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Easy Meatballs

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Whenever I have a party, the first appetizers that always disappear are the meat dishes…especially when meatballs are involved. I don’t know what it is, but people seem to go nuts over a good meatball!

Of all the popular appetizer options out there, I definitely appreciate how quick, versatile and easy meatballs are to make. And I’m all for any recipe that my friends will enjoy!

I’ve made them over the years with all sorts of fancy sauces and seasonings. But when it comes down to it, people still seem to love a good tomato sauce. So even though it’s basic, thought I would share one of my favorites recipes for easy meatballs.

The meatballs themselves are a little on the Italian side, but the sauce has an extra smoked paprika kick that I love. I typically just make them in a large saute pan on the stove. But if you are wanting to keep them warm and simmering for a party or game day, you can simply make and keep them cooking in the slow cooker instead. My friends always seem to get extra excited when they are served with these cute little bamboo forks or knotted toothpicks. But if you’re craving pasta, these would of course also be delicious atop a bed of spaghetti. (Or the pasta I just posted yesterday!)

However you serve them, these saucy meatballs pack lots of flavor, come together quickly, and — at least in my experience — never fail to be a crowd favorite. All hail the mighty meatball!

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Easy Meatballs

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  • Prep Time: 15 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 35 minutes
  • Yield: 25-30 meatballs 1x


A quick and easy for Italian meatballs served with a smoky tomato sauce.



For The Meatballs:

  • 1.5 lb. ground beef or pork
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup finely-diced white onion
  • 1/4 cup freshly-grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1/2 tsp. dried thyme
  • 1/4 tsp. dried oregano
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 tsp. black pepper
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 eggs

For The Sauce:

  • 1 (28 oz.) can crushed tomatoes (I prefer fire-roasted)
  • 1 tsp. smoked paprika
  • chopped fresh basil or parsley for garnish


  1. Combine the beef (or pork), breadcrumbs, onion, Parmesan, garlic, eggs, thyme, oregano, salt and pepper together in a large bowl. Use a potato masher or your hands to combine the mixture until evenly-mixed.
  2. Use a small scoop or a spoon to measure out a rounded tablespoon-full of the mixture, and then roll it into a ball. Set aside. Repeat with the remainder of the mixture and set aside.

To Make On The Stovetop:

  1. Meanwhile, heat the crushed tomatoes in a large, deep sauté pan (or stockpot) over medium-high heat until simmering. Stir in the smoked paprika, season with salt and pepper, and reduce heat to medium-low. Add the meatballs in a single layer, coating with the sauce. Cover and let simmer for about 20-30 minutes until the meatballs are cooked through, turning the meatballs once or twice. Remove and set on a serving plate, ladling any of the extra sauce on top of the meatballs. Serve with bamboo forks or toothpicks if desired.

To Make In A Slow Cooker:

  1. Stir together the crushed tomatoes and smoked paprika in the bowl of the slow cooker . Add the meatballs in a single layer, coating with the sauce. Cover and cook on low until meatballs are tender, about 4-6 hours.

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35 comments on “Easy Meatballs”

  1. You are so right – it’s always the meat that goes first… and the shrimp cocktail! Though usually the shrimp cocktail disappears because my husband is around!

  2. These look incredible – love fire roasted tomatoes!

  3. yup, meatballs always go first at my gatherings too! these in particular look soo good…what a pretty presentation, too.

  4. Meatballs aren’t usually the most pretty or photogenic food, but these are gorgeous!

  5. YUM! Yes, meatballs are always the FIRST thing to go. I may or may not usually be the culprit.

  6. These are beautiful and make for the absolute perfect party food!! I can see why they go first :)

  7. Ali- So good. They are so tasty, not like any meatball i’ve had before. My co-worker LOVED them and asked for the recipe. Craig MIGHT get to try ONE!

  8. Yumm! A good meatball recipe is definitely worth saving – thanks for sharing!

  9. MMMM! What a great photo, the lighting is just about perfect! Makes me want to dive into these.

  10. Oh, I love a meatball appetizer. And it MUST be tomato sauce! These are gorgeous!

  11. I’ve been on a total meatball kick lately. Love the sauce!!

  12. Meatballs are always a fabulous hit!!! I love how bright and pretty your sauce is and I’m loving those fun wooden forks. I need to find some before super bowl weekend!!!!

  13. i’ve never met a meatball i haven’t loved. YUMMY!

  14. This is such a great party idea!

  15. Meatballs are one of my favorite appetizers to serve at home. Love that smoky tomato sauce too!

  16. I made these in the crockpot and my whole house smelled A-MAZE-ING!! lol The smoked paprika was new to me, but I’m so glad I bought some and tried it…truly adds a unique kick to this great meatball. Thanks so much – this is going in my permanent recipe binder! :)

  17. Yummie-Yummie in the tummie are these meatballs.

  18. My husband loves these for dinner over spaghetti and I make them every year for our Super Bowl party. They are always a hit! Thank you for sharing :)

  19. Hello! I’m excited to try to make these for a Super Bowl party but was wondering if you have any suggestions for what would be best to add to give these a bit of a spicy kick? Thank you!

  20. Can you use ground chicken or turkey instead of beef or pork?