Marsala Sauce Meatballs

Marsala Sauce Meatballs

These Marsala Sauce Meatballs with onions, mushrooms, and cranberries are a comforting home-style dish that is also feels so festive thanks to the combination of seasonal aromatics!

Marsala Sauce Meatballs

Hello everyone. Happy Wednesday! But let me first congratulate our neighbors because Thanksgiving is tomorrow. I know most of you are probably super busy preparing, but I hope you don’t miss this scrumptious recipe. And if you do, no worries – I will remind you. Many times :) By the way, in case you are struggling to find some recipes for your tomorrow’s dinner, probably you should consider these Festive Brussels Sprouts and these Christmas Veal Meatballs.

And even though most my fellow food bloggers and I started the holiday season a few weeks ago, that’s it. That’s the official start of holidays! Meaning: even more delicious and calories-packed treats. Because as you are perfectly aware, calories do not count during the holiday season. I always remind that to our scales in January.

Alight. Since it’s Thanksgiving weekend around the corner, well, basically already knocking on your doors, I will keep it short and sweet today.

And these Marsala Sauce Meatballs while a savoury dish, is also packed with sweet notes.

Marsala Sauce Meatballs

The meatballs themselves are easy and boring. Basically I used the recipe for Christmas Veal Meatballs (Above). However, this time I pre-cooked meatballs in an air-fryer. I simply wanted to reduce the amount of fats because the marsala wine and cream cheese add quite a few extra calories. If you don’t have (or don’t want to use air-fryer), simply pan-sear meatballs, with 2-3 tablespoons of oil.

The best part of this recipe is the sauce, creamy, rich, and delicately sweet. It combines sautéed onions, mushrooms, cranberries (Both fresh and dried), cream cheese, and of course, marsala wine. A lot of marsala wine. The sauce turns on a sweet side, but combined with savoury meatballs, that’s a good match. And if you are worried about the sweetness, you can always reduce the amount of wine and use some extra water (or broth) instead. On the bother hand, the addition of fresh tart cranberries, balances the sweetness, too. Other festive aromatics include rosemary and nutmeg. As I sad, these are perfect holiday meatballs!

Rich and Delicious Sauce!

So this sauce / gravy? Absolutely delicious! You will definitely need some scrumptious mashed potatoes (try these Chestnut Mashed Potatoes) or something similar. Specifically this time I made mashed potatoes with parsnips and chestnuts, and that was quite good, too.

I hope you like this easy yet so delicious and festive recipe, and you will give it a try this year. If you make it, let me know in this post or send me an Instagram message or share you photos adding the hashtag #havocinthekitchen.

Happy Thanksgiving!

See you soon.

Marsala Sauce Meatballs

Marsala Sauce Meatballs

Recipe by Ben | HavocinthekitchenCourse: Main


Prep time


Cooking time



These Marsala Sauce Meatballs with onions, mushrooms, and cranberries are a comforting home-style dish that is also feels so festive thanks to the combination of seasonal aromatics!


  • Meatballs:
  • 1 medium shallot, finely minced

  • 1 egg

  • ~650 gr. lean ground veal (beef or chicken will work)

  • 1 tsp. instant cornmeal (polenta)

  • 1/2 tbsp. smoked paprika

  • 1/8 (or to taste) tsp. chipotle powder

  • 1/2 tsp. salt

  • 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh rosemary

  • 1/2 tbsp. minced fresh thyme

  • 1 whole nutmeg, freshly grated

  • Marsala Sauce:
  • 1 lb. button mushrooms, sliced

  • 1 tsp. olive oil

  • 2 medium onions, sliced

  • 2-3 tbsp. dried cranberries

  • 2-4 garlic cloves, minced

  • 1/3 cup fresh cranberries, divided

  • few thyme sprigs

  • about 1 and 1/2 cup marsala wine (See Notes)

  • about 1/2 cup water or broth

  • salt, to taste


  • Meatballs:
  • In a small bowl combine the eggs with herbs and spices, and whisk until well combined.
  • Place the ground veal in a large bowl along with the polenta (cornmeal). Add the egg mixture and mix with your hands or wooden spoon until evenly blender. Do not overmix as the meatballs could turn dense – about 30 seconds should be enough.
  • Shape the mixture into meatballs (~ 1 inch or as desired). Depending on the size, you should get about 35 meatballs.
  • Preheat an air-fryer to 400 degrees F. Arrange meatballs on an appropriate tray (Do not overcrowd) and cook in 2-3 batches for about 10-12 minutes (Each batch), gently moving meatballs 2-3 times to brown them well from all sides. Set aside the cooked meatballs and repeat with the remaining. You can also pan-sear meatballs instead adding 2-3 tablespoons of oil.
  • Marsala Sauce:
  • Into a large pan or pot add the sliced mushroom, without adding any oil yet. Let them cook for about 7 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, to release the liquid.
  • Add the oil, onions, and garlic and cook for about 5 minutes.
  • Stir in the dried cranberries, most of the fresh cranberries (Reserve some for the last step), thyme sprigs, marsala wine, water (or broth), cream cheese, and a pinch of salt. Simmer over low medium heat for about 2 minutes, to blend everything.
  • Gently place the cooked meatballs into the sauce and simmer for about 5 to 7 minutes. Lastly, stir in the remaining fresh cranberries, cook 1 minute, and turn the heat off. Check and adjust the seasonings, if needed. Cover and let the sauce stay for about 10 minutes before serving. Enjoy!


  • If you prefer less sweet version, try using about 2/3 to 1 cup of wine and increase the amount of water (broth)

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