Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs

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Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs have a generous splash of bourbon and a tangy sauce.

Meatballs are the quintessential party food and my Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs are perfect for large potlucks or cocktails for a dozen of your friends. The recipe is versatile and economical, as well as, of course, delicious.


Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs

And, don’t forget meatballs are great for entertaining, but they are also great in a hoagie bun as a sandwich! Personally, I would load the bun up with meatballs, cheddar cheese, tangy slaw, and candied jalapenos!

Most noteworthy, for tender meatballs, don’t overwork the meat especially important when using a leaner meat like turkey. (Higher fat meats are more tender.) Experts recommend using kitchen gloves and your hands to mix the mixture together so that you can feel the meat. I prefer to use a large spatula. Use what is comfortable for you.

Furthermore, breadcrumbs will help to keep the meatballs tender. Breadcrumbs add moisture to the meatballs and also prevents the meat proteins from shrinking and becoming tough while cooking.

You can make these meatballs either in your slow cooking or on the stove top.


Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs

  1. I like to put little oil in the bottom of the slow cooker to keep the meatballs from sticking. You can spray it with non-stick vegetable spray and get the same effect.
  2. I lighten the meatballs a little by using part beef and part turkey. You can use all beef or all turkey if you’d like.
  3. Personally, I don’t cook with wine or bourbon that I wouldn’t make a drink with, therefore, I used a good bourbon in this recipe. Use your favorite, after all, that’s the flavor you enjoy best.
  4. As well, you may substitute sorghum or honey for the molasses. I prefer the complexity of flavor the molasses gives.
  5. Adjust the cayenne pepper and hot sauce to your liking.
  6. I use a 1-inch spring release scoop to measure my meatballs. To me, it’s the easiest way to keep them uniform. For this size meatball, I got approximately 50 meatballs.

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Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs

Meatballs are the quintessential party food and my Slow Cooker Bourbon Whiskey Meatballs are perfect for large potlucks or cocktails for a dozen of your friends. The recipe is versatile and economical, as well as, of course, delicious.
Author: Paula
4.89 from 9 votes
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Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours
Total Time: 2 hours 15 minutes
Servings: 50 meatballs



  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 pound ground turkey
  • 1/2 cup fresh breadcrumbs
  • 1 large egg beaten
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1/4 teaspoon thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper to your taste
  • 1/4 cup bourbon
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon oil*


  • 1/2 cup bourbon see notes below
  • 1/2 cup molasses
  • 2 tablespoons hot sauce or to taste
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 1/4 to 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/4 teaspoon chili powder


  • To make the meatballs, mix together the ground beef and ground turkey, bread crumbs, egg, salt garlic, thyme, pepper, cayenne pepper, bourbon, and Worcestershire sauce.
  • Shape the meatballs into 1 to 1 and 1/2 inch diameter.
  • Add meatballs to slow cooker.
  • Combine Sauce ingredients and pour over meatballs.
  • Cover and cook in slow cooker 2 to 2 and 1/2 hours on high.
  • Spoon sauce over meatballs as needed. Serve.


See notes below for tips and substitutions. Stovetop cooking directions.
  • On medium heat, add oil to a large skillet.
  • Place meatballs in a skillet, don't overcrowd. You may need to cook in batches.
  • Brown on all sides (about 2-3 minutes per side).
  • Remove cooked meatballs from the pan and set aside.
  • Drain off the excess grease and add the sauce ingredients to the pan.
  • Cook over low heat for 5 minutes.
  • Add the meatballs back to the pan, toss to coat.
  • Simmer, uncovered, for 30 minutes.


Calories: 64kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 4g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 11mg | Sodium: 98mg | Potassium: 122mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 5g | Vitamin A: 39IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 12mg | Iron: 1mg
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  1. Sounds delicious! Can I cook the meatballs in oven on a pan vs stovetop? If so what temp and how long?

    1. Depending on the size typically meatballs will cook in a 350 degrees oven for 25 to 30 minutes.
      For stovetop put 2 tablespoons of oil in your pan and cook, flipping occasionally until the center reaches 165 degrees F – usually 10-20 minutes depending on size and temp. I usually turn the pan to low after it heats up because the outside will become cooked before the inside if the temp is too hot.

  2. I have a family member that does not eat Turkey in any form. He actually gets sick. Can I use all beef in the recipe instead of the combination? These look delicious.

  3. 5 stars
    I have read through other blogs, but they are bloated and more confusing than your post. I hope you continue to have such quality posts to share with everyone! I believe a lot of people will be surprised to read this article! thank !

  4. 5 stars
    I do not know what to say really what you share very well and useful to the community, I feel that it makes our community much more developed, thanks

  5. Meatballs are looking very delicious. Looks like you have convinced me to cook some

  6. I see at the end of the meatball recipe that it does not mention to add the bourbon or the worchestershire. I am assuming that it is a mistake and it goes in with all the other ingredients for the meatballs?

  7. Bourbon and meatballs. In the same place. And that place is my belly. What’s not to love!? These look invredible!

  8. This looks delicious! The next time we have guests over, this will definitely be on the menu!

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