Juicy Mexican pork meatballs covered in an addicting roasted tomato and smoky chipotle sauce. Ready from start to finish in only 40 minutes, they make a delicious weeknight dinner served over rice, veggies, or in a sandwich!
This recipe is sponsored by my friends at The National Pork Board. All opinions expressed here are my own.
These Mexican meatballs have been a weeknight dinner staple in my house for a few weeks now, and there’s no signs of stopping.
Not only are they easy to make and ready to eat in only 40 minutes, but they’re also some of the most flavorful pork meatballs I’ve ever eaten in my entire life!
The meatballs are juicy on the inside with a touch of crispy seared goodness on the outside, and the roasted tomato and chipotle sauce adds a smoky garlicky flavor without being spicy.
No boring, soggy, and flavorless meatballs here! Just juicy, flavor-packed, exciting, and satisfying Mexican meatballs the whole family will love.
So many of us have been spending more time at home over these last couple of months, and I’ve been searching for ways to keep dinner exciting and interesting. That’s where pork comes in!
As a lifelong eater of Mexican foods like chorizo and carnitas, cooking with pork has always been a way for me to connect with my Mexican culture. Not only does it add so much flavor, but it truly transports me into my mom and grandma’s kitchen in Mexico where the smell of pork empanadas being made is one of my favorite food memories!
And I know I’m not alone because pork is the most popular protein around the world! So if you’re looking to for an escape from your usual dinner and want to experience unique and delicious flavors from around the world, then pork is where it’s at!
Ingredients You’ll Need
You’ll be surprised at just how much flavor can come out of these simple ingredients! Here’s what you need to make this recipe:
- Ground Pork: I’ve grown up eating pork my entire life, and let me tell you there is no better ground meat for making meatballs than ground pork! It’s juicy, easy to cook with, and makes the most tender meatballs ever. I’ve made this recipe using lean and extra-lean ground pork and they both turned out great, so feel free to use whichever you prefer.
- Plain Breadcrumbs: Acts as a binder along with the egg that helps hold the meatballs together.
- Egg: Acts as a binding agent along with the breadcrumbs that help the meatballs hold their shape.
- Onion: Adds flavor and moisture to the meatballs, ensuring that they don’t become dry and tough.
- Roma Tomatoes: These are roasted under an oven broiler or over an open flame on a gas stove to get that delicious fire-roasted flavor that brings out out a sweet and smoky flavor. (If you don’t feel like roasting your own tomatoes, see the Substitutions section below)
- Chipotle Peppers in Adobo Sauce: Adds a perfect smoky Mexican flavor element to the tomato sauce that’s just right. It’s not spicy, but pairs perfectly with the tomatoes.
- Seasonings: Salt, ground cumin, and ground coriander are used to season the meatball mixture, and salt, garlic cloves, and dried oregano are used to season the chipotle tomato sauce.
How to Make Mexican Meatballs
First, make the tomato and chipotle sauce. You’ll need to roast the tomatoes under the broiler until the skin is blackened and blistered on both sides, about 8 minutes total.
Then, add the roasted tomatoes in a large blender along with some chipotle peppers in an adobo sauce, garlic, salt, and dried oregano. Blend until smooth.
For the meatballs, you’ll need to combine the ground pork, breadcrumbs, a beaten egg, onion, garlic, salt, ground cumin, and ground coriander in a large bowl.
Mix the meatball mixture with your hands until just combined. Be careful to not overmix or else the meatballs could turn out tough.
Roll the mixture into 16 even-sized balls.
Place the meatballs in a large oven-safe skillet (preferably cast-iron) with some olive oil and sear one side until golden-brown, about 1 to 2 minutes.
Then flip them over and bake them in a 450°F oven for 8 minutes, or until the internal temperature reads 160°F on a digital meat thermometer.
Remove the skillet from the oven, and carefully pour the tomato and chipotle sauce on top. The skillet will be very hot and the sauce will splatter at first, so be careful!
Mix the meatballs with the sauce and let it sit in the skillet for 2 more minutes. Garnish with cilantro and serve!
Helpful Tips and Substitutions
- To save some time, you can use 1 (28-ounce) can of fire-roasted tomatoes instead of roasting your own under the broiler. Just skip the roasting step and blend the canned roasted tomatoes with the rest of the sauce ingredients.
- Don’t overmix the meat mixture. Make sure to mix the ground meat mixture until it just comes together. Overmixing can cause the meatballs to be tough, which is no bueno!
- Use a cast-iron skillet if you have one. I love using a cast-iron skillet for this recipe because it retains heat really well. When you take out the meatballs and pour the sauce on top, the heat of the skillet will continue to cook the sauce a bit and give it some extra depth of flavor.
Storing and Freezing
The meatballs can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days.
To freeze any leftovers, simply place the meatballs along with all the sauce in a freezer-safe container or zip-top bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Let the meatballs thaw in the fridge overnight, and then reheat in the microwave or on the stove until warmed through.
Need a side dish to serve with these Mexican meatballs? Here are a few ideas: