These Italian Baked Meatballs are a real family favorite! Serve with spaghetti and a homemade marinara sauce for a classic family dinner.
Making homemade meatballs from scratch can seem like a bit of an effort, but it really doesn't take so long as this easy Italian meatballs recipe proves.
The other great thing is that you can make them up ahead of time and you can even batch make them and freeze them for later for a quick family meal another day.
Ingredients for Italian Meatballs
These beef and pork meatballs use classic Italian meatballs ingredients, most of which you will have in your store cupboard or fridge. Here are a few things to bear in mind:
- Ground beef/pork - traditional Italian meatballs use a mixture of pork and beef. However, if you only have ground beef (or pork) that is fine too. You could also substitute the pork with Italian sausage.
- Onion - I like to grate the onion rather than finely chop it. This is partly because my kids can spot a speck of onion a mile away, but also because it is easier to mix into the meat.
- Parmesan - this gives amazing flavor to the meatballs. Grate it finely to help it mix in (I use my Microplane grater). If you don't have parmesan, you can substitute with Grana Padano or Pecorino, but be aware that Pecorino is more salty than parmesan so adjust your seasoning accordingly.
- Breadcrumbs - this homemade meatball recipe uses fresh breadcrumbs soaked in milk. This not only help bind the meatball mixture together but also keeps the meatballs moist and juicy. To make the breadcrumbs, just throw a slice of bread in your blender for a few seconds.
- Italian Seasoning - I just use Italian seasoning or Italian mixed herbs as I always have this in my store cupboard. You can use individual herbs here if you prefer, I would recommend parsley, oregano and basil - but feel free to use whatever you have.
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How to Make Italian Meatballs
Making Italian meatballs is kinda fun, and great for the kids to get involved too, as it involves lots of sticky fingers!
Once you have grated the onion, minced the garlic and soaked the breadcrumbs in the milk, you just need to mix up all the ingredients in a large bowl (I use my hands for this too) until well mixed together.
Then use a cookie scoop to divide the mixture up into equal portions, and use your hands to shape them into meatballs.
Rolling them with lightly oiled hands is a good idea for two reasons - it helps them brown nicely when cooking and it stops the mixture sticking to your hands.
Then put them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper and keep them in the fridge until you are ready to cook them. You can do this for several hours or even overnight (make sure they are covered), or just for an hour - whatever works with your schedule.
How to Cook Italian Meatballs
There are different ways you can cook meatballs - you can fry them, bake them or boil them in sauce. This is a recipe for baked Italian meatballs, and so that's what we'll cover here.
Baking Italian meatballs in the oven is the easiest way to cook them. All you need to do is put them on a baking tray and stick them in the oven for 20 minutes.
For the best results you should either roll your meatballs with lightly oiled hands or spray them with some oil first.
Once they are cooked you can drop them into a pot of sauce for a couple of minutes to absorb the flavors before serving.
Italian Meatball Sauce
Homemade Italian meatballs are perfect served in a homemade Marinara sauce. This is super simple to make and uses just a few store cupboard ingredients.
First, gently fry some onion in some olive oil until translucent. Then add in a can of tomatoes with some Italian herbs (a mixed herbs will do, or just some oregano and parsley) and let it bubble until reduced by about a third.
In a separate pan, gently fry some garlic until soft and add it to the sauce and let it reduce some more.
Then before you serve it, throw in a few basil leaves and season with salt and pepper, and your Italian meatballs sauce is done!
These meatballs can easily be frozen for later. I find the best way to freeze meatballs is to cook them first by baking in the oven. Then allow them to cool before transferring to an airtight freezer bag.
To re-heat them, you can cook them from frozen in the oven. Just place your frozen Italian meatballs on a baking tray and cook for around 20 minutes.
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- 1 slice bread
- 4 tbsp milk
- ½ lb / 250g ground beef
- ½ lb / 250g ground pork
- 1 small onion, grated
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 1 tsp dried Italian herbs
- 1 egg, beaten
- Remove the crusts from the slice of bread and blend for a few seconds until you have breadcrumbs.
- Transfer the breadcrumbs to a bowl, pour over the milk and allow to soak in.
- In a large bowl, place the mince, grated onion, garlic, parmesan, herbs, egg and soaked breadcrumbs and season well with salt and pepper.
- Mix all the ingredients together well then use a cookie scoop to divide the mixture into 24 balls. Use lightly oiled hands to gently shape the meatballs into spheres.
- Cover and place in the fridge for around one hour, or until ready to cook.
- When you are ready to cook the meatballs, heat the oven to 400F / 200C.
- Cover a baking sheet with foil or parchment paper and spray with oil. Place the meatballs on the tray and bake in the oven for around 20 minutes.
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Amount Per Serving: Calories: 417Total Fat: 25gSaturated Fat: 10gTrans Fat: 1gUnsaturated Fat: 12gCholesterol: 164mgSodium: 284mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 38g