Game Day Recipe: Dr Pepper Glazed Jalapeño Meatballs

Now that football season is officially here, there’s lots of tailgating, grilling, and grubbing going down ― and cheering and shouting and, sometimes, even tears. It’s OK. Your team will get ‘em next time! In the meantime, here's a recipe worth crying over.   

If you want to show off your culinary skills and impress your friends, or your Fantasy League buddies come game day, showing up with a winning dish is the way to do it. We all know wings, barbecue, chips and dip, and other finger foods dominate the game day food scene, but here’s a recipe I recently stumbled upon from No Spoon Necessary that would make for a great game day treat: Dr Pepper Glazed Jalapeño Meatballs. OH. YES.  

For one, few people understand the love for Dr Pepper than Texans. After all, Dr Pepper was discovered back in 1885 in Waco, Texas, making it the oldest of the major brand soft drinks in America. And, second, Dr Pepper is simply delicious, so when I heard about this recipe, I couldn’t wait to test it out for myself.

The result was a delicious and sweet, but not overpoweringly so, concoction that surprised me ― mostly because I thought it would be too sweet. However, this was not the case. The meatballs were flavorful, and the glaze was mildly sweet but not at all spicy (maybe next time I’ll substitute the jalapeño for serrano or something hotter). Regardless, the meatballs were a hit and well received at my shindig. Just be sure you set a good hour aside for prep time. I hope you enjoy this recipe as much as I did. If you’re a fan of Dr Pepper, these meatballs are a MUST. 

Have you tried this recipe before? If you're game, maybe try changing out the Dr Pepper for, say, (puro) Big Red and see how the meatballs turn out. Either way, let us know your thoughts in the comments below. Enjoy!

Dr Pepper Glazed Jalapeño Meatballs

Plate of doctor pepper glazed meatballs



  • 3 Slices White Bread – crusts removed and torn into roughly ½’’ pieces (roughly 3 ounces)
  • ½ Cup Milk (2% or Whole)
  • 1 TBS Unsalted Butter
  • 1 Medium Yellow Onion – grated and divided
  • 1 medium Jalapeno - seeded, ribbed and minced
  • 2 Large Cloves Garlic – minced
  • 1 Pound Ground Beef Chuck (80/20)
  • 1 Pound Ground Pork
  • 1 TBS Fresh Parsley Leaves - minced
  • 2 large Eggs
  • 2 tsp Kosher Salt , plus more to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Ground White Pepper
  • Canola Oil for Frying


  • 2 Large Jalapenos – seeded, ribbed and minced
  • 1/2 tsp Kosher Salt
  • Pinch Ground White Pepper
  • ¾ Cup Light Brown Sugar
  • 1 (16.9 oz) Bottle Dr Pepper
  • ½ Cup Beef Stock
  • 2 TBS Cornstarch


  1. In a medium sized mixing bowl combine the bread cubes and the milk. Toss to coat. Set aside and allow bread to soak in milk until soft, about 8 – 10 minutes.

  2. Meanwhile, melt butter in a small skillet over medium-high heat. Add half of the minced onion and season with a pinch of salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, about 5 minutes. Add jalapeno and cook until onion is golden and jalapeno is softened, an additional 2 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, 30 seconds – 1 minute.

  3. Transfer to the bowl of a stand mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment. To the bowl add the beef, pork, soaked bread and milk, remaining raw onion, parsley, eggs, salt and pepper.

  4. Starting on the lowest speed, beat mixture, increasing speed to medium slowly, until all ingredients are thoroughly combined, about 45 seconds – 1 minute. Set aside.

  5. Prepare a large baking sheet or work surface with parchment paper. Use your hands to roll/form mixture into meatballs roughly 1 ½’’ – 2 tablespoon in size (dip your hands lightly in water or spray with nonstick cooking spray, to prevent meat from sticking if necessary). Transfer meatballs to prepared baking sheet.

  6. Preheat oven to 200 degrees and insert a wire rack into a clean baking sheet.

  7. In a large, wide skillet, heat 1/4’’ of oil over medium to medium-high heat. Working in batches, add meatballs and fry, turning occasionally until well browned all over, about 2 minutes total. Remove and transfer meatballs to wire rack and keep warm in the oven. Repeat with remaining meatballs.

  8. Dump out the oil in the pan, reduce heat to medium, and add a glug (roughly 2 teaspoons) of fresh oil. Add in the jalapenos, salt and pepper for the glaze. Cook for 2 minutes, until softened. Add the brown sugar, Dr Pepper, and beef stock. Increase heat to medium high and bring contents to a boil, stirring occasionally. Cook until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Meanwhile, whisk the cornstarch with ¼ cup of water and whisk to combine. Slowly whisk the cornstarch mixture (slurry) into the Dr Pepper Glaze. Continue to simmer an additional 1 minute.

  9. Add the meatballs to the glaze and stir to coat. Reduce heat to medium low, cover, and simmer until meatballs are cooked through, about 8-12 minutes.

  10. Serve immediately and enjoy.




Write a comment