My gluten free cocktail meatballs are super scrumptious classic American comfort food with a feisty Cajun twist, y'all!! Ground beef, mixed with pulsed Cajun trinity veggies and garlic. Then, rolled into party-sized balls and tucked away into the oven while the sauce simmers down on the stove. Less than 30 minutes later, the two marry in the skillet for the final saucy finish that makes this finger-licking family fave appetizer ready for the party table. Yep and yay...
I'll Take Two For Now, Two for Later, and Another Two in a Minute, Y'all...
Growing up, as soon as I hit an event buffet table I was looking for the cocktail meatballs. To me, they were the perfect appetizer. All small and saucy, and ready to be eaten with one of those blue, red, or yellow curly-topped toothpicks that I absolutely adored. It was awesome, y'all. I felt so fancy and grown-up with my glamorous toothpicks! Yep. So, I would stuff myself with as many cocktail meatballs as I could possibly eat. And leave the party full, happy, and ready to prowl the next get-together potluck table for my favorite party favor.
Well, now that I'm all grown-up and gluten intolerant things have certainly changed. I can usually no longer peruse the party table for my bite-sized appetizer fix. Nope. So, I have to whip up a batch of my very own gluten free cocktail meatballs. And they are legit, y'all!
These gluten free cocktail meatballs yield ALL of the classic American flavors that you crave. And, they also have a kick of heat at the finish from my cherished south Louisiana condiment that I just can't live without. So, they're the best of both worlds. Cause they give you that nostalgia you crave, mixed in with just a bit of freshness that's sure to get all of the right kinds of party conversations started. Indeed.
How to Make Gluten Free Cocktail Meatballs
To begin, cut the veggies, and gather the remaining ingredients.
Now, pour all of the sauce ingredients into a saucepan.
Then, stir until well combined. Cover loosely and continue simmering for about 20 minutes.
Next, pour the veggies and garlic into the bowl of your food processor or blender. Then, pulse for just a few seconds. The veggies will be finely minced or even a tad liquified, which if fine.
Now, pour the pulsed veggies over the meat.
And use your hands to fully incorporate the mixture.
Then, roll the mixture into cocktail-sized meatballs. You should get around 35 balls. Slide the balls into the oven for about 20 minutes.
Finally, turn off the sauce. Pour it into the bottom of a skillet. Next, spoon or brush a bit of sauce over the top of each cocktail meatball. Then, bake for just a few more minutes to fully incorporate the sauce into the meatballs.
And that's it, y'all!!
The pulverized seasonings mixed into the ground beef bind each meatball, eliminating the need for eggs and/or gluten free bread crumbs. And the ketchup and tomato-based sauce gets a fancy makeover with just a little over a handful of pantry and fridge ingredients. Tender, juicy, and flavor-layered yum deliciousness that just gets better with time, this recipe is oh soooo party-worthy. Yep.
Share these gluten free cocktail meatballs with those you want to laugh with in-between each and every yum-delicious bite. Much food love, and see y'all on the yum side...
Note: This post was originally published on December 13, 2017, and updated on December 21, 2022.
Gluten Free Cocktail Meatballs
For the Cocktail Meatballs
- 2 pounds ground beef
- ½ cup onion
- ½ cup green bell pepper
- ½ cup celery
- 1 clove garlic
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
For the Cocktail Meatball Sauce
- 1 cup gluten free ketchup
- 1 cup gluten free tomato sauce
- ½ cup gluten free barbecue sauce
- 3 tablespoons gluten free Worcestershire sauce
- 3 tablespoons molasses
- ½ cup brown sugar
- 1 tablespoon Creole mustard
- 1 teaspoon yellow mustard
- ¼ teaspoon lime zest
- ¼ teaspoon lime juice
- 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
- salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste
- Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Pour all of the sauce ingredients into a saucepan set atop medium-low heat.
- Simmer, stirring often, until the meatballs come out of the oven.
- Line the bottom of a roasting rack with aluminum foil, then secure the top of the rack over the foil.
- Alternately, place the aluminum foil on the bottom of a cast iron skillet, then place a roasting rack on top of the foil.
- Place the ground beef in a large mixing bowl.
- Pour the onion, bell pepper, celery, garlic, and salt, black pepper, and cayenne pepper to taste in the bowl of your food processor or blender. Pulse for just a few seconds until all of the mixture becomes finely minced or slightly liquefied.
- Pour the pulsed mixture into the ground beef, and use your hands to work the mixture into the beef. (Do not overwork the beef mixture or your meatballs will be tough.)
- Use a plastic tablespoon scoop to form roughly 35 cocktail-sized meatballs.
- Arrange the cocktail meatballs in a single layer over rack that's positioned over the roasting pan.
- Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.
- After the meatballs have been in the oven for 20 minutes, transfer the baking rack to a heatproof counter or stovetop.
- Remove the sauce from heat, and pour it into a 12-inch cast iron skillet or large baking dish.
- Use paper towels to soak up the grease from the meatballs. Then, arrange them in a circular pattern on top of the sauce, and spoon or brush some of the sauce on top of each meatball.
- Return the skillet or baking dish carefully to the oven.
- Bake for an additional 10 minutes, or until a digital thermometer inserted into the center of the meatballs reads at least 160 degrees F.
- Let stand 5 minutes before serving.
The information shown is an estimate provided by a third-party, online computer-generated nutrition calculator, not a registered dietitian or certified nutritionist. Actual nutritional content will vary based upon brands used, measuring methods and individual portion sizes, along with other factors.See our full nutrition disclaimer here.