Chorizo meatballs bring a sorta indescribable, sorta highfalutin flair to everyday cooking. They’re foolproof, flawless, and intensely flavorful. Made with pork sausage and, well, we’re gonna let you find out the rest when you read the recipe. Not your typical meaball. Not at all. Undeniably a game changer…as well as a keeper.–Renee Schettler Rossi

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

Chorizo Meatballs

4.85 / 26 votes
These chorizo meatballs are simple to make with ground beef and Spanish pork chorizo, Cheddar cheese, red onion, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano. Honestly some of the best meatballs we’ve ever made.
David Leite
CourseAppetizers
CuisineAmerican
Servings4 to 6 servings
Calories724 kcal
Prep Time25 minutes
Cook Time20 minutes
Total Time45 minutes

Ingredients 

  • 3 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1/4 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 3/4 cup fresh store-bought or homemade bread crumbs*
  • 1/2 cup grated Cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 2 teaspoons ground cumin
  • 1 teaspoon oregano
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1/2 pound ground chorizo, (the Spanish sort and not the Mexican kind)
  • 1 teaspoon salt, or less to taste

Instructions 

  • Preheat the oven to 450°F (230°C). Slick a rimmed baking sheet or a roasting pan with 2 tablespoons of the oil.
  • In a skillet over medium heat, warm the remaining 1 tablespoon oil. Add the onion and garlic and cook, stirring frequently, until the onion is translucent, about 3 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, in a large bowl, beat the egg and milk together. Add the bread crumbs, cheese, cilantro, chili powder, cumin, and oregano and combine.
  • Add the sautéed onion and garlic to the egg mixture along with the beef and chorizo. Add the salt and mix 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. Take care that the meatballs are all the same size to ensure they cook evenly. Arrange the meatballs on the baking sheet, spacing them evenly.
  • Roast for 12 to 18 minutes, until the meatballs are cooked through. Serve immediately.

Notes

Chorizo Meatballs Variation

Cocktail Party Chorizo Meatballs
For 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 for a shorter amount of time. Begin checking on the meatballs after 8 minutes.

*What You Need To Know About Making Homemade Bread Crumbs

To make homemade bread crumbs, use 2- to 3-day-old stale bread of any sort and pulse it in a food processor until crumbs form. For softer bread crumbs, use bread that’s been soaked in milk or water.
 

Adapted From

Tout Haché

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Nutrition

Serving: 1 portionCalories: 724 kcalCarbohydrates: 20 gProtein: 36 gFat: 55 gSaturated Fat: 19 gMonounsaturated Fat: 20 gTrans Fat: 1 gCholesterol: 178 mgSodium: 1330 mgFiber: 2 gSugar: 2 g

Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.

Tried this recipe?Mention @leitesculinaria or tag #leitesculinaria!
Recipe © 2014 Cafe Moderne. Photo © 2014 Virginie Garnier. All rights reserved.

Recipe Testers’ Reviews

Foolproof, flawless, flavorful. 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 in my Viking rendered these beautiful babies! I dig flavors that don’t require the extra elevation of frying or oil.

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!

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.)

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.

My bread crumbs were from a baguette and I used Monterey Jack cheese. I did not add salt because of the chorizo and cheese. There is so much heat and flavor going on, it seemed unnecessary to add more salt.

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.

I loved this chorizo meatballs 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).

They were 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 chorizo meatballs 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 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.

Once you have all the ingredients, these chorizo 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.

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’m 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 taco 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.

This recipe definitely has a Mexican flavor profile so I don’t think you should plan to have spaghetti with this dish. That said, they’re flavorful and delicious with lots of spice. I thought that serving them with migas would be a good idea for next time I make them.

I didn’t add any salt at all because I thought the chorizo had enough already. I found the timing was right, although I turned them down about halfway through cooking to make sure they browned evenly.




About David Leite

I count myself lucky to have received three James Beard Awards for my writing as well as for Leite’s Culinaria. My work has also appeared in The New York Times, Martha Stewart Living, Saveur, Bon Appétit, Gourmet, Food & Wine, Yankee, Los Angeles Times, Chicago Tribune, The Washington Post, and more.


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40 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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. Fresh and wet, Rita. You want the kind that’s just like raw sausage since you have to smoosh it with the raw ground beef and then bake it. Kindly let us know how you like the recipe…

      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. 5 stars
          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.