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Spicy Guajillo Chile Meatballs

  • Author: nocrumbsleft
  • Prep Time: 15 min
  • Cook Time: 30 min
  • Total Time: 45 min
  • Yield: 4 servings


I love these meatballs, not only because they are delicious, but because they are so versatile! Eat them alone, with pasta, with veggies, and use the leftovers for a delicious lunch the next day!


For the meatballs:

  • 1 yellow onion (cooked — see directions below), divided
  • 2 lbs ground beef, pork, veal or a mixture
  • 4 dried Guajillo Chiles
  • 1 Tbsp ground coriander
  • 35 garlic cloves, finely diced
  • 1 Tbsp Sumac
  • 1 Tbsp Smoked Paprika
  • 1 Tbsp olive oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 Tbsp clarified butter or cooking fat

For the Sauce:

  • 1/2 of the cooked onion (that you set aside)
  • 4 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 2 Guajillo chiles
  • 1 tsp ground coriander
  • 2 Tbsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tsp Sumac
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 1/2 cups tomato puree
  • 1 tsp salt


Place the dried Guajillo chiles in hot water for at least 2 hours before using, to hydrate.

Preheat the oven to 375F. Sauté the onion in the clarified butter for 3-5 minutes, or until translucent. Set 1/2 aside for the sauce.

Slice the Guajillo chiles in half, remove the seeds, then chop and pulse in a small food processor and pulse or you can grind by hand

Combine the meat with 1/2 of the cooked onion, the chopped garlic, Guajillo chiles, coriander, sumac (you can use chili powder if you don’t have sumac), smoked paprika, oil and salt. Using wet hands, roll the mixture into balls. We like lime-sized meatballs, but do them however you prefer. In a large shallow pan, place the meatballs in a single layer, making sure the pan is full but that the meatballs are not super tight. Cook in the oven for 12 minutes or until set. If they don’t fit in your ban, you can cook the meatballs in a baking sheet instead.

While the meatballs are cooking in the oven, make the sauce. In a saucepan, place the remaining 1/2 of the cooked onion, along with all other sauce spices and stir well to combine. Add the tomato puree and stir. Bring to a boil, then turn the heat off.

Once meatballs are set, remove from the oven and place on stove. Gently pour the sauce over the meatballs. Cover partially and simmer for 20 minutes. If your sauce is too thick, you can add 1/4 cup – 1/2 cup water.