Skillet Enchilada Meatballs are the perfect solution when you’re craving hassle-free Mexican inspired food! Turkey meatballs seasoned with Mexican spices, browned in a skillet and topped with enchilada sauce and lots of cheese!
This recipe and photos have been updated since their original publish date of 4/8/2016.
Rifts on enchilada recipes are plentiful here on Recipe Runner. Growing up in Arizona and currently living in Colorado, Southwest and Mexican cuisine are something I’ve been around my whole life. For some people Italian food is comfort food, for me it’s all the flavors of the Southwest.
I have more traditional recipes, like this Mexican Meatball Soup, which is perfect to make when the weather turns cool again. And then I have a slew of easy weeknight meals that are convenient and delicious for those nights you’re craving Mexican/Southwest inspired food.
A few of my favorites are Southwest Turkey Vegetable and Rice Skillet, Mexican Chicken, Sweet Potato and Black Bean Skillet, and Southwest Ground Beef and Sweet Potato Skillet.
Today’s recipe is a twist on enchiladas. It has the flavor of them thanks to all the spices and the enchilada sauce, but instead of stuffing corn tortillas with a filling we’re making meatballs. These Skillet Enchilada Meatballs are easy to make, great for leftovers and you can serve them numerous ways depending on what you and your family like.
Ingredients For Skillet Enchilada Meatballs
- ground turkey
- chili powder, cumin, garlic powder
- green onions
- hot sauce (optional)
- red enchilada sauce
- Monterey Jack and/or cheddar cheese
How To Make Skillet Enchilada Meatballs
The only real work when it comes to making these enchiladas is making the meatballs. That’s not to say it’s difficult, it just takes a little more time than some of my recipes.
To make the turkey meatballs, start by whisking together the panko, egg, spices, hot sauce, onion and cilantro. I like to combine all the additional ingredients to the meatballs before adding the meat so that I don’t over mix the meat. If you mash and mix the meat together too much you can end up with tough meatballs.
After the mix-ins are combined, add in the ground turkey. Use your hands to combine everything just until it’s evenly distributed in the meat. Use a tablespoon or tablespoon size cookie scoop to form the meatballs. To keep the meat mixture from sticking to your hands when you roll them into balls, I recommend wetting your hands so they’re damp, but not dripping wet.
Place the meatballs onto a plate as you’re rolling them. Once they’ve all been formed, add about a tablespoon or so of olive oil to a large skillet. Heat the skillet over medium heat and then swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add the meatballs to the pan making sure they aren’t touching each other. Let them brown for several minutes or until they release from the pan without falling apart, then flip them over and brown the other side.
You won’t fully cook the turkey meatballs at this point, just brown the outsides. Pour the enchilada sauce into the skillet and sprinkle the cheese on top. Put the skillet in the oven and bake for about 15 minutes or until the meatballs are cooked through. Once they’re out of the oven top with extra green onions and cilantro if you’d like.
Frequently Asked Questions
Yes. Ground beef, chicken or turkey all work great for these meatballs.
I like to serve the meatballs over cilantro lime rice. You could also serve them over cauliflower rice, with a side of black or pinto beans, or wrap them up in a tortilla.
Red enchilada sauce can be mild or spicy. Generally it will say on the can or package if you are buying it at the store. If you’re making homemade enchilada sauce you can always adjust the heat to suite your taste.
Yes. I’ve done this many times and it’s delicious.
More Enchilada Inspired Recipes
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Spaghetti Squash
- Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Skillet
- Mini Chicken Enchilada Cups
- Chicken Enchilada Pizza
- Slow Cooker Creamy Green Chile Chicken Enchilada Soup
Skillet Enchilada Meatballs
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 pound lean ground turkey or chicken
- 3 tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- 1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs (gluten-free if needed)
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
- 1 teaspoon hot sauce (optional)
- 1 1/4 teaspoons chili powder
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
- Fresh ground black pepper to taste
- 15 ounce can red enchilada sauce (about 1 1/2 cups)
- 3/4 cup shredded Monterey Jack or cheddar cheese
- Chopped green onions and cilantro for garnish
- Preheat oven to 350° F.
- In a large bowl whisk together the greeen onion, panko, egg, cilantro, hot sauce, spices, salt and pepper. Add in the ground chicken or turkey and use your hands to combine everything together. Use a cookie scoop or measuring spoon to form tablespoon sized meatballs and place them on a plate.
- Add the olive oil to a large skillet and heat over medium to medium-high heat. Swirl the oil to coat the bottom of the pan and place the meatballs in a single layer in the skillet. Cook for approximately 3 minutes on one side or until they release and then flip them over and cook for another 2 minutes. The meatballs won't be cooked through at this point.
- Remove the meatballs from the skillet and onto a plate. Pour the enchilada sauce along with 1/4 cup of water (I put the water in the enchilada sauce can and swirl it to get out any of the remaining sauce) into the skillet and stir it together scraping up any brown bits stuck to the bottom of the pan.
- Place the meatballs back into the skillet and spoon some of the sauce over the top of them. Sprinkle the cheese over the meatballs then place the skillet in the oven and bake for 12-15 minutes or until the cheese is melted and the meatballs are cooked through.
- Remove from the oven and top with sliced green onions and cilantro if desired. Serve over cilantro lime rice, cauliflower rice or eat them as is.
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 326Total Fat: 11gSaturated Fat: 5gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 5gCholesterol: 146mgSodium: 1051mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 2gSugar: 7gProtein: 45g
Nutritional information is an estimate. Please consult a registered dietician for the most accurate nutritional information.
Chaney Johnson says
This sounds delicious! We’re an egg free household though. Do you have any recommendations for substitutes to help bind the meatballs together?
You can replace the egg with either a 1/4 cup ricotta cheese, 3 tablespoons plain yogurt, or 2 tablespoons of buttermilk.
These are fantastic!! I didn’t have green onions so I used a yellow onion. So delicious. Everyone loved them. Now I always have to double recipe so we can have some the next day, which my husband says are even better since the flavor sets in more. Thanks for sharing this recipe.
Cynthia Anderson says
I’ve made these a bunch of times, and started at some point using fire roasted salsa tomatoes (canned) instead of enchilada sauce, and it works great. Less salty, and more veggie!
Kristin W. says
These are really good! I love an interesting meatball recipe! I had to cook them for much longer than 6 minutes; more so about 3 mins on each side, so about 6 sides depending on the meatball shape. I did a quick homemade enchilada sauce from Fed and Fit that was so easy and poured it over. I am thinking these might be even tastier the next day after the flavors blend!
Kristi @ Inspiration Kitchen says
These look incredible! I need to try them this weekend!
Karly Campbell says
Enchilada meatballs!? Why have I never thought of this!? I’m seriously drooling. My fam would go crazy over these!
Thanks Karly! We loved them!
Yummmyyy. Loved this delicious skillet. Made my hungry to try this rite now
Taylor@Food Faith Fitness says
Love how many ways you can make a good enchilada!
Thanks Taylor! I suppose at some point I should do a recipe for the real thing. ;-)
Gina @ Running to the Kitchen says
I’m itching to get the potted herbs and flowers going too outside but consider it was FLURRYING today on my way to the grocery store I think it’s still a bit too early. Spring is such a tease! Love the idea of turning meatballs into an enchilada flavored dish!
Spring really is a tease. I always get so excited when it’s warm thinking it’s here to stay and then we get another stupid snow. I potted a bunch of plants today, so I’m sure that will bring the snow back any day now! ;-)
Julianne @ Beyond Frosting says
Now I know what I’m having for dinner this weekend!
It’s a good choice! :-)
Vivian | stayaliveandcooking says
Wow, this looks so perfect! Love those photos, I immediately want to cook these now. Great recipe, too!
This is just bursting with so much flavorful, I wish I could try it now! Looks wonderful dear. xo, Catherine
Kristen @ A Mind Full Mom says
Enjoy your quiet Saturday by yourself :) And skillet meals are the best!
Thanks Kristen! Hope you have a nice weekend as well.