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+ servings

Dr. Pepper Meatballs

Savory cocktail meatballs in a sticky Dr. Pepper sauce. This homemade meatball recipe with a sweet and savory sauce is a favorite. Serve these elevated cocktail meatballs at your next party. 
Course Appetizer
Cuisine American
Prep Time 30 minutes
Cook Time 35 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 5 minutes
Servings 62 meatballs



  • 3 pounds ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 tablespoon dried parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 2 teaspoons onion powder
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1/3 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 medium white onions, diced
  • 2 teaspoons freshly minced garlic ( or a few garlic cloves minced )
  • 2 large eggs

Dr. Pepper Sauce

  • 24 ounces ( 2 12oz. cans ) Dr. Pepper soda
  • 1 cup ketchup
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons tomato paste
  • 4 tablespoons cornstarch
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt, more to taste
  • 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes
  • 1 bunch green onions, diced to serve


  • Prepare a baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
    In a large mixing bowl, whisk together parsley, basil, paprika, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, pepper, red pepper flakes, parmesan cheese, and plain breadcrumbs.  
    Chop onions and garlic. I used a food processor to chop them finely.  Add to bowl. Whisk in 2 large eggs. 
    Add in ground beef. Using your hands, work the ground beef into the wet mixture, coating everything well.
    Form even size meatballs with a cookie scoop then place on prepared baking sheet close together, but not touching each other.
    Bake meatballs for 35 minutes then transfer to cooling rack while baking the rest. I usually remove any excess fat on the meatballs with a paper towel. *See notes for making meatballs in advance. 
    To make the sauce, whisk together 2 cans ( 24oz. ) Dr. Pepper soda, ketchup, and tomato paste in a large stockpot over medium heat. 
    In a small bowl, make a slurry with 4 1/2 tablespoons cornstarch and 4 1/2 tablespoons cold water. Once smooth, add to pot.
    Bring sauce to boil to thicken then reduce heat and stir in onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and red pepper flakes. 
    Carefully stir in meatballs. Coat well with Dr. Pepper sauce. 
    Serve with diced green onions, sesame seeds, and rice or serve on wooden cocktail sticks. 


Making Meatballs in Advance and Reheating
Meatballs can be made in advance. Make meatballs up to 2 days in advance. Refrigerate meatballs. On the day of serving, preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Add meatballs to a rimmed baking sheet and cover with foil. Heat in oven while making the sauce. 
Meatballs and sauce should be stored separately if making in advance. 
Easier Recipe
Use store-bought meatballs in place of homemade meatballs.
For a Party
If serving for a party, keep warm in a crockpot throughout the event.