Chorizo Meatballs

White pan of 24 orange-red chorizo golf-ball-size meatballs

Meatballs [Editor’s Note: We’re talking meatballs in general and not these chorizo meatballs] are popular, easy to make, and are part of the cuisine of almost every country of the world. Often though, they can be pretty basic; think meatballs with tomato sauce and pasta, or the meatballs served up in the cafeterias of a certain well-known Swedish furniture company. Inspired by the Cafe Moderne menu, this chorizo meatballs recipe sets about restoring the meatball to its former glory. Choose a piece of beef with a fairly high fat content (15 to 20%) to give your meatballs a better texture. [Editor’s Note: And better flavor.]

Cafe Moderne

LC What Folks Are Saying About This Recipe Note

“Foolproof, flawless, flavorful.” “I love this recipe.” “This chorizos meatball recipe is a keeper.” That’s what folks are saying about this recipe shared with us by the kind folks at Cafe Moderne in Paris. Effectively, this Spanish meatballs recipe is the attempt of some French chefs to return the American meatball to a thing of glory. Incidentally, the chefs at Cafe Moderne are curious to hear YOUR favorite meatballs recipe, so if you’ve got one that you feel is the bomb, head over to the Cafe Moderne website and click on “Nous ecrire/Nous soumettre votre recette de MeatBalls” (MeatBalls. The French and their Franglais are just too funny. Incidentally, the proper French way to say “meatballs” is “boulettes.” May come in handy someday.)

Chorizo Meatballs

  • Quick Glance
  • 25 M
  • 45 M
  • Serves 4 to 6
5/5 - 2 reviews
Print RecipeBuy the Tout Haché cookbook

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  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 medium red onion (75 grams), finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup (50 to 75 grams) fresh store-bought or homemade bread crumbs*
  • 1/2 cup (50 grams) Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese, grated
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 pound (450 grams) ground beef
  • 1/2 pound (230 grams) ground chorizo
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or to taste


  • 1. Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Slick a rimmed baking sheet with 2 tablespoons oil.
  • 2. Heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add the onion and garlic and cook for 3 minutes, stirring frequently until the onion is transparent.
  • 3. Meanwhile, beat the egg and milk together in a bowl. Add the bread crumbs, grated cheese, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Mix together thoroughly.
  • 4. Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the egg mixture along with the beef and chorizo. Add salt to taste and mix together thoroughly. Using dampened hands, roll about 1 tablespoon chorizo mixture into balls about 1 1/2 inches (4 centimeters) in diameter, taking care not to squash the mixture too much and making sure that the meatballs are all the same size to ensure they cook evenly. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet.
  • 5. Roast in the preheated oven for 12 to 18 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve immediately.

Tuxedo Variation

  • Cocktail Party Chorizo Meatballs
  • Tux variationFor chorizo meatballs that are daintier and easier for your guests to manage as they juggle a cocktail in one hand and a toothpick, napkin, and party nosh in the other, simply use half the amount of chorizo meatball mixture as directed in the recipe above when you shape the meatballs and bake a shorter amount of time, beginning to check on them after 8 minutes.
  • *Homemade Bread Crumbs Note

  • To make homemade bread crumbs, use 2- to 3-day-old stale bread and turn it into crumbs by pulsing it in a food processor. Choose from baguette or whole-grain bread. For softer crumbs, use bread that has been soaked in milk or water.

Recipe Testers Reviews

If you’re looking to whip up some spicy meatballs for tonight’s dinner, this is your recipe. Indeed, I saw this chorizo meatballs recipe in the morning and made these meatballs the same afternoon. I had all the ingredients on hand except the chorizo and bread, which I picked up in the meantime. As a bonus, the meatballs are baked, not fried, so they can be cooked up all at once. The chorizo enhanced with chili powder gives these quite a kick. They looked and smelled so fabulous coming out of the oven, it was hard to resist eating one right away. (I withstood temptation and waited until the rest of the meal was finished and on the table.) I served the meatballs alongside a planned (ahem) vegetarian main dish of spinach lasagna. We also had baguette slices from the same bread I used to make the fresh bread crumbs, along with a dipping sauce of peppery extra-virgin olive oil and balsamic vinegar with some fresh herbs. On-deck accompaniment for the leftovers was smoked gouda and green chile mac and cheese. My bread crumbs (from a baguette) weighed 45 grams (3/4 cup packed very tightly). I used Monterey Jack cheese. I did not add salt because of the chorizo and cheese. We found this totally fine without extra salt. There is so much heat and flavor going on, it seemed unnecessary. After I turned on the oven, I prepped, mixed, and formed the meatballs and put them on the sheet pan to go into the oven, yet the oven still wasn’t preheated—they come together that quickly.

Foolproof, flawless, flavorful. I dig flavors that don't require the extra elevation of frying or oil. One bite of these chorizo meatballs was all it took to confirm that this was a winning recipe. Juicy, delicate texture, brimming with bold flavors—I could devour a boatload of these. Since the recipe called for 1 teaspoon chili powder, my natural instincts made me add Indian hot chili powder—oh yeah, so worth it! I added approximately 1 teaspoon salt to the mix. And then 12 minutes at 450°F in my Viking rendered these beautiful babies! One can serve these as appetizers or, like me, you can make chorizo meatball gyros with them. Throw some pickled onions on top, smash the beautiful babies, and it's a party in your mouth!

I loved this recipe. Maybe it's because it's so similar to German-style meatballs—well, not really ingredient-wise, but using pork and beef, bread, egg, onion, garlic, and parsley (ah, cilantro). Anyway, the recipe worked well with one major flaw—after baking the meatballs for 15 minutes, they were just halfway done. I baked them 12 more minutes, which resulted in very nicely browned, juicy, and great-tasting meatballs. Since I had no Cheddar or Jack, I used Gruyère, which worked great. I served the meatballs with some spaghetti squash sautéed with garlic and scallions and a lemony mayo-based sauce on the side. As it turned out, these meatballs didn't need any sauce. This recipe is a keeper.

I am always looking for new ways to make meatballs, and I must say that I enjoyed this recipe a lot. It was easy to find all the ingredients, and it came together ever so quickly. I liked the flavor of the chorizo sausage in the meatballs. I made a fresh tomato sauce and homemade pasta to go on the side of the meatballs. I followed the directions and added 1 1/2 teaspoons salt. I ended up with 20 meatballs, so if you're serving 4 meatballs per person, you could feed 5 people. These needed about 18 minutes to bake to 170°F.

Once you have all the ingredients, these meatballs are very easy to throw together. Whenever I make meatballs, I always grab a small chunk of the meat mixture, and cook it in a skillet so I can taste for seasoning. I cooked my sample meatball in the skillet I had cooked the onions and garlic in. Why dirty another pan? My sample meatball was actually prettier and tasted better than the rest of the meatballs that baked in the oven. That was due to the crisp outside achieved by sautéing it in the skillet. The meatballs that baked in the oven swam in the fat that was rendered as they cooked, so they had a dull finish to them. My meatballs were finished after 9 minutes in the oven. (I always check on things before the time given in a recipe, and I suggest that to others.) I ended up with nearly 3 dozen 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 inch meatballs. Before serving the meatballs that had baked in the oven, I took the time to crisp the outside by sautéing them in a skillet. I am sure that some would find that unnecessary, but I did have the taste of the sample meatball in my mind. I can see making these to serve to folks as an appetizer or as part of a Mexican buffet—perhaps at a tacos party. I served them with a cheesy Tex-Mex rice dish with some slices of avocado. If I do make these again, I will cook them on top of the stove to achieve the crisp outside crust.


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  1. Love this recipe. Made it for my sister and she said it was the best food she’s ever ate in her life. I don’t know about THAT, but they were pretty darn good. I make some pasta sauce on the side, and use zucchini noodles to save on some carbs! Such amazing flavor.

    1. Ronnie, they are fabulous! To be quite honest, there’s a lot going on, flavorwise, with the meatballs. In a good way. So personally I would opt to not serve them with a dipping sauce. But if you’d like to have that, how about the following chimichurri recipe? I’d swap out the oregano for cilantro so as to echo the cilantro in the meatballs. Kindly let us know how it goes!

  2. I want to premake these, cook them, freeze them, and then serve them as a sarter at a party next week. Will they be ok and not dry out too much? After defrosting them should I reheat them in the oven or saute them in a pan? Thanks.

    1. Kerrie, rather than cook them prior to freezing, I strongly recommend you simply mix together the ingredients and shape them into meatballs and freeze them uncooked. Then defrost them in the fridge overnight and continue with the cooking. This will, I promise, result in far better results.

  3. I’m making these tonight. I was already planning on making spaghetti and meatball using beef and chorizo, then I saw your recipe. Johnsonville has Chorizo now and I already had it in the freezer. I’m using a pound of ground beef with 1/4-1/2 pound (2 chorizo sausages out of the 6 pack). I took the chorizo casing off and mixed it with the beef. I’ll let you know how they turn out.

      1. I had the same question because the recipe was listed as being Spanish. The thing is, Spanish Chorizo is like a dry salami, and I was having a hard time visualizing grinding the dried Chorizo and mixing it with ground beef. I just don’t think it would cook right. Conversely, Mexican Chorizo is a raw meat product that would mix fine but, has an entirely different flavor. I plan to make a batch this weekend and will use Mexican Chorizo as I think it will work better and I like the flavor.

        1. Many thanks, Mike H., and an excellent point on the Spanish listing, I deleted it to avoid confusion. We were referring more to the overall flavor profile as being influenced by Spain, but I can see how that would be misleading. Greatly appreciate you taking the time to let us know and looking forward to hearing what you think of the meatballs…

        2. We tried this last night. It was pretty fantastic. We tried the Spanish-style chorizo; we just cut it in pieces and ground it in the food processor prior to mixing. Worked out really well! Great recipe.

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