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Meatballs

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My favorite baked meatball recipe — it’s easy to make, full of great flavor, and incredibly versatile. Serve it with Italian marinara sauce, Swedish cream sauce, American bbq sauce and beyond!

The BEST Meatball Recipe

Friends, do you have a go-to recipe for amazing homemade meatballs in your repertoire?

If not, bookmark this one. Like, seriously. ♡

After having made who knows how many millions of meatballs in my life, I’ve officially landed on this easy meatball recipe as my forever favorite. And I love it for so many reasons.

Mainly, I’m partial to this particular meatball recipe because it is BIG on flavor. I’ve always considered it such a missed opportunity when I’m served meatballs that are bland and boring because, quite frankly, it’s so easy to make them delicious! We shouldn’t have to rely on a sauce to make meatballs interesting. So this recipe goes big on all of my favorite flavors, including a base mix of ground beef and pork (win-win), classic garlic and onion (grated to avoid chunks), lots of Parmesan (adds amazing flavor), and a generous helping of zesty herbs and seasonings.

I also love these homemade meatballs because they are baked instead of fried, which makes them a touch healthier and also considerably easier to cook. They can easily be made gluten-free if you would like. They freeze beautifully for later, if you would like. And while I often love to just eat these meatballs on their own, the flavors here are versatile enough to pair with any of your favorite sauces, from Italian marinara sauce, to American bbq sauce, to a Swedish cream sauce, to a spicy Thai curry and so much more.

Basically, this is the meatball recipe that I use for pretty much everything and it is always, always a winner. So be sure to bookmark this one, and let’s make a batch together!

The BEST Meatball Recipe | 1-Minute Video

Easy Meatball Recipe Ingredients

Homemade Meatballs Ingredients:

Alright let’s talk about the ingredients you will need make this easy baked meatball recipe. (Full amounts included in the recipe below!)

  • Panko breadcrumbs: I’ve found that Panko breadcrumbs work best in baked meatballs, but you are welcome to use any type of breadcrumbs (seasoned or not) that you have on hand.
  • Milk: We will mix a bit of milk with the breadcrumbs to form a panade, which will help to keep our meatballs nice and moist.
  • Ground beef and pork: I like to use a 50/50 mix of the two to make meatballs, but you can also make all-beef or all-pork meatballs if you prefer.
  • Fresh garlic: Minced or pressed.
  • Eggs: Which will help to bind all of our meatball ingredients together.
  • Parmesan: As always, I highly recommend using freshly-grated Parmesan (instead of the pre-grated stuff) for maximum flavor and freshness. And if you have a kitchen scale, I recommend weighing the Parmesan to be sure that you have the correct amount — 1.5 ounces.
  • Fresh Italian herbs: I always love the taste and extra color that fresh herbs add to a batch of meatballs. So I used a mixture of basil and parsley here. But if you don’t have fresh herbs on hand, no worries, just read my substitution options below.
  • Grated yellow onion: Yes, grated. Even as someone who really loves onions, I always get a little weirded out by diced onion chunks in my meatballs. So I recommend using a box grater (or the grating attachment on a food processor) to grate the onion into smaller pieces before adding it to the mix.
  • Worcestershire sauce: Adds such great flavor!
  • Dry seasonings: A simple mix of dried oregano, sea salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes.

How To Make Meatballs

How To Make Meatballs:

To make these homemade meatballs, simply…

  1. Make the panade. In a large mixing bowl, stir together the Panko and milk until combined. Set mixture aside to soak for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients. Then use a fork to briefly mash the mixture into a paste.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients.  Add the ground beef, ground pork, garlic, eggs, Parmesan, fresh herbs, onion and Worcestershire sauce to the (same) mixing bowl. Sprinkle the oregano, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes evenly on top. Use your hands to mix the ingredients until evenly combined, being careful not to over-mix the ingredients.
  3. Chill (optional step). To make the meatballs easier to form, I recommend covering and chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour. But if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step.
  4. Prep oven and baking sheet. Heat the oven to 425°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Form the meatballs. Using a medium cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop and roll the mixture into 2-tablespoon balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet. (I recommend greasing your hands with a bit of olive oil to prevent the mixture from sticking.)
  6. Bake.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer measures the internal temperature of the meatballs to be 160°F. Remove pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  7. Serve.  Serve meatballs immediately and enjoy!

Spaghetti and Meatballs

Possible Meatball Recipe Variations:

There are countless ways that you could customize this homemade meatball recipe, so please don’t hesitate to experiment and get creative! For example, feel free to…

  • Use ground turkey or chicken: For a lighter option, feel free to use ground turkey/chicken to make turkey meatballs or chicken meatballs. Just note that they will need to be cooked to 165°F instead of 160°F, and will be a bit less moist than the beef and/or pork meatballs.
  • Use all dried herbs: If you don’t have access to fresh basil and parsley, I recommend adding in an extra 1 tablespoon of dried Italian seasoning instead.
  • Make them gluten-free: Just use gluten-free Panko (or other gluten-free breadcrumbs), and double-check to be sure that the brand of Worcestershire that you are using is also gluten-free. (French’s, Heinz and Lea and Perrins’ Original are all gluten-free in the United States.)
  • Make them spicier. Feel free to double or triple the amount of crushed red pepper flakes used to give the meatballs more of a kick.
  • Make them more garlicky. Also feel free to double the amount of garlic if you like extra-garlicky meatballs.

Homemade Meatball Recipe (Baked Not Fried)

Ways To Serve Meatballs:

This baked meatballs recipe is incredibly versatile and can be served a number of ways! You could use it to make…

  • Spaghetti and meatballs: Pair the meatballs with a 1-pound package of spaghetti (cooked until al dente) and a batch of my favorite marinara sauce recipe to make Italian meatballs.
  • Swedish meatballs: Pair with your favorite Swedish cream sauce recipe to make Swedish meatballs.
  • Alfredo meatballs: Pair with a batch of my favorite Alfredo sauce recipe to make Alfredo meatballs.
  • BBQ meatballs: Pair with a batch of my favorite homemade BBQ sauce recipe to make BBQ meatballs.
  • Grape jelly meatballs: Pair with a grape jelly sauce (just simmer together 1.5 cups ketchup and 1 cup grape jelly) to make retro grape jelly meatballs.
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Best Meatball Recipe

Meatballs

  • Author: Ali
  • Prep Time: 35 mins
  • Cook Time: 10 mins
  • Total Time: 45 mins
  • Yield: 24-30 meatballs 1x

Description

This classic baked meatball recipe is easy to make, full of great flavor, and totally versatile.  Pair it with your favorite Italian marinara sauce, BBQ sauce, Swedish cream sauce…and beyond!


Ingredients

Scale

Instructions

  1. Make the panade.  In a large mixing bowl, stir together the panko and milk until combined.  Set mixture aside to soak for 5 to 10 minutes while you prepare the other ingredients.
  2. Combine remaining ingredients.  Add the ground beef, ground pork, garlic, eggs, Parmesan, fresh herbs, onion and Worcestershire sauce to the (same) mixing bowl.  Sprinkle the oregano, salt, black pepper and crushed red pepper flakes evenly on top.  Use your hands to mix the ingredients until evenly combined, being careful not to over-mix the ingredients.
  3. Chill (optional step).  To make the meatballs easier to form, I recommend covering and chilling the mixture in the refrigerator for 1 hour.  But if you’re pressed for time, you can skip this step.
  4. Prep oven and baking sheet.  Heat the oven to 425°F and line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  5. Form the meatballs.  Using a medium cookie scoop or a spoon, scoop and roll the mixture into 2-tablespoon balls and place them on the prepared baking sheet.  (I recommend greasing your hands with a bit of olive oil to prevent the mixture from sticking.)
  6. Bake.  Bake for 10-12 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer measures the internal temperature of the meatballs to be 160°F.  Remove pan and transfer to a wire cooling rack.
  7. Serve.  Serve meatballs immediately and enjoy!


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Recipe rating

260 comments on “Meatballs”

1 3 4 5
  1. I made the meatballs for New Year’s Dinner – absolutely delicious – thank you for the fantastic recipe.

  2. 10 stars! Best meatball recipe I’ve ever tried.

  3. I made the meatballs today. I added dried parley and used halo panko and half breadcrumbs. Baked in the oven on foil at 350 for 20 minutes. Delicious

    • Yes made meat ball just as instructed in the recipe and I can’t wait to devour them made them for the fam I had to go to work but I will be back for those tonight but the look delicious thanks for ideal meat ball

  4. Fantastic recipe. We make these all the time and love them!

  5. My daughter and I made these together this afternoon. She is 6 and calls meatballs ‘nutballs’ and loves them lol. These were simple to make and SO delicious! I am saving and sharing this recipe. Thank you!!!

  6. Absolutely delicious and super easy!

  7. FINALLY!! I cannot count the number of meatball recipes I have tried. None of them were IT. Well this one is!

    I Had to use powdered everything because I had no fresh herbs. So it was onion powder, garlic salt, chopped garlic from a jar, dried oregano and dried basil. Still fantastic! Grazia Bella!!

  8. Absolutely delicious. I think these are about the best meatballs that I have ever made.

  9. I make this recipe once a month. I love it! I always make extra and freeze them for later. The best meatballs ever!

  10. I am making these meatballs and will freeze them. Should I bake them and then freeze them? I will be having my kitchen remodeled and wanted some easy meals to prep in advance. I will not have an oven during my remodel. Will they taste as good if I pan fry them?
    Thanks,
    Lisa

    • Hi Lisa, I’m wondering the same thing. Did you decide to freeze raw or cooked? Thanks!

    • This too is my favorite meatball recipe!! I typically make a double batch, bake as directed and then freeze whatever is not used that day. Cool completely before freezing. I prefer to thaw them first but have been known to add frozen meatballs directly into marinara. They will not disappoint :)

  11. First time making meatballs tonight and they turned out great! I didn’t have panko breadcrumbs- but I had cornflake breadcrumbs so I used those!
    I also didn’t have fresh Parmesan, but I did find a tomato sauce that had Parmesan in it! Improvised and was all worth it :)

  12. Easily the best meatballs I’ve ever had. Thank. you! I used all beef.

  13. Came out perfect, even using just dried herbs. I think the freshly grated parm makes all the difference.

  14. I’ve been on a search for THE meatball recipe and I am officially stopping here. These are truly the best meatballs I have ever made. The fresh parsley makes all the difference and I love that they are baked. Huge hit at my house – we made them twice in a week we loved them so much. Now I have a double batch in my freezer for easy access- (I cooked 1 batch and froze on a cookie sheet then packaged in freezer containers, the other batch I scooped and froze the same way before cooking). Can not recommend highly enough!!!!! Thank you!!

    • Have tried many a meatball recipe….these were amazing! A+ from my crew on dinner tonight! Thanks…my search for the perfect meatball is now over!!!

  15. Amazing recipe! I only used 1 pound of ground beef and adapted the rest of the ingredients accordingly. I’ve made it with fresh herbs and dried herbs and still incredible with either variation. I sometimes broil the meatballs towards the end of the cook time for 1-3 minutes. Added these into a meatball soup today. Delicious! Thank you.

  16. I just made these meatballs and they are delicious! They are fantastic just by themselves. Appreciate the recipes….

  17. This recipe was very delicious! I took the advice to sauté garlic and onions together and threw in the herbs before mixing together with meat, but other than followed exact recipe and my family loved them! I usually make enough for meat ball subs or meatball calzones the following week, but they were gone!! Better double the recipe next time!! Loved the red pepper flakes and fresh grated Parmesan cheese!

  18. Made these meatballs and followed the recipe as written. So good and would not change a thing.

  19. My gosh these are good! Perfection. I was worried I’d dry them out by subbing ground turkey for the beef but they are still delicious with a great texture. Flavor is on point. I’m glad I’ll have more to freeze with even 1 batch for the two of us in our house. I will keep making this one!

  20. Can you cook these in a crockpot?

    • I browned them first then put them in crockpot for a couple of hours only. Perfect!!

  21. I made these meatballs they are awesome! OMG we ate them fresh out of the oven. Must try!! I am not a huge fan of too much garlic…if you are you might want to add more. I froze about 8 for a later meal.

  22. The best meatballs I’ve ever tasted. I will never buy. Frozen again! Moist and delicious!

  23. So good! I didn’t have Panko so used Italian bread crumbs and a little less spices. Turned out so yummy! Hubby and boys asked for seconds.

  24. These were amazing! The only thing I would change is the amount of sauce I put on them after. I might’ve liked them cooked halfway in the over and the rest of the way in sauce… either way they were very good!!

  25. Your recipes never disappoint me. After so-so luck for years at meatball making, this one was a winner on top of my mom’s original spaghetti sauce recipe. Rave reviews from tough critics – 14 and 11, but more so myself, these were delicious!!!

  26. so i read this recipe wrong and made 2 seperate bowls and just rolled my meatballs into the mixture afterwards and was so confused lol. they still turned out really good but they did fall apart easily, next time i’ll combine all.

  27. If I only wanted to do one pound instead of 2 total, would I cut all ingredients in half?

  28. These are crazy delicious! I normally just use prepacked ground beef from Costco (they’re like 1.5lbs each). So I adjust slightly for the missing .5lb but my gosh. Perfection every time! These also freeze so well!

  29. These are the very best meatballs! I double the recipe, bake and freeze some for later. I always use more garlic and onion.
    Grating the onion makes all the difference. I’ve used them in a red sauce for pasta, a parmesan sauce also with pasta and as Swedish meatballs over rice. You can’t go wrong with these! Thank you for sharing.

  30. Wonderful favour; well worth the prep time!

  31. The best recipe. I have used bison meat and it was fluffy and delicious! Just splendid☺️

  32. For the variety of ingredients, I thought these were pretty bland. If I make these again, I’ll probably use pork sausage instead of just ground pork. As is, the recipe is lacking.

  33. Just made my first batch of these and had to taste test (quality purposes of course) and WOW. Already adding the ingredients to my grocery list so I can make these again and always have a stash in the freezer. I used italian breadcrumbs because apparently panko is about double the cost (why??), but otherwise followed the recipe and they are absolutely fantastic. Also used a microplane to try to grate the onion, probably the wrong move because it was a horrible mess, but that was all I had.

  34. Made these all beef and gluten free, came out wonderful! A caution to those who use gluten free panko: if it’s rice based, don’t let the panade sit for too long or it will congeal.