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Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #glutenfree #party #meatballs #recipe

I made this recipe because a friend of mine from work came to me and said she had this grass-fed ground round that she was having NO luck with whatsoever, so she asked if she could bring some of it to me and see if I could make something edible out of it. She complained that whatever she made with this particular meat, it always came out watery. She tried making tacos with it, and meaty sauce, and I’m not sure what else, but nothing seemed to turn out right.

We had an appetizer potluck at work and I decided I needed to make something with her ground meat. I was leary of the watery character of this meat, though, so I decided meatballs would be the thing to make–bake them first, so if any excess water was to seep out of the meat, it would either get soaked into the “extras” in the meatballs or be left on the tray before I doused them in sauce.

It worked like a dream, even without breadcrumbs (my friend is gluten free, so I used rice and crushed rice chex), although there were some juicy puddles on the baking sheet after the meatballs baked. I used my tongs to take the meatballs off to their bath in the sauce and then gave my kitties the baking sheet. They cats eagerly lapped up those meat juices–it was so fun to watch! And  then the humans got the joy of eating the meatballs, which were quite good doused in thick, rich cranberry chipotle BBQ sauce. I actually used a couple different BBQ sauces I found in my fridge, so whatever BBQ sauce you love (store-bought or homemade), go ahead and use it in this recipe. The cranberries add a bit of tartness and the chipotle adds some heat, so it all melds together nicely.

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes

Yield: 30 - 40 meatballs, depending on how large you make them

Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs


  • 2 lb. lean ground beef (or other lean ground meat--I used grass-fed ground round)
  • 1 small onion, peeled & chopped into chunks
  • 3 - 6 cloves garlic, peeled
  • 3/4 cup cooked rice
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1 Tablespoon freshly grated ginger root
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cloves
  • 1/2 cup crushed Rice Chex cereal
  • 2 Tablespoons nonfat plain yogurt
  • 2 eggs
  • For the sauce:
  • 1 1/2 cups cranberry sauce (I used this recipe, without the walnuts, although I think this one would work well too)
  • 1 1/2 cups barbecue sauce
  • 1/4 - 1 teaspoon chipotle powder (to taste)


  1. Preheat the oven to 350 F. Spray a large baking sheet with cooking spray. Put the ground meat in a medium mixing bowl.
  2. In a small chopper or food processor, chop up the onion, garlic, rice, dried cranberries, and ginger root into fine bits. Stir this mixture into the meat, mixing well. Add the salt, cloves, Rice Chex, yogurt and eggs. Mix together with your hands until everything is well mixed. Form the meat mixture into 1-inch balls and set on the baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 15 - 18 minutes or until browned on top and completely cooked inside.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the cranberry and barbecue sauce with the chipotle powder. If serving immediately, heat the sauce. When the meatballs are done, put them in a crockpot and pour the sauce over. Keep on the warm setting to serve.


If making ahead of time, set the sauce aside until the meatballs are done. Put the meatballs into a container and pour the sauce over. Cover and refrigerate. Warm the meatballs in the microwave, then gently place them in the crockpot (taking care not to break them) and pour the remaining sauce over top. Heat the crockpot on high for 1 - 2 hours, then turn to the warm setting.

RECIPE SOURCE: http://www.sumptuousspoonfuls.com/

© Copyright 2015, Sumptuous Spoonfuls. All images & content are copyright protected. Please do not use my images without prior permission. If you want to publish any of my images, please ask first. If you want to republish this recipe as your own, please re-write the recipe in your own words or link back to this post for the recipe.


Cranberry Chipotle Meatballs ~ Sumptuous Spoonfuls #glutenfree #party #meatballs #recipe

This recipe was shared at Weekend SocialProject ParadeHearth & Soul Bloghop, What to Do Weekends, Tuesday’s TableHome Matters and Let’s Get Real.


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14 Responses

  1. Hi Ann:)
    You’re killing me with these yummy recipes. I just happen to find some cranberry sauce in the freezer yesterday and was wondering what the heck to do with it. This recipe sounds perfect. It actually reminds me of the grape jelly meatballs I use to make for the kids when they were little, lol…(no Rice Chex in those though, but great idea!) You have such deliciousness going on over here, Ann. I’ll be back for more!!!

    P.S. Yes, I will be pinning this:)

    January 15, 2015 at 3:34 pm

  2. Great flavor combinations! Will definitely have to try these!

    January 16, 2015 at 12:57 am

    • Ann

      Thanks Joyce! 🙂

      January 16, 2015 at 7:59 am

  3. I haven’t tried cranberry sauce with meatballs before, these sound really good! It’s nice to have a GF meatball option as well. Visiting from Lets Get Real 🙂

    January 17, 2015 at 3:55 pm

    • Ann

      Hurrah thank you Joy 🙂

      January 17, 2015 at 8:30 pm

  4. Oh, these sound amazing! I love cranberry, and would never have thought to use it with chipotle or BB! sauce. I am going to have to give this a try! Thanks for sharing at the #HomeMattersParty 🙂

    Life With Lorelai

    January 19, 2015 at 3:01 pm

    • Ann

      Thank you Lorelai! and thanks so much for hosting the party 🙂

      January 19, 2015 at 11:05 pm

  5. Looks delicious thanks for sharing with Hearth and soul blog hop, pinning, and featuring on this week hop

    January 19, 2015 at 8:43 pm

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  7. What an amazing flavor combination! Can’t wait to make these for the Superbowl! I also would like to Thank you for coming and linking up at #TheWeekendSocial. Please be sure to come back this week starting Thursday at 9PM EST on KitchenDreaming.com ! I hope to see you there! Pinned

    January 20, 2015 at 6:42 pm

  8. Pinned! Best wishes, Linda at Crafts a la Mode

    January 22, 2015 at 11:07 pm

  9. so innovative and beautifully made and presented!

    January 23, 2015 at 2:01 pm

    • Ann

      Why thank you! I’m so happy you like them 🙂

      January 23, 2015 at 6:46 pm

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