Slow Cooker Cheesy Diablo Meatballs

This spin on meatballs is inspired by diablo shrimp, which consists of a fiery (one might say devilish) tomato-based sauce. Everybody loves a spicy beef meatball, and these cheese-stuffed winners don’t even need to be seared before simmering in their spicy slow-cooker sauce.
  • Total Time 3 Hours
  • Prep Time 30 Minutes
  • Servings 12
  • Ingredients 13


  • 1 can (14.5 oz) Muir Glen™ organic fire roasted diced tomatoes, drained
  • 1 can (4.5 oz) Old El Paso™ chopped green chiles
  • 1 to 2 chopped chipotle chiles in adobo sauce
  • 4 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 lb lean (at least 85%) ground beef
  • 1/2 cup Progresso™ plain panko crispy bread crumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely chopped onion
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro leaves
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 2 tablespoons Old El Paso™ taco seasoning mix (from 1-oz package)
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 24 (1/2-inch) cubes Monterey Jack cheese (3 oz)


Step 1 Spray 5-quart slow cooker with cooking spray. In blender, add tomatoes, chiles and garlic. Cover; blend 30 to 60 seconds or until smooth. Pour tomato mixture into slow cooker.

Step 2 In large bowl, mix beef, bread crumbs, onion, cilantro, milk, egg, taco seasoning mix and cumin. Shape into 24 (1 1/2-inch) meatballs; tuck one piece of cheese in center of each meatball, and seal completely. Add meatballs to tomato mixture in slow cooker; gently turn to coat.

Step 3 Cover; cook on Low heat setting 2 1/2 to 3 hours or until meatballs are thoroughly cooked (165°F); stir.


1 Serving: Calories 130 (Calories from Fat 60); Total Fat 7g (Saturated Fat 3g, Trans Fat 0g); Cholesterol 45mg; Sodium 260mg; Potassium 180mg; Total Carbohydrate 8g (Dietary Fiber 0g); Protein 10g % Daily Value: Vitamin A 2%; Vitamin C 0%; Calcium 8%; Iron 8% Exchanges: 1/2 Other Carbohydrate, 1/2 Vegetable, 1 Medium-Fat Meat, 1/2 Fat Carbohydrate Choices: 1/2

Expert Tips

Using 85% lean ground beef ensures a tender meatball while preventing the sauce from getting greasy.

Use 1 chipotle for a medium hot sauce, or for a spicier sauce, use 2.

Serve with additional cilantro or sliced green onions for a pop of color.