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 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.
Print
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!


Scale

Ingredients


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 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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74 comments on “Meatballs”

  1. Still in midst of mixing…I weighed out 1 1/2 ounces cheese, shredded and it was about 1/2 cup. Then added same weight and it measures a cup of fresh Parmesan. Is this something I am doing wrong or is the recipe suppose to be only ½ cup cheese?

  2. Delicious! Entire family loved them!

  3. I used beef burger and venison burger. Very good recipe! Wonderful flavor. Easy to make.

  4. I made this meatball recipe for supper. It turned out great! My husband and son-in-law loved them. They told me I could make this again. No more pre-made frozen meatballs. This is an A-1! I like the different variations you can make with this. I’ve shared it with my friends and family. I’m so glad I decided to try it. A BIG Thanks from Louisiana.

  5. Great recipe. My family loves it!!! Thank you

  6. These meatballs are really awesome!! I made a double batch of these in May for meal prep and made 96 meatballs (italian sausage/ground beef and lots of fresh basil). We froze them raw and on meatball nights popped them in my cast iron in the oven in sauce (Raos is probably our favorite) at 425 for 28 minutes. No need to brown first. 5 minutes before they are ready we throw in some breadsticks and top the meatballs with some shredded mozz and parm. Holy meatballs, those bad boys are good! Just polished off our last batch last week and making some more this weekend. They give whatever sauce you use such a great flavor. Huge huge fan of these. And if you keep some on hand they’re great for a quick, easy, but impressive meal for guests. Throw on some noodles and add a salad and it’s truly restaurant quality. Five stars in our house.

  7. I made these recently and used them for meatball subs and froze the rest. Then I thawed the frozen meatballs in spaghetti sauce later in the week for another dinner. Excellent flavor and texture. My family loved them. Followed the recipe exactly except for I used 2 pounds ground beef and no pork. Makes about 40 meatballs. Another batch is in the oven right now. I’m going to freeze them because that worked so well.

  8. I made this recipe today to go with my homemade spaghetti. Best meatballs I’ve ever had anywhere! I made them smaller (about 3/4 of an inch) and cooked them in a cast iron skillet in the oven for about 17 minutes because I like them more browned/crispy edges. Came out bomb!

    • Also I made the recipe in half because I was feeding only 3 of us…and still had over half left over! So this full recipe is a LOT of meatballs…warning lol.

  9. This recipe has earned a permanent spot in my monthly rotation! No need to modify, it’s perfect the way it is!! Be sure to read the tips which make a world of a difference.

  10. Huge fan! Made these for the first time tonight to make meatball subs and they were delicious. Fair warning though, even at half the batch, it is still a lot of meatballs. For freezing though, is it better to freeze them raw or once cooked?

  11. This recipe is great will Def give you tasty meatballs. However, I wish the recipe would have specified 85/15 or 90/10 for ground beef. I wound up using 80/20 bc I had set it out the night before and didn’t take into account the fat of the sausage.
    Is suggest using a lesser fat ground beef than what’s typically called for if you’re using the sausage.

  12. This one’s a winner. Easy delicious weeknight dinner meatballs.

  13. Grandson wanted spaghetti and meatballs. I’m old school I like to make things from scratch. I found this recipe. It was no doubt a big hit with him and the rest of the family. Thank you for sharing. 😀😍

  14. I halved this recipe for only two people for meatball subs and it made 15 1in meatballs! They taste amazing :)