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The best ways to cook Lil Smokies, the perfect appetizer for any gathering

These snacks may be little, but they pack big time flavor

Lil Smokies, pigs in a blanket pork sausages
Image used with permission by copyright holder

No matter if it’s game day or a Saturday backyard picnic; when it comes time to serve an All-American meaty treat, we suggest you look no further than the sure-fire people-pleaser, Little Smokies (aka Lil Smokies). Aside from vegans and vegetarians, we can’t think of a single person who would be disappointed to see a piping hot bowl of Lil Smokies, complete with various dipping sauces.

These bad boys are super easy to make and are great on their own. However, if you’re looking to level up your Lil Smokies game, here are some easy recipes that will have the crowd cheering.

What are Lil Smokies?

Lil Smokies
Something Sweet Something Savoury

Lil Smokies are smoked cocktail wieners. These miniature sausages come pre-cooked and are available in beef or pork varieties. They’re a versatile ingredient that’s perfect for slow cooking, simmering, pan-frying, or baking in the oven. There are many ways to cook Lil Smokies. That’s why they’re the perfect choice for gatherings, whether you’re having people over to watch the big game or for holiday gatherings. And if you have leftovers, you can usually save them in the fridge for several days and reheat them when you’re ready to enjoy a quick snack.

One common question many people ask: Do you need a slow cooker to make them? No. While some recipes call for slow cooking your Little Smokies, you can also simmer, fry, or bake them.

Lil Smokies recipes

Easy barbecue Lil Smokies

It’s game day, close friends are on their way over, and you don’t have hours to slow-cook barbecue Little Smokies. Don’t sweat it! This stovetop recipe for Little Smokies is the classic made easy. For the last-minute host who doesn’t own a Crock-Pot, this is just the Hail Mary you need to impress the crowd. Five ingredients and 20 minutes are all you need to bring out the tangy and smoky flavors of your Lil Smokies.


Mix barbecue sauce, orange marmalade, paprika, and mustard in a saucepan and bring them to a boil for 5 minutes. Add your Little Smokies and cook over medium heat for 15 minutes. Let the sauce thicken and the Smokies heat. Serve warm and enjoy.

Tip: Got vegan friends? Score a touchdown by substituting the Lil Smokies in this recipe with baby carrots. They’re still easy to make and just as delicious.

Little Smokies wrapped in bacon

This Little Smokies recipe is made of sugar and spice and all things nice. And by all things nice, we obviously mean bacon. For the perfect balance between savory and sweet, this party appetizer is a crowd-pleaser. Crispy on the outside and moist in the middle, it’s sure to become one of your favorites to make. It’s delicious, easy to make, and even better to eat.


Line a baking sheet with aluminum foil, grease it, and pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Pat dry the Smokies, wrap them in bacon, and put a toothpick through them. Coat the Smokies with sugar, cayenne pepper, and black pepper. Bake them for 30-35 minutes and serve.

Tip: For a more even coat, add the dry ingredients to a large zip bag and shake the Smokies inside the bag. And if you like your bacon extra crispy, put the Smokies in the broiler instead of the oven.

Homemade pigs in a blanket

Need a big-batch recipe that satisfies a pack of hungry fans? You’ve got yourself a wiener with the addictive flavors of mini crescent dogs. With the convenience of canned crescent rolls, this recipe is super easy to make and is sure to hit the spot with a large group of friends. Fluffy, warm, and balanced, these are the bite-size snacks that elevate stadium hotdogs to classy hors d’oeuvres.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit and unroll the dough. Cut each crescent into a slim triangle, making sure that the base is a little smaller than the width of a Smokie. Starting at the shortest side of the triangle, roll each sausage upwards and place them on an ungreased cookie sheet. Bake for a total of 15 minutes and roll them halfway through the baking process. Once they’re golden brown, remove your mini crescent dogs from the cookie sheet and serve them warm.

Tip: Pair your pigs in a blank with ketchup, mustard, and relish for an authentic field-side snack in the comfort of your own home.

Buffalo-style Smokies

An exciting game deserves a spicy snack. If you’re looking for tiny but mighty bites that pack a punch, these Buffalo-style Smokies are right for you. They’re a great alternative to wings because they’re much easier to make and just as fiery. With the help of a slow cooker, you can set these babies in the morning and let the Crock-Pot do its thing. 4-5 hours later, your Smokies will be party-ready with mouthwatering zest.


Mix equal amounts of buffalo sauce and beer in your Crock-Pot. Add a can of cream of chicken soup and your Lil Smokies. Cover and cook for 4-5 hours, stirring occasionally. You’ll know they’re ready when the sauce gets creamy and the sausages are tender.

Tip: Just like wings, Buffalo-style Smokies taste great with ranch or blue cheese dressing. Serve these as dipping sauces and pair them with celery and carrots.

Lil Smokies mac n’ cheese

What goes better with beer and a nerve-wracking game than the comfort of mac n’ cheese? Little Smokies with mac n’ cheese. Oozing with cheese and smoky flavors, this luscious recipe satisfies the heart. Plus, it’s easy to make and perfect for large crowds.


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit while you follow the box’s instructions to make the macaroni and cheese. Stir in a can of condensed cream of mushroom soup and your Little Smokies. Place everything in a baking dish and sprinkle with shredded cheddar cheese. Bake for 20 minutes. Decorate with freshly chopped parsley and serve.

Tip: If you’re not a fan of mushrooms, you can substitute this ingredient for cream of celery. It has a milder flavor but still gives your dish the creamy consistency that makes it stand out.

Grape jelly Little Smokies

You might have looked at the headline above this picture and wondered how in the world grape jelly would pair with Lil Smokies, but trust us, it’s part of a classic recipe that will be a hit at your next party. Combine the jelly with some chili sauce (you could also use ketchup, but the chili sauce adds just enough kick to pair well with the sweetness of the jelly), put it in the slow cooker, and you have the makings of a great party (the sauce works great with meatballs too). This recipe is from The Magical Slow Cooker.


You will need two 14-ounce packages of Lil Smokies, an 18-ounce jar of Concord grape jelly, and 12 ounces of chili sauce. Drain the Little Smokies and put them into the slow cooker. Add the chili sauce and grape jelly and stir. Place the lid on the slow cooker and cook on high for 2 1/2- 3 hours or on low for 4-5 hours. Stir occasionally.

Tip: The best way to serve these is with toothpicks.

Editors' Recommendations

Lindsay Parrill
Lindsay is a graduate of California Culinary Academy, Le Cordon Bleu, San Francisco, from where she holds a degree in…
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