Whole30 Chicken Enchilada Meatballs

When the craving for enchiladas hits, these Whole30 Chicken Enchilada Meatballs will hit the spot without the tortilla!

Whole30 Chicken Enchilada Meatballs

When doing a round of Whole30, I get pretty scrappy with making things that I am craving become compliant. For example, I was *really* craving some good ole enchiladas and I had some ground chicken in my fridge. I thought it’d be fun to do an enchilada-style chicken meatball for a lean take on enchiladas that also just so happen to be Whole30. These meatballs are *so yummy* and you can really serve them up any way that you prefer: they’d be great as a gameday appetizer, or for dinner served over prepared cauliflower rice! 

Whole30 Chicken Enchilada Meatballs

These Whole30 Chicken Enchilada Meatballs really are a flavor explosion of enchilada goodness that I think you’ll just love!! And don’t worry, they really aren’t spicy– my entire family enjoyed them! 

If you like this recipe and want some more enchilada-inspired Whole30 goodness, try my Beef Enchilada Stuffed Acorn Squash, Chicken Enchilada Soup, or this Easy Beef Enchilada Skillet

Chicken Enchilada Meatballs

Whole30 Chicken Enchilada Meatballs
Serves: 4 people
5 from 4 votes
Prep Time15 minutes
Cook Time30 minutes
Total Time45 minutes


For the Chicken Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lbs ground chicken thigh (can sub ground beef or ground turkey thigh)
  • 1/4 cup yellow onion, very finely diced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot flour
  • 2 tbsp avocado oil

For the Enchilada Sauce:

  • 2 tbsp ghee
  • 2 tbsp arrowroot starch
  • 1 tbsp + 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1 tsp garlic powder
  • 1/2 tsp onion powder
  • 1/4 tsp dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp cayenne pepper (optional)
  • 3 tbsp tomato paste
  • 2 cups beef broth
  • 1 tsp kosher salt , or more to taste

For Serving:

  • freshly chopped cilantro, optional
  • finely diced red onion, optional


Make the Meatballs:

  • In a large bowl, combine all of the meatball ingredients (except for the avocado oil). Mix until well combined. Using your hands (damp hands help with working with ground chicken thigh since it's a little sticky) form into 2-inch round meatballs.
  • Heat an large skillet over medium-high heat with the avocado oil. When hot, drop in the meatballs and cook on each side until a golden brown crust forms, about 3 minutes a side. The meatballs do not have to be completely cooked through as they will continue to cook in the sauce. Transfer browned meatballs to a paper towel-lined plate and set aside.

Make the Enchilada Sauce:

  • Rinse and wipe down the skillet. Melt the ghee in the skillet over medium heat. When melted, add the arrowroot starch and whisk until combined. Add the chili powder, cumin, sweet paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, oregano, and cayenne pepper. Whisk together until combined and saute to really bring out the flavors in the spices for about 2 minutes, stirring constantly to prevent burning. 
  • Add the tomato paste and whisk until combined, then, slowly pour in 1 1/2 cups of the beef broth, whisking constantly, so that the sauce combines. Let cook until thickened, 4-5 minutes, whisking often. When very thick, remove from heat and slowly pour in the remaining 1/2 cup of the beef broth, whisking constantly to loosen up the sauce so that it is the perfect consistency for enchiladas!

Finish the Meatballs:

  • Nestle the browned meatballs into the enchilada sauce and cook, simmering and covered, until the meatballs are completely cooked through, about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally. (cut into one of the meatballs to make sure they are no longer pink).
  • Remove the meatballs from the heat and garnish with freshly chopped cilantro and diced onion. Serve over prepared cauliflower rice, zucchini noodles, or alone! Enjoy!

Photography and styling by Eat Love Eats.


  • Reply
    Jean Ann Simmons
    February 19, 2023 at 7:12 pm

    5 stars
    Great recipe! We really enjoyed it and will include it in our rotation. In the instructions for the enchilada sauce it says to add onion powder but it’s not listed in the ingredients. I went ahead and added 1 tsp and it tasted great. Also curious you said to cook in an oven safe skillet but it never went in the oven. ?

    • Reply
      February 20, 2023 at 7:04 pm

      Sorry about those errors, and thank you for kindly pointing those out. Will edit now

  • Reply
    Emilie Meliza
    September 7, 2022 at 12:25 am

    Lovely meal served with some brown rice and sautéed zucchini! I added some shredded Monterrey Jack cheese into the meatball mixture as well & it turned out fabulous!

  • Reply
    March 27, 2022 at 10:44 pm

    5 stars
    Love these meatballs! Easy to make and tons of flavour. Thank you for sharing.

  • Reply
    March 26, 2022 at 3:00 pm

    If I want to freeze these, when is the best time?

    • Reply
      May 2, 2022 at 5:17 pm

      You can complete the recipe and then freeze!

  • Reply
    February 17, 2022 at 2:41 pm

    Have you made these in the crockpot?

    • Reply
      February 17, 2022 at 8:03 pm

      I haven’t yet!

  • Reply
    April 15, 2021 at 1:37 am

    5 stars
    These are incredible! So flavorful and delicious!

  • Reply
    February 2, 2021 at 10:49 pm

    5 stars
    Love these meatballs! So unique and flavorful! A little bit quicker than making your enchiladas from the cookbook (which I also love so much) and still fabulous!

    • Reply
      February 3, 2021 at 12:27 am

      Thank you for all the love, Sydney!! xoxo

  • Reply
    January 22, 2021 at 2:07 am

    if i were to use store bought enchilada sauce (gasp), how much would i need?

    • Reply
      January 22, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      haha no gasping at all! I love to use Siete’s Enchilada Sauce when I need to quickly make a meal. Two cups (or as close as you can get) should work well.

    Leave a Reply & Rating

    Recipe Rating

    You Might Also Like

    SDC Instagram