Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs may just be the perfect tailgating food around. Spicy and sweet, they pair perfectly with a nice cold beer.

Cocktail size meatballs coated in cherry chipotle barbecue sauce in a small white slow cooker on a white board. Small gray and white check napkin with forks on it in front.


Fall is my favorite season for a number of reasons, but tops on my list has to be college football. Football season is a time when eating appetizers for a meal becomes completely appropriate, and that, my friends, makes me happy. Let me introduce you to the MVP of tailgating season: Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs.

Can I tell you how amazingly delicious (and easy) they are? These Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs have a total of 5 ingredients (6 if you count a ½ cup of water), all thrown in the slow cooker and heated through for 2-3 hours. The aroma will make your mouth water as you are waiting. Spicy, sweet and easy to eat – that makes these meatballs my kind of tailgating food.

Top down image of cherry chipotle barbecue meatballs on a white tray.

And because I love the game just as much as my husband (any other ESPN Game Day lovers out there?), I always look for appetizers that can be prepped ahead. I don’t want to be messing around in the kitchen when it’s game time, but I don’t want to sacrifice on my menu either. That’s why these Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs have earned MVP status. In fact, they are so good, you’re going to find yourself looking forward to football Saturdays just as much as I do.

C’mon, jump on the bandwagon; it’s fun up here! 

Small white bowl filled with small meatballs coated in cherry chipotle barbecue sauce with cocktail forks to the side placed on a white board.

Everyone loves a good cocktail meatball! Here are some more favorites to try:

Greek Meatballs with Tzatziki Sauce– Garnish with Lemon®

Turkey Meatballs with Orange Marmalade Glaze– A Spicy Perspective

Saucy Asian Meatballs– Garnish with Lemon®

Amazing Cocktail Meatballs– Spend with Pennies

Top down image of Cherry Chipotle meatballs in a white slow cooker.

Yield: 10-12

Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs

Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs
Prep Time 5 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours
Total Time 2 hours 5 minutes


  • 1 (18-ounce) jar BBQ sauce (I used Stubbs Original)
  • 1 (16-ounce) jar cherry jam
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 2 chipotle peppers packed in adobo sauce, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons adobo sauce
  • 1 (28-ounce) bag frozen beef meatballs (cocktail size)


  1. Mix the barbecue sauce, cherry, jam and water in a slow cooker until combined. Stir in chipotle peppers and adobo sauce. Add meatballs and cook on low for 2 hours. Serve warm.

You can't go wrong with these 4 ingredient Cherry Chipotle Barbecue Meatballs. They are an easy make-ahead recipe that disappear at every party!