These Cranberry elk meatballs are so easy to make in the dutch oven. It’s the perfect game-time party appetizer or side for your next family get-together.
This is such an easy recipe, and if you want to make it with pre-made meatballs, obviously not elk, then this will quickly turn into a three-ingredient recipe!
Elk Meatball Ingredients:
- 1 lb ground elk (You can replace with beef, venison, or moose)
- 2 large eggs, beaten (Helps to bind the ingredients together)
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs (Opt for panko for crunchiness or whole-wheat for a healthful twist)
- 1/8 cup diced onions (This comes out to about 1/4 of a yellow onion)
- 1 clove garlic, minced (You simply cannot have meatballs without garlic!)
- 1 tsp kosher sea salt (Or use your favorite salt, just don’t use table salt as it will end up much to salty)
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper (I like freshly ground black pepper best)
- 1/4 cup heavy whipping cream (Trust me, you will love the tenderness of these meatballs with this little addition)
- 1 (12 oz) bottle of chili sauce (Because we are not making our own)
- 1 (14 oz) can jellied cranberry (This offers the perfect amount of sweetness)
1. Prepare the Meatball Mixture:
In a large bowl, add all your ingredients.
Use your hands to thoroughly combine all the ingredients.
2. Shape the Meatballs:
Roll the meatballs into small even balls between the palm of your hands.
Pro tip: Dip your hands in water to help prevent the meat mixture from sticking to your hands!
3. Cook the Meatballs:
Arrange the meatballs on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 325°F for 25 minutes.
Note: Use an instant meat thermometer to check the internal temperature. Depending on the size you made your meatballs, you may need to adjust the cooking times slightly.
4. Simmer in Sauce:
After the meatballs are cooked through, allow them to cool to the touch before transferring the meatballs to a large Dutch oven or crock pot.
Add the chili sauce and jellied cranberry to the pot and let the mixture simmer over medium heat for 10-20 minutes, allowing flavors to meld and the sauce to heat up.
Enjoy your deliciously crafted elk meatballs, beautifully blended with spices and simmered to perfection in a rich, flavorful sauce.
Frequently Asked Questions
What can I serve with these elk meatballs?
If you do decide to serve them as an appetizer, be sure to have plenty of toothpicks on hand and extra cranberry sauce for dipping.
Can I make these meatballs in a crockpot instead of an oven?
Absolutely! To cook in a crockpot, prepare the meatballs as per the recipe and place them in the crockpot.
Pour over the cranberry sauce, cover, and cook on low for 3-4 hours or on high for 1-2 hours until the meatballs are heated through.
Note: If you make these from frozen (but fully cooked), add an additional hour of cooking time.
Can I use any ground meat for these meatballs?
If elk meat is unavailable, you can substitute it with other ground meats such as beef or venison. For a vegetarian version, consider using lentils or a plant-based meat substitute.
Also, if you don’t have cranberries, you could use a different tart fruit or berry for the sauce – like cherries or raspberries.
Can I store the leftover meatballs, and how should I reheat them?
Yes, the leftover meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator for up to 3-4 days. Ensure they are in a tightly sealed container.
To reheat, place them in the microwave until warmed through, or warm them up in a saucepan over medium heat with a little added water or broth to keep them moist.
Additionally, these meatballs freeze well. Freeze them in a single layer on a baking sheet and then transfer them to a freezer-safe bag or container for up to three months.
Reheat from frozen by baking in the oven at 350°F until thoroughly warmed.
They are always delicious and very rarely do we ever have leftovers! Give them a try today, and let me know how they turn out for you by leaving a review or comment below!
What to read next:
Cranberry Elk Meatballs
- 1 lb ground elk You can replace with beef, venison, or moose
- 2 large eggs beaten
- 1/2 cup breadcrumbs I use panko breadcrumbs
- 1/8 cup diced onions
- 1 clove garlic minced
- 1 tsp kosher sea salt
- 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
- 1/4 cup heavy cream
- 1 12 oz bottle of chili sauce
- 1 14 oz can jellied cranberry
- In a large bowl, thoroughly combine all the ingredients.
- Moisten your hands to prevent sticking and roll the mixture into small, even balls.
- Arrange the meatballs on a wire rack set over a baking sheet. Bake in a preheated oven at 325°F for 25 minutes.
- After a brief cooling period, transfer the meatballs to a large pot. Add the chili sauce and jellied cranberry to the pot and let the mixture simmer over medium heat for 10 minutes, allowing flavors to meld and the sauce heat up.