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Calabrian Chile Meatballs.

Calabrian Chile Meatballs in Tomato Sauce

  • Author: Celeste
  • Prep Time: 40 minutes
  • Cook Time: 1 hour
  • Total Time: 1 hour 40 minutes
  • Yield: 4-6 servings (20 meatballs) 1x
  • Category: Dinner
  • Method: Stovetop
  • Cuisine: Italian-Inspired


These Spicy Calabrian Chile Meatballs are bursting with flavor and simmered in a quick tomato sauce. Serve it over spaghetti or pair with a Caesar salad.



For the Calabrian Chile Meatballs:

  • 1 cup (125 g) yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 cup (70 g) breadcrumbs
  • 1 tsp dried Italian parsley
  • 1 tsp fine sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 2 tbsp grated parmesan
  • 2 tbsp milk
  • 2 tbsp crushed Calabrian chiles in oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 pound (226 g) ground beef, 80% lean
  • 1/2 pound (226 g) ground pork
  • 4 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil

For the Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp dry white wine
  • 1 28-oz (794 g) can whole peeled San Marzano tomatoes
  • 1/2 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 10 fresh basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp fine sea salt


  1. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, add the onion, garlic, breadcrumbs, parsley, salt, pepper, parmesan, milk, Calabrian chiles, and egg. Mix well to combine. Add the beef and pork and mix until everything is fully incorporated.
  3. Roll into 1 1/2-inch (3.8 cm) meatballs and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Heat the olive oil in a deep sauté pan or dutch oven set over medium-high heat. Place the meatballs in the pan and brown for 3-4 minutes on each side, reducing the heat slightly if needed. Once browned, set aside on a plate.
  5. For the sauce, reduce to medium heat and add the 2 tbsp of white wine to deglaze the pan, scraping up any brown bits. Add the onions and sauté until softened and translucent.
  6. Add the tomatoes, breaking them up with a wooden spoon. Tear up the basil leaves and add them to the sauce along with the salt. Stir to combine everything then bring to a boil.
  7. Once boiling, reduce to low heat and nestle the meatballs into the sauce. Simmer for 25 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 160°F (71°C). Serve warm.


You’ll need 1 medium yellow onion for the whole recipe. About half will be used for the meatballs while the other half is for the sauce. The exact amount doesn’t matter as much for the sauce, but we strongly suggest measuring 1 cup (125 g) for the meatballs. Otherwise, you could end up with too much onion in the meat.

Don’t overmix the meat. You want to mix until just combined to prevent the meatballs from becoming too tough.

Storing: Bring the meatballs to room temperature and store in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 3 days. You can also freeze them by placing them in a well sealed container and keeping in freezer for up to 3 months.


  • Serving Size: 4 meatballs with sauce
  • Calories: 459
  • Sugar: 6.6 g
  • Sodium: 869 mg
  • Fat: 33.5 g
  • Carbohydrates: 18.5 g
  • Fiber: 4.2 g
  • Protein: 20.8 g

Keywords: calabrian chile meatballs, spicy calabrian meatballs