Cinnamon is a great spice for savory dishes, especially when paired with beef, garlic and tomato. The flavor combination is perfect in these baked cinnamon meatballs with marinara sauce.
For more delicious savory cinnamon flavors, also check out this cinnamon chili spice rub or this chicken and chorizo pasta.
How to make the meatballs:
See full ingredients & instructions in the recipe card below!
Step 1. Slice sandwich bread into cubes and soak in a mix of sour cream and whole milk for 10 minutes.
RECIPE NOTE: The bread keeps the meatballs from becoming dense and tough and the sour cream adds a hint of tanginess that works well with all the other flavors.
Step 2. Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Mix together ground beef, parsley, egg, garlic, salt and cinnamon.
RECIPE NOTE: I like to use a serving fork for the mixing, it is large and sturdy enough to mash everything together easily.
Step 3. Add the soaked bread cubes to the meat.
Step 4. Mash everything together.
Step 5. Form 18 to 20 meatballs using a spring-loaded metal scoop or your hands and set them directly onto non-stick baking sheets (there is no need to grease the sheets). Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.
How to make the sauce:
Step 6. Heat olive oil in a Dutch oven until shimmering. Add diced onion and saute for a few minutes. Add red wine, crushed tomatoes, oregano and the baked meatballs. Simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes. Stir in parsley and season with salt and pepper.
How to serve:
Serve the meatballs with spaghetti or with crusty bread.
How to store/freeze leftovers:
Store any leftover meatballs and sauce together in an airtight container in the fridge for up to 2 days. You can also transfer the meatballs and sauce into a freezer bag and freeze.
More delicious beef recipes:
- Ginger Garlic Asian Beef Meatballs with Cilantro40 Minutes
- Taco Stuffed Poblano Peppers48 Minutes
- Slow Cooker Beef Back Ribs7 Hours 30 Minutes
- Chunky Chuck Roast Chili (Dutch Oven)2 Hours
See more main course recipes →
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Full Printable Recipe
Baked Cinnamon Meatballs with Marinara Sauce
- measuring cups and spoons
- knife and cutting board
- garlic press (optional)
- mixing bowls
- rubber spatula
- serving fork
- non-stick baking sheets
- Dutch oven
- wooden spoon
For the meatballs:
- 6 tablespoons full-fat sour cream
- 2 tablespoons whole milk
- 2 slices white sandwich bread, cut into cubes
- 1 pound ground beef (80 percent lean or up to 90 percent lean)
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 large egg
- 2 large garlic cloves, peeled and minced or pressed through a garlic press
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
For the marinara sauce:
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup finely diced white or yellow onion (you need about ⅓ of a small onion for that)
- ½ cup dry red wine
- 1 can crushed tomatoes (28 ounces)
- 1 tablespoon dried oregano
- 1 tablespoon chopped parsley
- salt and pepper
For the meatballs:
- Mix sour cream and milk together and soak the bread cubes in the mix for about 10 minutes.
- In a separate bowl, mix beef, parsley, egg, garlic, salt and cinnamon with a large fork.*
- Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Add the soaked bread cubes to the meat and mash everything together.
- Form the meat into 18 to 20 meatballs and set them directly onto non-stick baking sheets. (No need to grease the sheets.)
- Bake the meatballs for 20 minutes.
For the marinara sauce:
- Heat the olive oil in a Dutch oven.
- Add the onions and saute for a few minutes, until they are starting to soften.
- Add wine, tomatoes and oregano, then add the meatballs to the sauce.
- Bring to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer, uncovered, for 20 minutes.
- Stir in the parsley and season with salt and pepper.
- Serve with spaghetti or crusty bread.
Nutrition Information (Estimated):
Nutrition values provided on this website are generated from a nutrition database and are estimates only. The accuracy of the nutrition information for any recipe on this website is not guaranteed. Nutrition values can vary quite a lot depending on which brands are used.
I am intrigued by your combination; I would NEVER have thought to add cinnamon into this delicious looking dish. I am glad you tested for us, and now I am going to try them, too. Love it, Nicole.
P.S. So excited to see your e-book :)
Thank you so much, Pang! Always nice to see you here! The combo sounds odd at first but it tastes really good. :)
What an awesome flavor combo! It’s like a Moroccan twist on a classic Italian sauce!!! And I am SOOO EXCITED about your book! YES!
I’m so glad to hear that, Mila! Coming soon! :)
Oooh….looking forward to this BOOK! I love the cinnamon powder addition, it makes it a bit Middle Eastern which is one of my fave cuisines!
Mine too! Which reminds me, I need to make more Middle Eastern dishes here. The book is comin’! :)
I’ve never thought to add cinnamon to my meatballs, but I LOVE cinnamon – so this is so smart! I am definitely pinning this recipe.
That’s great, let me know how you liked it, Rachel! Thanks so much for stopping by! :)
Kathleen | HapaNom
Oh…my…gawd! This look fantastic! I make a lamb and cinnamon meatball, and the little bit of cinnamon really makes them something special. I’ll have to try beef with cinnamon next time! And that marinara sauce of yours is spot on – absolute perfection! You Rock!
Ooh, and I have to try lamb with cinnamon next time, never done that. Thank you for your kind words, always wonderful to hear such nice things! :)
This is awesome! I love it when I see totally unique recipes on FoodGawker. Way to rock it!
That is so nice of you to say, Trish! Thank you! :)
Kevin | keviniscooking
I LOVE the gutsy 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. I am a huge fan and it’s probably my favorite spice. This sounds fantastic and I will definitely be keeping my eyes open for your eBook photography tips. Very cool. :)
Haha, yeah, I looked at the teaspoon in my hand and for a brief moment thought “maybe a little less” but then just put it in and it turned out perfectly! The eBook is coming soon and there will definitely be a giveaway also. :)