You’ll be amazed at how flavorful and tender these baked homemade meatballs are. Make a double batch to freeze!

Overhead view of baked meatballs without sauce, sprinkled with parsley.

Tender, flavorful, and easy to make … what more can you ask from a meatball recipe? No more tough, chewy meatballs, or meatballs that won’t stick together, this is a wonderful no-fail recipe you’re going to love.

Classic meatballs can be used in so many ways. Simmer them in your favorite sauce for spaghetti and meatballs. Add them to soup, like this easy meatball soup with orzo. Creamy Swedish meatballs are always a hit and a meatball sub with marinara and melted cheese is a mighty fine sandwich (see the recipe below). Meatballs are popular appetizers, too, especially with Cherry Bourbon Sauce.

With this easy meatball recipe, you can make all your favorites. Let’s get started!

About this recipe

You can whip up this recipe in fifteen minutes or so. There’s no mincing or chopping. It makes eight servings, about 5 meatballs each, so it’s a pretty large batch. It can be doubled or halved pretty easily, too.

The meatballs are baked which is so much less hassle than frying. You don’t have to worry about them falling apart and you can do other things while they bake.

If you’re planning on cooking them further in a sauce, take them out of the oven before they’re completely done, 12-15 minutes. If you want fully cooked meatballs, bake them a few minutes longer.

Meatball on a fork.

What you need

  • Ground Beef and Ground Pork: A combination provides good flavor and texture.
  • Seasoning: Garlic, dried Italian seasoning, salt and pepper
  • Bread Crumbs, softened with Milk: This combination makes meatballs tender. Make sure you soak the bread crumbs in the milk a couple minutes before adding them to the meatloaf mixture. It makes a world of difference!
  • Eggs: They’re the glue to help everything cohere.
  • More flavor: Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, Parmesan cheese.
Overhead view of ingredients, ground meat, spices, eggs, and more.

How to make it

Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.

Breadcrumbs soaked in milk.

Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.

Meatball ingredients in a bowl, unmixed.

Roll up your sleeves, take off your rings, and squeeze, mush, and play until everything’s combined. Don’t go crazy here — it doesn’t have to be perfectly blended, just enough so everything holds together.

Ground meat and spices in a bowl, mixed together.

All righty then, you’re ready to roll. Use a scoop or spoon to form the meatballs or you can shape them with your hands. Make them whatever size you like: baseballs, marbles, or in between. Ours are about two tablespoons.

Uncooked ground meat in a scoop.

If the mixture is driving you crazy sticking to your hands, rinse your hands off and try this trick. Keep a shallow bowl of water nearby and when the meat starts to stick, just dip your fingertips into the water. It makes a huge difference.

Round uncooked meatball in a hand.

Don’t worry about perfectly uniform balls. Who really cares? You’re not a meatball making machine. Your homemade meatballs are going to taste 100 times better than those perfectly round frozen meatballs.

Place the meatballs in a baking pan as you go.

Overhead view of uncooked meatballs in a pan.

When you’re finished, pop them in the oven. Tada! Meatball magic.

Cooked meatballs in a baking dish.

FAQ

What keeps meatballs from falling apart?

Eggs are the binder in meatballs, roughly one egg per pound of meat. The bread/milk mixture also binds the ground meat together.
Baking the meatballs helps too. Sometimes all the turning and flipping during the frying process causes the meatballs to crumble but baking them is an easy solution.

What is the secret to good meatballs?

I don’t know that there’s one secret to meatball happiness but use good quality meat, soak your breadcrumbs in milk, and don’t overmix.

Why are my meatballs tough?

Overworking the mixture contributes to tough, chewy meatballs. Use your hands to combine the ingredients until they’re just mixed. Soaking the breadcrumbs in milk really makes a difference too.

What is the best meat for meatballs?

A combination of ground meat is best. You want to have some fat in the meat because it adds flavor and juiciness. Buy super lean ground beef to balance the fattier pork to make these beef and pork meatballs. A combination of lean ground turkey and pork works well, too.

Cooked meatballs piled on a platter.

How to make these meatballs your own

  • Try different combinations of ground meat. Beef, pork, veal, turkey, or chicken will all work well. For best results, mix a leaner meat with a meat with higher fat content. If you’re making all beef meatballs, use an 80/20 blend but if you’re mixing it with ground pork, 90/10 is best.
  • Use unseasoned breadcrumbs or panko instead of Italian seasoned bread crumbs, especially if you’re not looking for “Italian meatballs.”
Meatball with a bite out of it.

Make Ahead Ideas

Form the meatballs and freeze individually on a baking pan. When the meatballs are frozen, put them into a ziptop bag to bake later. Alternatively, bake the meatballs, cool completely, and freeze in a ziptop bag.

Storage & Reheating Suggestions

Store baked meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.

To reheat, microwave on high for 1 minute or until heated.

Baked frozen meatballs can be added to sauces unthawed. Simmer in the sauce until heated through.

Leftover Love

Make meatball subs with leftover meatballs. Toast buttered buns, put a few meatballs in there, add a few spoonfuls of marinara, cover everything with mozzarella or provolone cheese, and broil until melted. You might need a fork for this sandwich!

More meatball recipes

This isn’t the first meatball recipe I’ve thrown your way (pun intended). Try:

Overhead view of baked meatballs without sauce, sprinkled with parsley.

Homemade Meatballs

Yield: 39-40 meatballs
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 18 minutes
Total Time: 33 minutes

You'll be amazed at how flavorful and tender these baked homemade meatballs are. Make a double batch to freeze!

Ingredients

  • 1 cup Italian herb seasoned bread crumbs
  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 teaspoon garlic paste (or minced garlic)
  • 1 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
  • ½ teaspoon coarse black pepper
  • ¼ teaspoon coarse sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 tablespoon light brown sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • ½ cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • Fresh Italian parsley for garnish

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a baking dish or rimmed pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, combine bread crumbs and milk. Stir together so that the breadcrumbs soak up the milk. This makes for a moist meatball.
  3. To the breadcrumb/milk mixture, add ground pork, ground beef, garlic paste, Italian seasoning, black pepper, salt, Worcestershire sauce, brown sugar, eggs, and Parmesan cheese. Use hands to mix the ingredients thoroughly but do not overmix.
  4. Use a 2 tablespoon scoop to form balls from the meat mixture. You can roll them in your hands for a tighter, more uniform meatball if desired.
  5. Place meatballs in prepared pan, close together but not touching.
  6. Bake for 12-15 minutes (for meatballs that will be cooked additionally in a sauce or casserole) or for 15-18 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F and the tops are browned. (see note)
  7. Serve as desired.

Notes

  • Store baked meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 3-4 days, or freeze for up to 3 months.
  • Baking time depends on the size of meatballs. Large meatballs take longer to bake, small meatballs less time.

Recommended Products

As an Amazon Associate and member of other affiliate programs, I earn from qualifying purchases.

Nutrition Information:
Yield: 8 Serving Size: 5 meatballs
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 458Total Fat: 27gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 13gCholesterol: 158mgSodium: 536mgCarbohydrates: 16gFiber: 2gSugar: 4gProtein: 37g

RachelCooks.com sometimes provides nutritional information, but these figures should be considered estimates, as they are not calculated by a registered dietitian. Please consult a medical professional for any specific nutrition, diet, or allergy advice.

Did you make this recipe?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram