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Slow-Cooker Mexican Meatballs
over rice

Active: 30 minTotal: 8 hr 30 min
20141229 slow cooker mexican meatballs nm 003.jpg?ixlib=rails 2.1

We know you want to ring in 2015 with these flavorful Mexican meatballs! Get dressed up and enjoy them with a glass of champagne.
Smarts: We use the sauce that these meatballs are cooked in for tomorrow's enchilada sauce.


Slow-Cooker Mexican Meatballs:
  • Cilantro - 1/2 bunch, chopped
  • Garlic - 6 cloves, minced
  • Shallots - 2 bulbs, diced
  • Ancho chile - 1, stemmed and seeds removed
  • Ground pork - 1 1/2 lbs
  • Garlic powder - 2 tsp
  • Cumin - 1 tsp + 1 tsp
  • Chili powder - 1/2 tsp
  • Salt - 1 tsp
  • Crushed tomatoes (28 oz / 794 g can) - 1 can
  • Crushed tomatoes (14 oz / 397 g can) - 1 can
  • Avocados - 1, cubed
  • Limes - 1/2, sliced into wedges
  • Rice, brown or white - 2/3 cup

Nutrition Facts

Serving Size: 1 serving
Servings Per Recipe 4
Amount Per Serving
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% Daily Value
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  1. Cilantro / Garlic / Shallots / Ancho - Prep as directed. For the ancho, cut off the stem with scissors and empty out the seeds. (Can be done up to 3 days ahead)
  2. Make meatballs - Mix together pork, cilantro, garlic powder, first part of cumin, chili powder, and salt. Form into 1 ½” (or 3.75 cm) wide meatballs. (Can be done up to 1 day ahead)
  3. Slow-cook meatballs - Combine both cans of crushed tomatoes, garlic, shallots, ancho, and second part of cumin in slow-cooker (this will make enough sauce for tomorrow night). Place meatballs in the sauce and slow-cook on low for 8 hours (or high for 4 hours).
  4. Rice - For white rice, rinse until clear. Fill a saucepan or Dutch oven (or rice cooker) with rice, water (use 2:1 ratio for water to rice), and some salt. Cover with lid and bring to a boil. Once water boils, stir, lower heat to a low-medium, and cover. Check white rice after ~20 min; brown at ~45 min. Rice is done when it's absorbed all the water. If it's not done, leave the cover on until all water has been absorbed. Take cover off to release steam and fluff with a wooden spoon after 5 minutes. (Can be done up to 5 days ahead)


  1. Remove meatballs from the slow-cooker. Puree the sauce with an immersion blender. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Save 4 cups of sauce for tomorrow’s dinner (for 4 servings, adjust accordingly if customizing).
  2. Cube avocado. Enjoy meatballs over rice with avocado and lime wedges.

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This meal has 73 reviews

The meatballs themselves were not very flavorful. The sauce was fine. We added a dollop of sour cream. We ate frozen peas as a side--it would have been nice to have a coordinated veggie option in addition to the sauce.

By: Rebecca
Posted: Jul 06, 2018
Diet: Original

Didn't add rice. Enjoyed it!

By: Stephanie
Posted: May 12, 2015
Diet: Vegetarian

The sauce is delicious which really makes the meal! I suggest adding a little bit of sour cream before serving. I skipped the rice. Next time I will use turkey instead of pork.

By: Carrie
Posted: May 08, 2015
Diet: Original

Did this on the stove since I was only cooking for two. Added an egg and breadcrumbs to the meatballs like some people suggested. Also added a couple chipotles to the sauce, since some were saying it was a bit bland. Came out delicious! Need to come up with something more creative than rice to serve them with though.

By: Carrie
Posted: Apr 15, 2015
Diet: Original

Could be spicier, but the flavor was excellent.

By: Laura
Posted: Mar 26, 2015
Diet: Original

I did as several other reviewers suggested and added an egg & breadcrumbs to the meatballs, which I also made with ground beef instead of pork, because I had it on hand. Not dry at all, and very yummy. My husband & both said we would serve it a little differently next time, with more veggies.

By: Caroline
Posted: Feb 27, 2015
Diet: Original