Flavorful, tender pork meatballs are baked in the oven then cooked in an irresistible Sriracha-flavored sauce for an easy slow cooker appetizer everyone will love.
This post is in partnership with Kroger
What is it about meatballs at a party that makes everyone lose all self control?
I honestly don’t think I’ve ever been at a buffet table where I’ve never not heard exclamations of delight at the mere sighting of a crockpot loaded with the little orbs of meaty bites. “Oh, those look good. I think I’ll have just one more.”
And one more.
So when Kroger asked me to create a recipe worthy of celebrating the New Year, I envisioned myself nibbling on noshes, and then I asked myself, “What is one more splurge I’m going to enjoy before the new year resolutions kick in?”
Little flavor bombs of meatballs it is.
About the Recipe
I’ve seen recipes for jelly-sauced meatballs for years and at every party they seem to always be the center of appetizer-ing attention. This recipe kicks that meatball and jelly combination up a notch or three, depending on your penchant for their tangy Sriracha taste.
My recipe starts with baked homemade meatballs flavored simply with soy sauce, green onion, garlic and cilantro. If you’re cilantro-averse, you can certainly leave it out.
I use just one egg yolk to bind these little rounded pork jewels because I feel like the whole egg makes them just a bit loose to hold together. To keep the Asian vibe flowing, I use panko bread crumbs because they’re lighter and crisper than regular bread crumbs and come out far less gummy when rolling.
I prefer to bake these meatballs rather than frying because it’s simply easier and less of a clean-up. And I’m all about less clean-up.
If you’re not into making homemade meatballs, or simply don’t have the time, you could certainly purchase frozen meatballs from the freezer case or pre-made from the meat counter but they won’t have the same Asian flavor through and through, but thanks to this killer sauce, you just might find that perfectly okay.
For the sauce (this recipe makes about 2 cups) I took the traditional notion of combining sweet jelly with ketchup to make our base. But this is where we take a turn to the Asian aisle of the store and load up on Kroger’s Sriracha flavored ketchup. I only recently discovered it and my husband and I both became immediate fans of it’s sweet and spicy bite.
One thing to note at this stage of our recipe game: I toned down the heat a bit by mixing the Sriracha ketchup with regular for those guests who prefer a milder but still flavorful bite.
But if you’re into the Sriracha flavor like we are, go ahead and use just the Sriracha ketchup rather than a mix with regular ketchup. The Sriracha flavor isn’t hot per se, but comes on and lingers after the first bite. Personally, it’s my favorite part of eating these little buggers.
For the jelly portion of this recipe I used Private Selection Red Pepper Jelly.
The jellies themselves have the perfect balance of sweet with a spicy undertone that I just love, and often eat with my avocado and cottage cheese toast for a savory snack or breakfast. Private Selection also has an Oregon Pear and Pepper Jelly flavor that I think would be dynamite to try in this recipe, too.
You can serve the finished meatballs (they only take about 2 hours in the slow cooker) straight from my new favorite kitchen accessory, the Instant Pot, or garnish and present in a bowl or as passed apps that are ready-to-stab-with-a-toothpick ready.
While I love these guys as an appetizer to share with friends, I’m going to be selfish and save some for myself. This New Years Eve I’ll be doubling my batch of meatballs so I have leftovers to top one of my favorite healthier ways to eat soba noodles for New Years Day.
Long noodle, long life. I’d say that’s a pretty great way to start the year’s resolutions off right.
Recipe Ideas to Serve With Your Meatballs
These little meatballs make for a pretty fantastic appetizer all on their own, but you can totally make a meal out of them! Here’s how…
- Yummy Bowl: Soba Noodles with Sriracha Meatballs
- Salad: Crunchy Asian Cucumber Watermelon Salad
- Starchy Side: Easy Coconut Rice
- Side: Sweet and Sour Asian Pickled Cucumbers
If you make this recipe, please let me know! Leave a comment below or take a photo and tag me on Instagram with #foodiecrusheats.
Slow Cooker Sriracha Meatballs
Yield 36 -40 small meatballs
- 1 pound ground pork
- 1 egg yolk, whisked
- 1/4 cup soy sauce
- 1 heaping tablespoon ginger, grated or finely minced (about 1-inch knob)
- 2 cloves garlic, pressed or finely minced
- 1 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup chopped green onion, about 3 green onions
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro leaves, minced
- 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
- 3/4 cup Kroger Sriracha ketchup (or 3/4 cup regular ketchup mixed with XX Sriracha sauce)
- 1/4 cup regular ketchup
- 1 10-ounce jar pepper jelly
- 1/2 cup soy sauce
- 1/4 cup brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon sesame oil
- Green onion and sesame seeds for garnish
- In a medium bowl, add the pork and drizzle with the egg yolk, soy sauce, ginger, garlic and ground pepper and gently mix together with your fingers. Add the green onion, cilantro leaves and panko bread crumbs and mix gently until incorporated. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.
- Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil or parchment paper and preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Use a small scoop or spoon to form 1/2-inch balls and gently roll between your palms and place on the baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown. The meatballs may not be cooked all the way through and will continue to cook in the slow cooker. Transfer to a slow cooker.
- For the sauce, in a medium size bowl or 4 cup measuring cup, mix the Sriracha ketchup with the regular ketchup, pepper jelly, soy sauce, brown sugar and sesame oil. Pour over the meatballs and cook on high for 2-3 hours or low for 4-6 hours.
- Garnish with chopped green onion and sesame seeds and serve.
Hey, thanks for stopping by, make it a great day and make something good.
This post is sponsored by Kroger. As always, thank you for reading and for supporting companies I partner with, which allows me to create more unique content and recipes for you. All opinions are always my own.
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