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This Easy Meatball Recipe is way better than store-bought. They take minutes to put together and are great for dinner or as an appetizer.
This deliciously easy meatball recipe can be made for dinner or even served as an appetizer. We even like to use them as a base for our other meatball recipes like Crockpot Meatballs and Grape Jelly Meatballs!
Quick and Easy Homemade Meatballs
I’ve always been intimidated by making meatballs at home because I thought they were super complicated or difficult.
Little did I know just how incredibly easy they really are! If you don’t mind getting your hands a little dirty, you too can make these meatballs in just minutes.
The key is not to overwork the meat, which is why mixing it with your hands is so important. It’s fun, and it’s a perfect recipe to get kids involved in.
There are so many different meatball recipes out there, it’s hard to know which is best. But this recipe has proven time and time again to be my family’s favorite.
How to Make Meatballs
The beauty of cooking meatballs in the oven is that you can do a large batch all at once, which makes it faster than frying small batches in a skillet.
This recipe makes about 50 meatballs in less than an hour, which is a fraction of the time it would take to make that many otherwise!
PREP. Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets (baking pans will work if you don’t have rimmed cookie sheets) with foil and set aside.
MIX. Place all ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands, careful not to overmix. Just squish it all together a few times to combine.
SCOOP. Using a cookie scoop or your hands, divide the meat mixture into desired-size meatballs. As long as they are uniform, they can be as large or small as you like.
BAKE. Bake in the preheated oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size. Be sure to check for doneness. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
Spices. Easily adjust the flavor of these meatballs by adding different spices. Italian seasoning is a classic spice.
Add heat. Use chili powder, paprika, or red pepper flakes to give the meatballs some heat.
Fresh herbs. Remember that when using fresh herbs like basil, oregano, or parsley you need twice as much as when you use dry herbs.
Keep meatballs from falling apart
- Sauce: To add the meatballs to a simmering sauce like Marinara or cook them in the crock pot, brown them first in a frying pan. This will form an outer crust which will help them keep their shape as they finish cooking as well as add a bit of extra flavor.
- Binder ratio: The beaten eggs and bread crumbs both act as binding agents. It is important to not add too much or not enough or the ratio of binding ingredients to the meat will be off and you won’t get the desired texture.
- Additions: Be careful when adding extra chopped veggies as they will alter the ratio and the meatballs may not hold together.
- Overmixing: Don’t overmix, just massage the ingredients together until just combined.
- Keep it cool: Keep the meat cool so that the fat inside the meat won’t soften.
Make uniform meatballs. One trick to make baked meatballs the same size is to use a cookie scoop and gently roll it to smooth out the shape. Cookie scoops are generally 1” and make a perfectly sized smaller meatball. Use a tablespoon if you don’t have a cookie scoop.
Make meatballs without breadcrumbs. There are a few items to use instead of breadcrumbs. Uncooked rice & flour, crushed crackers, crushed cornflakes, and rolled oats.
No matter what substitute is used, be sure to include the raw egg as it will help bind the dry ingredient to the meat.
For ¼ cup fine, dry bread crumbs, substitute any of these items:
- ¾ cup soft bread crumbs
- ¼ cup cracker crumbs
- ¼ cup crushed cornflakes
- ⅔ cup regular rolled oats
Recipe Tips Continued…
Meat. For the most tender and flavorful meatballs, stick with fattier meats. The most popular meat choice is ground beef (80/20 or 70/30), but you can also use ground pork or veal.
Ground turkey and chicken are options, but they don’t have as much fat as beef which leads to a drier meatball. Also, you can combine your meats such as ½ ground beef and ½ pork.
Pink center. Because meatballs can be made from a variety of different meats it is generally not safe to eat a meatball if the center is still pink.
However, if you KNOW the meatball is made entirely with beef the center can be a little pink and still be alright to eat as long as the internal temperature has reached 160°F.
How many meatballs per person. It completely depends on the size of the baked meatballs. For larger meatballs, plan to serve 3 per person. If your meatball is on the smaller side (one inch) plan to serve 5-6 per person.
STORE. Keep the Meatball recipe in an airtight container in the refrigerator for 2-3 days.
FREEZE Homemade Meatballs raw or after they’ve been cooked.
- Lay out the meatballs side by side on a baking pan and place them in the freezer.
- As soon as the meatballs begin to freeze, transfer them into a Ziploc freezer bag or another freezer container.
- Label the container and add the date.
Raw meatballs can be stored for 3-4 months. Cooked meatballs can be stored for 2-3 months.
Reheat. When you’re ready, pull the desired amount out of the freezer and thaw them in the refrigerator.
Yes! Some people like to brown them first, but you can skip this step and put the raw meatballs straight into the crockpot. Add your sauce of choice and cook on low for 6-8 hours or on High for 4-6 hours.
To make them uniform, use a cookie scoop (most are 1″), and round them out by rolling the meat between your hands. If you don’t have a cookie scoop, you can use a tablespoon.
The best tips I can give you are to make sure you use exact measurements of ingredients so the binders (eggs and bread crumbs) can work properly. And keep the meat cool so the fats inside the meat don’t warm up and soften. See more detailed tips under the section “Keep Meatballs from Falling Apart”.
For more MEATBALL RECIPES, try:
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Swedish Meatballs
- Crockpot Meatballs
- Asian Meatballs
- BBQ Meatballs
Easy Meatball Recipe
- 2 lbs ground beef I use 85/15
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoon grated parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup plain breadcrumbs
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1 teaspoon onion powder
- 1 teaspoon salt seasoning salt or garlic salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper
- Preheat oven to 450°F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets (baking pans will work if you don't have rimmed cookie sheets) with foil and set aside.
- Place all ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands, careful not to overmix. Just squish it all together a few times to combine.
- Using a cookie scoop or your hands, divide the meat mixture into desired-size meatballs. As long as they are uniform, they can be as large or small as you like.
- Bake in the preheated oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size. Be sure to check for doneness. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
- TO FREEZE: Allow meatballs to cool completely on the baking sheets. Once cool, scrape the fat away from the meatballs and seal tightly in a freezer safe bag or air tight container and place in the freezer.
- When you’re ready to use them, defrost them in your fridge, or put the frozen meatballs right into a soup or sauce. *Note, for cream based sauces, defrost the meatballs completely before adding.
Nutrition information is automatically calculated, so should only be used as an approximation.