Mexican Chipotle Meatballs (Albondigas al Chipotle)

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These Chipotle Meatballs are the ultimate Mexican comfort food with tender meatballs simmered in a spicy chipotle sauce. Serve them over rice, polenta, or wrapped up in tortillas.

298 CAL 20g CARBS 11g FAT 29g PROTEIN
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These Chipotle Meatballs are smoky, spicy, and couldn’t be more delicious! Made from juicy ground beef, these traditional Mexican albondigas en chipotle are simmered in a rich tomato sauce with chipotle peppers and traditionally served with rice, beans, and warm corn tortillas. Yum.

My eyes were opened to a lot of delicious Mexican food once I moved to California from the East Coast and met my husband, who is from Mexico City. Authentic dishes like Pollo Pibil, Machaca, and Rajas con Queso that I hadn't tried before. 

One of his favorite dishes is albondigas en salsa chipotle, which is a Mexican meatball simmered with chipotle peppers. It’s a dish that can be hard to find in a restaurant, so I quickly had to learn to make them at home.

This dish is surprisingly simple to make and has become a favorite at weekend dinners with friends. You could also make it with ground turkey, ground chicken, or ground pork, and it would be just as delicious. P

Even if you don't think of meatballs when you think of Mexican cuisine, trust me, you want to make these. Serve them alongside some fluffy white or brown rice, cauliflower rice, creamy polenta, black beans, or just scoop them up in tortillas with diced onions and cilantro. You won’t regret it.

Chipotle meatballs with ground beef, onion, and herbs on a wire rack with parchment paper.

Key Ingredients For Chipotle Meatballs

When you use your own spice mixture, you can control exactly how it tastes. Cut back on the spices you don't like and increase the ones that you do! Here is a bit more information about the ingredients in these spicy chipotle meatballs.

  • Ground Beef: Use the highest amount of lean ground beef you can find. Alternatively, you can use ground turkey or ground pork instead of beef. If you try to use ground chicken, use a bit more spices.
  • Breadcrumbs: I used plain breadcrumbs because they have the best texture for meatballs. You could use panko breadcrumbs, but it will change the texture slightly. You can also soak a piece of white bread in milk, which is a more traditional approach.
  • Egg: Also for the meatballs, the egg helps all the ingredients stick together better. Use the entire egg, not just the white or the yolk.
  • Onion: Use any type of onion that you like the best. To save yourself time, you could even use frozen diced onion.
  • Garlic: Use as much garlic as you like. I used 3 cloves, but you can definitely add more if you really enjoy the taste.
  • Spices: For these meatballs and the sauce, I used salt, cumin, oregano, and pepper. To give it more heat, you could add a little dash of cayenne pepper.
  • Olive Oil: This is used to help the meatballs brown in the skillet. You can replace it with avocado oil or even ghee.
  • Fire-Roasted Tomatoes: The tomatoes are for the sauce. If you don't have fire-roasted tomatoes, you can replace them with diced tomatoes.
  • Chipotle Peppers in Adobo: Chipotle peppers are simply smoked red jalapeno peppers that are normally jarred in adobo sauce. These are the most important ingredient in this recipe since the chipotle peppers give the meatballs and sauce their signature smoky, spicy flavor.

What To Serve With Meatballs In Chipotle Sauce

Like most Mexican meals, this dish is traditionally served with rice, beans, and tortillas. Most of the time, it’s going to be white rice but you could also swap in Mexican cauliflower rice, brown rice, or even quinoa.

When it comes to the beans, most albondigas are served with simple pinto beans or black beans. You could also try some Frijoles Charros to mix things up.

Lastly, you need the tortillas and some garnishes. Corn tortillas are the most traditional but flour tortillas work as well. You’ll definitely want some cilantro on top and diced white onions can add some crunch. When it comes to salsa, it’s normally just served with some pureed chipotles in adobo for those who want extra spice. You could add some pico de gallo for texture.

Recipe Tips And Ideas For Mexican Chipotle Meatballs

Follow these tips to make sure that these meatballs turn out amazing every single time!

  • This is one of those recipes where you control the spice level. If you like things spicy, add the full chipotle peppers with all the seeds. If you don’t like as much spice, just add the adobo sauce and skip the chile peppers completely.
  • If you don't have a blender, you could make these meatballs with a chunkier sauce. However, I suggest getting either a large blender, food processor, or even an immersion blender. Either of these will make this step a lot faster.
  • Use an instant-read food thermometer to make sure the meatballs are completely cooked before you serve them. The safe cooking temperature of meatballs is 160 degrees F.

Meatballs simmered in a Mexican chipotle sauce and served on corn tortillas with chopped cilantro.

Frequently Asked Questions

Here are some questions I frequently get asked about by some readers…

Are these meatballs keto-friendly?

No, these meatballs are not keto-friendly because I used breadcrumbs in them.

If you want gluten-free and low-carb meatballs, replace the breadcrumbs with crushed pork rinds. They will still have the same amazing taste and texture but no gluten and a lot fewer carbs.

How do you store leftover meatballs?

These are the perfect thing to use in your meal prep for later in the week. The best way to store them is in an airtight food storage container. They will stay fresh in the refrigerator for up to 5 days.

Mexican meatballs simmered in a tomato chipotle sauce in a bowl with cilantro leaves.

More Delicious Mexican Beef Recipes You’ll Love:

The Recipe
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Mexican Chipotle Meatballs (Albondigas al Chipotle)

298 CAL 20g CARBS 11g FAT 29g PROTEIN
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  • 1 lb 95% lean ground beef
  • 1/3 cup plain breadcrumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/4 cup onion, minced
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced (sauce)
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 28 oz canned fire roasted tomatoes (sauce)
  • 2 chipotle peppers in adobo (plus adobo sauce, to taste, for sauce)
  • 1/2 tsp oregano (sauce)
  • 1 Salt and pepper (sauce)

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Add the tomatoes with juices, chipotle peppers and adobo sauce, garlic, oregano, salt, and pepper to a blender. Taste and adjust the spice level if needed.

Chipotle tomato sauce being made in a blender with roasted tomatoes and chipotle peppers in adobo.

Combine the ground beef, breadcrumbs, egg, onion, garlic, salt, and cumin. Roll into meatballs, about one rounded tablespoon each. Set aside.

Ground beef, onions, garlic, and breadcrumbs in a bowl.

Heat the olive oil over medium high heat in a large cast iron skillet. Add the meatballs in a single layer and cook until browned, about 1-2 minutes. Flip and brown on other side.

Mexican meatballs being browned in a skillet.

Add the sauce to the skillet and bring it to a simmer. Let cook for 20-25 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through.

Chipotle sauce being added to meatballs in a skillet to simmer.
Nutritional Facts
Serving Size: 4 meatballs
Amount Per Serving
Calories 298
Calories from Fat 47
% Daily Value *
Total Fat 11g
Saturated Fat 4g
Monounsaturated Fat 2g
Polyunsaturated Fat 0g
Cholesterol 117mg
Sodium 1310mg
Total Carbohydrate 20g
Dietary Fiber 5g
Sugars 6g
Protein 29g

* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

The Nutritional Values provided are estimates only and may vary based on the preparation method.


Cilantro and chopped onion for garnish
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About the author Meet Kristen McCaffrey
Hi, I’m the cookbook author, recipe developer, and food enthusiast behind Slender Kitchen. I am obsessed with making healthy food that is easy to prepare and absolutely delicious. Meal planning is my secret weapon and I hope I can make meal time easier for you with our tried and tested recipes and foolproof meal plans. Learn More
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