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

166 comments on “Meatballs”

  1. I have been looking for years for a versatile meatball recipe and today I have found it! These meatballs have everything going for them – they are easy to make; baked instead of fried; moist; great flavors; and just the right size at 24 meatballs per 2 pounds of meat. Uncooked, they weighed out to approx. 52 grams a piece.
    Thank you Ali – my perfect meatball search came to an end today!!

  2. Question. I plan on making these meatballs. Being of Italian decent my mom made the best meatballs. She stopped browning them and just dropped them right into a large simmering pot when cooking a ragu or marinara sauce. They turned out delicious and soooooo juicy. Have you ever tried this method? So no baking or frying needed.

    • Hi, I actually just made these yesterday in the slow cooker (4 hours on low) in homemade sauce and it worked perfectly, so I would think you should be ok! :)

  3. These meatballs are incredible. I add 2 or 3 extra garlic cloves we’ve extra red pepper flakes and am careful to whip up another batch immediately after one is finished because they freeze so well there’s no reason to go any length of time without having these available for a quick snack, a delicious meatball sub, or a spaghetti and meatball feast!

    • I made these tonight with your marinara sauce and wow! Such amazing flavor!! I followed the recipe to a T. Soo good. Only thing is, they kind of burnt on the bottom so next time I think I’ll turn them halfway through. But definitely making these again.

  4. I made mine with no worcherster sauce but with soy sauce turned out perfectly.

  5. The recipe was good, but I forgot to put the breadcrumbs into the meatballs! I set it aside to “prepare the other ingredients” and never put them in…. Oh well, they still turned out pretty well.

  6. These are sooo good. And so easy (I just hate touching raw meat). My mom made these a few weeks ago, and shared them with me. Tonight I made them myself. Probably made about 40 small ones in total – will share with my neighbour who isn’t feeling well. Good meat from the local butcher, good quality Parmesan make all the difference. Served with a homemade marinara and linguine — yum! Great comfort food for a freezing cold winter night.

  7. Just made these meatballs and they are amazing!! I already want to make another batch for the freezer so I never run out! The recipe is super easy to follow and pulls together really fast. I’ve made many meatball recipes over the years in search of THE BEST and I’ve finally found it!!!

  8. Made these last night. Great way to do it (baking!). I didn’t have any fresh herbs, and was halving the recipe but forgot to halve the milk — still worked out wonderfully! The use of ground pork and ground beef was a good tip.

  9. I’ve been making meatballs and spaghetti for 45 years!!! I made this recipe tonight and my husband loved it!!! He is an excellent cook and I fill in some nights using recipes. His standard line whenever he eats , his cooking or anyone else , Mot bad! Tonight he said this was better than not bad , it was Excellent!!!!

  10. Thanks, it work out nicely

  11. I just made these meatballs and they are delicious, so tasty and moist. Thank you so much for this recipe. I know that I will make these again.

  12. Really good! And very simple. I didn’t use Panko (didn’t have any), so I used Italian seasoned breadcrumbs instead. The only thing is I didn’t find the temperature high enough so I cooked them at 500 for 10 min and they were perfect. Then I transferred them into a pot and simmered them for 10 min in some tomato & basil sauce. I scooped out 6 into a bowl and devoured them all by themselves. Yum! This recipe is saved in my Bookmark bar under recipes I love. And I will definitely be making them again and again!

  13. these were so delicious! I made about 48 of them (a little smaller) and my toddler LOVED them. I asked her what she thought and she said “Good” and then ate about six of them.

    thank you for a great blog with healthy, delicious recipes and clear instructions.

    I served these with a fresh homemade tomato sauce: (I make my sauce by sauteing onions, adding blended fresh tomatoes, boiled for ten minutes, then I lowered it to a simmer and added some home made chicken stock cubes).

    God bless you and may the good Lord help you continue to post great recipes.

  14. Wow!! Perfect! Used homemade italian sausage and ground meat. Did not have fresh basil(its winter) had parsley. I have been trying for 20 years and this is by far my favorite. Thanks for sharing.

    • I do not have fresh basil or parsley and no dried oregano. How much Italian seasoning should I add to this recipie? thanks

  15. Delicious! What are the nutrition facts for this recipe?

  16. Thanks, Ali! This recipe gets a yummy! rating from me (and my new word for the day is panade :)

  17. Super easy and AMAZINGLY delicious. This is my new go to recipe for meatballs! Thank you for the recipe

  18. These are DELICIOUS! I never would have thought to add the red pepper, but it was the PERFECT addition! I have celiac disease, so I used gluten free panko bread crumbs (Aleia’s). Sometimes gluten free substitutions don’t work out well, but this was a great choice. They also froze well. I reheated them in marinara sauce in the oven for 30 minutes.

  19. My family loves this recipe

  20. Quick, easy & very tasty!

  21. As a newbie to cooking I followed the recipe step by step but I never read where the panade was to be added. Subsequently I never did add it to the meatball mixture before placing them in the oven and yet the meatballs were still very good. Please mention adding the panade so others like myself won’t skip this step. Thanks

  22. Absolutely delicious! I made these meatballs per recipe last night for my son & family to rave reviews. I baked them and then let them sit in a homemade marinara sauce for a few hours before reheating and serving. Definitely a keeper!

  23. These are gggrrreat! I forgot to put the garlic in! 😞 I sprinkled garlic powder on them when they were cooling on the rack. They still were tasty little meatballs!

  24. Truly the best ever meatball recipe!

  25. Great recipe! I used gluten free panko and dried herbs, and everything turned out perfectly. I did cook them a bit longer, about 12 minutes to get to 160 degrees. My family loved these. Thank you.

  26. This is the best meatball recipe I have ever used ! So flavorful and easy to make !

  27. I made these exactly as the instructions say, and they are the BEST meatballs I’ve ever eaten. I put them in spaghetti but tonight I’m going to make a meatball sub. Thank you for this delicious recipe! I’ll never use another meatball recipe again.

  28. Any advice on what to substitute to Worcestershire sauce? I wanted to try out this recipe but I don’t have any of the sauce on hand. Would soy sauce be ok perhaps?

  29. Fantastic meatballs! Followed the recipe to a T, such wonderful flavors. My husband said they were the best he’d ever had and I agree! Thank you for this super recipe…. it’s my new go to for meatballs

  30. Thanks for the recipe! Never did much cooking, grew up in a house hold with four sisters and would even try to cook with my wife of forty two years. Now that I’m retired i have been expanding my abilities in the kitchen rather than just cleaning guy. your meatball recipe worked out perfectly with my spaghetti dinner. Everyday of your life if your not careful you can actually learn something.

  31. A few weeks back, I found your site (not so different in content from my own, with much prettier food photos) when googling a tamale recipe. Yours did not disappoint – even my picky eater loved them! I reblogged it with my own take on the filling, but linked back to you for the masa and technique.
    This week my kid asked for meatballs. When the google algorithm included yours at the top of my search, I felt I needed to look no further. Holy cow, were these amazeballs (see what I did there?) and they passed my picky eater’s test with flying colors! I only wish they were a bit leaner (for my conscience). Have you ever made them with ground turkey, chicken, or bison?

  32. Made this today. The meatballs are terrific. However, I didn’t follow the recipe entirely. I added a few ingredients and the ingredients really seemed to bring out some flavors that I was looking for in a meatball. The big ingredients, panko, meat and eggs were as called for, but I put in a bit less salt, didn’t add red pepper flakes, but did add some smoked Hungarian paprika and fennel pollen. I put in only enough paprika to give the mix a little smokiness and fennel pollen to give it a bit of a fennel taste. Not much variation, but I hardly ever follow a recipe completely. Sorry to those who write them, but I’m an artist and a musician and to me recipes are like jazz…they need a little improvisation. It’s just my way.

    I do like what Ali said about the recipe. But she’s a musician as well. Except that if she was busy all day, she wasn’t a jazz player. ;-)

  33. mm :-)

  34. Loved this recipe! Fantastic! I give this 5 Stars! We ate meatballs all week and I can’t wait to make them again. Really happy to have this meatball recipe.

  35. Thanks for the great recipe! I just made these for the fourth time maybe and they are so good! I also add a little extra garlic and crushed red pepper like some people mentioned, but you don’t need to. We have been smoking them in the kamado joe and they turn out great. We usually make meatball subs with them.

  36. Meatballs were awesome!!! I didn’t have Worcestershire sauce so I added a tsp of balsamic vinegar! Worked great. Love that I can bake them. Will definitely be making these again !

  37. These meatballs are amazing! My only issue is I probably should have used ground chuck because the ground beef was suuuper greasey. Other than that, I love them!

  38. I made this recipe exactly as written. I only made the balls about 1/3 the size. These are delicious! Thank you so much for the recipe!

  39. My son has an egg allergy. Do you have any suggestions for an egg substitute? I’ve use aquafaba or flax eggs in baked goods but I’m not sure how it would work in this recipe.

  40. Great recipe, as they were cooling my friend and her husband walked in and he instantly grabbed one and threw it in his mouth. He loved it, best part is he owns a local Italian fine dining restaurant. My new go to meatball recipe.
    Thank you so much

  41. My husband and I really enjoyed these meatballs. I made them as written. We froze several packages of 8 to be baked later and enjoyed with spaghetti or meatball sub. If you do this remember to use fresh meat (not previously frozen). Since I am “so over cooking” these made several delicious and easy meals.

  42. These meatballs are the best. I just made today and my husband and I both loved the taste.
    Next time I will put more red pepper flakes to ramp up the flavor even more.
    Thanks for all the great recipes.

  43. Bowled over by the success of this recipe! Loved it!

  44. Do I have to use the onion? Me and my sister are picky eaters and don’t like the taste/texture of onions.

  45. I’ve made this meatballs several times. They always taste great! If you’re looking for some extra indulgence try frying them.

  46. Can you provide freezing suggestions?l

  47. Would it be okay if I use only ground beef and not add pork?

  48. I suggest using regular breadcrumbs instead of the panko panade which caused dense dough balls in the meatballs. I’ve made made much better.

  49. Amazing, easy recipe. Really enjoyed these meatballs and everyone else did too!! Thank you

  50. Came out amazing and moist. Needed to cook for fifteen minutes though and I turned over once for even browning. Didn’t have ground pork but still amazing.