With the perfect blend of savory, smoky flavor and a touch of tart sweetness, Slow Cooker Cranberry Little Smokies are a simple and crowd-pleasing appetizer. This low-prep snack is perfect for the holiday season or game day!
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Holiday entertaining doesn't have to be complicated! This super easy slow cooker recipe combines just 4 ingredients to create a great appetizer that's sure to be a hit with any crowd. You'll love these little smokies coated in a tangy sauce that combines sweet, savory, and smoky flavors. Pair them with my Slow Cooker Honey Buffalo Meatballs for an appetizer feast!
Why this Recipe Works
Hands-off and beyond simple, this little smokies recipe combines common ingredients to create a mouth-wateringly delicious appetizer. Great for parties with a large crowd, to enjoy on Christmas Eve, or to munch while watching the game like my Pigs in a Blanket!
These little smokies come together with cranberry sauce and BBQ sauce for the perfect balance of flavors with a sweet twist, and brown sugar helps tie everything together. With simple ingredients and only 5 minutes of prep time, it doesn't get much faster than this. Serve these alongside Sweet and Spicy Bacon Wrapped Shrimp or Pretzel Bites with Beer Cheese for the ultimate snack platter!
- Little Smokies: These miniature cocktail sausages are perfect for a bite sized savory appetizer.
- Cranberry Sauce: Adds some sweet tanginess and gives this recipe a holiday flair.
- BBQ Sauce: Pairs perfectly with the smoky mini sausages.
- Brown Sugar: Brings out the sweetness of the homemade sauce for some balance.
- Red Pepper Flakes: This optional ingredient is great if you want to add a little kick of heat to your smokies!
How to Make Slow Cooker Little Smokies
- In a slow cooker, combine cranberry sauce, BBQ sauce, brown sugar, and smoked sausage. Stir until everything is combined and the sausages are evenly coated.
- Cook on low for 3 to 4 hours, then serve right away or leave in the crockpot on the warm setting.
- Serve your sausages with toothpicks or cocktail forks on the side to make them easier to pick up.
- Allow guests to dip their little smokies in mustard, or serve with additional barbecue sauce on the side.
- Add a sprinkle of red pepper flakes, chili flakes, or even sweet chili sauce for some spiciness.
- Light brown sugar and dark brown sugar can both be used for this recipe. If you only have light brown sugar but want more of that complex sweetness, you can add a spoonful of molasses.
- Little Smokies are a particular product from Hillshire Farm, but any mini sausages or mini hot dogs could be used for this recipe for a similar result.
These miniature smoked sausages from Hillshire Farm, also stylized as Lit'l Smokies, are made with a combination of pork and chicken. You might know them as cocktail weenies or cocktail franks, and they're sold as such by lots of other brands. You should be able to find them in the deli aisle of your local grocery store
Lil smokies and similar products usually come fully cooked, so you could eat them right out of the package if you like. I prefer to pop them in the slow cooker for a few hours and let them simmer in a tasty sauce to enhance their flavor!
Keep your leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 5 days. You can transfer everything back to the slow cooker and use the warm setting to heat through again, or do so in a microwave-safe bowl.
You could also store them in the freezer for a month or two if you need them to last longer. Allow them to fully thaw in the fridge before reheating.
Slow Cooker Cranberry Little Smokies
- 30 ounce pkg miniature smoked sausages
- 1- 14 ounce can cranberry sauce or 2 cups homemade
- 1 3/4 cups bbq sauce
- 1/2 cup brown sugar
- 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes optional
- Add all of the ingredients to the slow cooker.
- Stir and cook on low for 3-4 hours.
- Serve immediately with toothpicks or keep on warm until ready to serve.