat with a toothpick.

Party meatball recipe ideas such as banh mi meatball lettuce cups, meatball flatbreads, and mini meatball subs open up new possibilities for what a meatball appetizer looks like.

Below, we’ve listed 25 of the savoriest, most delicious meatball appetizer recipes you can sink your teeth in.

Source: butterwithasideofbread.com

1. Cheesy Meatball Bites

One quick, easy, and delicious appetizer recipe that’s perfect for parties and gamedays is these delicious cheesy meatball appetizers made with frozen meatballs, crescent dough, marinara sauce, and tons of cheese!

They are so quick and easy to put together and bake, and they come out as golden brown cups of cheesy, meaty perfection!

Source: cookingwithdfg.com

2. Jalapeno Popper Meatballs

If you’re looking for a little spicy appetizer excitement, these bacon jalapeno popper meatballs will ignite your tastebuds! These simple ground beef meatballs are packed with bacon, jalapenos, Colby Jack cheese, cream cheese, and lots of spices. They are the perfect appetizer recipe for those who like taking a walk on the wild side!

Source: mybrotherssalsa.com

3. Lil Smokies and Meatballs Appetizer

If you’re trying to decide between serving Lil smokies and meatballs, then perhaps the answer is both! Throwing these two tasty appetizers together in a crockpot makes for a surefire crowd-pleaser. And the sweet, smoky, savory barbecue sauce will have your guests coming back for more and more!

Source: marionskitchen.com

4. Banh Mi Meatball Lettuce Cups

If you want to try a new kind of meatball appetizer recipe, then Banh Mi Meatball lettuce cups are one dish you must try! They are made with crispy lettuce, carrots, onion, pork, along with Asian seasonings and spices that make these appetizers something special.

Source: cookingmamas.com

5. Meatball Sliders

Meatball Sliders is a fun recipe that creates mini sliders using a pack of Hawaiian buns, fully-cooked ground beef frozen meatballs, and various spices and cheeses. Honestly, appetizers don’t get much easier than this folks, and they come out golden brown with gooey cheese just stretching all the way to your plate!

Source: bigoven.com

6. Baked Meatball Wontons

Another fun and delightful meatball appetizer recipe are these savory chicken meatball wonton lasagna cups. They are made with pre-cooked chicken meatballs, wonton wrappers, marinara, cheeses, and Italian seasonings. These saucy hot cups of wonder are a fantastic way to satisfy your guests’ hunger before the main course.

Source: myfoodstory.com

7. Sticky Thai Meatballs

What is it you crave when you’re craving Thai food? You want that savory, sticky, spicy flavor you can only find in Thai food if you’re like me. And these tasty little Thai meatballs hit all the right notes. Plus, they are quick and easy to whip together.

Source: ralphs.com

8. Meatball Taquitos

This meatball recipe brings together the concepts of Tex-Mex and Italian food to create the appetizer sensation known as Meatball Taquitos. These perfectly dippable baked tortilla rolls are filled with mozzarella cheese and juicy Italian-style meatballs. Serve with a warm dish of marinara sauce.

Source: lecremedelacrumb.com

9. Hawaiian Meatballs

These delicious meatballs are baked until they have a perfectly crispy skin with tender-juicy insides, and they are topped with a sweet, flavorful pineapple Hawaiian sauce that’s just out of this world! You can serve them as appetizers or over some rice as a main dish. Either way, you can’t go wrong!

Source: theslowroasteditalian.com

10. Meatball Bombs

Wow, sometimes when you see a picture of food, you just have to stop and be memorized by it. That’s especially true when it’s a picture of a juicy, hot ground beef meatball oozing gooey, chewy mozzarella cheese inside a golden brown roll. But be careful.

Source: thecomfortofcooking.com

11. Meatball Flatbread

If you’re looking for wickedly-delicious flatbread pizza that you can enjoy in just 20 minutes, this meatball recipe for meatball flatbread pizza is gonna be your jam! It only has five basic ingredients, but it’s loaded with delicious flavors and sure to make guests wonder how much you spent ordering all these pizzas!

Source: healthylittlepeach.com

12. Sticky Asian Meatballs

There’s something special about Asian cuisine, where you often find incredible flavors like sesame seed oil, coconut, and ginger in many dishes. And for this meatball recipe, we have the perfect blend of Asian flavors, delivering a little bit of heaven one delicious bite at a time. And if you don’t have coconut amino, you can just use soy sauce.

Source: lovetobeinthekitchen.com

13. Honey Garlic Meatballs

It’s weird how certain flavors that you would never imagine going together work so perfectly in recipes. For instance, no one looks at a garlic clove and wonders what it would taste like with some honey, but the answer is absolutely amazing when it comes to these tasty meatballs!

Source: todaysparent.com

14. Mini Meatball Subs

Another great dish you can use either as an appetizer or a main course is this recipe for mini meatball subs. We love these subs. Aside from being so easy to make it is how you can customize your own with any topping you can dream of.

Source: thymeforcocktails.com

15. Teriyaki Chicken Meatball Kabobs

Another fun and tasty Asian-inspired dish is this mouthwatering Teriyaki Chicken Meatball kabob recipe made with juicy chicken meatball glazed in a sweet and delicious teriyaki sauce. You can also grill these with veggies such as peppers and broccoli. They come out with that incredible BBQ flavor we all love!

Source: recipelion.com

16. Tangy Glazed Meatballs

Super delicious and super easy, these tangy-sweet BBQ glazed meatballs are everything we love about appetizers. They have just the right amount of spice balanced with savory sweetness to make them absolutely irresistible. The aroma of these meaty marvels, when they come out of the oven, will get those saliva glands working overtime!

Source: rosinarecipes.com

17. Meatball Sub Dip

Another great alternative meatball recipe is taking your juicy meatballs and turning them into a fun and savory dip. This meatball sub dip blends Italian meatballs with Italian seasonings, marinara sauce, parmesan, mozzarella, and ricotta cheese to create a dipping experience you’ll have to taste to believe!

Source: cookiesandcups.com

18. Swedish Meatballs

My wife loves going to the Ikea store, me not so much, but whenever she mentions their delicious Swedish meatballs, my outlook tends to undergo a magical change. They make walking for an hour to look at hard-to-pronounce furniture totally worth it, and now you can totally make your own at home!

Source: thecountrycook.net

19. Meatball Sub on a Stick

One of the most creative recipes on this list has to be meatball subs on a stick. Whoever thought of this is a pure genius! The appetizer has four basic ingredients; precooked meatballs, mozzarella, breadstick dough, and marinara sauce. In no time, you’ve got a savory sandwich on a stick!

Source: tastykitchen.com

20. Slow Cooker Bourbon Meatballs

Sometimes you can just tell how much you’ll love a bbq sauce just by seeing it glazed over a juicy meatball. And if you think you’ll be licking your lips, plate, and fingers after inhaling a couple of these delicious meatballs, we can’t argue otherwise.

Source: spendwithpennies.com

21. Mozzarella stuffed meatballs

Imagine sinking your teeth into what you believe is just a big, plump, juicy meatball only to discover it’s hiding delicious secrets such as gooey, melty, mozzarella cheese? You may just find that it is necessary to impound the whole batch for “further investigation” after one bite.

Source: rasamalaysia.com

22. Sweet and Sour Meatballs

These sweet and sour meatballs have a wonderfully light, sweet, and fruity flavor that’s perfect for tickling your taste buds while getting you excited for the main course. They are the ideal blend of sweet and savory with just a touch of spice to keep you on your toes.

Source: tablespoon.com

23. Cranberry Chili Meatballs

Many folks only enjoy the taste of cranberry around the holidays, which is a real shame because it’s such an incredible flavor. We have juicy, seasoned meatballs dressed with a spicy and sweet cranberry sauce in this recipe.

Source: wheredmysanitygo.com

24. Grape Jelly Meatballs

Now, I have to admit, the first time I heard about grape jelly meatballs, I was quite skeptical. The idea of using grape jelly for anything but biscuits and PB&J sandwiches seems far-fetched. But, once you take a bit of these sweet and flavorful meatballs, you’ll become a true believer, as I had!

Source: thehungrybluebird.com

25. BBQ Blackberry-Jalapeno Meatballs

Holy smokes, folks. Say it with me. Blackberry Jalapeno BBQ meatballs. How in the world can an appetizer made up of those magic words not be amazing?

Meatball Appetizers: Conclusion

As you can see, the meatball appetizer is a dish you whip up in no time and have ready to cook or serve at any large get-together.

They are the perfect appetizers for birthdays, bbq parties, holiday dinners, and much more.

It’s hard to say no to these savory, meaty balls of goodness as you find yourself traveling back to the table for “just a few more” until they are all gone.

And for more sensational appetizer meatballs recipe ideas, check out the video below.

Our 25+ BEST Meatball Appetizers (+Meatballs and Lil Smokies Appetizer)

These options are sure to be a hit. So, gather your family and friends and enjoy. Let us know your thoughts!
5 from 5 votes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 4
Calories 235 kcal


  • 1 28- ounce package Lil Smokies
  • 1 pound cooked meatballs
  • 1 Tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 cup honey or brown sugar
  • 2 Tbsp. yellow mustard
  • 1 whole onion
  • Chives or cilantro for garnish


  • Put all ingredients into a Crock-Pot.
  • Cook on low for two hours.
  • Stir occasionally and serve while still hot.


Select your option.
Use in or with your favorite recipe.


Calories: 235kcal
Keyword meatball appetizers, meatballs and lil smokes appetizers
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Cassie brings decades of experience to the Kitchen Community. She is a noted chef and avid gardener. Her new book "Healthy Eating Through the Garden" will be released shortly. When not writing or speaking about food and gardens Cassie can be found puttering around farmer's markets and greenhouses looking for the next great idea.
Cassie Marshall
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