Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs

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Easy cranberry jalapeño meatballs can be purchased at Costco or made from scratch to be used in several delicious family dinners this season.

A white bowl filled with cranberry jalapeño meatballs has chopped green onions sprinkled over the top for garnish.

Take a peek in my freezer at any point in the year and you're going to spot several flavors of prepared chicken meatballs waiting to be turned into a quick and easy family dinner like my popular pineapple teriyaki meatball stir fry.

Around November, I start stalking the aisles at Costco so I can grab my favorite cranberry jalapeño chicken meatballs as soon as they arrive.

I love this seasonal flavor with saucy pastas and easy rice bowls.

However, if you don't have a membership to Costco, I didn't want you to miss out on this handy shortcut. I've shared a copycat recipe at the bottom of the post so you can make a batch and freeze them yourself.

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Why This is the Best Recipe

Delicious cranberry jalapeño meatballs are only available at Costco as a seasonal item. This is the best cranberry jalapeño meatball recipe because:

  1. Any Time of Year: You can buy the Costco meatballs and freeze them for using any time of year, or you can mix up a batch of homemade copycat cranberry jalapeño meatballs any time you want.
  2. Sweet and Spicy: While the meatballs have some kick, they are not too spicy for my kids. The just add a bit of oomph to the recipes I use them in.
  3. Pair Well for Easy Dinners: I have so many great suggestions for how to make an easy dinner using this recipe, be sure to see all the suggestions below.

Ingredients

I snag a couple packages of the Amylu cranberry & jalapeño chicken meatballs as soon as I see them at the store and pop them in my freezer at home.

A package of Amylu Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs from Costco sits on the counter.

However, if you want to make the copycat recipe, you will need to buy:

  • Ground Chicken: You could also use ground turkey if you prefer.
  • Breadcrumbs: I recommend a traditional style breadcrumb, not the Panko style for this recipe.
  • Chili Sauce
  • Jalapeño Pepper
  • Dried Cranberries: Fresh cranberries would add too much moisture to this dish and the meatballs would fall apart.
  • Lemon
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Soy Sauce
  • Paprika
  • Minced Garlic

Prep the Meatball Mix

Making homemade meatballs is easy peasy. Simply add all the ingredients for the meatballs to a large mixing bowl and gently fluff it together with a fork until well combined.

Break off portions of meatball mix and roll with your hands into 1-inch sized meatballs.

Line them up in a clean baking dish or on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Brown the Meatballs

Cooking the meatballs is the same whether you made them from scratch or are using the store bought variety.

Add olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium high.

Add the meatballs and brown, turning them over every minute or so until they are golden on all sides.

The prepared meatballs are browning in a large skillet with a little olive oil.

NOTE: Homemade meatballs are significantly more delicate than the prepared kind and may require a spatula to flip. Be sure to let the meatballs brown thoroughly before turning.

How to Freeze Homemade Meatballs

If you want to freeze your from-scratch meatballs, line them up on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper as you roll them.

Place the baking sheet in the freezer for one hour. This flash freezes the meatballs so they don't stick together.

You can then transfer them to a storage bag or container and freeze for up to 6 months.

To use the frozen meatballs, cook as directed above. No need to thaw them first. You'll just need a little more cooking time to warm them through completely.

Alternatively, you could brown the meatballs first, let them cool, and then freeze the fully-cooked meatballs if you prefer.

How to Use Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs

Now the fun part! Once you've cooked your meatballs through, it's time to serve them for dinner.

A bowl of pasta is topped with four cranberry jalapeño meatballs.

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Pasta Sauces that Pair Well

I love using prepared chicken meatballs from the store to toss in as an easy protein with a pasta dinner.

Change the flavor of the meatball and the pasta dish feels all new.

I think the cranberry jalapeño meatballs pair really well with a creamy pasta sauce like one of these:

Goat Cheese Pasta

The cranberry flavor pairs really well with the baby spinach in this dish. The spicy kick from the jalapeño complements the tangy goat cheese in the cream sauce.

Goat Cheese Pasta
Rich and creamy goat cheese pasta with baby spinach is an easy pasta skillet recipe. This dish is elegant enough for a holiday meal but easy enough for a busy weeknight. Serve it as a meatless main dish or as a delicious side dish with spicy meatballs, grilled chicken, or fish or shrimp.
5 from 1 vote
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A white bowl filled with creamy spiral noodles with baby spinach leaves mixed in.

Alfredo Pasta with Meatballs

If you're not a fan of the tang from goat cheese, this rich and creamy homemade alfredo sauce is even more delicious with that cranberry jalapeño kick. It's a fun way to dress this dish up for a holiday dinner, too.

Quick and Easy Alfredo Sauce
This homemade Alfredo sauce is quick and easy to make on a busy weeknight. So much tastier and healthier than the jarred variety, it uses real ingredients you likely already have on hand!
5 from 43 votes
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A plate of spaghetti coated in homemade alfredo sauce sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Top a Salad

You could turn the cranberry jalapeño meatballs into an entree salad and add them to my crispy wild rice salad with roasted carrots.

Crispy Rice Salad
Next time you make rice for dinner, double the recipe for leftovers so you can make this delicious and simple salad for another meal.
5 from 2 votes
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A serving of crispy rice salad shows green lettuce, roasted carrots, fried wild rice in a white bowl.

Make a Meatball Slider

Whether you serve them as a simple dinner or a party sandwich, meatball sliders are so fun to eat.

You'll still want to brown the meatballs first but the cranberry jalapeño flavor would taste delicious with BBQ sauce and used instead of shredded chicken for my BBQ chicken sliders.

BBQ Chicken Sliders
These easy to assemble BBQ chicken sliders have just the right amount of filling, melting cheese, and a deliciously buttery crisp topping. They will fly off the baking pan at your next party or family game night.
5 from 1 vote
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A metal baking pan has 3 rows of baked bbq chicken sliders showing the melted cheese oozing out.

Meatball Appetizer Ideas

I've used this sweet and sour meatballs recipe as a party appetizer in my Crockpot but I've also served it as dinner of jasmine rice.

Swapping cranberry jalapeño meatballs for the regular Italian style meatballs just adds even more festive flavor to the dish.

Sweet and Sour Meatballs in the Crockpot
Classic cocktail meatballs keep warm on your buffet table for hours in the slowcooker. This wildly popular sweet and sour sauce is made from ketchup and grape jam but is elevated by a dash of hot sauce to keep it from being too sweet.
5 from 46 votes
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The white serving bowl is filled with sweet and sour meatballs in a rich glaze.

What to Serve with Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs

A bowl of cranberry jalapeño meatballs is ready to be added to a dinner.

If you prefer for the meatballs to be the star of the dinner plate and would rather just serve them as a meaty main dish with sides, there are several easy options for a delicious family dinner.

Sweet and spicy is one of my favorite flavor combos. The heat from the cranberry jalapeño meatballs would pair really well with a sweet potato side dish like my sweet potato casserole, sweet potato mash with pineapple, or even just a slowcooker sweet potato topped with butter, brown sugar, and chopped pecans.

For a unique texture and a bit of sweetness, you could try serving them with a side of my roasted gnocchi with butternut squash and sage or my slowcooker acorn squash with apples and cranberries.

Meatballs are fantastic on top of a bed of rice, you could make my Instant Pot herb butter rice or this delicious wild rice pilaf with veggies.

And for a special family dinner, you could use the cranberry jalapeño meatballs as a time saver and invest your energy into making my Crock Pot scalloped potatoes. They are just a little more work on the front end, but then the slowcooker does all the rest for you!

📖 Recipe

A white bowl filled with cranberry jalapeño meatballs has chopped green onions sprinkled over the top for garnish.

Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs

4.95 from 36 votes
Amylu cranberry jalapeño meatballs are only available at Costco for a limited season, this delicious copycat recipe will help you enjoy them any time you want!
PREP TIME 5 minutes
COOK TIME 15 minutes
YIELD 6 servings

Ingredients
  

Prepared Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs

  • 1 lb prepared cranberry jalapeño meatballs or one batch of the homemade meatballs recipe below (1/2 of the Costco pack of meatballs if using)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil

From Scratch Cranberry Jalapeño Meatballs

  • 1 pound ground chicken
  • 1/3 cup breadcrumbs
  • 2 tbsp chili sauce
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeds removed and minced
  • 1/3 cup dried cranberries chopped
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1/4 tsp paprika
  • 2 tsp minced garlic

Instructions

Brown the Prepared Meatballs

  • If using the store bought cranberry jalapeño meatballs, add the olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs and stir. Continue to cook and roll the meatballs around in the oil until they've turned golden brown and warmed through.

Prep the From-Scratch Meatballs

  • If you cannot find the store bought prepared meatballs and want to make them from scratch, you'll need to make the meatball mix. Add all the meatball ingredients from ground chicken through minced garlic to a large mixing bowl. Gently knead everything together with a fork until well combined.
  • Break off portions of meatball mix and roll into 1-inch meatballs.
  • Add one tablespoon of olive oil to a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the meatballs to the pan and cook. Turn the meatballs gently and brown on all sides. Continue to cook until internal temperature reaches 165°F with an instant probe thermometer.
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The photo collage shows a bowl of cranberry jalapeño meatballs next to 4 photos of recipes that use them.

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