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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. These sound wonderful! Do you think I could make just the meatballs and sauce tomorrow for a party I’m having on Saturday? I would like to have it in a crockpot for the party.

  2. Bonnie Berger

    Question. I make sweet and sour meatballs where I put raw meatballs into the sauce and cook them that way. Do you think I could do this with this sauce?

  3. Wonderful. Delicious. Simple yet elegant. Definitely something I would make for company. The potatoes were delicious as well. I used Swiss cheese instead of the more expensive gruyere.

  4. I just have to tell you that I have made this several times, and I’m actually breaking tradition by taking this meal to my in-laws for Christmas dinner. It is so good. Thank you.

  5. Oh my goodness! This is the ultimate comfort dish! I love the sound of the red wine sauce – it looks absolutely incredible! Adding spinach to the mashed potatoes is genius! Such a great idea to get my husband to eat his greens! 🙂 I can’t wait to make this!

  6. WOW! This looks delicious! What a great, satisfying recipe! …and it’s always good to add flavor without spending TONS! Love this! Thanks so much for sharing!

  7. This is pretty much all of my favorite things wrapped up into one dish! Those meatballs are pure perfection and that red wine gravy sounds incredible too!

  8. Cheyanne @ No Spoon Necessary

    Holy.Meatballs! These are more than awesome, they are EVERYTHING! I am totally drooling over this dish, girlfriend! Tender meatballs, red wine, creamy mashed potatoes- all the great things in life!! Pinned! I have GOT to make these! And I totally see why you held onto this recipe for so many years and adapted it! I thank you for that! 😉 Cheers!

  9. That sauce! I LOVE that there is a cup and a half of wine in there! haha This meal sounds so comforting!

  10. Dear God! This looks so good. I’m literally drooling over here! I’m so making this for dinner this week. Can’t wait to plant my face into this deliciousness. I mean, I love everything on this plate, from wine sauce to meatballs to gruyere mashed potatoes!

  11. Ashley | The Recipe Rebel

    Christin, I am going nuts for these! WHOA. Red wine braised meatballs and mashed potatoes with gruyere?! THIS right here is the ultimate comfort food!

  12. Joshua Hampton

    Those meatballs look really gorgeous. I especially love how they look on that bed of mashed potatoes with spinach. They make my mouth water. Yum.

  13. annie@ciaochowbambina

    Okay – seriously want to dive into that pot of meatballs and stay for a while! Gorgeous and I can imagine how delicious! Brava!

  14. Anu-My Ginger Garlic Kitchen

    This looks so comforting and delicious. Red wine grave sounds yummylicious.

  15. Gayle @ Pumpkin 'N Spice

    Mmm these meatballs sound incredible, Christin! Definitely delicious comfort food. I love the red wine gravy!

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