peanut meatballs in jelly sauce

Peanut Meatballs in Jelly Sauce

I can’t remember exactly when I first had peanut meatballs, but I’m fairly certain I was in high school, so it was a long time ago. I  just remember another human telling me that peanut meatballs were good and that the jelly and mustard sauce made them even better. (I also remember thinking it sounded pretty disgusting. I was wrong.) Years later, whenever I brought Peanut Meatballs in Jelly Sauce for office potlucks and the like, no meatballs came home with me.

Recalling a Vintage Recipe

It was a container of jelly and a container of mustard in my fridge—both about finished—that triggered my memory, Sadly, my original recipe had been lost, probably in one of my many moves over the years. So I recreated it—sort of. This version is a little different from the original, but it’s full of tangy, tasty savory and sweet goodness.

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About Peanut Meatballs in Jelly Sauce

There are many versions of this sweet and savory meatball dish, and you can definitely play around with flavors. Use dijon mustard instead of yellow. Add a little chili sauce. Or a smidge of sriracha. Try a different type of barbecue sauce, or skip it altogether and add brown sugar to the sauce. Throw in a little bourbon … you get the idea.

I decided to use chunky peanuts, but you can absolutely chop them smaller for your meatballs. Want a vegan version? Use a plant-based ground beef substitute and an egg substitute. The egg is the “glue” of the meatball ingredients, so try using crunchy peanut butter in lieu of peanuts to form the balls, and be extra careful when cooking them. If you need a gluten-free version, use gluten-free bread crumbs. Serve it over rice or place in a heated dish and serve as appetizers. Or just leave it right in that slow cooker and watch them disappear.

More Sauce, Please

The sauce is not low calorie, so I scaled it back. You can double or triple the sauce if you want more of it to coat and soak your meatballs. In fact, I recommend doubling the sauce when serving as hors d’oeuvres. 

“NOTE-Always remove the brown hull from the peanuts even though the recipe does not say so.”

George Washington Carver

Peanut Meatballs in Jelly Sauce

Peanut Meatballs in Jelly Sauce takes throwback Thursday into vintage Southern recipe mode. Enjoy an old-school party treat for dinner … or serve up an old-school appetizer at your next party.
Course Appetizer, Hors D’oeuvre, Main Course
Cuisine American, Southern
Keyword grape jelly, meatballs, party food, peanut sauce, vintage
Prep Time 25 minutes
Cook Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 55 minutes
Servings 24 meatballs
Calories 115kcal


  • Slow Cooker



  • 1.5 lb ground beef
  • ½ C peanuts unsalted, roasted and chopped
  • ¼ C bread crumbs
  • 1 egg
  • 2-3 cloves garlic minced
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ⅛ – ¼ tsp cayenne powder
  • ¼ tsp ground black pepper
  • ½ tsp soy sauce

Sauce (double or triple the sauce as desired)

  • C grape jelly
  • 2 tsp yellow mustard
  • ¼ C barbecue sauce Stubb’s Sticky Sweet



  • Blend together ingredients and form into meatballs about 1 to 1 ½ inches in diameter, about the size of a ping pong ball.
  • Heat pan to medium and cook until done.
  • Strain fatty oil and set aside.


  • While meatballs are cooking, blend together sauce ingredients.


  • Layer half of sauce in bottom of crockpot. Place ingredients in crockpot, and pour remaining sauce in.
  • Cover and cook on low for at least 2 hours.


Serving Suggestions

Serve as part of a heavy hors d’oeuvres spread or as an entrée over rice with a vegetable side, like steamed broccoli or zucchini. 


  • This is a favorite at parties. Make the meatballs on the small side so they can easily be picked up with toothpicks. 
  • Double the amount of sauce for more flavor and longer time in the slow cooker, especially if you are serving as appetizers.

Recipe Links

Looking for more party food ideas? Try these:


Serving: 4meatballs | Sodium: 123mg | Calcium: 14mg | Vitamin C: 1mg | Vitamin A: 21IU | Sugar: 3g | Fiber: 1g | Potassium: 117mg | Cholesterol: 27mg | Calories: 115kcal | Trans Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Fat: 7g | Protein: 6g | Carbohydrates: 6g | Iron: 1mg