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.
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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!


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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44 comments on “Meatballs”

  1. Hi Ali, do you flip the meatballs half through cooking? Thx.

    • I don’t usually flip them, but you can if you’d like. (Or if you really want them to be evenly cooked, you can set a wire baking rack on top of a rimmed baking sheet, and place the meatballs on top.)

  2. On avg how many meatballs should this make?

  3. Can’t wait to try these this weekend, they look so good and fairly easy. May I ask a question? The pictures you post of you at your window with your camera, is this really the only set up you use for these great pictures? Natural window light and your camera? The pictures are so good, I thought maybe a lot more had to go into doing these great photos. I have always enjoyed your site, and I am in the states in PA, and the virus is the same battle you are dealing with there so I know you said you missed Oklahoma but no place seems to be safe. I hope you are still doing well. Things are strange in the states, I don’t know what world I work up in.

  4. Going to make this afternoon. To make it low carb just replace the Panko with Almond Flour and the milk with heavy cream. Nice recipe!

    • I don’t usually leave reviews. Just made this. Amazing. Didn’t have panko… Used regular breadcrumbs which soaked up the milk so I added a bit more and only had beef. Flavor and texture was awesome. Looking forward to making again!

  5. I’d love to try this recipe, but would need to freeze some. When would you say I should do this? After rolling and after baking? After rolling, but before baking? Or at some other point entirely?

    • I always freeze individually after baking. I then seal them in a plastic bag. I can pull out as many as I need.

  6. Hi Ali. I’m making up my COVID-19 era shopping list so that I can make these meatballs. I usually find that using very lean ground beef in meatball and/or meatloaf recipes results in dry meatballs/meatloaf. So do you have a recommendation as to how fatty the ground beef should be? I’ve been using the same meatball recipe for nearly 50 years and I’m ready for a change. Thanks in advance for your input.

    • I actually use heavy cream or half and half instead of milk and i find it makes them more moist. but i use ground beef and pork so if you want the leaner ground you can if you use pork. if not, then 80% works well.

    • These are hands down the best meatballs I’ve ever had/made! I use pork sausage instead of ground pork (thats what we keep on hand). Great job, Ali!

  7. THESE are the best meatballs of all time!! The only change I made was of necessity. Raw garlic and onion affects my husband’s tummy even when cooked in meatloaf or meatballs so I simply sautéed them in a little olive oil and added them to the mix. I made a triple batch so we can enjoy them whenever we want!

  8. Hi, great recipe, thanks for sharing.

  9. When is a good time to freeze these? After baking or after meatball size before baking? Thank you.

    • I always freeze individually after baking. I then seal them in a plastic bag. I can pull out as many as I need.

  10. I attempted to make a dairy free version of this – no breadcrumbs, milk, eggs, or cheese. Used everything else and cooked for 15 min at 425 and it was absolutely delicious! I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce so I made my own version with fish sauce (you can use soy sauce), lime, sugar, and hot sauce. I assumed the small amount of dry spices and sauce (tsp) wouldn’t be enough for 2lbs of meat, but I was wrong. It was amazing!!

    • hello there no milk grate a yellow onion fine side of grater over boil o fresh bread white no crust or panko onion juice works great got that tip on tineats

  11. Excellent!

    I made the marinara sauce first (also excellent) and then realized I had all of the ingredients for meatballs.

    Both were very simple and very delicious!

  12. Made these tonight and it was delicious!! Per all of your recipes:) Thank you

  13. Just want to thank you for the nicest meatball recipe I have tried in years. Seriously, I have italian friends and they can do meatballs, but these were even better! They are so quick and easy to make and delicious. Thank you for sharing the recipe!!!

  14. I made these meatballs for tonight’s dinner. They’re very tasty, but I think next time I will saute the garlic a bit before adding to the meat mixture. I didn’t think the 15 minutes in the oven was enough to temper the sharp taste of the garlic. I love garlic but there was still quite a bit of the raw flavor in the meatballs.

  15. We only had beef, made bread crumbs from leftover sourdough artesian bread, and no fresh herbs on hand but still turned out delicious! Thanks for the excellent recipe and for giving alternatives when you don’t have the exact ingredients!!

  16. I have the same question When to freeze. I am thinking to freeze them “raw”

  17. These were great.

  18. Ali these were seriously the tastiest meatballs I’ve ever eaten. My Italian mother and grandmother would be horrified I said that! I froze most of them and can’t wait to make some meatball subs soon.

  19. DELICIOUS! If you don’t have the fresh basil & parsley, only use about 1/4 tsp of the basil & 1/2 tsp of parsley. I used a bit more & the basil was almost overwhelming…however, that was my fault for using too much. These meatballs are a great consistency & I loved the recommendation to grate the onion.

  20. I didn’t have the exact ingredients, I used dried onions, sweet Italian sausage (with the ground beef) , dried parsley and oregano, canned chopped garlic, the dried parmesan for spaghetti and plain bread crumbs….. And it still ended up being the best meatballs I have ever made. I used everything in the same quantities and followed all the steps. They are so good.

  21. I made these wonderful meatballs this past weekend. My daughter said they were “bomb”…a very high compliment. I plan to make them a regular dish when I serve spaghetti.

  22. I made with just ground beef and they were delicious!

  23. This is a great recipe! The meatballs are so flavorful they can be eaten all by themselves. But they were also delightful in spaghetti. Definitely a keeper. Thank you!

  24. So easy, and so delicious! I used Hunts Pasta sauce 24oz and added 12oz water to it. I can not explain how good these are. Thank you!

  25. Yum

  26. Thank you for this recipe! These were amazing – definitely going to be my standard going forward! I only had ground beef and they turned out perfect. Quick & easy and very delicious. You won’t regret making this!

  27. Best meatballs I’ve ever made. No contest! I did brown them before I baked them. So glad I made extra to freeze. Thanks for the great recipe!

  28. I made these tonight and they turned out great. Love it.

  29. I make these every week now! Super easy and everyone loves them. My kids love to have meatball subs for lunch with the leftovers.

  30. I used stovetop chicken stuffing mix b/c I didn’t have any bread crumbs. I also added Greek yogurt and melted butter along with the milk. I broiled them at the end b/c they didn’t brown in 12 min. My boyfriend said he they were the best meatballs he thinks I have ever made!

  31. Can I freeze the meatballs before cooking them?

  32. Very good. I added bloomed rasins to be sure they would be moist. Added e tra garlic and spices. Great.

  33. Made these tonight and they are amazing. Even with no kind of sauce they are wonderful. Can’t wait to try them with sauce! I did change a few things. I used all beef and dried herbs…2 tablespoons of a parsley/oregano blend. I’m not a fan of basil so I left it out and I used 1 tablespoon of minced onion instead of fresh onion as well as 2 tsp. of minced garlic instead of fresh cloves. I’m sure the fresh stuff would only make it better but my daughter has a food texture issue, so when we find stuff that works that she can eat, we stick with it and fresh stuff is usually a no go.

    But even with the changes I made, these are now our new go to.

  34. Loved it! Thank you for sharing. They turned out perfect! So Yummy!!

  35. My husband raved over them! And I just added them to regular store bought spaghetti sauce-they added SO much flavor. I used a one lb package of sausage for the the lb of pork.
    I made 15 for our supper (with leftovers for tomorrow)
    And will make the rest up and freeze them. I bet I’ll have at least 20 to put in freezer!

  36. I’m not one to leave reviews but I wanted to say Oh My Word these are so good!! I had to use fresh French bread bread crumbs because I didn’t have as much panko as I thought. Didn’t matter. These had so much flavor. Thank you for posting!