These classic Italian meatballs are an easy homemade foolproof recipe that will be your go-to. Makes 80, so you can freeze a bunch and have them on hand for later!
Meatballs! Glazed meatballs, Swedish meatballs, meatball subs, meatball casseroles, meatball soup. And, of course, spaghetti and meatballs. A classic…a force to be reckoned with. Too far? Well, a classic for sure.
Naturally, with so many recipes incorporating meatballs, you’re going to find about a gazillion variations. They’re like meatloaf in that sense – “kitchen sink”, as in “anything goes.” This particular recipe makes THE BEST Italian Meatballs! They’re my absolute favorite and go-to.
Here’s what you’ll need:
- Meat – I use a mixture of lean ground beef and seasoned ground pork for the best flavor. For the pork, you can incorporate sweet, mild, or hot depending on how spicy you want them.
- Sweet Onion and Garlic – a staple in Italian cooking
- Seasoning – dried Italian seasoning, kosher salt, and chopped fresh parsley
- Binders – a large egg and some Panko breadcrumbs help hold the meatballs together
- Cheese – I use freshly grated parmesan and also…ricotta! It’s the secret (and awesome) ingredient that helps make these meatballs tender.
- Extra virgin olive oil – for sautéing and getting that golden crust.
How to Make Meatballs
These Italian meatballs are so easy to make and deliver fantastic flavor. (Scroll to the bottom for the detailed printable recipe.) Here’s a brief summary:
- Combine the ingredients: using your hands, combine the beef, pork, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, ricotta, and salt.
- Form the meatballs: form the mixture into 1 1/4-inch balls. Using a cookie scoop is the easiest and best way to make sure they’re uniform, so they cook at the same rate.
- Brown in a fry pan: working in batches, brown the meatballs in a skillet with olive oil on all sides so they develop a nice crust.
- Finish in the oven: Transfer to the oven to finish cooking.
- Enjoy them however you please! Use them with spaghetti sauce, for meatball sliders, in meatball soup, in a meatball rice skillet, in your favorite recipes, or let cool and freeze for another day!
Make Ahead and Storage
This recipe yields 80 meatballs. Once a month I spend an hour prepping them, then package them up 10-12 per bag, and freeze them for later. That way, I have them ready to go when I need them!
To freeze meatballs: prepare as directed in the recipe card. Let cool to the touch; then place meatballs on an ungreased cookie sheet and “flash freeze” uncovered about 30 minutes or until firm. Place partially frozen meatballs in a heavy plastic bag or freezer container. Seal, label, and freeze no longer than 2 months.
To reheat meatballs: thaw in the refrigerator, on the stove in sauces, or in the oven (350F for 20 minutes).
What is flash freezing?
When you flash freeze something, you set it, unwrapped, into the freezer for a short time (in this case, 30 minutes) until the surface hardens enough that it won’t stick to the other items when fully frozen. Flash freezing meatballs helps each meatball hold its individual shape and not stick to the other meatballs around it, so you can use as few or as many as you need.
Other Meatballs Recipes
- Skillet Chicken Parmesan Meatballs
- Chicken Chorizo Meatballs
- Thai Shrimp and Pork Meatballs
- Sweet, Hot and Sour Cocktail Meatballs
- 1 pound lean ground beef
- 1 pound Italian ground pork sausage (sweet, mild, or hot)
- 1 small sweet onion , diced small
- 4 cloves garlic , minced
- 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
- 1 large egg
- 1/2 cup grated parmesan
- 1 cup panko breadcrumbs
- 1 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
- 2 teaspoons kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Coat 2-3 baking sheets with nonstick cooking spray; set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine with your hands the beef, pork, onion, garlic, Italian seasoning, parsley, egg, parmesan, breadcrumbs, ricotta, and salt.
- Using a small cookie scoop, form 1 1/4 inch balls out of the mixture.
- Heat olive oil over medium-high in a large skillet. Working in batches, add the meatballs and brown on all sides, about 4 minutes. (Add more olive oil if needed and turn down heat if they’re starting to burn.)
- Place browned meatballs on the baking sheets and transfer to the oven to finish cooking for 10 minutes.
- Remove from oven and combine with spaghetti sauce and pasta, or let cool and freeze for another day!