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This Bourbon Meatballs Recipe is a Party Food Staple!

Bourbon Meatballs are one of the most beloved party foods at cocktail parties. Serve them for holiday parties, family gatherings, or for a Kentucky derby party. This is one recipe you’ll reach for again and again.

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Cocktail meatballs in bourbon sauce can be made ahead in the slow cooker for easy entertaining.

Cocktail meatballs are a must-have item for any party menu. It’s as classic as a crudites platter or a cheese board. And it appeals to men, women, and children.

Not only are cocktail meatballs economical, they’re also a great time saver. They feed a crowd with very little effort. The magic is in the sauce and this recipe is tried and true.

These bourbon meatballs also fit right into a derby viewing party since bourbon is a big theme at the event.

For the best flavor, make the bourbon meatballs a day ahead and refrigerate overnight.

Letting the recipe sit overnight allows the meatballs to fully absorb the flavors of the sauce. Also, the fat that’s rendered from cooking the meatballs will float to the top and harden when it gets cold. Then you can skim it off with a spoon before re-heating and serving.

Another bourbon infused recipe that’s great for holidays and derby parties is sweet bourbon balls bite size dessert recipe. These are great for when you want small bites of sweetness.

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For a party, transfer the prepared meatballs to a pretty chafing dish and place on the buffet table.

For a great start to a cocktail party menu serve these meatballs, plus marinated shrimp cocktail. Add one of these baked brie topped 3 ways, and baked spinach dip. Round out with veggie dip cups or a crudites platter.

And for some sweet bites try these champagne jello squares and sweet & spicy pecans.

meatballs in bourbon sauce

Bourbon Meatballs Recipe Party Appetizers

Yield: about 20

This Meatballs in Bourbon Sauce is a classic party appetizer recipe. They're always the first thing people want to eat at cocktail parties or home entertaining.


  • 32 ounce bag Frozen meatballs {I get them from Sam’s or Costco}
  • 2 cups classic barbecue sauce
  • 1 cup bourbon
  • 1 cup mustard {yellow}
  • 1 cup honey
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder {not garlic salt}
  • 1 teaspoon dried onion flakes
  • 3 Tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce


  1. Add frozen meatballs to large crock pot. Combine all of sauce ingredients together in a bowl and then pour over meatballs.
  2. Add lid and cook on high for 2-3 hours. Turn to low or warm setting and serve.


I like to transfer these to a pretty chafing dish with sterno to keep them warm, for a party!

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  1. Sounds delicious! How do you recommend reheating them if you make them ahead of time?

    1. Hi Caroline, for a party I reheat in the crock pot and serve them directly from there, or transfer them to a chafing dish once they’re warmed through. You can also heat them in a large pot on the stove over medium-low heat. You should have plenty of sauce to warm them in.

  2. Can you use “Italian styled” meatballs? I am asking because that is what my Costco has right now. Otherwise I need to look somewhere else.

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