These juicy, tender Dr Pepper Meatballs are sticky, sweet, tangy and always a hit at a party! These cocktail meatballs are made with simple ingredients and baked for easy, hands-off convenience! Plus, they can be made in advance for parties and they reheat beautifully!! Fair warning though, these succulent meatballs are so good you’ll be licking your fingers (and utensils) clean!
Continue to read on for simple tips and tricks for preparing the best soda meatballs in your very own kitchen! And, don’t miss the comprehensive step-by-step photographs showing you exactly how easy it is to make meatballs with Dr Pepper at home! Are you looking for meatball recipes? Try these family favorites next: Spicy Chicken Meatballs, Thai Chicken Meatballs and Chicken Apple Meatballs!
Update: Update: This post was originally published in November 2015. I made updates to the post below to include more information about Dr Pepper Meatballs. Plus, I’ve included step by step photos to show you how quick and easy it is to make your own cocktail meatballs at home!
Hi, friends! With football season well under way I figured it was high time I share one of my all-time favorite cocktail meatball recipes with you. If you are a fan of tender, sticky, insanely delicious meatballs, you are going to absolutely love these Dr Pepper meatballs!
Dr pepper meatballs: overview
These Dr Pepper Meatballs are seriously addicting and lick your fingers clean type of yum!
Plump, juicy, tender meatballs loaded with savory flavors and a touch of jalapeño spice. Tossed in a sticky, sweet and tangy Dr Pepper glaze, these meatballs are nothing short of magical!
Rich and packed with a depth of flavors, these cocktail meatballs are pure comfort food at its finest! And trust me, they will disappear in the blink of an eye!
They are the perfect food for game day, or they would make a wonderful appetizer for your next holiday party! However, I feel like I should give you a fair warning. Warning: If you serve these meatballs at a party, they will disappear faster than a wink of an eye! You may want to do yourself a favor and double (or even triple) the recipe!
What are Dr Pepper meatballs?
Dr Pepper Meatballs are a type of cocktail meatball made from ground meat, breadcrumbs, grated onion, egg and seasoning.
Tossed in a sticky, sweet and tangy glaze made from Dr Pepper soda, the meatballs can either be baked, pan-fried or cooked in the crockpot depending on the recipe.
What to serve with cocktail meatballs?
Cocktail meatballs pair well with a wide variety of dishes! Whether you are looking to include Dr Pepper Meatballs as a part of your tailgate spread, or enjoy them for dinner, these appetizer and side dishes will round out your menu!
- Shrimp Cocktail
- Cheesy Dip
- Chicken Wings
- Jalapeno Poppers
- Little Smokies
- Rice – regular rice, cauliflower rice or quinoa
- Noodles – any variety
- Sautéed peppers and onions
How to make Dr Pepper Meatballs?
This Dr pepper meatball recipe is so easy and fool-proof to prepare! Plus, since they are baked (not pan fried), they are healthier than other cocktail meatball options!
In a hurry? If you are in a pinch and want to save time, you can use frozen meatballs instead of making your own from scratch. Be sure to prepare the meatballs according to the instructions on the meatball packaging.
How to make glazed cocktail meatballs
- Soak bread crumbs: Place the breadcrumbs in a small bowl and add the milk. Stir the mixture to combine and set the bowl aside.
- Preheat oven: Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Place a greased wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet and set aside.
- Prepare meatballs: In a large bowl, whisk the egg. Add in the onion, jalapeño, parsley, and Worcestershire. Season with salt and pepper. Stir well to combine.
- Add meat: Add the soaked breadcrumbs and ground meat to the egg mixture. Using your hands, gently mix everything together until just blended. Do not over-mix, the meatballs mixture should be moist.
- Form the meatballs: With wet hands or a small ice cream scooper, portion out the meatballs. Gently roll the mixture between your fingers to form into balls. Continue shaping and forming the meatballs, transferring the meatballs onto the prepared rack.
- Bake meatballs: Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 165 degrees F. Remove the baking sheet from oven and immediately transfer the meatballs to a large bowl.
- While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce: In a large saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sauce thickens and coats the back of a spoon, about 10-12 minutes. Keep the sauce warm on the stove while the meatballs finish baking.
- Toss meatballs in sauce: Pour enough sauce over the meatballs to coat and gently toss together. Serve with any remaining sauce on the side. Enjoy!
Step-by-step photos of how to make Dr Pepper meatballs
Can you make these meatballs in advance?
You can prepare Dr pepper meatballs up to 2 days in advance.
To prepare meatballs ahead of time: Mix the meatball ingredients together and form the meatballs. Transfer the meatballs to an airtight container and store them in the refrigerator for up to 2 days. When you are ready to serve, bake the meatballs, prepare the sauce, toss the two together and enjoy!
How many Dr pepper meatballs per person?
The number of meatballs per person to serve at a party greatly depends on how many other appetizers you are serving. As a general rule of thumb, plan on three to five Dr Pepper Meatballs per person.
Pro-tip: Serving these at a party? Transfer the baked meatballs and sauce to a slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to the “warm” setting to keep them warm and fresh!
Do your next game day or holiday party right, and be sure to include these magically delicious meatballs on the menu!
Until next time, friends, cheers!
The best Dr Pepper Meatball recipe 👇
Dr Pepper Meatballs
- Mixing bowls (2)
- Wire Rack
- Rimmed Baking Sheet
- Large Saucepan
- 1/2 Cup Panko Bread Crumbs
- 1/3 Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
- 1 large Egg
- 1 Medium Yellow Onion – grated or finely minced (about 1/2 cup) (SEE NOTES)
- 1 small Jalapeno - minced (SEE NOTES)
- 1 TBS Parsley Leaves - packed & finely chopped
- 1 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 Pound Ground Beef, Ground Pork, or Mixture of Both (SEE NOTES)
- Kosher Salt & Ground Black Pepper
DR PEPPER SAUCE: (see notes)
- 1 (12 oz) Can Dr Pepper
- 1 Cup Ketchup
- ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
- 1 ½ TBS Reduced-Sodium Soy Sauce
- 1 ½ TBS Worcestershire Sauce
- 1 ½ TBS Sriracha
- 1 ½ TBS Cornstarch
- Soak bread crumbs: Place the bread crumbs in a small bowl. Pour milk over breadcrumbs and stir to combine. Set aside.
- Preheat oven: Adjust oven rack to center position and preheat oven to 400 degrees F.Prepare baking sheet: Place a wire rack on a large rimmed baking sheet. Spray the wire rack generously with non-stick cooking oil.
- Prepare meatballs: In a large bowl, whisk egg. Add onion, jalapeno, parsley, Worcestershire and season with 1 teaspoon kosher salt and a scant ½ teaspoon pepper. Stir to combine.
- Add meat: Add the soaked breadcrumbs and ground meat to the mixture. Using your hands, gently mix everything together until just blended (but do NOT over-mix!!). The meatball mixture should be moist.
- Form the meatballs: With wet hands (to keep meatballs from sticking) or a small ice cream scooper, portion out 1 ½ tablespoon-sized meatballs. Gently roll the meatball mixture between your fingers to form into balls. Continue shaping and forming meatballs until all the meat is used, transferring the meatballs onto the prepared rack, about 1/2-inch apart.
- Bake meatballs: Bake the meatballs for 20-25 minutes, or until browned and an instant-read thermometer inserted into the middle of the meatball registers 165 degrees F. Remove the baking sheet from oven and IMMEDIATELY transfer the meatballs to a large bowl.
- While the meatballs are baking, prepare the sauce: In a large saucepan, whisk together all the ingredients for the sauce. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Place the saucepan over medium-high heat and bring to a boil. Immediately lower heat to maintain a simmer. Cook, whisking occasionally, until sauce is coats the back of a spoon and is slightly thickened to a syrup consistency, about 10-12 minutes. Taste and adjust for seasoning with salt and pepper. Keep the sauce warm on the stove while the meatballs finish baking.
- Toss meatballs in sauce: Pour enough sauce over the meatballs to coat. Gently toss. Serve with any remaining sauce on the side and garnish with fresh parsley or chives. Enjoy.
- Make sure you grate the onion using the large holes on a box grater.
- If you don’t like a ton of heat, remove the seeds and ribs from the jalapeno before mincing.
- For the most flavor, use a combination of meats – ½ a pound ground beef (80/20 chuck) and ½ a pound pork.
- Dr Pepper Sauce: The recipe makes a good amount of sauce. If you don’t like saucy meatballs, cut the sauce recipe in half, or double the meatball portion of the recipe!
- To make in advance: Meatballs can be prepared and rolled up to 2 days in advance. Store meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator until ready to use.
- Serving these at a party? Transfer the baked meatballs and sauce to a slow cooker. Turn the slow cooker to the “warm” setting to keep them warm and fresh!
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