Chipotle Meatballs

These easy chipotle meatballs are packed with flavor. Made with ground pork, minced bacon, garlic, breadcrumbs, and oregano, they get even more flavor from a chipotle chili tomato sauce.

Chipotle Meatballs in Sauce Topped With Cilantro in a Blue Bowl

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Several years ago, a Rick Bayless recipe for chipotle meatballs appeared in the Wednesday section of the New York Times. Fortunately, we didn't notice the recipe until a correction for it appeared in a subsequent paper, correcting the 2 cans of chipotle peppers the paper had published with the correct 2 chiles.

We made the meatballs and loved them, but couldn't help wincing over the idea of eating them made with 5 times as much chipotle!

How to Serve Chipotle Meatballs

We first published this recipe in 2006 and have since modified it a bit. This is the updated version. They're excellent served with rice and/or tortillas.

You could even serve the meatballs with spaghetti for a Tex Mex-ish version. It's quite spicy and best accompanied with something cooling like sour cream and thinly sliced lettuce.

Chipotle Meatballs in Sauce and Topped With Cilantro in a Blue Dish

Simply Recipes / Elise Bauer

Chipotle Meatballs

Prep Time 25 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 45 mins
Servings 6 servings
Yield 16 large meatballs


For the meatballs

  • 2 slices bacon, minced

  • 2 cloves garlic, minced

  • 2 large eggs

  • 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs

  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

  • 1 1/2 pounds ground pork

  • 2 teaspoons dried oregano or fresh mint, finely chopped

  • 1 to 2 teaspoons chipotle powder (or a couple teaspoons adobo sauce)

For the sauce

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

  • 1 medium onion, chopped, about 1 cup

  • 3 cloves garlic, minced

  • 1 to 3 chipotles chiles in adobo (canned), minced fine and sauce reserved

  • 1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes (preferably fire-roasted)

  • 1/2 cup beef or chicken stock

  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano


  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F.
  2. Mix the meatball ingredients:

    Add all of the meatball ingredients to a large bowl and mix well with clean hands for a minute or two. You want the mixture to be well integrated, but you don't want to overwork it or the meatballs will be tough.

  3. Form into meatballs and bake:

    With wet hands or an ice cream scoop, form the meat into about 16 plum-size balls and space them out in a 13x9-inch baking dish, or, if you have one, a mini-muffin tin. Bake at 400°F until lightly browned, about 15 minutes.

    Elise Bauer
  4. Make the sauce:

    While meatballs bake, heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium-high heat and sauté the onions until they just start to brown. Add the garlic and cook for 1 minute.

    Add the minced chipotles, the can of tomatoes, broth, and oregano or mint. Mix well and add salt to taste. If you want more chipotle flavor, add the reserved chipotle sauce a spoonful at a time, mixing and tasting between spoonfuls. Simmer the sauce uncovered as the meatballs cook.

    Elise Bauer
  5. Toss the meatballs with sauce to serve:

    When meatballs are ready, put them into the sauce and toss to coat. If the sauce is too thin for your taste, continue to boil it down for a few minutes. Otherwise, serve with rice, tortillas or polenta. Garnish with cilantro to serve.

    Elise Bauer
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
525 Calories
32g Fat
22g Carbs
37g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 6
Amount per serving
Calories 525
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 32g 41%
Saturated Fat 11g 53%
Cholesterol 172mg 57%
Sodium 1071mg 47%
Total Carbohydrate 22g 8%
Dietary Fiber 4g 15%
Total Sugars 8g
Protein 37g
Vitamin C 17mg 85%
Calcium 126mg 10%
Iron 5mg 25%
Potassium 997mg 21%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate. In cases where multiple ingredient alternatives are given, the first listed is calculated for nutrition. Garnishes and optional ingredients are not included.