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Meatball Shakshuka

Ground beef is mixed with the same herbs and spices used in the classic North African shakshuka and then simmered in a smoky, tomato-y shakshuka sauce for a one-pan dinner that everyone will love.


spiced meatballs in a shakshuka in a ban with feta and pita bread

Shakshuka! As Fun to Say as It Is to Eat.

Whether you’re already in love with shakshuka or still part of the uninitiated, we promise you’re going to love this meatball shakshuka as much or more than the egg-y original. Shakshuka is kind of the OG one-pan meal, and you know we’re into that (and we know you are, too). Shakshuka meatballs might sound like a big departure from the original recipe, but it makes a lot of sense if you stop to think about it. Shakshuka is a dish of eggs simmered in tomato sauce—albeit one flavored with Middle Eastern spices—and traditional Italian meatballs are simmered in a simple tomato sauce. All we did was put two and two together! Boom—smoky, spicy, shakshuka meatballs!

ingredients laid out for meatball shakshuka ground beef, eggs, bell peppers, olive oil
ingredients laid out for meatball shakshuka ground beef, eggs, bell peppers, olive oil in a bowl
raw onions green and red bell peppers in a sauce pan
onions, green and red bell peppers sautéd in a pan with spices

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Meatball Shakshuka: Simple Ingredients = Extreme Deliciousness

This easy meatball recipe is all about taking familiar techniques and basic ingredients and creating a wildly delicious, one-pan, weeknight dinner that’s so good it’ll make you re-think your whole entire life. Or, will at least just make everyone around your table really happy. We bet you’ve got most of these spices and veggies on-hand already. AND, because the flavors used in the meatball sauce (the shakshuka sauce) are the same as the ones in the meatballs, there’s a lot of overlap between the meatball ingredients and the simmer sauce ingredients. In addition to the basics (olive oil, salt) here’s what you’ll need to make this easy meatball recipe:

  • Red bell peppers
  • Onion
  • Cumin
  • Smoked paprika
  • Canned whole tomatoes
  • Ground beef
  • Garlic
  • Eggs
  • Breadcrumbs
Hand crushing canned tomatoes into a pan with onions, bell peppers and spices for shakshuka
tomatoes onions bell peppers in a pan for shakshuka
ground beef mixture for meatballs with shakshuka
meatballs on a baking tray

How to Make Meatballs

Are we the most meatball-obsessed people on the internet? It’s hard to say. Possibly. But, lucky for you because we’ve got this meatball-making stuff down to a science. Here are our very best tips for making the best meatballs EVER:

  1. Start with high-quality ground beef. This might seem like an obvious one, but it really does matter. We like to use a classic “80/20” ground beef, which means 80 percent lean beef to 20 percent beef fat. Having some fat in the mix ensures that your meatballs stay nice and moist.
  2. When it’s time to mix seasonings into your meatballs—in this case, smoked paprika, cumin, and lots of garlic—mix the ground beef with a light hand. Gently fold in the beaten eggs and breadcrumbs with your hands until the mixture is just combined. This helps the meatballs stay fluffy and moist instead of dense or rubbery.
  3. Keep a small bowl of water nearby when it’s time to roll the meatballs, and lightly wet your hands as you roll. This will keep the meatball mixture from sticking to your hands and make the whole process faster and tidier.
  4. Roll them evenly to ensure even cooking. This is related to our last tip, which is....
  5. Don’t overcook the meatballs! One of the wonderful things about cooking the meatballs in liquid—in this case, simmering them in a smoky shakshuka sauce—is that it’s harder to overcook them. But still, keep an eye out for doneness. After 20 minutes of simmering, pull out a meatball and check for doneness by simply cutting it in half.
baked meatballs in a tomato sauce with spices in a braiser pan
meatball shakshuka in a saute pan with feta and parsley

Tools You’ll Need:

Meatballs Rule Everything Around Me

We really do live the M.R.E.A.M. life here at TMP. And nobody’s mad about it. Here are 5 easy meatball recipes that fuel our obsession:

Meatball shakshukah with feta and parsley in a pan with pita bread

Shakshuka for Dinner!

So, did you try it? Did you love it? Let us know! Snap a photo of your shakshuka meatballs and maybe even a video of the beautiful people you feed it to. Tag us on Instagram using @themodernproper and #themodernproper. Happy eating!

meatball shakshuka in a large skillet topped with fresh parsley and crumbled feta

Meatball Shakshuka

  • Serves: 6
  • Prep Time:  15 min
  • Cook Time:  50 min
  • Calories: 315


  • 1 pound ground beef, 80/20
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • ⅓ cup minced cilantro, plus more for garnish
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup bread crumbs
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 bell peppers, thinly sliced
  • 1 medium yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 2 teaspoons cumin
  • 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 (28 ounce) can whole stewed tomatoes
  • crumbled feta for serving


  1. Make the meatballs. In a large bowl, combine the beef, paprika, cumin, salt, garlic, cilantro, eggs and bread crumbs. Mix well, then with wet hands, form golf ball-size meatballs (about 2 tablespoons each) and place them on a baking sheet.

  2. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large skillet (with a tight fitting lid) or large Dutch oven over medium-high heat. Once the oil is glistening, working in batches, add the meatballs in a single layer. Cook, undisturbed, until the meatballs are just browned on the bottom, about 3 minutes. Turn them carefully and cook to brown the opposite side, about 3 minutes. Transfer the meatballs back to the plate.

  3. Make the sauce. Reduce the heat to medium and heat the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil until glistening. Add the peppers, onion, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 10 minutes. Stir in the cumin, smoked paprika and salt until combined and fragrant, about 1 minute.

  4. Add the tomatoes and their juices, crushing the tomatoes a bit with your hands as you add them. Bring to a simmer over medium heat. Reduce the heat to medium low to maintain a simmer, stirring often, until beginning to thicken, about 15 minutes.

  5. Nestle the meatballs into the sauce and bring back to a simmer. Cover the pan, reduce the heat to low, and continue to cook for 10 minutes. Uncover and cook until the meatballs reach an internal temperature of 165°F on an instant-read thermometer, about 10 more minutes.

  6. Top the meatballs with crumbled feta and cilantro. Serve with toasted bread or pita.

Nutrition Info

  • Per Serving
  • Amount
  • Calories315
  • Protein22 g
  • Carbohydrates24 g
  • Total Fat16 g
  • Dietary Fiber3 g
  • Cholesterol109 mg
  • sodium768 mg
  • Total Sugars7 g

Meatball Shakshuka

Questions & Reviews

Join the discussion below.

  • Jennifer

    The directions/photos of the prep don't show the addition of minced cilantro. Should that be added to the meatball mixture? Or just as a garnish?

    Chopped cilantro goes into the meatball mixture and then we use a little to garnish when complete as well. Hope you enjoy Jennifer!

  • Carma S Pullen

    I have two Smoked Paprika. One is hot and the other is not. Which one do I use?

    We would use the not hot one. Hope you enjoy!

  • Michael Stanwyck

    Why does this recipe have such a different meat/egg/breadcrumb ratio than some others?

    Other recipes of yours are 1 pound beef:1 egg: 1/4 c breadcrumbs

    This one is 1 pound beef:2 eggs:1 cup breadcrumbs

    Is there a difference in texture you’re going for? Or is the difference in that these are simmered and those are baked?

    We can't speak to those other recipes, it could be the different cooking technique, bake vs simmer.

  • Matt

    Does the type of bread crumbs matter?

    Just plain breadcrumbs Matt. Hope you enjoy!

  • Robynne Alexandra Rosser Leipo

    What is a good side dish for this dinner?

    We recommend serving it with toasted bread or pita!

  • Boncy

    This recipe was delicious ! Going to make it again today!

    Thanks Boncy! We are so happy you enjoyed it! Love to hear you are making it back to back!

  • Kaye Branigan

    Just happened across this looking for ground beef recipe. Had all ingredients. I had never heard of this…but it was so so good! My husband doesn’t like cilantro, but I used it just like recipe called for in the meatballs. He never even noticed! The meatballs were tender and full of yum. The sauce was excellent as well. We lived this and will make again for sure. Made a side of air fryer cauliflower steaks seasoned with cajun seasoning and it was an absolute winner of a dinner!

    Thank you Kaye, we are so glad you loved it!

  • Bridget Welker

    Made this tonight for the family and it was a big hit. Next time I have to remember the bread as that would have been perfect. I loved the feta cheese with it. Will definitely make again.

    Thanks Bridget! So happy the whole family loved it!

  • Joe

    I never leave recipe reviews however this one knocked me and my wife's socks off! I'm not too keen on making meatballs but the detailed directions made me feel confident enough to try. Only thing we did different was seared the meatballs a bit and everything was PERFECT. So simple yet bursting with a yummyness I think most palettes aren't used to tasting (don't let that scare you off!). Can't wait to make it again. I had never heard of shakshuka the day before yesterday, stumbled on the recipe yesterday, and now it will be a staple in our home.

    Thank you so much Joe! We are so happy that you and your wife loved this so much and that it's become a staple! We love to hear stories of people trying something new and keeping it around forever!

  • Kathy

    Great flavors. I didn't change a thing. Used a combo of yellow, red and green peppers. Maybe used a bit more garlic in the meatballs because we love it.
    Such a nice change in flavors from the usual Italian and Southwest Tex Mex.

    Thanks Kathy, we are so happy you enjoyed it!