Mini Mexican Meatballs

Prep Time: 15 min
Cook Time: 30 min
Serves: 8

While meatballs are not in the glam appetizer realm, they’re the first to go on most cocktail spreads. Ideal for any casual get together and over the top flavourful, they can also be made ahead if you like. The taste gets better as they sit.


1 lb (0.5 kg) ground chicken
1/2 to 1 jalapeño, seeded and finely chopped
2 tsp (10 mL) ground cumin
1 tsp (5 mL) ground chili powder
1/2 tsp (2.5 mL) salt
1 egg
1/4 cup (60 mL) crushed tortilla chips (about 13 chips) or dried bread crumbs, preferably panko
1 cup (250 mL) grated cheddar or Monterey Jack cheese
28 oz (795 g) can diced tomatoes, well drained
1/2 cup (125 mL) salsa
1 cup (250 mL) chopped fresh coriander


1 Spread chicken out on a wide plate. Sprinkle with jalapeno and seasonings. In a bowl, whisk egg and then stir in chip or bread crumbs. Spread over chicken. Sprinkle with cheese if using. Refrigerate.
2 For sauce, place drained tomatoes and salsa in a large saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Boil gently, uncovered and stirring often, until thickened, about 10 minutes. Then lower heat so mixture just simmers.
3 Meanwhile, using wet hands, form chicken into meatballs, about 1 inch (2.5 cm) wide for appetizers or 1½ inches (3.8 cm) if using as a main course.
4 When all are formed, increase heat under thickened sauce to medium. Drop chicken balls into the simmering sauce and gently press into the sauce. Cover and when sauce starts to boil again, reduce heat so it barely simmers. Continue simmering, covered and gently turning meatballs often, for 12 to 15 minutes. Stir in coriander and serve.
5 Makes 32 appetizer size meatballs to serve 8 for appetizers or to serve 4 as a main course.
6 Baked meatballs: Want browned meatballs? Instead of cooking in the sauce, bake on an oiled baking pan at 375°F (190°C) for 15 minutes for inch wide (2.5 cm) meatballs or 20 minutes for 1½ inch (4 cm) meatballs. No need to turn. Then simmer in the sauce, stirring often, about 5 minutes. Stir in coriander and serve.