A good meatball should be packed with flavor and tender throughout. This is Mom’s Easy Classic meatball recipe and will make perfect meatballs every time!
And by mom, I mean me!! I hope this is the recipe our kids will one day make for their kids!
This is the first dinner our 5-year-old has eaten without a single prompt to please try it, keep eating, please eat your dinner, etc. In fact, he keeps begging for them again and again! And that, my friends, is a miracle!
We usually make this meatball recipe and then simmer them for a few hours in our favorite homemade spaghetti sauce. Sometimes we serve them over spaghetti noodles, and other times we make them into meatball sandwiches. They also can be eaten with no sauce at all. They are so flavorful, they can totally stand alone and shine!
The BEST Meatball Tip
Wanna know my best trick to making meatballs?
Shoot, now that I bring it up I’ve got two. Ok, first up…
The Best Way to Shape Meatballs
There are two tricks that will absolutely ensure you’ve made the most round, perfect meatballs and do it in less time. Quick meatball rolling is my game!!
- Use a cookie scoop to quickly scoop and shape your meatballs. You can use whatever size you’re needing and you can choose to leave them as is for really quick meatballs or you can move on to the next step which is my secret to a good meatball.
- Oil your hands and roll them! Place a little oil- canola, vegetable or even olive oil all work great in a dish and rub it on both hands as you roll the meatballs. Any time the oil is going just re-dip! You’ll be amazed with how smooth and perfect they are AND it helps with the next tip.
The Secret to the Tastiest Meatballs
Here’s the secret! Yes, you can silpat, foil or parchment your pan for quick clean up but I actually prefer to let them be right on the pan as with the heat, oil and pan all working together you get even more caramelization which makes for more flavor (bringing out umami if you want to be all foodie on me). It’s so good!
What Ingredients Do I Need for Meatballs?
We love a combination of beef and sausage for these meatballs, plus a couple of binders and a bunch of ingredients for flavor. Here is your grocery list:
- Bread Crumbs (see section below for making your own bread crumbs)
- Whole Milk
- Ground Beef (80/20 or 85/15)
- Italian Sausage
- Yellow Onion
- Worcestershire Sauce
- Parmesan Cheese
- Parsley (fresh)
- Basil (dried)
- Oregano (dried)
- Olive Oil
The measurements for each ingredient can be found in the recipe card at the end of this post.
How to Make Homemade Meatballs
Making homemade meatballs doesn’t get any easier! They are baked in the oven, which means no standing over a skillet, rotating meatballs until they are cooked through.
You are going to want two baking sheets for this recipe. You will also want to set up your oven so that both sheets can be in the oven at the same time. Place one rack in the middle of the oven and place the other below with one space in between them. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
- Stir the bread crumbs and milk in a bowl until everything is moistened. This is called a panade.
- In a separate bowl, add all the remaining ingredients (except oil) and also the bread/milk mixture. Stir everything together with a wooden spoon just until everything is combined. Don’t overmix!
- Let the mixture sit for about 5 minutes. Line your baking sheets with parchment or foil for easy cleanup.
- Use a cookie scoop to scoop the meat onto two cookie sheets. Rub oil onto the palms of your hands and roll each meatball until smooth. You’ll need to add a little more oil to your hands every few meatballs you roll.
- PRO TIP: Using a cookie scoop creates uniform sized meatballs which helps them cook evenly.
- Place both cookie sheets into the oven and bake for 10 minutes. Then swap the position of the sheets and rotate them and bake for another 8-12 minutes.
- Use a meat thermometer to make sure your meatballs reach 160 degrees F.
- Remove the meatballs from the oven and serve with sauce or just plain with a little parmesan cheese on top.
How to Make Homemade Breadcrumbs
We like to make our breadcrumbs at home. It makes life super simple because we always have bread on hand, and I never ever remember to buy breadcrumbs. So if you find yourself in the same boat, just put a small stack of bread in the blender or food processor and pulse until the is like sand.
I like to use wheat bread, but you can use any bread you have.
Do Meatballs Need Breadcrumbs?
You don’t HAVE to use breadcrumbs, but breadcrumbs help bind the meat together.
So if you want a meatball that doesn’t fall apart, it is best to add bread crumbs.
If you aren’t going to use the meatballs for an Italian dish, you can substitute the Italian sausage with 1/2 pounds of veal or pork for a different flavor.
I don’t recommend using a lean ground meat like turkey or chicken.
How Long Will Meatballs Keep?
Cooked meatballs will keep for 3-5 days in the refrigerator.
How Do You Freeze Meatballs?
Place meatballs in a single layer, not touching each other, on a cookie sheet and freeze.
Once frozen, transfer to a heavy duty freezer bag and freeze for 1-2 months.
Is It Better To Freeze Meatballs Before or After Cooking?
Meatballs can be frozen both before or after cooking. I usually cook them beforehand so there’s less work later on, but do what works best for your schedule.
Before cooking, meatballs will keep for up to 4 months in the freezer. When you’re ready to eat them, let them thaw in the fridge overnight and then bake as directed.
Cooked meatballs can be frozen for 2 months. You can thaw them overnight in the fridge and then warm them up in the oven or warm them up from frozen. Bake at 375 degrees F for 10-12 minutes.
So if you have a picky little one, give this meatball recipe a try and see if a miracle happens for you! If you are past the picky eater stage (I’m jealous!), make these homemade meatballs and see if you can exercise self control because I can’t stop!
Watch How to Make Meatballs Video
If You Need More Meatballs in Your Life:
- Cheesy Meatball Soup
- BBQ Meatball Sliders
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs
- Porcupine Meatballs
- Grape Jelly Meatballs
- Cheesy Meatball Zucchini Skillet
- Pesto Meatball Panini
- Spaghetti and Meatballs
- Meatballs Lasagna Skillet
- Mozzarella Stuffed Turkey Meatballs
- BBQ Meatballs
- 2 Cups Bread crumbs, whole wheat (white bread is fine, see note to prepare)
- 3/4 Cup Whole Milk
- 1 Pound Ground Beef, 85/15 * see note
- 1 Pound Italian Sausage, mild (sweet or spicy is fine)
- 2 Eggs, large
- 1/2 Onion, sweet, yellow, grated
- 1 teaspoon Worcestershire Sauce
- 2 Cloves Garlic, minced fine
- 1 Cup Parmesan Cheese, fresh, shredded fine
- 2 Tablespoons Parsley, freshly minced
- 1 Tablespoon Basil, dried
- 1 Tablespoon Oregano, dried
- 1 teaspoon Salt
- 1/2 teaspoon Pepper
- 1/4 Cup Olive oil, for hands
- Preheat the oven to 400 degrees with the oven racks leaving one space between them as you will bake both sheets at once.
- Place the bread and milk in a bowl and stir until everything is moistened. Set aside for 5-10 minutes.
- In a large bowl, add the remaining ingredients except the oil, along with the bread mixture, mix with a wooden spoon until just combined.
- Set aside for 5 minutes, as you clean up a bit.
- Using a cookie scoop, scoop the meatballs onto 2 cookie sheets. Next, rub oil onto both palms of your hands and roll each meatball, adding more oil about every 2nd or 3rd ball.
- Place both pans of meatballs in the oven with one on the upper and one on the lower rack. Bake for 10 minutes at 400 then swap the racks up and down and turn them so the side facing the oven door now faces the back. Bake another 8-12 minutes or until they reach 160 degrees using a meat thermometer.
- Remove from the oven and toss in sauce or serve alone with a sprinkling of parmesan cheese on top.
Note- Place a small stack of bread in a blender or food processor and pulse until it is bread crumbs.Note- If the meatballs are not for an italian dish, try using 1/2 pound veal and 1/2 pound pork in place of the italian sausage.
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