Unleash Your Inner Chef with Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs

Welcome to the ultimate party appetizer – Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs Recipe! In this recipe, we bring together the classic flavors of chili sauce, barbecue sauce, and grape jelly to create a dish that is sweet, savory, and packs a punch.

This appetizer is perfect for any occasion, whether you’re hosting a game day gathering or a family potluck. The combination of mini hot dogs and little smokies meatballs makes it easy to enjoy without the need for utensils or plates.

Not only is this recipe delicious, but it’s also incredibly simple to prepare. All you need is a slow cooker and a few ingredients to make the perfect crowd-pleasing appetizer.

So give your taste buds a treat and whip up a batch of our Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs Recipe today. Your guests will be coming back for more!

Why You’ll Love This Recipe

Mini Hot Dogs 'n' Meatballs
Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs

Who doesn’t love bite-sized, savory appetizers? If you’re hosting a party or gathering, these Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs are a must-try. Trust me; your guests will fall in love with these cute and delicious bites.

One of the best things about this recipe is how easy it is to make. You only need three ingredients, and they’re all readily available at your nearest grocery store. These are chili sauce, grape jelly, and hot dogs or frozen meatballs. Combine these three ingredients in a slow cooker or crockpot, and you’ll have an appetizer that’s perfect for any occasion.

Another reason why you’ll love this recipe is its versatility. You can use mini hot dogs or miniature meatballs, depending on your preference. You can also add your favorite seasonings or sauces to make it more flavorful or spicy.

These mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs also pair perfectly with a variety of dips and sides that you can serve to complement their flavor. Think of dips like mustard sauce, bbq sauce, honey garlic, cranberry sauce, and sweet & sour sauce. Additionally, you can serve them with sides such as chips or fries.

In summary, this recipe is easy to make, flexible in customization, and pairs perfectly with various sides and dips. It’s an appetizer that looks fun and cute but packs a savory punch that your guests will enjoy. Try this recipe out for your next party and thank me later!

Ingredient List

 Bite-sized snacks that will be a hit at your next party!
Bite-sized snacks that will be a hit at your next party!

Required Ingredients:

  • Hot dogs: These are the star ingredient and we need mini ones. You can use any brand or type you like, but I prefer smoked sausages for their smoky flavor.
  • Meatballs: Meatballs are great for filling up a crowd and bringing some variety to the dish. You can use Italian meatballs, frozen cooked meatballs, or even homemade.
  • Grape jelly: This may sound unusual, but trust me, it’s essential. We’ll be mixing it with other sauces to make a delicious and sticky glaze for the hot dogs and meatballs.
  • Chili sauce: I prefer Heinz Chili Sauce because it has a perfect balance between spicy and sweet.
  • Barbecue sauce: Homemade or store-bought, doesn’t matter. This will add a classic BBQ flavor to the dish.
  • Little smokies: Similar to mini hot dogs, but usually made out of beef or pork. They add a fun texture and shape to the dish.
  • Slow cooker: A slow cooker is essential for this recipe since it allows the ingredients to infuse together slowly and without much intervention.

Optional Ingredients:

  • Mustard sauce: If you like mustard on your hot dogs, then this sauce will complement them well.
  • Honey garlic sauce: If you want a sweeter coating for your meatballs and hot dogs, then try this sauce instead of BBQ sauce.
  • Cranberry jelly: Another fruity option instead of grape jelly that goes amazing with Italian meatballs.
  • Sweet and sour sauce: Want something tangy? This sweet and sour combination works perfectly with little smokies.

Note: Adjust the quantities based on the size of your party. For instance, if you have a larger gathering, you can increase the amounts accordingly.

The Recipe How-To

 These mini hot dogs and meatballs are the perfect finger food.
These mini hot dogs and meatballs are the perfect finger food.

Let’s get straight to the point – I’m about to give you my Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs Recipe! This recipe is super easy to make and perfect for snacking or as a main dish at your next party. You can make it in a slow cooker, in the oven or on the stovetop. The cooking options are so versatile that you can simply choose the one that works best for you.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Ingredient List:

  • 1 package miniature hot dogs
  • 1 package lil smokies sausages (1 pound)
  • 36 cooked Italian meatballs
  • 1 jar grape jelly (16 ounces)
  • 1 bottle chili sauce (12 ounces)

This recipe only requires five main ingredients, and they are all easily available at your local grocery store. It’s also a great way to use up leftover meatballs you may have from another meal.

Now, let’s move on to the actual recipe how-to:

Recipe How-To:

  1. Firstly, take out your crockpot and turn it on low heat.
  2. Add in the grape jelly and chili sauce, and stir until they are combined evenly.
  3. Then, toss in the cooked meatballs, miniature hot dogs, and lil smokies sausages.
  4. Stir everything together so that each meat is coated completely with the sauce mixture.
  5. Let it cook for approximately 2-3 hours until everything is heated through and coated with the sauce mixture.

Alternatively, if you’re short on time or don’t have a crockpot available, you can also prepare this dish using an oven or stove-top method.

For baking: Preheat your oven to 350°F (177°C). Add everything into a roasting pan and bake uncovered for approximately 30 minutes until everything is heated through and coated with the sauce mixture.

For stove-top: Add everything into a large pot over medium-low heat. Cook until everything is heated through and coated with the sauce mixture.

This versatile recipe yields around 48 Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs which makes it perfect not just for parties but also as a quick snack when craving something warm and savory. They freeze well too, so feel free to make extra batches ahead of time.

There you have it – my easy-peasy Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs Recipe! So whether you’re hosting a football-watching party, looking for some festive-yet-easy holiday appetizers or simply want something delicious to serve up while binge-watching shows on Netflix, this recipe will be just perfect!

Substitutions and Variations

 Say goodbye to boring party snacks with these tasty treats.
Say goodbye to boring party snacks with these tasty treats.

When it comes to putting your own spin on this mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs recipe, the possibilities are endless. Here are some substitutions and variations that you can try out:

– Sauce swaps: While the classic grape jelly chili sauce and BBQ sauce combo is always a fan-favorite, there’s no reason why you can’t experiment with other condiments. Consider swapping out the chili sauce with honey garlic sauce or cranberry sauce for a sweeter flavor. Or, try using sweet and sour sauce or mustard sauce instead of BBQ sauce for a tangy twist.

– Meat options: Instead of using hot dogs, you can switch things up by using smoked sausages or lil’ smokies. If you’re not a fan of beef or pork, consider using turkey or chicken meatballs as an alternative to Italian meatballs.

– Cook method: While this recipe calls for cooking the meatballs on low heat in a slow cooker for 6-8 hours or on high heat in a slow cooker for 3-4 hours, you can also bake them in the oven at 375°F for 25-30 minutes. For frozen meatballs or miniature hot dogs, it’s recommended to thaw them first before cooking.

– Flavor additions: If you want to add some extra flavor to your mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs, consider adding chopped onions, bell peppers, or jalapeños to the mix. You can also sprinkle some shredded cheese on top before serving.

No matter what substitutions or variations you decide to try out, don’t be afraid to get creative and have fun with it. After all, the best part of cooking is making it your own!

Serving and Pairing

 These mini hot dogs and meatballs are easy to make and even easier to eat.
These mini hot dogs and meatballs are easy to make and even easier to eat.

One of the joys of mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs is their versatility. Whether you’re serving these at a party, as an appetizer, or as a main course, they will impress your guests with their flavor.

To serve, consider arranging them on a platter with some toothpicks. This makes it easy for people to grab and go. You can also serve them in individual bowls or cups, especially if you’re going for a more formal setting.

When it comes to pairing, there are many options to choose from. Mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs go wonderfully with chips and dip, such as ranch or guacamole. You can also pair them with veggies like carrots and celery sticks.

For those looking for something crunchier, consider serving them with fried items like hushpuppies or fried pickles. For those who prefer something sweeter, mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs taste great alongside fruit salads or cheese boards.

To satisfy those looking for something starchy, serve mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs with classic sides like hot buttered cornbread or macaroni and cheese. Don’t forget to have plenty of your guests’ favorite sauces available like chili sauce or BBQ sauce to dress up these adorable bites even more.

No matter how you serve and pair them, mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs will always be a hit at any party or gathering.

Make-Ahead, Storing and Reheating

 Get your party started with these delicious mini hot dogs and meatballs.
Get your party started with these delicious mini hot dogs and meatballs.

As someone who loves throwing parties, I understand the importance of having dishes that can be made ahead of time to reduce stress on the day of the event. The Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs Recipe is perfect for that! You can make these in advance and store them in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to three days.

To reheat, simply place the mini hot dogs and meatballs in a slow cooker with your desired sauce (grape jelly chili sauce or BBQ sauce are both great options!) and heat on low for a couple of hours until hot and saucy. Alternatively, you can reheat them in the microwave by placing them on a microwave-safe plate, covering with a damp paper towel, and heating for 1-2 minutes.

If you have leftovers after your party, don’t worry! These mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs also freeze well. Allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight container or freezer bag. They will last up to two months in the freezer.

When you’re ready to eat them again, just thaw them overnight in the refrigerator and reheat using one of the previously mentioned methods. Trust me; you’ll want to have some leftovers because they taste even better the second time around!

In summary, these mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs are an excellent make-ahead dish that is easy to store and reheat when needed. Whether you’re preparing for a big event or just looking for a quick snack, this recipe is sure to be a crowd-pleaser.

Tips for Perfect Results

 These bite-sized snacks will be the talk of your party.
These bite-sized snacks will be the talk of your party.

To make sure your mini hot dog ‘n’ meatballs recipe comes out perfectly, try these helpful tips:

Firstly, don’t be afraid to experiment with different sauces. While the recipe suggests using grape jelly and chili sauce or barbecue sauce, you can also try honey garlic or even cranberry sauce to add a unique flavor to your dish. The key is to find the right balance of sweet and savory flavors.

Secondly, when using frozen meatballs, make sure they are fully thawed before cooking in your slow cooker to ensure maximum flavor absorption. You can also cook already cooked meatballs if you want to save some time.

Thirdly, timing is everything when it comes to slow cooker recipes. As tempting as it may be, avoid the urge to lift the lid and check on your mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs too often. Every time you do, you risk releasing heat and extending the cooking time.

Fourthly, if you’re hosting a party or event and want to have this dish ready for guests at a specific time, plan ahead and start cooking at least 6 hours before serving the meal.

Lastly, make sure to stir frequently to prevent the meatballs from sticking together in clumps. Additionally, separate sausages that stick together while cooking for even heat distribution.

By following these simple tips, your mini hot dog ‘n’ meatballs recipe is sure to be a hit at any gathering!


It’s totally normal to have questions about recipes, especially when you’re trying something new. In this FAQ section, I’ll provide definitive answers to some common questions that you might have about the Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs recipe. Whether you’re looking for information on substitutions or variations, make-ahead instructions, or just a bit of guidance on how long to cook everything, I’ve got you covered. So take a look and see if your question has been already answered!

What do you eat with little Smokies?

When it comes to throwing a party, serving little smokies as an appetizer is a crowd-pleaser that always hits the spot. To complement these tasty bites, I recommend pairing them with some classic Southern dishes like sweet potato fries, crockpot meatballs, baked beans, fried rice, and cornbread. These side dishes add the perfect balance of sweetness, savory flavors, and textures that will leave your guests feeling satisfied and impressed. So, let’s get ready to cook up a storm and make your party a hit!

Do you thaw frozen meatballs before cooking?

Typically, you don’t have to defrost meatballs before cooking them. You can use frozen meatballs directly from the freezer in most cases. However, if you are using a sauce that cannot withstand longer cooking times, it’s better to cook the meatballs beforehand and then add the sauce. This allows you to achieve the desired texture and flavor without the risk of overcooked or undercooked meatballs. Just keep in mind that it may take a bit longer to cook frozen meatballs, so be sure to adjust your cooking time accordingly.

How do you serve meatball baby led weaning?

When making meatballs for babies, it’s important to focus on creating a soft and tender texture. Avoiding a hard or dry exterior is essential to ensure safe chewing and eliminate any risk of choking. To achieve this, try cooking the meatballs by simmering or baking them until they are just set. A great way to serve these tender meatballs is with a homemade marinara or other type of sauce.

How long do you cook already cooked meatballs in the crockpot?

When it comes to preparing already cooked meatballs in a slow cooker, it’s important to let them simmer for at least six hours to ensure that they come out tender and flavorful. Leaving them in for up to eight hours is also an option, but don’t cut the cooking time short or they may not reach the desired texture. Keep this in mind when preparing meatballs for your next gathering.

Bottom Line

In conclusion, the Mini Hot Dogs ‘n’ Meatballs recipe is the perfect addition to any party menu. It is easy to make, versatile, and delicious. The combination of sweet and savory flavors in the grape jelly and barbecue sauce is sure to please any palate. Plus, with the option to use frozen cooked meatballs or make your own, this recipe can be customized to fit your preferences and time constraints.

So whether you are hosting a tailgate party or a holiday get-together, these mini hot dogs ‘n’ meatballs are the perfect crowd-pleaser. With a little bit of preparation and planning ahead of time, you can have the appetizers ready for your guests without having to spend all night in the kitchen.

I highly recommend trying out this recipe and experimenting with different combinations of sauces and meats to find your own perfect flavor profile. With its simple yet satisfying taste and easy preparation, this dish is sure to be a hit at any party.

Mini Hot Dogs 'n' Meatballs

Mini Hot Dogs 'n' Meatballs Recipe

I made these New Years Eve and they were gone before the New Year 🙂 Adapted from Quick Cooking.
No ratings yet
Prep Time 5 mins
Cook Time 3 hrs
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Servings 8 cups
Calories 362.7 kcal


  • 36 (1/2 ounce) frozen cooked italian meatballs
  • 1 (16 ounce) package miniature hot dogs or (16 ounce) package smoked sausage
  • 1 (3 1/2 ounce) package sliced pepperoni
  • 1 (26 ounce) jar meatless spaghetti sauce
  • 1 (18 ounce) bottle barbecue sauce
  • 1 (12 ounce) bottle chili sauce


  • Combine all ingredients in crock pot.
  • Cover and cook on low for 3 hours or until heated through.

Your Own Notes


Serving: 2191gCalories: 362.7kcalCarbohydrates: 28.3gProtein: 11.8gFat: 21.8gSaturated Fat: 6.7gCholesterol: 58.1mgSodium: 2522.8mgFiber: 3.5gSugar: 11.7g
Keyword < 4 Hours, Easy
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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