Enchilada Meatballs

This post is sponsored by Panorama Meats. As always, all opinions, thoughts and recipes are my own.

Spicy, cheesy Enchilada Meatballs, smothered in homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty pepperjack cheese, make a delicious meal for the whole family! Shake up the dinnertime blues with this TexMex twist on a classic dish. Makes 4-5 servings.

Two plates holding Enchilada Meatballs, served over rice, are shown on a striped blue towel

I don’t know what dinnertime looks like in your house, but we’ve been struggling getting some variety on our table.

If you’re anything like us, you’re making the same 5-10 dishes on the regular and longing for something a little different.

Sound familiar?

join our party!

get our latest recipes delivered to your inbox every week — plus all my entertaining tips and tricks!


    We respect your privacy. Unsubscribe at any time.

    Why I love this recipe:

    Today, I’m teaming up with my friends at Panorama Meats to bring y’all a fun twist on a classic dinner we all know and love.

    It involves their ground beef, some pepperjack cheese and a delightful easy-to-make enchilada sauce!

    This enchilada meatball recipe is bursting with flavor. It’s meaty and comforting and wonderfully cheesy without being too heavy or too much.

    It can also be made as a weeknight meal because the total time is about an hour… but you can also make it in advance, too, if you don’t have that kind of time in the evenings. (I detail how to do this below!)

    Have you seen the other recipes I’ve made using Panorama Meats products?: Beef Taco Pasta Salad | Grilled Steak Flatbread Pizza | Homemade Loaded Queso | Texas Chili (without beans!) | Ground Beef Meat Pies | French Onion Steak Pasta | How to Broil Steak | Steak Bruschetta with French Onion MarmaladeBeef Poutine Fries and Gravy

    Looking for more dinner recipes to feed your family and friends? Check out my Entrees recipe index for inspiration!

    Close up of a package of Panorama Grass Fed Ground Beef, with two plates of the enchilada meatballs

    Why I Love Panorama Meats (And Why You Should, Too)

    I cannot talk enough about how good Panorama Meats’ products taste, y’all. The meat is incredibly beefy—and the flavor rings true in every cut of meat I’ve tried from them.

    Also, Panorama’s dedication to animal welfare speaks to me. Why? The older I’ve gotten, the more conscientious I have become about what I eat and the meat I consume.

    The cattle, which are all born and raised in the United States by family ranchers, are 100% grass-fed and grass-finished. This means they live in a pasture and eating grasses, legumes and range forage for the duration of their lives… and in addition to this, the company has incredibly high standards, too.

    All of Panorama’s products are Certified Organic by CCOF and Global Animal Partnership Animal Welfare Rated Step 4.

    What does this mean? The organic label means that the cattle receive no added hormones or antibiotics ever. Panorama farmers don’t use methods of growth stimulation.

    They believe in humane animal treatment, so if an animal gets sick and cannot recover on its own, it is treated. After treatment, it no longer qualifies for Panorama’s organic program.

    Collage of two images showing ingredients for the enchilada sauce and ingredients for the meatballs, from above

    What you’ll need to make this recipe:

    • A large bowl
    • High-speed mixer
    • Food processor
    • A cheese grater, if your cheese isn’t already grated
    • Large cast iron skillet or an oven-safe baking dish
    • Large cookie scoop
    • Tongs

    Let’s talk ingredients!

    In addition to the tools above, you’re going to need some ingredients to make this recipe, too! Chances are, you might already have some of them in your fridge or pantry. Scroll down to the recipe card for the full measurements and instructions.

    Here are the ingredients you’ll need:

    • Extra virgin olive oil — or another neutral oil to use to saute the veggies and meatballs
    • Veggies — we’re using a combination of yellow (or white) onion for the enchilada sauce and the meatballs. You’ll also need an orange bell pepper and a ton of garlic cloves.
    • Herbs and spices — we’re using a combination of chili powder, cumin and red pepper flakes to provide ample flavor. This combination works like a homemade taco seasoning blend.
    • Salt and pepper — for both the meatballs and the enchilada sauce.
    • Tomato puree — this is the base for the enchilada sauce.
    • Ground Beef — this is the base for our meatballs. I love Panorama’s 85/15 organic grass fed ground beef in this recipe because meatballs need a higher fat content to keep them juicy.
    • Tortilla chips — these serve as a binder in the meatballs, much like bread crumbs would in a traditional Italian meatball recipe.
    • Mild green chiles — for a little extra kick. You can use the canned kind or roast your own chile peppers.
    • Egg — I like to purchase large eggs at the grocery store. This serves as a binder for the meatballs.
    • Pepperjack cheese — this goes in the meatballs, as well as on top of them as they bake in the oven.

    Substitutions and variations:

    • Swap out the protein. While I love these with Panorama ground beef, you could swap that with ground chicken or ground turkey if you don’t eat beef.
    • Use store-bought enchilada sauce. Skip the homemade enchilada sauce with this. Use 1-2 cans, depending on how saucy you like your meatballs.
    • Swap out the cheese. We love the hot pepperjack cheese, but I know it’s not everyone’s favorite. Cheddar and monterey jack are both great substitutions.
    Collage of six images, showing how to cook the veggies with spices and add the tomato sauce to make the homemade enchilada sauce

    How to make Enchilada Meatballs

    Make the Homemade Enchilada Sauce

    Enchilada sauce is actually quite easy to make, especially when you have canned tomato puree! While it’s lovely to make it completely from scratch with fresh tomatoes, I’ve foregone that step here so that this sauce comes together faster and still has a ton of flavor.

    Prep your ingredients first—so chop the onion and bell pepper. You don’t have to dice them finely, as you’ll be blending them in a bit. The same goes with the garlic, and those cloves can stay whole.

    Measure out the spices, too, so you can add ‘em to the skillet, and open the can of tomato puree.

    Once your ingredients are prepped, get out your biggest cast iron skillet, and warm it over medium-high heat. Add the oil when warm.

    Measure in the onion, bell pepper, garlic and spices. Cook ‘em until they begin to soften, about 5-10 minutes.

    Pour in the tomato puree, and lower the heat to a simmer.

    Simmer the ingredients for 15 minutes, covered, before transferring to the blender. This step brings the ingredients together and lets them meld before we puree them.

    Blend the sauce until smooth, and then set aside for the meatballs. You can leave it in the blender to pour directly on top of the meatballs so you don’t dirty another dish.

    A collage of two images showing how the enchilada sauce should look in the blender, before and after blending

    Make and cook the meatballs

    First and foremost, we’re going to make the meatballs!

    You need a large bowl to throw this all into, as well as a plate to set the formed meatballs on. You also need a ¼ cup measuring cup or a large cookie scoop to make the meatballs even. (You can also eyeball it if you don’t want to use these tools, but I, for one, like ‘em for continuity.)

    Combine the ground beef, tortilla, crumbs, canned green chiles, onion, garlic, egg and the spices. Throw in ½ cup of the cheese, too.

    Our next step is to use our fingers to mix all the ingredients together. (So, before you embark on this, please make sure you’ve scrubbed your hands thoroughly and then plan to scrub ‘em thoroughly after your meatballs are made.)

    I use my fingers like I would salad utensils, reaching beneath the meat mixture and bringing what’s on the bottom to the top until I can see that the ingredients are well-mixed. Feel free to stick your fingers directly into the meat to break it up and incorporate the other components.

    Why do we do this? We want the ingredients mixed up before you start scooping the meatballs so that each meatball has a bite of everything.

    Use a ¼ cup measuring cup or a large cookie scoop to form the meatballs, then shape them carefully in you hands. They will be sticky, so using gentle hands is key.

    Repeat the process until all the meatballs have been made. I like to place ‘em on a plate as I do this, but you do you.

    steps to make enchilada meatballs

    Heat the same cast iron skillet you used for the sauce over medium-high heat. Add the oil when hot, and then transfer the meatballs to the skillet.

    Sear the meatballs on all sides until browned, and turn down the heat. Add the enchilada sauce, and simmer.

    Top the meatballs and sauce with the additional cheese, and broil in a preheated oven until bubbly and browned.

    Enjoy with rice with your favorite sides.

    You can also add a dollop of sour cream, slices of avocado, a scoop of black beans or a sprinkle of cilantro leaves to your meatballs as garnish.

    How to store and freeze meatballs

    Store the cooled meatballs and sauce in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days. Reheat in the microwave until warmed through.

    To freeze the meatballs, cook the recipe, per the instructions below, and transfer to a freezer-safe container. When the meatballs and sauce have cooled off some, place them in the freezer. They should be good to go for 1-3 months.

    To reheat, let them defrost in the refrigerator completely. Warm in the oven, then broil with the additional cheese, or simply heat in the microwave.

    A collage of four images showing meatballs in the pan with sauce before cheese is added and broiled, before serving

    Erin’s Easy Entertaining Tips

    This TexMex twist on the classic meatball would make a fabulous dinner party dish because it’s unique, AND you can make it in advance!

    If you’re planning on hosting folks for an Enchilada Meatball dinner, here’s what I recommend you do:

    • Make the sauce and meatballs the night before. This means cooking the sauce, as well as searing the meatballs and simmering them together. Transfer ‘em to the fridge when done. The day of, warm them on the stovetop in your skillet before broiling for dinner guests.
    • Ask your guests to bring dips! Dinner parties are fun because everyone can participate. Have someone bring ingredients for guac (or pick up their favorite kind at the store.) Have someone else bring salsa and another guest supply the chips.
    • Keep the side dishes simple. We love Tomato Rice paired with any TexMex meal, as well as these Instant Pot Black Bean Dip because they’re simple. Refried beans and cilantro lime rice are great sides, too. If you’re feeling up to it, make a drink (like a margarita!) or side salad, but don’t stress yourself out over it.
    A wooden spoon pulls a meatball out of the skillet, with a cheese pull

    Frequently Asked Questions

    Are these meatballs gluten free?

    They are! Since we use tortilla chips as a binder, they are gluten free.

    How do I make the meatballs spicier OR less spicy?

    Personally, I think these meatballs have a great amount of heat without being overwhelming. However, if you’re inclined for spicier dishes, use some ground chipotle chili powder instead of the regular chili powder. It’ll add a nice heat!

    If you don’t eat a lot of spicy things and are concerned about the spice factor, I recommend using ½ the amount of mild green chiles, as well as using a milder cheese, like a Monterey jack cheese or cheddar cheese.

    Can I make these enchilada meatballs ahead of time?

    Yes, you can! Cook them on the stovetop, per the instructions, and then transfer everything, except for the cheese to be put on top for the broil, to the slow cooker. Let ‘em cook low and slow all day before transferring to an oven-safe pan and adding that additional cheese for a broil. Also, if you don’t want to broil it and just serve with melty cheese on top, be my guest!

    A fork lifts a bite of a meatball off the plate

    Quick tips for making Enchilada Meatballs

    • Make the meatballs and sauce in advance! Cook them on the stovetop, then cook low and slow in the slow cooker all day before serving with a sprinkling of cheese. (You can also throw ‘em in the broiler for a few minutes to get the toasty cheese on top, as you will not get that in the slow cooker.)
    • Don’t like it spicy? Use ½ the amount of mild green chiles and a milder cheese, like Monterrey jack.
    • Need more spice in your life? Substitute chipotle chili powder for the chili powder—it’ll knock your socks off!

    More meatball recipes to try:

    Here’s how you make these…

    A wooden spoon pulls a meatball out of the skillet, with a cheese pull

    Enchilada Meatballs

    Erin Parker, The Speckled Palate
    Spicy, cheesy Enchilada Meatballs, smothered in homemade red enchilada sauce and topped with melty pepperjack cheese, make a delicious meal for the whole family! Shake up the dinnertime blues with this TexMex twist on a classic dish.
    5 from 1 vote
    Servings 11 ¼ cup meatballs
    Calories 250 kcal
    Prep Time 15 minutes
    Cook Time 45 minutes
    Total Time 1 hour

    Ingredients
      

    Enchilada Sauce

    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
    • 1 yellow onion large, chopped
    • ½ orange bell pepper chopped
    • 5 garlic cloves smashed and peeled
    • 2 teaspoons kosher salt
    • 2 teaspoons chili powder
    • 1 teaspoon cumin
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 28 oz. tomato puree

    Meatballs

    • 1 lb. Panorama 85/15 Organic Grass Fed Ground Beef
    • ¼ cup tortilla chips ground up finely in the food processor
    • 4 oz. mild green chiles diced
    • ½ yellow onion small, diced finely (about ½ cup)
    • 2 garlic cloves minced finely
    • 1 egg
    • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1 teaspoon chili powder
    • ½ teaspoon black pepper
    • ½ cup hot pepperjack cheese
    • 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil for cooking
    • 1 heaping cup pepperjack cheese for topping meatballs in oven

    As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

    Instructions
     

    • Make the Enchilada Sauce
    • In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, add the oil.
    • Measure in the onion, bell pepper, garlic and spices. Cook for 5-10 minutes, or until they begin to soften and get a little color.
    • Pour in the tomato puree, and lower the heat to a simmer.
    • Simmer for 15 minutes, covered.
    • Transfer carefully to a blender (or a food processor.) Blend until smooth.
    • Set the sauce aside for the meatballs.
    • Make the Meatballs
    • In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, tortilla crumbs, mild green chiles, onion, garlic, egg and the spices. Add ½ cup of the cheese, too.
    • Using your fingers, gently combine all the ingredients together until mixed well. The meatball mixture will be sticky.
    • Use a ¼ cup measuring scoop or a cookie scoop (of any size!) to scoop the meatballs, then form in your hands. Make all the meatballs, and place on a plate, before cooking.
    • Heat the same cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, and add the oil.
    • Gently transfer the meatballs from the plate to the skillet, and sear them on all sides.
    • When the meatballs are all browned, turn down the heat, and add the enchilada sauce. Simmer for 30 minutes.
    • Remove the meatballs and sauce from the heat, and top with the additional cheese.
    • Broil for 5 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly, browned and delicious.
    • Serve with rice and your favorite sides.

    Notes

    Enchilada sauce adapted from my Spicy Enchilada Sauce recipe.
    How do I make the meatballs spicier OR less spicy?
    Personally, I think these meatballs have a great amount of heat without being overwhelming. However, if you’re inclined for spicier dishes, use some ground chipotle chili powder instead of the regular chili powder. It’ll add a nice heat!
    If you don’t eat a lot of spicy things and are concerned about the spice factor, I recommend using ½ the amount of mild green chiles, as well as using a milder cheese, like a Monterrey jack.
    Can I make these enchilada meatballs ahead of time?

    Yes, you can! Cook them on the stovetop, per the instructions, and then transfer everything, except for the cheese to be put on top for the broil, to the slow cooker. Cook low and slow all day. Finish under the broiler in an oven-safe pan with that extra cheese or serve them straight out of the slow cooker with a sprinkle of cheese on each meatball!
    Can they be frozen for future use?

    Yes, they can be. Cook the recipe as instructed, but before you broil the meatballs, transfer them to a freezer-safe container. When the meatballs and sauce have cooled off some, place them in the freezer. They should be good to go for 1-3 months, depending on the temperature of your freezer.
    Defrost in the refrigerator completely. Warm in the oven, and then broil with the additional cheese, or simply heat in the microwave.
    Can I use store-bought enchilada sauce?

    If you don’t want to take the extra minutes to make the homemade kind, you absolutely can. Use your favorite store-bought kind and (obviously) skip forward in the recipe to the making of the meatballs.

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1gCalories: 250kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 20gFat: 14gSaturated Fat: 6gPolyunsaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 67mgSodium: 601mgFiber: 2gSugar: 6g
    Keyword dinner, homemade meatballs, meatballs, meatballs in enchilada sauce, one pan dish, TexMex, texmex meatballs
    Course Entrees
    Cuisine American
    Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
    A woman with dark curly hair wearing a black tank top in front of a white wall

    About the Author:

    Erin Parker is a Southern gal living in Texas with her husband and two daughters. She started The Speckled Palate to share what she was cooking as a newlywed… and over the years, it’s evolved to capture her love for hosting. Specifically, the EASIEST, lowest key entertaining because everyone deserves to see their people and connect over good food. Learn more about her

    Similar Posts

    Before leaving a comment or rating, ask yourself:

    • Did you make the recipe as directed? If you didn’t or made an ingredient swap, please do not leave a rating. Recipe results are not guaranteed when changes have been made.
    • Is your comment helpful to others? Rude or hateful comments will not be approved. Please remember that this website is run by a real person.
    • Are you complaining about ads? I develop these recipes and provide them to you for free. Advertising allows me to continue to do so at not cost to you. It is also unavoidable on the internet and in everyday life. If you want recipes without ads, please purchase a cookbook or borrow one from your local library.

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

    Recipe Rating