Easy Classic Meatballs

3 mins read

This easy family recipe for Classic Meatballs are sure to make it into your regular dinner rotation! A combination of fresh and pantry ingredients makes this recipe a breeze to put together. Serve these over noodles, on their own or on a sandwich roll! Plus you can freeze and store leftovers if needed for simple meal prep.


Why make these Meatballs?

  • One Skillet: Searing the meatballs in the same skillet we are preparing our sauce allows us to use all the wonderful flavorful bits from cooking the meat! Plus it cuts down on the amount of dishes we have at the end. 
  • Easy Ingredients: using a mixture of fresh and pantry ingredients gives great flavor and textures. 
  • Sauce: this simple, easy to put together sauce recipe pairs perfectly with the meatballs and turns this recipe into a meal! 
  • Dinner options: Serve low carb style with some extra cheese on top. OR serve over noodles or on a sandwich roll.

Ingredients Needed: 


Some Notes: 

  • Meat: this recipe calls for ground beef, but feel free to sub in half ground pork, or use ground turkey or chicken also if needed. Use an 80/20 mix for more flavor.
  • Onion: finely mince and leave it raw for great flavor. Keeping the dice small lets the onion flavor blend in with the meat while it cooks. 
  • Salt: plan on 1 tsp of salt per 1 pound of meat. 
  • Parmesan Cheese: use freshly grated, the shelf stable parmesan will not melt the same. 
  • Breadcrumbs: use Italian seasoned for extra flavoring, or use plain breadcrumbs and add more herbs and seasonings as desired. 
  • Eggs: these act as a binder in this recipe.

How to Make (step by step):

  • Step 1: Mix, add the ingredients needed for the meat mixture into a bowl, combine the ingredients using your hands to ensure you are not over-mixing. 
  • Step 2: Add the milk, saving this as the last step helps you to control the texture. The mixture should be wet. Add the milk slowly to help you get the right texture. 
  • Step 3: Cook, sear the meatballs in a small amount of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. This method allows use to keep the wonderful browned bits from searing in the skillet and use the flavoring when making our homemade sauce. 
  • Step 4: Prepare Sauce, saute the onion and garlic then add in the tomato paste, stir to combine, then add in the remaining sauce ingredients. Taste and adjust as needed.
  • Step 5: Add Meatballs & Simmer, bring to a simmer and let cook for 15-20 minutes.


How do I freeze them?

Cook them completely through, let cool to room temperature, then add to a large freezer size resealable bag or large sealed container. Store in the freezer for 4-6 months. To thaw, place in the refrigerator overnight, reheat by simmering in sauce until heated through.

Why are they tough? 

If they’re turning out too tough, the usual culprit is over-mixing. To help prevent this, mix by hand. 

Mine are falling apart..

A binder is needed. This recipe uses both eggs and breadcrumbs as a binder. Just be careful if using too much breadcrumbs, this can cause a dry texture. 

Can I bake these? 

Yes. Place on a large baking sheet and bake in a 400 degree oven for about 20 minutes, rotating the pan as needed for even cooking. Check for internal temperature of 160℉ to test done-ness.


Expert Tips:

  • Meat: These can be made with a mixture of ground pork and ground beef, or just ground beef. I prefer to make mine with ground beef, which is what is in the recipe below. If you’re wanting to make them out of a mixture, simply use a 1:1 ratio. Half ground beef and half ground pork. 
  • Seasoning: Using Italian style breadcrumbs adds wonderful seasoning and also the texture of the breadcrumbs is so fine that it blends into the meat while they cook. You can always sub the Italian breadcrumbs for plain breadcrumbs and control the seasonings on your own.
  • Fresh Herbs: add some extra freshness to the meatballs by chopping up any fresh herbs you have on hand (oregano, basil, parsley). 
  • Taste Testing: Prepare one small patty of meat and cook it up to test the seasoning of the meat prior to preparing all of the meatballs. This way if you need to adjust and add anything you can do so and not be surprised when you go to enjoy your finished dish.

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Recipe first published September 16, 2019. Updated July 23, 2021 with new images and information.

Photography by the talented @KJandCompany.co