The Best Homemade Meatballs
You’ll be amazed at how flavorful and tender these baked homemade meatballs are. Make a double batch to freeze!
Why you’ll love it: Meatballs are so handy to have in the freezer for quick dinners.
How long it takes: 35 minutes
Equipment you’ll need: large bowl, baking dish or pan
Servings: makes 40 meatballs, depending on size
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.
P.S. Meatballs can be air fried, too. Take a look at my recipe for air fryer meatballs.
I’ll get you started on the recipe here and give you lots of helpful tips. You’ll find the printable recipe card near the end of the post with complete instructions, measurements, and nutrition information
What you’ll 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.
How to make This Recipe
Soak the breadcrumbs in milk for a few minutes while you prepare the rest of the ingredients.
Add all the ingredients to a large mixing bowl.
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.
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.
If the mixture is 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.
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.
When you’re finished, pop them in the oven. Tada! Meatball magic.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Make It 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.”
- Homemade Spaghetti Sauce
- Crockpot Spaghetti Sauce (make it without meat)
- Arrabbiata Sauce
- Homemade Pizza Sauce
- Creamy Enchilada Sauce
- Swedish Meatballs
- Cherry Bourbon Sauce
- BBQ Sauce
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 Tips
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.
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 pitched your way (pun intended). Try:
- Baked Turkey Meatballs
- Air Fryer Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
- Greek Meatballs – healthy & gluten-free
- Moroccan Meatballs with Roasted Tomatoes & Chickpeas
- Eggplant Meatballs – a vegetarian choice (these meatballs are meatless)
- Turkey Meatballs with Chipotle Honey Glaze
- Turkey Enchilada Slow Cooker Meatballs with Cheese
- Greek Cucumber Noodle Bowls with Turkey Meatballs (Gluten-Free)
Did you make this? Be sure to leave a review below and tag me @rachelcooksblog on Facebook, Instagram, or Pinterest!
- 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
- Preheat oven to 425°F. Grease a baking dish or rimmed pan with oil or non-stick cooking spray.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Place meatballs in prepared pan, close together but not touching.
- Bake for 12 to 15 minutes (for meatballs that will be cooked additionally in a sauce or casserole) or for 15 to 18 minutes, until the internal temperature reaches at least 165°F and the tops are browned. (see note)
- Serve as desired.
- 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.
- Instead of baking the meatballs, try air fryer meatballs. Same meatball recipe, different cooking method.
This website provides approximate nutrition information for convenience and as a courtesy only. Nutrition data is gathered primarily from the USDA Food Composition Database, whenever available, or otherwise other online calculators.
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