These Baked Spiced Hard Apple Cider Glazed Meatballs are tender, succulent and bursting with sweet and savory flavor. Baked for ease and convenience, then coated in a rich, silky smooth hard apple cider glaze, these meatballs are perfect for all occasions! From game day and holiday entertaining to snack time and dinner, these meatballs are marvelous and guaranteed to please!
Course: Appetizer, entree
Keyword: apple, apple cider, baked, chicken, Easy, entertaining, fall, glazed, hard cider, meatballs, snack, spiced
1poundGround Chickenor ground pork, turkey, or beef*
2clovesGarlic – minced
2Scallions– finely chopped
½CupGranny Smith Apple* – peeled & grated (about ¾ of an apple)
1Large Egg – whisked
1tspFresh Thyme Leaves – chopped
1tspKosher Saltplus more to taste
¾CupHard Apple Cider
1TBSApple Cider Vinegar
Optional for Garnish : Sliced Green Onions, Thyme, Crushed Red Pepper Flakes, Chopped Pecans
Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper or foil for easy clean up.
Make the meatballs: In a large bowl combine all the ingredients for the meatballs. Use your hands or a rubber spatula to gently mix until just combined. Do NOT overmix.
Form the meatballs: Using wet hands to prevent sticking, roll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs (about 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each). If the mixture is too wet, add 1 tablespoon of panko, at a time, to the mix until it is easier to shape. Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheet.
Bake for 18-22 minutes, or until lightly browned and meatballs are cooked through.
MEANWHILE, make the glaze: In a large skillet combine all the sauce ingredients. Season with ½ teaspoon salt and pinch of pepper. Whisk to combine. Place the skillet over medium heat and bring to a gentle simmer. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, whisking occasionally. for 6-8 minutes, or until sauce is slightly thickened. Reduce heat to low and add the meatballs. Gently toss to thoroughly coat the meatballs.
To serve: Transfer the glazed meatballs to a serving dish and top with optional garnishes. Enjoy!
1. I used ground chicken in my meatballs, but feel free to use whatever type of ground meat you would like. Ground turkey or pork would be a great substitution, but ground beef will work too! If you are using ground chicken, I highly recommend you do NOT go with all white meat ground chicken. All ground chicken breasts tend to make the meatballs less juicy and flavorful.2. The recipe calls for ½ cup of grated apple, which is roughly ¾ of an apple. I used a Granny Smith apple because the tartness balances the sweetness of the apple butter, but feel free to use any variety that hold up well under heat. Honey Crisp and Pink Lady are both excellent substitutions.3. To keep the meatballs from sticking to your hands when rolling them into balls, lightly oil your hands. This trick works like a charm! Also, make sure you DO NOT roll your meatballs into a tight ball. When meatballs are packed too tight they end up tough and chewy after being cooked.4. Make sure you form your meatballs into roughly the same size. You don’t need to be overly obsessive, just make sure they are around the same size. If you want to be precise, you can use a small ice cream scoop (it’s what I use).5. You can make the meatballs mini sized or jumbo sized if you want, just see the above note (#4) and scale down or up the baking time accordingly.6. You cannot taste the alcohol at all in these meatballs, however if hard apple cider isn’t your thing, feel free to use plain apple cider!7. These meatballs taste amazing over mashed potatoes!! So if you are looking to serve these as a main course, do it with some mashed ‘taters!