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Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy

Get ready for some serious comfort food. Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy with Spinach Gruyere Mashed Potatoes is one hearty meal (and a mouthful!). This is an old recipe I clipped out of a Bon Appetit magazine at least 12 years ago. (Note: I’ve adapted the recipe quite a bit. See original recipe here.) A recipe has to be really good for me to hang onto it that long- and this one is.

Three meatballs over spinach mashed potatoes.

Extra-large and tender beef meatballs are cooked in a full-bodied wine sauce. The wine-sauce is fairly thick and acts as a wonderful gravy for the mashed potatoes.

Use a Quality Red Wine

You’ll want to use a quality red wine that you really like the taste of because the wine flavor is pretty prominent. There’s a full cup and a half added to the sauce. You might be thinking. Uh-oh. That doesn’t leave much wine to drink while I cook. But it’s totally worth putting that much wine in this sauce. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, or Syrah work well.

Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy in a skillet.

Baked and Then Braised

The meatballs are first baked in the oven, then dusted in flour, sauteed in butter and oil, and then braised in the red wine sauce. All these steps really build some awesome flavor!

Mashed Potatoes with Spinach

I really like the idea of putting fresh spinach in mashed potatoes. It really becomes a one dish meal that way and you don’t feel like you have to serve a salad with it.

Just as the wine flavor is fairly intense in the sauce, there’s a pretty strong Gruyere flavor in the mashed potatoes and I’ve actually reduced the amount from the original recipe. If you aren’t really in love with the flavor of gruyere, or don’t want to spend an arm and a leg for it, reduce the amount even more or use a different cheese.

Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy in a skillet.

These Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy are so rich and comforting. If you’re looking for a lighter recipe, try these Turkey Meatballs.


Cheddar cheese can be used in place of Gruyere cheese.

Two minced garlic cloves can be added to the meatball mixture.

Spice it up by adding half a teaspoon of crushed red pepper flakes to the sauce.

Three meatballs over mashed potatoes.

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More Meatball Recipes

Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy

Extra-large and tender beef meatballs are cooked in a full-bodied wine sauce. The wine-sauce is fairly thick and acts as a wonderful gravy for the mashed potatoes.
PREP: 20 minutes
COOK: 50 minutes
TOTAL: 1 hour 10 minutes
SERVINGS: 6 servings


  • 1 6-ounce piece day-old French Bread, cut into 8 pieces (about 1/3 a loaf of bread)
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 3/4 pounds ground beef (7 to 15% fat)
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup chopped parsley
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
  • all purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups red wine
  • 1/4 cup tomato paste
  • 2 1/2 cups canned beef broth

Mashed Potatoes

  • 1 bag of baby spinach
  • 4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes, peeled and cut into 2-inch pieces
  • 1 stick butter
  • 1 1/4 cups warm whole milk or more
  • 2 cups grated Gruyère cheese


  • Preheat oven to 350. Combine bread and milk in a medium bowl, pressing on bread to submerge. Let sit 10 minutes.
  • Squeeze out most of milk from bread and discard milk. Place bread in a large bowl. Add ground beef, eggs, finely chopped onion, parsley, salt, pepper, and thyme. Using your hands, mix together until well combined.
  • Form 1 3/4 inch meatballs and place in 2 13-by-9-inch glass baking dishes. Bake for 30 minutes. Let cool slightly.
  • Dust meatballs with flour and shake off excess. Melt butter and oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. In 2 batches, saute meatballs until browned on all sides, about 3 minutes.
  • Return all meatballs to skillet. Whisk together tomato paste and wine. Add to skillet and bring to a boil. Continue boiling 5 minutes, until liquid thickens slightly. Stir often.
  • Add broth, reduce heat to medium and simmer until it thickens, about 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
  • Cook potatoes in a large pot of salted water for 30 minutes, until very tender. Drain well. Place in bowl with butter and mash well.
  • Add milk to potatoes and mash and stir to incorporate. Add cheese.
  • Add spinach and stir it in. The heat from the mashed potatoes will wilt and steam the spinach. If your potatoes have cooled off to much to do this, you can microwave them to heat them back up.
  • Season liberally with salt and pepper.


Calories: 883kcal
Author: Christin Mahrlig
Course: Dinner, Main Course
Cuisine: American
Keyword: ground beef, meatballs

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Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit

Originally posted September 14, 2015.

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33 thoughts on “Braised Meatballs in Red Wine Gravy”

  1. Yummy recipe! Different than normal Italian meatballs. My husband really liked the gravy: I used meatballs from Jens meatballs that I rolled, froze, then baked and then followed directions:

  2. Approximately how many meatballs will this make?
    Can you freeze after cooking with or without gravy??
    Can you freeze raw?
    Do you remove crust?
    Bread was mush so how do you squeeze out excess milk?

    Meatballs were delicious!!!!

  3. I’m sorry, did you mean to plagiarize the recipe from Bon Apetit on Epicurious website? It’s been around since 2004 and your instructions and ingredients are the same word for word. Not cool.

    1. Apologies! Didn’t see the beginning of the page where you mention that- couldn’t delete my comment but did want to say sorry. Please feel free to delete!

  4. Kismet – I was thinking today about the original Bon Appetit recipe that you reference and wishing I still had it but couldn’t remember where I got it from. It’s a great recipe but I’m looking forward to trying your spin on it! Thanks much!

  5. This gravy is deliciously lickable. It seriously makes me reconsider drinking wine, which I’ve never liked before. Thumbs up from both my husband and me!

  6. Andra Ghent

    Delicious! I am vegetarian and so made this recipe by 1) using Beyond Meat faux ground beef, and 2) using vegetable broth. It turned out absolutely delicious. It’s a fair bit of effort but worth it.

  7. Rachel Anondson

    Tried the meatball portion of this recipe tonight, and it was FANTASTIC. Had a little trouble fitting it in my 12″ skillet and migrated the meatballs and red wine to a large pot after braising and reducing. I usually eyeball recipes and make it up as I go, but I decided to give this one a shot without mods (I may have eyeballed the seasoning amounts), and I do not regret it.

    I ended up doing sautéed potatoes with spinach instead of mashed. I just wasn’t in the mood to mash things.

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