Favorite Meatballs

In The Last Bathing Beauty by Amy Sue Nathan there is a reference to sweet-and-sour meatballs as Betty is reminiscing on summers spent preparing appetizers for resort guests with Chef Gavin. She also mentions garlic stuffed olives (which sound divine) and cocktail franks… but the mention of starter meatballs immediately reminded me of this recipe my mom used to make for our annual Halloween party growing up, and I just HAD to share as the recipe is slightly retro and PERFECT to represent The Last Bathing Beauty.

You can make the meatballs with either turkey or beef. The meatball recipe is pretty standard, with the usual bread crumbs and seasoning… however what makes these really standout is the secret sauce: grape jelly and chili sauce. Kind of weird right? No. It’s actually amazing, so don’t judge and serve these at your next bookclub meeting with some festive cocktail picks and thank me later.


  • 2 pounds ground beef OR turkey
  • 1 packet of onion soup mix
  • 1 cup Panko bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 TSP Worcestershire sauce
  • black pepper to taste
  • 12 oz. grape jelly
  • 12 oz. chili sauce


  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a baking sheet with foil
  • In a large bowl combine all ingredients aside from the grape jelly and chili sauce; shape into 1 inch balls and place on the baking sheet to bake for 30 min.
  • In a medium size sauce pan, combine the grape jelly and chili sauce; heat the mixture on medium/low heat and stir until the jelly is melted
  • Once the meatballs are baked, add them to the sauce until all of the meatballs are coated

1 thought on “Favorite Meatballs”

  1. I love this recipe! I’ve YET to meet someone who doesn’t. I did use low sugar grape jelly. Great recipe for a crowd.

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