Easy Meatballs

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!

Easy Meatballs

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


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.

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:

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:

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.

If you make this recipe, be sure to snap a photo and hashtag it #gimmesomeoven. I'd love to see what you cook!

This post contains affiliate links.

Leave a Comment:


  1. Mackenzie {SusieFreakingHomemaker} — January 24, 2013 @ 8:08 am (#)

    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. Liz @ The Lemon Bowl — January 24, 2013 @ 8:46 am (#)

    These look incredible – love fire roasted tomatoes!

  3. taylor @ taylormade — January 24, 2013 @ 9:13 am (#)

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

  4. Karly — January 24, 2013 @ 9:28 am (#)

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

  5. little kitchie — January 24, 2013 @ 9:45 am (#)

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

  6. Sues — January 24, 2013 @ 11:56 am (#)

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

  7. Amy — January 24, 2013 @ 2:40 pm (#)

    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. Rebekah @ Making Miracles — January 24, 2013 @ 5:39 pm (#)

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

  9. Sarah — January 24, 2013 @ 6:49 pm (#)

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

  10. Dorothy @ Crazy for Crust — January 24, 2013 @ 9:21 pm (#)

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

  11. Cassie | Bake Your Day — January 24, 2013 @ 9:45 pm (#)

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

  12. Jocelyn @BruCrew Life — January 25, 2013 @ 8:41 am (#)

    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. lynn @ the actor's diet — January 26, 2013 @ 10:07 am (#)

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

  14. Kathryn — January 26, 2013 @ 10:33 am (#)

    This is such a great party idea!

  15. Chung-Ah | Damn Delicious — January 28, 2013 @ 1:35 am (#)

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

  16. DonnaC — January 3, 2014 @ 12:53 pm (#)

    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. Chefina — October 18, 2015 @ 2:39 pm (#)

    Yummie-Yummie in the tummie are these meatballs.

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — October 19th, 2015 @ 8:11 am

      Thanks, we’re so happy you liked them! :)

  18. Amanda — December 18, 2015 @ 10:27 am (#)

    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 :)

    • Hayley @ Gimme Some Oven — December 19th, 2015 @ 9:21 pm

      Thanks for sharing Amanda, we’re so happy you and your husband enjoy these! :)


  1. Pingback: Case of the Mondays? | A Cedar Spoon

  2. Pingback: gimme some oven | Game Day Recipes | Gimme Some Oven

  3. Pingback: Tailgate Food - 50 Best Game Day Recipes - A Helicopter Mom

  4. Pingback: Schnelle langsame Fleischklöße « Kaakpott – aus Pütt un Pann

  5. Pingback: Thankful Thursday & Links I Love | Food, Pleasure, and Health

  6. Pingback: Thankful Thursday & Links I Love - Food, Pleasure, and Health

  7. Pingback: Which “Party Down” Character Are You? | Need Find Know

  8. Pingback: Super Bowl Menu 101 | 238 Miles Apart