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

182 comments on “Meatballs”

  1. Delicious and do-able for the not very devoted cook…easy to make when you and your family are bored with your same old dinners. My husband loves the meatballs with spagetti, and sauce with mushrooms.

  2. I’m so excited to see my husband’s reply when we get to the table… 😄

  3. Confused with the Parm cheese. One cup would be 8oz? But it sad 1 1/2 oz? How much we thinking?

  4. The BEST meatball recipe ever

  5. These are SO good. We make them with ground turkey and turkey sausage since I don’t like beef and they are still so flavorful. Added spinach in them tonight and the whole family still loved them!

  6. What fat % of ground beef do I use? 80% 90%?

  7. These were so easy to make. I usually fry my meatballs, what a mess! These were tender and juicy plus an easy clean up using the parchment paper. I didn’t have fresh herbs but was still the best meatballs I’ve ever had. Thank you!

  8. Third time using this recipe. Delicious every time. I freeze them on a cookie sheet covered with parchment paper. The next day, I package them into smaller servings to use in later meals, they are ready to thaw and cook, easy and delicious.

  9. These were yummy, and make so many meatballs you have leftovers for days or can freeze them for next time! I’d love nutritional content on these if you have it. :) Thanks for the great recipe!

  10. Made this a few weeks ago and it was delish! Was browsing the recipe today to make it again and noticed there’s a scale option next to the ingredients. It would be really helpful if you added a 1/2 scale option to your recipes for those of us who are cooking for one. Thanks for sharing your yummy recipes :)

  11. Awesome! I’ve been meaning to make homemade meatballs and tried your recipe first, perfect flavor but super easy to put together too. Half went into spaghetti and the other are freezing for a future sheet pan dinner. Yum!

  12. It’s easy and the sauce is alright my father loved it. Although I would want to have a stronger BBQ sauce I cannot say it was altogether to bad 😌. It was sweet yet tangy! And absolutely enjoyable! Thank you so much for this recipe!

  13. The whole family loved these!!

  14. Hi! I don’t have panko bread crumbs, do you think saltine crackers would work as a substitute?