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Glazed Cocktail Meatballs

Photo: Jennifer Causey
Active time 25 mins
Total time 1 hr, 30 mins

Serves 13 (serving size: 3 meatballs)

We kept away from sodium-heavy prepared ingredients, like ketchup and chili sauce, and included whole-grain bulgur in place of breadcrumbs, so you can feel good about this sweet and spicy appetizer. These mini meatballs are perfect for holiday parties and tailgating. To serve, use a slow cooker set on its warming setting, which makes a great stand-in chafing dish. You can also serve these meatballs for weeknight dinner (about 7 to 8 meatballs will make up a 310-calorie main course serving). And if you want to up the kid-friendly factor, omit the ground red pepper in the grape jelly glaze and serve alongside mashed potatoes (à la Swedish meatballs) or with brown rice. For a tangier glaze, substitute cranberry sauce for the grape jelly.


  • 1 cup water
  • 1/4 cup uncooked bulgur
  • 1 pound 90% lean ground beef
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped yellow onion
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh thyme
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 tsp. olive oil
  • Cooking spray
  • 5 tablespoons organic grape jelly
  • 2 tablespoons fresh orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon unsalted tomato paste
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper

Nutrition Information

  • calories 114
  • fat 5.3 g
  • satfat 1.7 g
  • monofat 2.6 g
  • polyfat 0.4 g
  • protein 8 g
  • carbohydrate 11 g
  • fiber 1 g
  • cholesterol 37 mg
  • iron 1 mg
  • sodium 188 mg
  • calcium 11 mg
  • sugars 5 g
  • Est. Added Sugars 4 g

How to Make It

  1. Combine water and bulgur in a small bowl. Let stand 30 minutes; drain. Combine bulgur, beef, and next 8 ingredients (through olive oil) in a large bowl; gently mix with hands until thoroughly combined. Cover and chill 45 minutes. Shape into 39 (1-inch) meatballs.

  2. Preheat oven to 425°F. Arrange meatballs in an even layer in a 13- x 9-inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake in preheated oven until lightly browned and cooked through, about 15 minutes.

  3. Meanwhile, bring grape jelly and the remaining ingredients to a simmer in a small saucepan over medium heat, and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and let stand 5 minutes. Place meatballs in a large bowl. Add the jelly mixture; toss gently to coat. Serve immediately.