Meatball Recipe

| |

Making meatballs from scratch is so much easier than you might think. This meatball recipe has only a handful of ingredients and bakes in the oven for very minimal cleanup. 

Whether you’re making a batch of homemade meatballs for Sunday spaghetti or a crockpot recipe with a sweet sticky sauce, here’s an easy and versatile recipe everyone can use!

Meatballs served

Ingredients

Ingredients for meatballs - see text for details
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 22 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional fresh parsley for garnish

Tip to Make Tender Meatballs

One mistake that’s easy to make when working with meatball mix is overmixing it and creating dense, tough meatballs. The goal is to make soft, tender meatballs, and the trick is how you use your hands to mix the meatball mixture.

I always use my fingertips and make a point never to curl my hands into a fist while mixing the ingredients. I keep my fingers straight and gently fold the ingredients into the ground meat until just incorporated. Resist the urge to squeeze any of the meatball mixture in your fist.

Using just your fingertips to mix will give you tender, juicy meatballs every time.

Instructions

Here are the instructions to create this very classic Italian meatball recipe. For some variations and alternative recipe ideas, keep reading!

Step 1 – Prepare the Ingredients

Whisked eggs in a bowl and separately chopped onion in a food processor ready to be used in making meatballs

I like to use a small food processor to chop my onion. I find that it creates smaller pieces that melt into the meatballs while cooking. 

Next, whisk the eggs, so they incorporate easily without over mixing.

Now is also a good time to preheat your oven to 400°F (204°C).

Step 2 – Season the Meat

Seasoning (see list in text) added to meat in a bowl

In a large bowl, add your ground beef and ground pork. You can use all ground beef if you’d like, but the ground pork gives the meatballs a better texture and more flavor, so I always use both.

To your meat, add all of the other ingredients. I like to grate my garlic into the meat mixture so that it is super small and incorporates well.

Step 3 – Combine the Meatball Mix

Meatball mixture

Using only your fingertips, gently fold the ingredients into the meat until completely incorporated. Stop as soon as everything has come together.

The meatball mix will be slightly sticky and wet, but that will make for a delicious and moist meatball.

Step 4 – Roll the Meatballs and Bake

Meatballs rolled and ready to cook

Use about 1 and ½ tablespoons of meatball mix for each meatball. Gently roll the mix using only your palms to create a loose ball. 

Place each ball about 1 inch apart on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet. The foil helps make cleanup a breeze!

Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through. The cooked meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

They will have a golden brown color, but if you’d like them with a little more of a crust, you can broil them on high for about 2-3 minutes, while keeping a close eye on them.

Step 5 – Serve Them Up!

Meatballs served

Once they’re fully cooked through and browned to your liking, it’s time to eat them up. Serve them with your favorite marinara sauce, or keep reading for some other ideas for how to use this meatball recipe.

Cookware Used

Here are all the tools I used to make this meatball recipe as quick and easy as possible.

Mini Food Processor/Chopper: I used this to mince up my onions really finely. It’s quicker than chopping by hand, and the pieces are so much smaller than I could do with a knife.

Microplane/Grater: I always use this tool for my garlic. I like to grate it directly into my recipes, so the garlic melts through, giving everything a perfect garlic flavor with no large pieces.

Small Scoop: Usually used for cookie dough, I like these small scoops to help create uniform meatballs. 

Large Baking Sheet: This recipe makes about 30 meatballs, so a large cookie sheet (or two) is preferred so that you aren’t cooking several batches. 

How to Cook Meatballs: Three Ways

Baking Meatballs

This is my preferred way of making meatballs. It only takes 20 minutes at 400°F (204°C), and when you line your baking sheet with aluminum foil, you have zero dishes to do afterward!

As mentioned above, if you’d like a darker golden crust, you can broil them for a few minutes.

Frying Meatballs

Frying meatballs gives them a beautifully seared exterior and moist interior. 

Using a dutch oven heated to medium-high, add just enough oil to coat the bottom of the pan. Add your meatballs in batches, never overcrowding, and brown each side, turning every few minutes until golden brown and cooked through. 

While this makes for delicious meatballs, I do feel like it tends to create a mess on the stove. Be sure you use a high-walled pan to avoid oil splatter.

Meatballs in the Air Fryer

Cooking meatballs in the air fryer is similar to cooking them in the oven, but they cook more quickly. And this method is helpful if you’re making a smaller batch.

Preheat your air fryer to 400°F (204°C) and place meatballs in a single layer. Cook for 8-10 minutes until cooked through at 165°F (74°C). 

For the recipe amount above, you will likely need to cook them in batches to keep them cooking in a single layer. 

How to Freeze Meatballs

To freeze meatballs, place them in a single layer in a freezer-safe zip-top bag. I use a flexible cutting board to transfer the meatballs to the freezer so they stay in a single layer and don’t bunch up and freeze together in a clump.

They will keep in the freezer for 1-2 months.

Meatball Recipe Variations

Here are just a few different ways you can use this versatile meatball recipe. 

Meatballs with Marinara Sauce

The most classic pairing is meatballs with marinara sauce. The easiest marinara sauce comes together in one pot with a small diced onion, two garlic cloves, a teaspoon of both dried parsley and oregano, salt and pepper, and a 28 oz. can of stewed tomatoes.

Cook at a low simmer for 15 minutes and then add your homemade meatballs to the sauce and simmer for another 5 minutes before serving over a bed of hot pasta.

Meatballs with Grape Jelly

A popular slow cooker recipe, meatballs with grape jelly have just three ingredients and are a huge crowd-pleaser. When I make homemade meatballs with grape jelly, I follow the above classic meatball recipe, but I leave out the parmesan cheese.

To your slow cooker, add your homemade meatballs, an 8-10 oz. jar of grape jelly and a 12 oz. bottle of chili sauce. Cook on low for 3-4 hours. 

Cranberry Meatballs

For a festive twist on the meatballs with grape jelly recipe, swap the jar of grape jelly with a can of jellied cranberry sauce! I make this for a Thanksgiving appetizer every year, and it’s a hit with all of my family. Serve these meatballs with toasted bread and warm brie.

Now, It’s Your Turn!

A meatball on a fork ready to eat with more meatballs in the background

Whether you’re hoping to make a delicious spaghetti and meatballs for your family or a batch of meatballs with grape jelly for a small get-together, this meatball recipe has got you covered.

Keep it simple with the ingredients, be gentle when mixing, and enjoy a delicious batch of homemade meatballs in just 30 minutes!

Print

Meatball Recipe

  • Author: Beatriz Garcia
  • Prep Time: 10 minutes
  • Cook Time: 20 minutes
  • Total Time: 30 minutes
  • Yield: 30 Meatballs 1x
  • Cuisine: Italian

Ingredients

Scale
  • 1 lb. ground beef
  • ½ lb. ground pork
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs
  • ¼ cup minced onion
  • 2 eggs
  • ⅓ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 3 minced garlic cloves
  • ⅓ cup milk
  • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 22 teaspoons dried oregano
  • 2 teaspoons dried parsley
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon black pepper
  • Optional fresh parsley for garnish

Instructions

Prep the Ingredients and Oven

Chop the onion into small pieces then whisk the eggs.

Preheat oven to 400°F (204°C).

Season the Meat

In a large bowl, add your ground meat, then add all your other ingredients, grating your garlic into small pieces.

Combine the Meatball Mix

Gently fold the ingredients into the meat until completely incorporated. Stop as soon as everything has come together.

Roll the Meatballs then Bake

Use about 1 and ½ tablespoons of meatball mix for each meatball. Gently roll the mix creating a loose ball.  

Place each ball about 1 inch apart on an aluminum foil-lined baking sheet.

Bake at 400°F (204°C) for 20-25 minutes, until cooked through with a golden brown exterior. The cooked meatballs should reach an internal temperature of 165°F (74°C).

Tried this Recipe?

Let me know how you did on Twitter: @clan_kitchen

Use of Photos

You may post 1 photo from this page on your website or blog (including social media), provided that you credit Clan Kitchen, including a link to this page.