Smoky Chipotle Turkey Meatballs: The Ultimate Recipe

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Jennie-O Turkey

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There’s hardly a need to state how incredible Mexican food is, right? UNESCO named it Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity in 2010, and it’s truly well-deserved! Its ingredients and cooking methods have left a mark on dishes around the world.

In Mexico, cooking and eating are rituals practiced in everyday life. The most well-known recipes — even those embraced by top chefs — are almost like secrets passed down from generation to generation. It’s a cultural legacy deeply savored by every family. As Laura Esquivel says in her book ‘Like Water for Chocolate’: ‘Life would be much richer if we could carry the flavors of home everywhere.’ And she’s absolutely right!

On that note, here we bring an easy and incredibly tasty way to be taken away by the Mexican culinary spells: smoky chipotle meatballs. And to make things a little even more savory, we’ll use JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey. Its natural and nutritious flavor holds a light consistency that lets all our favorite spices and aromas shine brighter, adding extra zest to a dish that satisfies even the most discerning palates.

Fun fact: chipotle is basically the smoked version of the famous jalapeño chiles. This ingredient gives that spicy and comforting touch that convinces even the most demanding palate and can bring back that cozy flavor only found in Mexican mom’s or grandma’s meals.

Something you should not forget: the size of the meatballs matters. If you make them small, they will soak better in the sauce. But if you prefer them larger, they’ll need more cooking time to ensure they’re not raw inside!

If you’ve never ventured into Mexican cuisine, this recipe is perfect to start!

Preparation time: 20 minutes

Cooking time: 20 minutes

Total time: 40 minutes

Servings: 6

Calories: 856 kcal



-16 oz. JENNIE-O®  Lean Ground Turkey

-1 egg

-½ cup breadcrumbs

-Salt and pepper to taste

-1 clove garlic, chopped

-1 tsp. unsalted adobo seasoning

For the Chipotle sauce

-1 1⁄2 tbsp. vegetable oil

-¼ finely chopped onion

-2 cloves garlic, diced

-2 chipotle chiles in adobo sauce

-2 tomatoes, diced

-½ cup chicken broth

-Salt and pepper to taste

-Chopped parsley or cilantro



1- Prepare ahead all the ingredients to start seasoning.

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2- In a mixing bowl, add the JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey, breadcrumbs, egg, salt, pepper, adobo, and garlic. Knead with hands until everything is well integrated.

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3- Shape the meatballs by taking a large spoonful of seasoned meat in our hands: start rotating your hands in opposite directions until they’re round. Repeat the process until all the meat is used. Make meatballs of 1 ½ inches. Set aside.

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4- In a skillet, add a tablespoon of oil and begin searing the meatballs. Allow them to brown, about 5 minutes per side. Sear them in parts to prevent them from breaking.

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5- Use a wooden spatula to turn them over, being careful not to break them. Repeat the process until all the meatballs are seared. Set aside on a plate until the sauce is ready.

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6- For the sauce, blend the tomatoes, chipotle chiles, and a bit of water until you have a very smooth sauce.

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7-  Cook on low heat for 10 minutes.

8- Serve with rice or pasta so you can enjoy every bit of the sauce. Garnish with cilantro or parsley.

Extra Recommendations to Prepare the Turkey Meatballs with Chipotle

  • Press the meatballs very well when forming to prevent them from falling apart.
  • Searing should be done in a very hot skillet, leaving them on each side for at least 1 minute.
  • Use a flat wooden spatula to move them, avoid using forks or sharp objects that may break them.
  • You can add more flavors if desired; basil in sauces imparts a very particular fresh flavor.
  • When adding the sauce to the meatballs, cover and let them cook in it for 5 minutes. Check the flavor, and if necessary, add more.
  • When serving, use a ladle to prevent the meatballs from breaking.
  • If you want to store them, use an airtight container once they’re cold. They can last in the fridge for up to a week.
  • Serve with white rice, pasta, or even mashed potatoes. Enjoy the sauce until the last drop.

These delicious meatballs with JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey will transport you straight to the usually warm and familial atmosphere of a Mexican home, while deeply enjoying their array of flavors. An ideal dish to share, it’s all about relishing it in an evening with your loved ones.

Note: For optimal food safety, ensure that the JENNIE-O® Lean Ground Turkey used in this recipe reaches an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C) when fully cooked. We recommend using a food thermometer to accurately measure the temperature.

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