How to Make Homemade Meatballs

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A great meatball should be tender and juicy. They also shouldn’t be complicated they are comfort food. Meatballs are great for more than just a plate of spaghetti. Try adding them to soups, casseroles, and sandwiches or serving them as an appetizer. Here are some meatball basics to help you make your own amazing meatballs from scratch?

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Ingredients

Meatball Ingredients

Ground meat

Meatballs can be made with several different types of ground meat. Try a combination of ground beef, pork, lamb. turkey, chicken, veal, or buffalo. The fattier the meat you use the more tender your meatballs will be. My favorite for juicy tender meatballs is a combination of ground beef and ground pork. This combination of meat is readily available and provides just the right amount of fat to keep the meatballs from drying out.

If using leaner meats like ground chicken or turkey, you will need to be more careful about cooking times to prevent the meatballs from becoming dry and tough. You can also add a little extra fat like a tablespoon of olive oil or some raw chopped bacon.

Binders and liquids

Adding additional binders, liquids, and eggs to meatballs helps them to hold their shape and makes sure they are still tender once they have been cooked. Adding a binder to meatballs prevents the meat proteins from shrinking and becoming tough.

This recipe uses breadcrumbs soaked in milk. There are several other options for added binders and liquids. Other binder options include torn-up bread, crackers, or for a gluten-free option try pork rinds.

Yogurt, sour cream, or buttermilk thinned with a little water are good alternatives for the milk.

Flavor enhancers

This meatball recipe uses Parmesan cheese, parsley, onion, and garlic to enhance the flavor. You can change the seasonings or spices based on what you have on hand or how you’ll be eating the meatballs.

  • For Asian-inspired meatballs try swapping out the Parmesean and parsley for hoisin sauce and fresh ginger.
  • For Greek-inspired meatballs try swapping out the Parmesean and parsley for feta and oregano.
Meatball Mixture

Do not overwork the meat

Mixing the ingredients by hand allows you to ensure the ingredients are combined completely without overworking the mixture. Overworking the mixture creates tight tough meatballs.

Uncooked meatballs

Shaping meatballs

All of the meatballs need to be similar in size to ensure they will cook at the same rate. I usually shoot for the size of a golf ball which is about two tablespoons of meat. When shaping the meatballs keep them loose. Rolling and squeezing them into tight balls will create tough overworked meatballs.

Cooked Meatballs

How to cook

You have two choices when deciding how to cook meatballs. You can either roast the meatballs or simmer them in a sauce. The cooking method you choose depends upon your plans for the meatballs.

Roasting: I almost always roast meatballs because I am often making a double or triple batch to freeze for future meals. Roasting also gives the meatballs more flavor and a slightly crunchy crust as the meatballs sear in the oven. You can also broil the meatballs to increase browning and the crispy-edges. When cooking meatballs in the oven I like to line the sheet pan with foil to make clean-up easier.

Simmering: If you are making a small batch of meatballs you can simmer them in some of this homemade pasta sauce. Gently simmering meatballs allows them to cook slowly creating a tender moist meatball and adds additional flavor to the sauce as well. Meatballs can be simmered in a skillet, on the stovetop, or in a slow cooker.

Making meatballs ahead of time

Shape the meatballs and place them in a casserole dish or on a rimmed baking sheet, being careful to not squish them together. Cover and refrigerate for up to one day.

Storing leftovers

Store leftover meatballs in an air-tight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Reheat over low heat in a saucepan or in the microwave.

Frozen meatballs in ziplock bag

Freezing uncooked meatballs

  1. Follow steps 1 through 5 in the directions below.
  2. Place the meatballs on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours until the meatballs have frozen.
  4. Transfer the meatballs to a zip-top bag and label it with the contents and date.
  5. Uncooked meatballs can be stored in the freezer for up to one month.
  6. Thaw meatballs in the refrigerator overnight before following one of the cooking methods described below.

Freezing cooked meatballs

  1. After cooling the meatballs place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
  2. Place the baking sheet in the freezer for a couple of hours until the meatballs have frozen.
  3. Transfer the meatballs to a zip-top bag and label it with the contents and date.
  4. Meatballs can be stored in the freezer for up to three months.

Reheating frozen cooked meatballs

Frozen meatballs can be thawed overnight in the refrigerator and reheated in a simmering sauce or warm oven for 10 to 15 minutes. Meatballs can also be reheated directly from the freezer in a simmering sauce or warm oven for 15 to 20 minutes.

white plate of spaghetti and meatballs
Meatballs on Sheet pan

How to Make Homemade Meatballs

Yield: 40 Meatballs
Prep Time: 25 minutes
Cook Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 45 minutes

Learn how to make homemade meatballs that are tender, juicy, and delicious. These meatballs can be baked in the oven and frozen for later or simmered in your favorite sauce.

Ingredients

  • 1/2 Cup Breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 Cup Milk
  • 1/2 Cup Parmesan Cheese
  • 1/2 Cup Fresh Parsley
  • 1/2 Cup Onion
  • 1 Clove of Minced Garlic
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Worcestershire Sauce
  • 1 lb of Ground Meat (ground beef, pork, lamb. turkey, chicken, veal, or buffalo)

Instructions

  1. In a small bowl soak the breadcrumbs in the milk. The breadcrumbs will absorb the milk and become soggy.
  2. In a food processor pulse the Parmesan cheese, parsley, onion, and garlic until finely chopped.
  3. In a medium bowl whisk together the egg, salt, pepper, and Worcestershire sauce.
  4. Add the breadcrumb/milk mixture, onion mixture, and ground meat.
  5. Mix with your hands until just combined.
  6. Shape the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs using approximately 2 tablespoons of the mixture for each meatball.

Roasting Meatballs in the Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Farenheight. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Space the meatballs about 1/2 inch apart on the sheet pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes.
  2. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheight. You can also cut a meatball in half to make sure the meat is no longer pink.

Broiling Meatballs in the Oven

  1. Line a large sheet pan with foil. Space the meatballs about 1/2 inch apart on the sheet pan. Broil the meatballs for 20 to 25 minutes flipping once halfway through.
  2. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheight. You can also cut a meatball in half to make sure the meat is no longer pink.

Simmer Meatballs on a Stovetop

  1. Bring the sauce to a simmer and add as many meatballs as will comfortably fit in the pan. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.
  2. Meatballs are done when they reach an internal temperature of 165 degrees Farenheight. You can also cut a meatball in half to make sure the meat is no longer pink.

Simmer Meatballs in a Slow Cooker

  1. Sear all sides of the meatballs in a skillet over medium heat.
  2. Place the meatballs in a slow cooker and cover with your favorite sauce.
  3. Cover the slow cooker and cook on LOW for 6-8 hours or on HIGH for 3-4 hours.


Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 311Total Fat: 17gSaturated Fat: 7gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 8gCholesterol: 107mgSodium: 1092mgCarbohydrates: 12gFiber: 1gSugar: 2gProtein: 26g

This information is provided as a courtesy and is an estimate only. This information comes from an online calculator. Although raspberriesandkohlrabi.com attempts to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures are only estimates.

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