If you’d told me as a spaghett-and-meatballs loving kid that in Italy, these two things are never served together, I wouldn’t have believed you. What’s next, no pepperoni pizza, fettucine alfredo or rainbow cookies? No Italian dressing? At least we know those jars of Italian seasoning are the real deal (phew).
NEW: Watch me make this on YouTube!
Don’t worry, however, I am not here to chasten you, myself or my spaghetti-and-meatballs loving kid for eating food you/we/he exactly the way you like it. Smitten Kitchen is a sanctimony-free zone. I only mentioned this because when, as an adult, I began to consider the meatball as something apart from the flavor-anchors of spaghetti and a busy marinara sauce, I realized I wanted much more out of my meatballs. I wanted them to be good enough to fly solo as a dish, whether or not there was bread, or roasted potatoes, polenta or, yes, even spaghetti on the table. And I couldn’t stop fiddling with them.
For years, I fried meatballs before cooking them through because this was the Authentic way, even though I rather hated it because it’s such a splattering mess and you always lose a chunk here or there and the meatballs are far closer to meat blobs when you’re done (unless you’re willing to deep-fry them). Plus, it made them much more of a special occasion dish and I wanted ones we could eat any old day of the week. But when I dropped my meatballs uncooked into sauce, they’d fall apart. If I made them more firm, they wouldn’t fall apart but I didn’t like them as much. And so it went, back and forth; no meatballs went to waste as I puttered around with my recipe, but it was never quite right.
Last month, I had a breakthrough which I realize will not sound like anything wild, but the simple act of more than doubling the amount of egg I usually put in made a meatball that stayed together even if not fried first but that was still tender and completely amazing at the end. And now I can’t stop making them. You can serve them with anything that makes you happy — alone with a side of greens or salad, tossed with spaghetti but whatever you do, please do not do either of the following (unquestionably authentic) things: 1. Bake them “parmesan”-style the way you son likes from a local pizza place, i.e. with mozzarella and crunchy crumbs on top or 2. Find out what they taste like with a side of garlic bread or 3. Both, scooping one onto the other to form something of an open-faced meatball sub. Nothing good comes from knowing this combination exists. Trust me.
One year ago: Spaghetti Pangrattato with Crispy Eggs
Two years ago: Dijon and Cognac Beef Stew
Three years ago: Blood Orange Margaritas
Four years ago: Double Coconut Muffins
Five years ago: Spaghetti with Lemon and Olive Oil
Six years ago: Monkey Bread with Cream Cheese Glaze, Cauliflower and Caramelized Onion Tart
Seven years ago: Devil’s Chicken Thighs and Braised Leeks
Eight years ago: Pear and Almond Tart
Nine years ago: Vegetable Dumplings
And for the other side of the world:
Six Months Ago: Angel Hair Pasta with Raw Tomato Sauce
1.5 Years Ago: Strawberries and Cream with Graham Crumbles
2.5 Years Ago: Almond-Crisped Peaches
3.5 Years Ago: Mediterranean Baked Feta with Tomatoes
4.5 Years Ago: Hazelnut Plum Crumb Tart
Generously adapted over the years from Ina Garten with some helpful tips from Luisa Weiss
Yield: 22 to 24 small (about 1.5-inch or 1.5 tablespoon) meatballs
1 pound ground meat (I use a mix of beef and pork)
2/3 cup fresh bread crumbs or 1/2 cup panko
1/3 cup milk or water
2 tablespoon finely chopped parsley
2 tablespoons finely grated Parmesan or Romano cheese (optional)
2 teaspoons coarse or kosher salt, divided
Pinches of red pepper flakes or few grinds of black pepper
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
2 large eggs
2 garlic cloves, minced, divided
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 28-ounce can of tomato puree or crushed tomatoes
Place meat, crumbs, milk or water, parsley, cheese (if using), 1 teaspoon salt, pepper, onion powder, eggs and half of your minced garlic in a large bowl. I like to mix all of this together with a fork, which does a good job of breaking up the eggs and chunks of meat. Form mixture into 1 1/2 to 2-inch meatballs and arrange on a plate. I like to let them set in the fridge for a bit — 30 minutes, if you can spare it — which helps them keep their shape.
In a large pot, heat 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium heat. Add remaining garlic and some pepper flakes and let sizzle until garlic is golden, 30 seconds to 1 minute. Add tomatoes (beware the splatter!) and season with remaining salt. Let mixture simmer over low heat for about 10 minutes (with a thicker puree) or 20 (for crushed tomatoes, which are usually more watery), stirring occasionally.
With stove on the lowest heat possible to maintain a gentle simmer, add meatballs to sauce one by one, and cover with a lid. It will be hard but please don’t touch or move them for at least 20 minutes of the 25-minute cooking time, so that they have a chance to keep their shape. Meatballs should be fully cooked through at 25 minutes, but it cannot hurt to cut one in half to verify.
Eat however makes you happy:
— with spaghetti: I’ll cook it very al dente, a generous minute shy of done, reserve a little pasta water, then once the spaghetti is drained, place it back in the pot with a splash of the water and a ladle or two of the sauce beneath the meatballs and cook it together over high heat for a minute. Tip spaghetti into a large, wide bowl, add the meatballs on top. Note: If your family likes a lot of sauce with their spaghetti, you might consider making the meatballs with an extra half or whole can. Just use what you need.
— “parmesan”-ed: Place meatballs in a shallow baking dish with some of their sauce. Tear about 8 ounces mozzarella over the top and broil until melted. Finish with some parmesan, if desired, some breadcrumbs fried in a little olive oil and/or chopped parsley.
— with garlic bread (don’t do this, just don’t). [But here’s a recipe for my favorite, to make the decision more difficult.]
421 comments on everyday meatballs
I could give up the fettucine alfredo and Italian dressing, but a place without rainbow cookies? Unthinkable. What kind of gourmet society is this?!?!
the recipe– oh smitten. You are terrible.
the baby– your daughter is a perfect balance of beautiful and adorable. Just unreal. Those lashes!!
These look delicious! In my extended Italian family no one ever baked or fried meatballs; they were cooked directly in the sauce. They come out moist and tender and beautifully flavor the sauce. Cook them on relatively low and don’t stir until they start to feel a bit stiff. Makes for way less mess!
Looks great! I wonder how they would hold up in a slow cooker. I have been looking for a meatball that would hold its shape in my slow cooker since the rest of them just crumble and I am left with meat sauce.
I’ve made these in the slow cooker to great results. I also add other veggies to the sauce and have made them with turkey meat and they are always a dinner success
A dear family friend, who makes the best meatballs ever, taught me to bake the meatballs partially before finishing them off in the sauce. It’s easy and works great which is good because we are a meatball loving family!
At what temperature and for how long?
Replying from 5 years in the future…
I double this recipe (1 pound each of ground beef and ground pork) and freeze these meatballs. Preheat the oven to 425, put the frozen meatballs on a baking sheet, and put in the oven for 12 minutes. If you aren’t starting from frozen, about half the time should be good? Just keep an eye on them, when they start browning and smelling good it’s time to take them out. No worries about making sure they are cooked in the middle because simmering them in the sauce (anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of house works!) will take care of that.
If you just wanted to use ground beef (no pork), would you use 80/20 or a different % fat? Thanks!
Deb, the baby SLAYS me. Could she seriously be any cuter?
Thanks for another wonderful, easy to prep weeknight meal!
Is sour cream added on top of the tomato sauce in the meatball photo?
Whatever it is, the SK meatballs look delicious!
I can’t stop looking at her – oooof! Those babies of yours kills me!
I love this! The struggle I have is with making it Kosher. Ground beef is always SO salty, so I tend to stick with ground turkey…which is very dry. I’m going to try this with ground turkey (skipping cheese and using water instead of milk) and hopefully it works out well!
I found ground chicken much tastier and moist than turkey.
I’ve had good luck with ground chicken thighs as a replacement for pork. More fat, moisture, and flavor.
Perfect timing, I just got home from the grocery store with supplies for spaghetti and meatballs. I like the cooks illustrated classic spaghetti and meatballs recipe, but I too hate the frying. I think I’ll make them this way instead.
What beef:pork ratio do you use? This looks great!
Deb, I don’t even really like red meat, but these are going on my cooking agenda for this weekend. My boyfriend might even send you a thank you card for posting this!
You should check out making meatballs in a pressure cooker. Easy, fast, & hold their shape.
Meat — I use half pork and half beef. Since you usually need to buy them by the pound, I’ll either freeze the second half for next time or I’ll make a double-batch as you see here and freeze off half the uncooked meatballs. I’ll plunk them right into simmering sauce from the freezer down the road so they’ll taste the most fresh (vs. cooking and then freezing the second half); just takes a few minutes longer.
Beth — Why not half and half? And you can always skip the salt here.
Re, pressure cooker — I’ve decided I need someone to come over, take mine down from the closet and force me to work through a few recipes in it. Or this standoff will never end.
Probably too late to the party here…I have tried a very similar recipe to this in my Instant Pot. And it was good. The kids thought it was fantastic. But cooked on stove top is far superior. In IP, the taste was a little flat and the sauce was an odd dark red colour. This recipe takes me an hour flat to make a double batch (minus the cheesing, broiling and garlic bread, which the kids think are essential). This is fast become a family favourite.
These meatballs have become my go-to backup freezer meal ever since I read Deb’s comment about being able to freeze the meatballs uncooked and then simply simmer them in tomato sauce until they test for 165 degrees. It’s a pantry/freezer/crowd pleaser dinner.
I swapped almond flour for the bread crumbs to make it gluten-free and added finely diced sautéed mushrooms for fun. Works great!
I am plotzing. This is both because I am so excited to make this recipe asap (you saved me – any-day-of-the-week meatballs has been my wish for so long! My hero!) and because your girlie is SO DARLING!! Enjoy enjoy enjoy!!
Interestingly, my mother’s side of the family never fries the meatballs and always cooks them in the sauce, but my father’s side always fries the meatballs and rarely cooked them in sauce, and would typically serve it on the side. I wonder how similar my mother’s recipe is to this one. I also might be incredibly pleased at the compromise of pan-frying half the meatballs and having insane amount of sauce that also happened to cook the other half.
In other weird quirks, I never liked spaghetti and meatballs because I hated the texture of spaghetti in thick sauces. This led to my mom swapping it out with rigatoni, which is now my favorite.
Have you ever tried Alton Brown’s technique of rolling meatballs in extra breadcrumbs and then baking them in a mini-muffin tin so they keep their shape and the coating of breadcrumbs absorbs all the yummy juice/grease? An extra step, like frying, but much easier and delicious!
I’m especially enjoying that you’ve basically outlined an excellent meatball sub here — bonus!
I have some Finnish and Belgian perspective to add. My Finnish BFF makes Swedish meatballs (don’t laugh–Finland has an important Swedish-speaking minority) by baking them. They end up less greasy, always a good thing, and are much less work (important if you’re making a lot).
My other half is Belgian, and “boulettes-frites” is a favorite dish. OK the Belgians eat fries with everything (even INSIDE gigantic sandwiches). The boulettes are meatballs in tomato sauce. You scoop up the extra sauce, ketchup-style, with your fries. Given a choice between spaghetti and fries, which would you choose?
This looks fantastic and will be happening very soon in my kitchen. I’ll make a double batch completely cooked and freeze the sauce with the meatballs so the next meal will require nothing more than reheating while I have a glass of wine.
Adding to the Finnish experience above (as I myself
live in Finland), I was wondering: can you bake these? would that work? :)
Yes, I bake them at 400 degrees F for 16-20 minutes (until they are brown on the top and bottom)
I never understood garlic bread as a side to pasta – so many (delicious) carbs! But this?? This is amazingly perfect.
Nothing good comes from know this combination exists?
I love your ‘breakthrough.’ : ) I make my marinara turkey meatballs by frying for a few minutes then adding the sauce and simmering all in same pot. I am not always in the mood for the frying portion but thought it ‘essential.’ Very enticed and will have to try this way. Have you ever worked with (not-too-lean) turkey for your method here? xx
How do you make that garlic bread that looks so amazing?!
Yum!!! I’ll have to try this and see if I can end my husband’s “meh” feeling for meatballs!
Wait. This is very important because these look VERY DELICIOUS and my new job gives me almost zero time to cook at night. After shaping these could you cook them in the crockpot? If so, any recommendations for time/setting?
If you get a chance look at The Meatball Shop Cookbook. Dozens of recipes, and we love everyone we’ve tried. Our hands down favorite though is the Bolongese Balls.
I bake meatballa before finishing in the sauce….usually make a bunch so I can freeze some. Great for a quick meal.
Nice recipe! I usually bake my meatballs before adding to the sauce or soup pot. I am very fond of D Holzman and M Chernow’s quirky Meatball Shop Cookbook for more unusual meatballs. A favorite is their recipe for Drunken Pork Balls. All good!
That’s a much better way, I’ve been cooking meatballs in the sauce for years – they just stay juicer and absorb the delicious sauce flavour. The first time my husband saw what I was about to do, he freaked out and it took me hours to convince him about the improvement to the taste. And we do eat them with pasta but looking at this mouthwatering sandwich, I’ll try it out on my test audience soon – I expect it will take about half a second to convince the one.
i have never fried a meatball. i can’t stand the mess. but i do bake them in a very hot oven for about 20 minute before putting them in the sauce for another 20. i guess i now have permission to skip that step?
It took me three years after my decade of vegetarianism to get over my residual feelings about ground meats being kinda icky and make meatballs. The ones I made are very similar to yours (cooked in Marcella Hazan’s butter-onion-tomato sauce, which *might* be too much but I can’t say I regret it). I immediately regretted spending so many years without them. I currently have a half batch in the freezer that I *definitely won’t* be eating with garlic bread tonight…
Love your recipes, and your daughter is, truly, amazing!! So glad I clicked through and saw her picture!
We’re hooked on the Alice Waters meatballs recipe here, but I’m tempted to give yours a try. We had spaghetti and meatballs for dinner on Friday…think it’s too soon for meatball subs, which is really what your garlic bread/parmigian solution looks like…
Some day try these meatballs – the lemon zest really makes them super delicious – http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/spaghetti-and-meatballs-351190. And last time, inspired by a different Ina recipe, I added some chopped proscuitto too (to what already has 3 meats). We weren’t sorry. And we bake ours – no splattering mess!
I discovered Thomas Keller’s meatball recipe in his book Ad Hoc at Home several years ago and haven’t looked back. My boyfriend declared them to be the best thing I’ve ever cooked (and I’ve made a lot of things.) His are baked on a rimmed cookie sheet in a moderate oven, and I really like the way this crisps them slightly and renders out the fat. Delish with a sweet tangy barbeque sauce and egg noodles as well as red sauce and pasta.
Did Ina get it from http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Di-Palos-Spaghetti-and-Meatballs
Yummy! Never been a meatball kind of girl, but those are with cheese, so definitely have to try them!
Amazing! Perfect timing – had mediocre meatballs at a restaurant yesterday and was thinking of making them myself. Do you have a go-to garlic bread recipe or a rough estimate of how you make yours?
Re. pressure cooker recipes, Serious Eats has a bunch that I was working my way through when I got mine in fall. It made me realize how awesome it is for getting long-cooked flavor in a short amount of time, though I do want to play around with it more.
My Italian grandma always popped them under the broiler till the tops got toasty, then added them to the sauce. Much easier than frying, and they keep their shape perfectly.
I have made meatballs with roughly this method before, and I still sometimes do. They come out great, nice and juicy.
However, my preferred method (courtesy of The Meatball Shop cookbook) is to bake them – roll the meatballs (same golf ball size) and place them snugly in a pan and bake at 450 for about 25 minutes. I’ve made several of the different varieties from their cookbook and they have all come out really nicely. I usually make meatball sandwiches out of them but they’re just as good with spaghetti or by themselves.
The cleanup from the baking method is so easy – especially if you line the pan with foil.
Another fab recipe to try out on the significant other. Gotta get these in before the winter winds and rain finishes and summer is apron us.
Hi Deb! This looks amazing. If I wanted to make the meatballs sans beef, what would you recommend? A mixture of chicken and pork? Or turkey and pork?
Now. do you have an amazing garlic bread recipe? I really like the crappy supermarket loaves that come in the foil bag, but….
Man you make some cute kids. Like out of this world levels of cute.
can you turkey meat instead of ground beef..and if so how would you get the meat to ‘stick’ together? I mean ive tried to make turkey burgers and all but they just fall apart…advice?
I use lean turkey breast (99% fat free) because I am into healthy cooking. For one pound of turkey I add 4 tablespoons of olive oil, a healthy fat that substitutes for the missing animal fat. Never had any complaints, just compliments, so it seems to work.
totally unrelated, but i just heard you on the Sporkful! Now i really want to go to NYC just for a bagel :)
These look so incredible!
Amazing recipe! Of course I used what I had on hand- which was ground venison (a very common meat in Vermont) and saltines instead of breadcrumbs (good bread lasts about 5 minutes in my house), and roasted tomatoes that I had frozen in the summer, but the main idea of cooking in the sauce is brilliant! The meata-balls were perfect :)
Oh good! We’re just about to start meatball Friday back up after a new baby hiatus. I’ve been making Luisa’s (I make seven pounds and freeze off in batches for two meatball nights, they plunk into sauce quite nicely, Marcella’s obvi). I’ll try these for the next go-round!
Echoing the above commenters’ requests for a garlic bread recipe! Alternatively, if you’re not ready to share the recipe, please do tell me what kind of bread you used in those photos – it looks divine.
This look amazing. Is there any way to make the meatballs grain-free? Is it possible to forego the breadcrumbs all together and up the egg or something? (No gluten here or gluten-substitutes.)
I am seeing this comment so after the fact but I use rice crispies instead of bread crumbs in mine and my child demands them every day. Literally. Use the proportions for the panko and its perfect. I do use the cheese so that may help the binding a bit.
Cooks Illustrated recommends instant potato flakes for gluten free meatballs! Odd but it works really well. Use half the volume of the breadcrumbs called for.
Made these tonight and they were delicious and so easy to make. Thanks for this delicious recipe!
I make my meatballs out of ground turkey or ground chicken. I keep them moist by sauteeing the veg (carrots, onion, green pepper, etc) for about 5 minutes (h/t alton brown), allowing them to cool, and then adding 1 egg, panko breadcrumbs, salt/pepper/seasoning. I also bake, 425 for 20-30 minutes.
thank you for so many great quick weeknight meals lately! these were yummy and easy, but I think I prefer meatballs with a bit of a crustiness. these tasted good but i didn’t realize how much we’d miss the brown crusty outside. maybe i’ll have to try the oven method or just do the whole stovetop thing.
we had these with telephone wire pasta and a salad of baby greens, spinach, roasted carrots, watermelon radish, sherry vinegar, and olive oil. and of course some garlic bread.
Thank you! I also love the freeze-ability of meatballs. Oh, the garlic bread.
Hiya Smitten – Any suggestions on making meatballs without breadcrumbs? (For those with gluten intolerance)
Love meatballs ….my husband would happily live on pulled pork, chile, and meatballs….Eately sells a pork beef and veal mix that is sublime….and not crazy $$$$. plus the origin of the meat is noted…..
We had these with a green salad tonight – they were terrific. It took most of the aggravation and mess out of making meatballs, and the kids gorged on them.
I had to use turkey because that was all I had on hand. Turkey meatballs are never as good as beef/pork, but they were still very good – not much different from my own recipe; the only differences were the extra egg and skipping the browning step. Oh, and the simple sauce instead of my normal complicated one that takes all day to cook. Thanks for an easy weeknight treat!
Amanda – the breadcrumbs serve as a binder. I’ve used ground saltines in a pinch. Could you use gluten-free cracker crumbs?
Is it crazy that I would like the recipe for the garlic bread? I just never get it right…
I never thought about it before but yeah, all the classy places serve meatballs on their own! Most recently, I had meatballs on polenta at Adele’s in Nashville.
Don’t hit me but I’ve recently discovered that using the meat grinder attachment produces far superior meatballs, meatloaf and burgers than ground beef from the store. It’s worth the extra five minutes to grind your own beef!
mmmmmm….meatballs. I think my favorite comfort food. These look delicious and your daughter is absolutely adorable!
Thank you! We all needed this recipe in our lives. I haven’t made anything of your’s that hasn’t tasted amazing! Making these this weekend. <3
Thank you so much!! I love meatballs, but they always seem so daunting and messy. I never do them on a weeknight. I tried the recipe tonight. Everyone LOVED the meatballs—perfect flavor, they held together nicely, and I didn’t miss the crusty outside one bit. A few observations: I used angel hair pasta (it was on hand) and it was completely overwhelmed by the tartness and acidity of the sauce. I might consider adding just a bit of sugar or maple syrup to cut that down a bit—and maybe a few herbs (even dried) in the sauce to round out the flavor. Also, I found that it wasn’t quite enough sauce to ensure generous spoonfuls over the pasta. Do you see any potential downside to doubling the sauce, or does the amount of sauce play a role in the meatball cooking time?
Also, it’s really funny–my Italian grandmother and later my dad, whenever they made sauce and meatballs, they’d serve the meatballs in a bowl on the side. Granted, my sisters and I usually put then on top of pasta anyways, but I could see the original intention being to have them as separate courses.
+1 for the garlic bread guidance, not because we can’t figure it out on our own but yours would be so.much.better. thx.
i tried this tonight. made a double recipe and froze half uncooked. i forgot to set aside half of the garlic and instead i put it all in the meatballs. it was good though. i don’t mind garlicky. the flavor of these meatballs was really yum. they smelled awesome even when raw. and they held together just fine. putting them in the fridge was key for that. i did not disturb them in the pot. however, they were a bit too soft. and i thought it was because they might not be done enough so i put them back on for another 10 minutes. nope, still a bit mushy. i think i will use this recipe, but fry them next time, cooking them most of the way, and then finish them in the sauce. another pan to clean, but oh well…
oh, i should say that i didn’t use fresh or panko breadcrumbs. i used progresso italian seasoned breadcrumbs in the same amount you posted. could that be why they were a bit mushy?
I’m a complete devotee of the Baked Chicken Meatballs you posted many moons back, but these also look fab! There’s definitely room for more than one meatball recipe in my kitchen. Jamie Oliver has one for meatballs with fresh fennel sauce that I’m also partial to, though it’s more the sauce than the meatball that makes it.
We bake them at 400 degrees for 15 min. Then let cook the rest of the way in the sauce. We use an icecream scoop to form them.
We’re Italian. We like them big.
I always fry the meatballs first because they keep their shape better.. What I do is once they are formed you cover them in flour, shake out the excess and then fry them with not too much oil. They keep their shape, and thicken the sauce a bit at the same time… works great…
Grazie per questa ricetta! Io preparo molto spesso le polpette con il sugo e poi le servo insieme agli spaghetti. Io però friggo leggermente le polpette prima di passarle nel sugo e le lascio sgocciolare dall’olio in eccesso prima di tuffarle nel sugo.
Questa è la ricetta preferita di mia figlia sin da quando era bambina.
Thank you for this recipe! I make very often the meatballs with the sauce and then serve along with the spaghetti. But I slightly fry the meatballs before passing into the sauce and leave to drain excess oil before dip them in the sauce.
This is the favorite recipe of my daughter since she was a little girl.
Deb, you’re killing me! I started laughing because no sooner do I plan to print and try a recipe than I see another one I want as well, and then I’m like ten recipes deep before I even print the first one I saw! Funny.
Love your stuff – always a winner! I live in Seattle and your blog makes me nostalgic for my east coast roots. :-)
Who wouldn’t love this? Yum. If you’d like a good meatball recipe that doesn’t need tomato sauce and has an Italian name (no idea how authentic it is), have you tried Nigel Slater’s pork polpette? I have to make double quantities in my house. http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2008/apr/13/recipes.foodanddrink They are the best.
these are amazing! One question; can I freeze them in the sauce??
It must be meatball season! I just made, last week, the Spanish version ‘albondigas’ from a combo of ground lamb, pork and beef, panko crumbs, spices, herbs, minced garlic & onions, and used two eggs to bind. I also do not fry meatballs, but roll them in panko crumbs after shaping, refrigerate for about an hour, and bake them on a large rimmed cookie sheet. These were served with a spicy, (OK, fiery) tomato based dipping sauce. Delicious tapas!
Not authentic, definitely not Italian, but I cook my meatballs in the microwave before adding them to the sauce. I put about 25 small (walnut sized) meatballs on a large plate and do them for 2 minutes. This is just enough to cook the outside so that they hold their shape once you put them inthe sauce, but they still stay juicy!
Meatballs look delish. I came across your book in the library in Ipswich, Suffolk, England. We are not the largest town in England so you have made it into the provinces. Thought you’d like to know ;o) I grill my meatballs and turn them halfway through they go brown and cripsy and don’t dry out. I hated all that faffy messy frying too plus it’s healthier.
Another one who would love to know how you make your garlic bread, because it looks fantastic! Also, that picture of your daughter is absolutely gorgeous. I will be trying these meatballs very soon!
I’ve been craving meatballs lately, so this is very timely. I’ve always been tempted to just toss them in the sauce to cook, but worry about all the fat rendering into the sauce and making it greasy. Any way around this?
And I too, clamor for the garlic bread recipe. I’d love to use it for meatball subs – yum
Oh god just looking at the top pic! I literally just died!
It’s a bit like ordering food in China and expecting US style Chinese food – not going to happen.
Love this easy recipe, I make meatballs in many ways and yes sometimes with spaghetti too! It is not very popular in Italy but I have eaten them once in a small trattoria in the Abruzzo region and they were fab!
Love your recipe and presentation :-) More of this please!
Not sure which looks yummier, the meatballs or the munchkin. Do you have a preferred garlic bread recipe? Please?
Any suggestions on what cut of pork to use for the ground pork?
I have a meat grinder, and ground pork is very hard to find in these parts.
This reminds me of an eggplant parmesan sandwich that looked just like your meatball sandwich in a little pizza place in L.A. that unfortunately, I live eight hours driving time from. It was heaven and I still mourn. If I ate meat, I’d be all over your meatball sandwich.
Deb, I truly love your writing, photography, recipes and your wit. However. Have you ever considered going into the baby-making business full time? Your babies are the most delicious creatures on earth! Gah!
awesome. thank you again, deb!
my mom makes her meatballs and sauce from scratch & then freezes, but it’s an all day affair and i don’t think i’m ready for that. she also bakes the meatballs instead of frying them before putting them in the sauce, but that’s still the extra step, yanno?
so i’ve gone along, frying them…but it makes a mess and takes forever, and like you said i always lose a piece here and there. (and they always say to get them browned all over, but mine always turn out with two or three distinct “sides” instead of round.) and then there are the recipes that have you further dirtying dishes by cooking onions and whatever else to add. the last recipe i tried was the “genius” rao’s one, with all the water. and honestly…they were not that great, and they were incredibly difficult to cook because they were so soft. most of them stuck.
ina’s recipe is the best one i’ve found so far, so i returned to that but again, sigh, the frying. so yours is next, i can’t wait!
I am excited to try this easy looking recipe. We love meatballs but they are either hard as hockey pucks or completely fall apart. These sound mouth watering deeelicious !
I am with you, Deb! I, of course, love spaghetti and meatballs, but even more than that, I love an outstanding meatball served on its own, or in other dishes. A recent favorite that has been taking over my daydreams is this meatball sub inspired crostini (https://thepastiche.squarespace.com/blog/meatball-sub-crostini). Just try and see if you can even last long enough to build the crostini without eating all the meatballs alone first! :)
Have tremendously enjoyed your recipes, writing, etc. Bought your book for my daughter (she told me about you long time ago.)
So, I read your blog and note all the comments made about your beautiful children, and wonder how I can get to see the pics everyone talks about? Is there some link to this? Having red hair ( and two daughters with red hair), I would enjoy seeing your redhead…and her brother, of course. Please tell me how to do this? Thanks so much.
Marilyn (probably your oldest admirer)
Finally, non-fussy meatballs smothered in marinara. Thank you! This recipe has filled a meatball void I didn’t realize I had. I made your parmesan-ed variation, along with garlic bread. Amazingggggg. My boyfriend got home from a late night flight and snacked on the leftovers. In his groggy state this morning I asked him what he thought. He suddenly perked up as if he had two cups of coffee already and said they were incredible.
P.S. I second (twentieth?) what others have asked–do you have a traditional garlic bread recipe?
These look SO yummy – I definitely want make some meatballs this week :) Thanks for the recipe!
Doesn’t everyone eat meatballs on garlic bread? It’s been our Superbowl Sunday meal forever.
I think I need it tonight.
This is how my mother made her very famous meatballs. Poaching in the sauce without browning first makes incredible tender meatballs. I make many variations of meatballs but these are always the kind people ask for.
My mother was not Italian but grew up in a tiny town in New York with a large Italian population. In fact her mid- wife ( 1940s) ran a small restaurant out of her home. My mother would go there to eat and talk to here as her due date came to pass. Lily would serve her a magical dish (eggplant Parm) and then say ,”I will see you later tonight!”. My mother loved to tell that story. A nice plate of her spaghetti and meatballs warms me body and soul.
Have you ever looked at (I’m SURE you have) Rao’s meatball recipe? SO MUCH H2O! But I’ve made them a few times and it works. I love that you admit to using onion powder. 2 garlic cloves is so stingy! You’d have been kicked out of my mostly Italian Northern NJ town using only 2 garlic cloves! I’m on the fence about frying or not. I always fry, but after a thorough dunking in the gravy, I’m not absolutely sure how much it matters. You golden fried your breadcrumbs very nicely, but they’re freaking me out. Looks like yellow cheddar cheese grated on top of the meatballs. I’ve never had Italians serve me red sauce food w/fried breadcrumb garnish.
Love this simplicity. Good life. Good food.
These look amazing! How far in advance do you think you can make them before cooking them? I am about to go back to work after maternity leave, and wonder if I could make these say, Sunday afternoon, pop them uncooked in the fridge, then bake them say Monday evening after work?
Hi-For years my Mom fried meatballs before plopping them into the pot of gravy. Never mind the hideous mess on the stove, the oil that had to be recycled and the filthy black cast iron frying pan. About 15 years ago she (finally) came to the realization that she can ,and did, bake them on a cooling rack set over a tray until they were cooked. Only then did she plop them into the gravy. I was never happier. Pass the seltzer!
I made this recipe last night using some elk meat I had in the freezer and they turned out great! I used sea salt and added a little basil and rosemary. They were delicious! We will definitely be having these again.
I made these last night. Beyond amazing.
90% of the cooking I do from a recipe now is using Smitten Kitchen recipes. <3
YUM! Simple but so versatile. I love combining meats in meatballs. Pork and Beef sounds delicious right now!
I am past baby-envy, but those eyelashes!
Marilyn #94, the link to the photos of Deb’s adorable family is always embedded in the text. For me it shows up as a blue word. In this post look at the last paragraph before the recipe and click on “amazing” and it will take you to the photo we are all oohing and aahing about.
This looks tasty and kiddo friendly, but my particular kiddo has an egg allergy…
Do you recommend any egg substitutes? I’ve found some for baking but not for this type of recipe.
I made these last night using a meatloaf mix of beef, pork, and veal. Followed your recipe to the letter and was amazed at how quick and easy it was to make homemade meatballs. I parmesaned them after they cooked in the sauce and served with some plain French baguette for scooped open faced meatball subs. It was insanely delicious. This will definitely be made again. Can’t wait to try these with some polenta or pasta. As usual your little Anna is so ridiculously beautiful.
I have the need to lick the screen and pretend to hear the CRUNCH of that garlic bread with a meatball and melted cheese on top! I always use the package of meat with beef, pork and veal – I find it tastier!
Agreed – would love a good garlic bread recipe. I never know how to make good garlic bread.
Drool! I just came to your site looking for a dinner recipe that’s friendly for guests and babies/toddlers. I’ve made the Wednesday Chef recipe many times and it’s great. So thank you for the reminder about how wonderful meatballs are :) I’m going to try and make it with polenta.
This post popped up at just the right time yesterday. I sidestepped my loose tentative plan of sloppy joe-esque supper and swapped in these. On garlic bread. Everyone loved..even the toddlers.
We enjoyed these tender meatballs for dinner tonight. This cooking method was perfect on a tornado filled afternoon in Raleigh. I put the meatballs in the sauce to simmer then spent the next 30 minutes with two dogs in a little bathroom hoping no trees landed on the house. The storm settled and I had perfectly cooked meatballs waiting for me. I am glad you didn’t warn against a glass (or two) of red wine to go with these heavenly meatballs. All is well after meatballs for dinner!
Saw this post and it made me want to try making meatballs! So I made meatballs for the first time tonight, using this recipe as a base. Whole family loved them. I was skeptical about 2 eggs for just a pound of meat, since that’s more than I saw in other recipes, but I went with it and I loved how moist the meatballs turned out. I used all extra lean ground beef, and added in some red pepper flakes, black pepper, ground thyme, and dried oregano to the meatballs. I didn’t have crushed tomatoes or tomato puree so I diced up two tomatoes … oh and I baked them at 425 for 20 minutes, then broiled for 5 minutes to get the tops a little more brown.
I have become THAT commenter who changes far too many things but I myself like to read and search through the comments for adjustments others make based on what they have in the kitchen / what they like.
Thank you so much, Deb.
I made meatballs recently using a recipe that cooked them in the oven on their own for 10 minutes (spread out on the bottom of a lasagne dish), then pouring the sauce over and cooking for a further 20 minutes. It was so easy, and they were perfect. You can drain the meaty juices off before adding the sauce if you want to too.
Thank you so much, Deb. :D I ADORE meatballs (the only one in my family who does) and I’m going to make this regardless along with the garlic bread. ;)
Garlic bread — I do not use a recipe, but for what you see here, I used about half of a baguette-length sesame seed-ed “Italian” bread (it said semolina bread but had the airier texture of an Italian bread, which I recommend because lighter breads = easier to get that soaked-with-butter effect we all love in garlic bread without actually needing enough butter to soak a dense loaf), split it, melted 4 tablespoons butter with 2 garlic cloves and 1/4 teaspoon sea salt until it sizzled for a minute, then brushed/poured it over the insides of the bread and ran them butter-side-up under the broiler for all of a minute. Not as saturated with butter as we might like at restaurants, but not bad for at home when you know better how much is going in. :)
Sources — I forgot to add the links to Ina Garten and Luisa Weiss; now fixed! I hate it when food sites don’t make their sources clear. ;) From Luisa, I noticed she used more eggs than me and I liked her tip about not moving the meatballs; very helpful. I’ve used Ina’s meatballs for years, but have made many adjustments to our taste and to easier shopping (not three kinds of meat, etc.)
Without eggs — I haven’t made meatballs without eggs but you might have success if you just try to bake them as balls/patties, see how they hold up. Or, you can try a flax egg here? (I’m not positive how well they’d work here because I haven’t played around with them.)
Sarah Beth — They’d definitely be good for a day in the fridge. I made a double-batch this time and froze off half the uncooked meatballs. I’ll plunk them right into simmering sauce from the freezer down the road so they’ll taste the most fresh (vs. cooking and then freezing the second half); just takes a few minutes longer.
Jenn — I’m buying pre-ground pork so god only knows what it’s in, if you know what I mean. I would go for something fatty, or at least more fatty than, say, a fancy tenderloin. Maybe a lean bit of pork butt?
Connie — I haven’t noticed a greasiness in sauce, but you could always start with a leaner meat, to be safe. I imagine there is more grease in the sauce if they’re fried first.
Julie — No reason not to make more of the sauce. (I mention this at the end with the spaghetti notes.) Angel hair is not a good choice for heavy sauces for the reason you found — it gets overwhelmed easily. (I prefer it with a simple garlic-oil or equally thin sauce.) A full-sized spaghetti or even rigatoni works here too.
Amanda — I’d use gluten-free breadcrumbs or the crumbs of a gluten-free cracker.
Using turkey — Should work just fine. It’s a little softer (ground chicken too) but cooks mostly the same in the end.
Dipal — I’d go with turkey and pork. If you can find mixed ground turkey or dark ground turkey meat, I think it has more flavor.
I made these tonight with ground turkey, and they were delicious! Paired it with garlic mashed cauliflowers. So yummy.
I still fry my meatballs – agree, it’s traditional. I follow my husbands Nonna’s recipe, truly none better, I’d be happy to share it with you!
There is actually less, not more, grease in the finished product when you fry or bake the meatballs before finishing the cooking in a pot of sauce if you drain and pat them dry afterward and in the case of baking, bake them in a rimmed baking sheet over parchment, which absorbs a considerable amount of grease–which is fun to throw in the trash instead of in one’s stomach. Taking this extra step is important to me personally not only because it’s traditional and excellent but also because I can’t digest grease (not to mention the empty calories) and get rid of it wherever I can without denying myself some favorite foods.
I just discovered that a local grocery store sells a “meatloaf” package of half ground beef and half ground pork. I know what I’ll be buying and making the next time I go there!
I’ve been baking my meatballs directly in sauce for a couple years now. I am on a low-carb diet, so I skip the breadcrumbs/panko. I also use the leanest ground beef possible or even substitute ground turkey breast, and so I add a few tablespoons of tomato paste to help bind the meatballs. I use a sheet pan and bake the sauce in the sheet pan while I make the meatballs. Then I bake them for about 35 minutes at 350. MR, This might be a good way for you to have low-cal meatballs!
Thanks so much for the garlic bread “recipe”! :)
the photos takes just speak for them self. I can not wait to make meatballs again.
I have also grown up eating them with pasta but mostly boiled potatoes covered with melted butter with a ,brun sas, on the side. Just realized I have not made them for quite some long time! I saw your recipe and mine is very similar just I use a fresh onion but will try your recipe this time :) I also try to limit my pork as muhc as I can but I have also found out that when it comes to meatballs the beef/pork combo is very very needed.
Oh, and I forgot I add butter as well! I feel I forgot yet something, well will have to cook it soon and let you know :)
I made the for breakfast with fried eggs on top. I added a ton of chopped kale to the meatballs to get some greens in and the meatballs were super tender. Husband approved!
I know what’s on the menu next week! More importantly: what is a rainbow cookie!? What delicious treat have I been missing out on my whole life?!?!
Vegetarian, so skipping the meatballs, but still have to comment because that garlic bread looks AMAZING. It is, I believe, the platonic ideal of garlic bread.
Ugh my pot wasn’t big enough, hope they come out as good as they looked before I squished them all in!
misses 8 and 10 lurve meatballs. Fab weeknight dinner when served with a Greek salad.
Deb, once again a lovely recipe!
Another suggestion to go with meatballs in tomato sauce: potato fries!!
(ps: I would not call them a side dish as in my case it is rather half & half on the plate)
(ps2: nobody shoudl call them French fries because (1) everybody knows Belgians invented fries, (2) seriously, Belgians :-))
About the pressure cooker, I mostly use it to cook chickpeas (and other beans) from scratch, it does the trick in 20 min, without pre-soaking
I made these last night, and they were delightful. I love meatballs, but they tend to be prohibitively time/labor intensive for a weeknight dinner. The minimal meal prep time after work was nice.
Trying to figure this out for a dinner party. How many does it serve? Want to make sure there’s enough!
Oh my lord you have cute children!
This is your first non dessert recipe I’m making, other than bread. And it turned out to be fabulous. Thank you Deb. I’m on a roll, trying new recipes from your blog. Love how you potray it in words as well as photos.
I added ginger garlic paste instead of onion and a bit of sautéed chilly powder to spice it up..
Yum! I made these last night, did the Parmesan-ed version, and ate them on the garlic bread. Oh my! Too good! And I froze 22 raw meatballs for the near future! My teen boys LOVED them. They told me I was a great cook! Thanks for the great recipes!
I appreciate your inclination to both fancy – “drive to the specialty store or wait until these plums are in season” – recipes & “ordinary” recipes, such as this. But not simply something you’ve slapped together, either. The intentionality for both simplistic and complex dishes you employ is what keeps me a reader.
Made the recipe last night. Love the way the meat juices get into the sauce. Meatballs themselves were definitely tender but without baking or frying to get some browning on it, there’s a little too much of a boiled meat taste. I did a second batch where I baked the meatballs on a sheet tray at a high heat to get some browning and the whole thing was infinitely better from a flavor and texture perspective.
YUM! Seriously, there is little that is more comforting than spaghetti and meatballs! I only rarely make them but they take me right back to Grandma’s house on just about every special occasion we celebrated. Grandma made enormous meatballs and they were always so delicious. Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!
I had these on my agenda for the weekend. Now I’ll make your tweak-ed version, instead!
Made these tonight. They were wonderful! I Parmesan-ed them and served with polenta. Family loved them. Thanks for the recipe.
I made these for Sunday dinner with garlic bread and a big salad. It was good, but I ended up having to work to salvage it– something I almost never have to do with recipes from this site! The meatballs were so tasty and they did not fall apart at all! But I was really put off by the amount of grease from the meat and “scum” from the meatballs cooking in the sauce. Perhaps it’s just a preference thing, as I didn’t see any other comments about this issue in my admittedly quick skim. I ended up gently removing the meatballs with tongs and putting them in a casserole dish and adding a package of crushed tomatoes, then topping with gran padano and fresh mozzarella, just as you suggested for making it “parmesan-ed”. It was tasty and was a big hit, but I ended up with a 2-pot/2-step dish anyway. I am in Germany (actually, in the same Berlin neighborhood as the referenced Luisa Weiss) and I am quite certain that the ground meat here is actually slightly less fatty than that in the US, so I don’t think that was the issue. I might give them a quick go in a frying pan next time just to drain some of the initial fat out and let them finish in the sauce, and I would recommend that method for anyone else who was put off by all the fatty scum draining into the sauce. But otherwise, great– and thanks!
Your daughter is soooo cute, I could eat her instead of meatballs!
Thanks for the meatballs recipe and all your fabulous ideas and comments ! I really really really like your blog, from the writing style to the food! Every single one of your recipe I tried (and I have tried quite a few already) has been a success! Thank you !
I made these tonight and they were fantastic. I used 93/7 organic ground beef because I wasn’t too worried about them drying out, given the cooking method. While the sauce was cooking–and because the meatballs were on a baking sheet anyway–I took a suggestion from another commenter and blasted them in the oven on 450 for about 10 mins, followed by 10ish minutes in the sauce, which together brought the internal temp up to 160. They held their shape perfectly and had a nice browned flavor. We took your suggestion to “Parmesan” them–a home run.
This is my favorite kind of recipe. Reasonably healthy, weeknight-friendly main dishes that don’t compromise on flavor. Thanks for another winner!
Made this for dinner- 1/2 organic pork, 1/2 grass fed beef- doubled the recipe and cooked in my own homemade sauce from my own canned tomatoes- delicious. Served with garlic bread and a big green salad- a delicious Sunday night supper. Thank you for another winning meal.
I made this tonight – using a beef/pork/veal/lamb mixture because that sounded good to me. I used fresh bread crumbs and sauteed onions instead of onion powder. I cooked them 2 ways: one with the sauce exactly the way you said and one broiled in oven until browned. Both were great. Topped the sauce ones in provolone and mozz and served with garlic bread. Plunked the broiled ones in the sauce after. Really good. Thanks Deb!
Oh, Deb. Deb, Deb, Deb. Why didn’t I listen to you? I made a quarter batch of these (I was home alone) and then had the audacity to make a meatball sub on garlic bread. Complete with the sauce (I spiked it with sambal oelek) and provolone. I’m only a few bites in and I know I have made a mistake. This is going to be in my weekly rotation. I’m supposed to be on a diet, but this is too yummy!
This looks incredible, definitely going to look into making it soon! I love meatballs so much! My blog’s newish, but if you could take a look at it to see what you think I could do to improve it that would be amazing! Love all the food on your blog and the pictures are great!!
Made this last night and they were delish! However, at first I thought it was going to be a failure – the mixture was VERY wet, to the point of not being able to form into balls. I ended up doubling the amount of breadcrumbs and was still skeptical… After half an hour in the fridge they were much more compact, and they cooked up perfectly. But I still wonder – is the mix supposed to be that wet? My eggs were on the small side and I’m always very careful with measuring everything out…
Ivana — It shouldn’t be impossible to form into balls, but it’s definitely wet. I love a tender, soft meatball (as you can tell). It should be able to hold a slightly misshapen ball shape, as you see in my photos.
Embracing your suggestion to make a recipe that appeals to you right away, rather than filing it away for a future date, I made these for dinner last night. They were just as advertised: flavorful and completely achievable on a weeknight. Serving them with butter laden garlic bread was also a strong move. Thank you!
The ratios in your recipe are so similar to mine, that when I made my meatballs this weekend, I tried your suggestion (using two eggs as you suggested). They came out great! I never tried doing dropping them in the sauce raw before–but I’m converted. Made the process that much simpler–and there was zero difference in the flavors of my usual recipe. Thanks!
These came out tough – I think the 2 eggs is too much
Have you ever cooked the meatballs from “Brown Eggs and Jam Jars” (by simple bites author)? She simplifies the browning and simmering into one pan/process. You simply put a small amount of oil in a roasting pan and heat in the oven for 5 mins or so. Then toss meatballs into hot oil and bake for a few minutes to “sear/brown” them, then add sauce directly to pan and continue to bake for half hour or so. The result is seared meatballs baked in sauce with no standing over the stove and getting splattered!
Update – I actually 4X the recipe because of the meat coming in 1 pound packages so I had sooooo much meatball mix. We plopped them into an Italian Wedding Soup the next night. They held together very well. Also delish!
To #150 Ivana – the mixture was very wet, although I used fresh bread crumbs (frozen bread chopped up in the food processor) I did the recipe exactly in Deb’s proportions – refrigerated the entire mixture for about 30 mins before scooping out the meatballs with a scoop. Worked just fine.
I’ve been making Luisa’s recipe since I saw it a few years ago. The only change I’ve made is to add some garlic or onion to the meat mixture. They’re good without it, but (I think) better with it.
Made this without any changes and it was FANTASTIC. Super easy and really delicious. Also made the garlic bread and it turned out perfectly.
This is going to sound strange, but it’s my favorite way to make meatballs. My dad, whose mother came over on the boat from Sicily, always puts raisins in his meatballs.
I know, it sounds weird. But I love it!
I just made these meatballs, am in the middle of a toasted meatball parm sandwich
Oh, so good! A couple of observations:
1. I normally cook my meatballs in the oven then in the sauce (the way my grandmother taught me). Next time I make these, that’s what I’ll do. I like a little bit of char on the meatball, these are very soft.
2. I used plain Panko breadcrumds. Next time I’ll used seasoned breadcrumbs.
Oh, and once I clean up the kitchen, I’m going to make your chocolate banana bread. I ‘have’ to, you know, the overripe bananas!
I just made these tonight using ground chicken, and they were fabulous! Hubby loved it, so now I have another great recipe in my rotation. I did brown the meatballs first, though, just so they wouldn’t be so pale. Thank you for more than one tasty dinner!
Oh Deb! I don’t even eat red meat, but I had to make these for my family. My husband dubbed them the best meatballs Ive ever made. Of course, i gave smitten kitchen all the credit! Served with garlic bread, just as you suggested. Also took advice to double the recipe and freeze extra meatballs for another time! Thank you.
Deb- in the spirit of washing less pans/dishes: I made the sauce and meatballs in a braising pan on stove top, then added the mozzarella and breadcrumbs and put the whole thing under the broiler. One pot of deliciousness!
JR — Will depend on how much else you serve/what you serve them with. I usually estimate 1/4 pound ground meat per person, however, with spaghetti, we get 6 servings out of this instead of 4.
Easy dinner and yum. Made a double batch and am freezing half the meatballs uncooked.
Made these, so good. I’ve made the Chicken Meatballs too, but nothing beats beef/pork meatballs. So easy, and we did everything you told us not to do: Meatball Parmesan; over Spaghetti–all delicious. Love this recipe, thank you!
I was having serious doubts at around 15 mins of cooking time but all of my fears were proven to be silly. You’ve never steered me wrong before! These were sooooooo good. I opted for the cheese and garlic bread and now I’m going to be eating this every night for the next year, at least (I know, you warned me). Thanks for another amazing recipe!
Deb, you already gave us the perfect meatball recipe! I use the meatballs from your carrot soup w spinach recipe alllllllll the time. Usually in red sauce. I would be remiss to not mention them. Should repost here or in your new book for anyone who missed them. They are a real gem! And even simpler than these. thanks for the constant inspiration!!
Hillary — So funny. I had completely forgotten about that recipe! It’s over here, for anyone else that was curious: http://communitytable.parade.com/169511/debperelman/carrot-soup-with-turkey-meatballs-and-spinach/
I thought I was just channeling my East Texas roots when I started deep frying my meatballs because I lacked the patience to brown them with multiple children afoot! But now I feel slightly legit.
I love an everyday option so I don’t feel compelled to fry everything in sight for the week that it takes me to clean the fryer.
Oh my word!
Had these broilled with cheese and your burger buns, fabulous!
Oh, these pretty things! (David Bowie reference, RIP) You were right, Deb: No garlic bread. I am lost, it was SO good. I can’t order meatball subs anymore because it must be made with garlic bread and I don’t think anyone does that.
This part is a personal preference, but my pots suck, so next time I would bake the meatballs and add them to the sauce after. My sauce burned on the bottom during the 20 minute simmering time. But again, personal because my. pots. SUCK!
This was so good! :D
OMG!! these chicken balls are looking delicious. I have tried it in restaurants many times but didn’t try this at home as yet. I will try to prepare this and then let you know the feedback.
Thanks for sharing !!
Made these tonight. Was definitely underwhelmed. Followed recipe but I found these bland and plain. Not really adding anything new and definitely not flavorful. My little guy wouldn’t touch em. ): Thanks anyway.
Amazing. Tender, tasty, had with garlic bread and huge smiles. So glad there’s a batch in the freezer. We’re running an almost strictly smitten kitchen these days. You never fail us, Deb. Thank you.
I’m so excited! We are leaving on vacation tomorrow, so we’ve cleaned out the fridge. I was so excited to find these meatballs in the freezer! Can’t wait!
Delicious. I made a double batch, had the first meal with crusty garlic bread and froze the rest.
With the second half I did a mashup with your one pan faro which is a total high rotation staple at our house. Instead of the tomatoes/onion/garlic I used about 2 cups of the leftover tomato sauce with another 1/5 cups of water or so, a cup of faro, and added 8 frozen meatballs and heated it all up to a low simmer. It took 40 minutes or so. Made a caesar salad to go with it while it cooked. Awesome.
I made this right after you posted it (we had a pound of ground beef from a local farm in the freezer) and it was insanely good – and easy! Definitely added to my list of weeknight standbys, which includes many other recipes from your blog! Since moving in with my boyfriend last September, I’ve fed us so many of your recipes to great praise that we are both huge huge fans – thank you!
yam it look delicious
Similar to comment #71 (Carol) and #149 (Ivana), I had very wet meatballs
I’m not sure if it’s my gas range (that the “lowest” is too low), but it took nearly triple the recommended cooking time. I used 100% ground beef, panko breadcrumbs and water vs. milk – any chance I flubbed somewhere?
The flavor is delightful, so next time will try adjusting dry ingredients as Ivana suggested and cook on low-er rather than low-est temperature.
Thanks for sharing this recipe!
Another amazing recipe! Wowed my dinner party guests. I have to admit I made these a mashup of your phenomenal baked turkey meatballs ( of which I am a huge fan) and cooked pancetta and onion into the pork/ beef mixture. Unreal!!
Made this tonight. Pork/lamb. A big hit all around. (And you know I parmesan’d it and ate it on garlic bread. Yuuuuum.)
I actually cooked the meatballs in my Instant Pot. I added a bit of water first (to avoid burning), before putting in meatballs and then tomato sauce. 5 minutes on “meat” (high pressure) with 7 minutes NR. Came out great.
Made these several times already, so delicious and easy. Whole family loves them. Doubled recipe, and still no left overs! I used store bought marinara sauce instead of tomatoes and that was delicious too.
I came here to talk about how I just made these in my Instant Pot and then saw the comment above, #180, about how someone else did the same. I just made these for dinner. I dumped 28 oz crushed tomatoes into the pot, added Worcestershire, butter, and salt, then put in the meatballs and did 5 min on HIGH, 7 min natural release. (Forgot the milk, but it didn’t seem to ruin anything.) Super easy and very delicious!
I have made these 3 times since the recipe posted! They are so good, they are in the weekly weeknight rotation! Thanks for another amazing recipe!
I made this last night, with the following tiny modifications: ground elk, celery leaves instead of parsley, and fire-roasted crushed tomatoes. All of that was simply a case of what I happened to have on hand. We also did them with the broiled cheese at the end, and disobeyed your instructions to avoid garlic bread.
The following happened:
-what I would have called “enough for 4 hungry people” became “enough for 3 hungry people ”
-my husband ate his giant plateful in record time, completing it before I finished half as much while failing at not all but wolfing it down
-after putting the leftovers into a container, we grabbed another piece of bread and used it to wipe out the broiling container before rinsing it out
My husband has the leftovers and will be eating them for dinner tonight. I have leftover salmon and am actually mad about it. And I love salmon. But I’m so mad he gets the leftover meatballs. They were spectacular. Thank you!
These were delicious. And much easier than the Cooks Illustrated ones I’d been making. I used a combination of beef, pork and veal (sold as “meatloaf mix” in the store) and subbed buttermilk for the milk/water called for here. Great sauce recipe, too! Thanks!
My father’s b’day dinner wish…Spaghetti and Meatballs. Every year my mother asks him what he wants and he says Spaghetti and Meatballs and she says, “I’m not making that.” I know! So, being the dutiful daughter, I made it.
My father LOVED it!
My son (who does not like meatballs) ate SIX meatballs! My husband who doesn’t like spaghetti or meatballs, had seconds!
I even loved them and I usually don’t usually eat meat!
Well done! I guarantee there will be fighting for the leftovers!
I had my eyes on these since the recipe came out and finally had time to make them tonight. So good and well worth the wait! I can’t wait to eat the leftovers!
This is a great recipe for a weeknight dinner. Thanks!
These were amazing! I usually do meatloaf instead because it’s easier than meatballs, but my husband doesn’t like it much. And these were great — so light, fluffy, and not at all dry. (And thank you for making it so easy to make a delicious meatball even kosher-style (sub turkey for pork, don’t add or top with cheese). We’ll be adding this to the rotation for sure!
I made a large batch of these with shakshuka-sauce, meatballs in place of eggs. No regrets!
i made these last week and have to say they were pretty great! they definitely live up to their name. i started the sauce while making the meatballs, and then put the meatballs in the fridge and put a lid on the sauce (& turned off the stove) while i went to pick up boyperson from work. this way, once we got home all i had to do was throw the meatballs into the sauce and it all was done by the time i was finished taking a quick shower. i used all beef (85%), milk, panko, and included the cheese.
i like a heavy sauce blanket on my meatballs/pasta so i used two cans of tomatoes. one weird thing though…the sauce came out really watery. i always puree my sauce but this time i thought i’d do it *before* i put the tomatoes in to save time, so i took my immersion blender to my two cans of san marzanos. never again! i have otherwise always pureed the sauce *after* cooking and it’s always nice and thick. lesson learned. it still tasted great, though :)
I made these tonight with ground turkey. I was nervous about them falling apart, but followed the instructions for letting them sit in the sauce for 20 minutes, and they were fine. I served them with garlic bread and a salad. My husband got seconds and has informed about how excited he is to have leftovers tomorrow. :)
Just made this recipe as per the instructions, and it turned out wonderfully (actually I doubled the recipe and cooked the meatballs in sauce in two batches). Thanks so much for this, it’s a keeper!
Made these last night – very tasty! I was nervous because they seemed so wet and it was difficult to roll them into balls, but they held their shape quite well.
Just finished eating these, I really enjoyed them. I didn’t have onion powder but I did have a fresh onion so I added half a diced, sautéed onion to the mix. Otherwise I cooked the recipe exactly as instructed and it turned out wonderful. They are tender but still hold together as long as you are gentle with them. I ended up turning them into meatballs parmesan as you suggested by broiling them in a cast iron with fresh mozzarella. Served with some roasted vegetables on the side. Thank you for the recipe, its a very easy and comforting meal and I’ll definitely make it again.
I made these tonight and LOVED them! Used all beef, dried garlic instead of onion and dried parsley instead of fresh (what I had on hand). Came out exactly as pictured – DELISH! Thank you!
We just ate these and now my husband wants this everyday! I told him they were everyday meatballs but not EVERY DAY meatballs :) I did stock the fridge though!
I didn’t use onion powder, used a homemade tomato sauce and did as you suggested and parmesan-ed the top. Delicious!
Oh and your garlic bread on the side (I used soft white bread because I didn’t have a baguette) is the perfect match. You should put a link to it!
Oh I forgot to add that I used a mix of ground meat of lamb and beef. If anyone is wondering, it works!
minik — Thank you, now added.
Oh man, I ignored the warning. Just ate leftovers with the garlic bread from a couple of days ago and some mozzarella melted on top – I’m in love with an open faced sandwich.
These are phenomenal! I don’t know what is so special about the sauce, however, it is the best sauce I ever made. One thing though, the meatballs took forever to cook. I think I left it over an hour. Plus put them longer in the oven. Is it because i used turkey? I am making them again today.
I’ve made these a few times using part beef, part turkey and part pork, part turkey. Both didn’t increase the cooking time, and I didn’t find them at all fatty or find too much oil runoff, just found incredibly delicious sauce and meatballs! I highly recommend this recipe (usually serve it with homemade focaccia).
Made this with 50/50 lean turkey and lean beef for a “healthier” option (my grocer hasn’t had ground pork for a while). It was still nice and tender, not dry, and incredibly tasty. If anyone’s been curious about hopping on the veggie noodle craze, I made this with zoodles (zucchini noodles) and shockingly didn’t miss the lack of real pasta. I’m as surprised (/skeptical) as you are, but it’s true. For those curious about doing this with zoodles, I sautéed them with a tiny amount of olive oil on the stovetop VERY briefly – basically only until they had a little color and weren’t completely raw. I took them raw to work and microwaved them there for about a minute before adding the sauce, and that also kept them nice and “al dente.” Sorry for the long post, just wanted to be thorough in case anyone wanted to try! Trust me, it’s DELICIOUS.
Hi Deb – Have been loving your blog for years but first time commenting! I wanted to make these as finger food for my daughter’s first birthday this weekend. Do you think I can do them baked rather than stovetop and without the sauce? Any modifications you’d suggest? Trying to keep things simple but home made! thanks!
i thought i had the best meatball recipe, ever. but they were to cumbersome. these are NOT and they ARE THE BEST EVER! thank you!
For those asking if this works in a crock pot or slow cooker, the answer is YES. I followed the recipe for the meatballs exactly. For the refrigeration time, I placed them in the freezer for the first 15 minutes then the fridge for the second 15 minutes. For the sauce, I used three 15 oz cans of tomato puree. I didn’t cook it with garlic only because I was looking to be quick. I put the first can in the crock pot, then placed the meatballs on the sauce, then covered with the second two cans. 6 1/2 hours on low and they were PERFECT.
Thank you, this is so helpful!!
This recipe was so good, and so simple. I left out the parsley and onion powder because I didn’t have any handy, and upped the garlic in the sauce, but otherwise made it exactly as written. I loved it so much, I’ve made it twice this week!
Made them again, with the garlic bread. So good! Made a triple batch. Can’t wait for the leftovers!
My Italian friend loved these meatballs and so did I! They are on my regular rotation.
Amazing! I can’t thank you enough for this recipe! I now don’t have to resort to jarred sauces and can make my own sauce and meatballs. I used to make the one on NY Times but this one (with the pork!) is so flavourful. It’s on weekly rotation in our household and my one- and four-year-old gobble it up. I do omit the pepper flakes and parsley though for their sake and it is still amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
If you were making this with Marcella Hazan’s onion-butter-tomato sauce, at what point in the sauce’s cooking process would you add the meatballs? 25 minutes before the end? Or would you do them separately? Thank you for your advice!
I’d say 25 minutes before the end is just fine.
Thanks! Did just that and they were (both — meatballs & sauce) sensational.
A double batch of cute little meatballs is chilling as we speak and will make a grand appearance on tomorrow’s table (I’m a rebel, I know! It took some courage to boldly serve meatballs rather than something fancy. I’m also using disposable dishes but am cutting myself some slack as I’m hosting 18 people, including 8 ravenous teens, one of which is a vegan and will get her own vegan challah!). I’ll add a spoon of apricot jam to the sauce just to sweetify it a wee bit. Shana Tova!
These are so good and easy! No frying or broiling needed. My husband has trouble swallowing (Parkinson’s) so these over polenta were perfect! There’s only the two of us so I halved the recipe and used a can of Italian diced tomatoes and two spoonfuls of tomato paste. I used ground pork because my husband complained that ground turkey was too rubbery.
Omg…. I have made meatballs for years thinking I am pretty good at it. I made these tonight to take to work tomorrow for meatball subs for everyone. They are melt in your mouth delicious! I added more spice but I am so impressed…. Thank you!
This dish was wonderful! I loved how easy it was, as the frying (as Deb mentions) is usually such a messy production . You miss the crispy crust and flavor with this recipe but it’s worth it. The texture of the meatballs was great. I was glad I had a 2 1/2 pound package of “meatball mix” because I adjusted the recipe accordingly and froze half the meatballs uncooked for next time. I made the “parmesan”-ed version—beautiful and delicious!
Thank you, Deb! This recipe is amazing. I’ve made it many times, and always my daughter eats a hefty serving.
We just got an Instant Pot, and my husband convinced me to use it for this recipe. I used a prepared sauce instead of your homemade – and put one jar in the bottom, then gently put the meatballs in, and put another jar on top (we like sauce). Set it to meat/stew for 5 minutes, and then did a 10-minute natural release. The part after making the meatballs (and chilling) took about 25 minutes total. The results were just as delicious… and the pot goes in the dishwasher. :)
I just got my Instant Pot–haven’t even opened it yet–but I’m glad to know that this recipe works in it. Do you think that it would work to use the sauté function to brown the meatballs first before adding the sauce? I know it’s an extra step and would add more time, but since many people have commented that they miss that aspect of the meatballs, I’m curious if you think it would work. Thanks!
I take my meatball (on the smaller size) and place them on a sheet pan w/ a rack. I then turn the broiler on & brown them on one side, flip & do the other. Boom! All done at once! Such a great time saver!
Made that for dinner. It was totally awesome. Thank you!!!!
I compared this recipe against the meatball recipe I’ve been using for 20 years, and it is exactly the same, except that I use 1/2 cup of breadcrumbs instead of 2/3 cup, and instead of cooking them on the stove in sauce I bake them at 400 for 16-20 minutes. Baking naked makes it easier to double or triple the amount and freeze the cooked meatballs for future meals. There are always homemade meatballs in my freezer!
Opened up the comments to see if anyone had tried baking and freezing these as I’d like to be able to pop a few in the toaster oven for my toddler. Thank you for posting!
can i omit the bread crumbs?
Yes, but it ends up much more dense.
I am a big fan of grated zucchini to fluff out meatballs with veg instead of with breadcrumbs.
Great tip. My in-laws are Whole30-ing this month and did that and I think it tasted great.
Hey Deb, I have read your blog for years and never commented. Love your stuff from over here in Melbourne Australia.
I felt the need to comment on this one because, coincidentally, we make meatballs in a similar fashion after years of refinement. The sauce must be simple, as yours is, but also plentiful – and heres why:
I make my meatballs with NO EGG. The secret is mixing very well by hand. This seems to do something to the protein which makes it ‘bond’. Then having plenty of hot marinara sauce makes it easy to drop them in and not have to touch them. And who cares if there’s left over delicious meatball sauce right?
Thank you! My son is allergic to eggs. Going to try it now!!
I made this last night with two flax eggs, 80/20 ground turkey and it turned out beautifully! I did bake the 24 meatballs in a 400 degree oven for about 15 minutes before I placed them in the sauce. Huge hit with my family!
Hello from CA! I’m wondering about freezing these meatballs? Have you ever tried that? Thinking of making a batch and freezing them before cooking. Then thawing and putting them in the sauce?? Any suggestions would be awesome. Thanks!
also curious about this, if they need to be thawed before cooking in sauce, or just dropped in and add to the cooking time?
OH, she already answered!
“freeze off half the uncooked meatballs. I’ll plunk them right into simmering sauce from the freezer down the road so they’ll taste the most fresh (vs. cooking and then freezing the second half); just takes a few minutes longer.”
This is pretty much how I make my meatballs, except I’ve started making them with ALL pork. It is delicious. I also probably use between 1/2-3/4 cup of parmigiano cheese in them as well.I’ve laso started using garlic powder vs fresh garlic, as I feel it disperses much more evenly in the meat, and has a less aggressive flavor.Your dish looks delicious!
I just made these tonight on a whim and the planets aligned such that I had all the ingredients. Excellent! So easy, so delicious. I had only a 93/7 ground beef in the freezer, and they turned out great and so tender. I would imagine a pork/beef or meatloaf mix might be tastier, but I wouldn’t like so much saturated fat simmering in my sauce (the crushed tomatoes crushed it!) I can’t imagine needing to make this in a slow cooker since it didn’t take that long at all … but as long as it’s on low they should hold up fine if you don’t stir. I was able to cook mine in a Cuisinart family pan so they cooked in one layer. I loved the one-pot fix (served whole wheat pasta, so one more pot).
Deb, I so enjoy your storytelling and recipes woven together as well as reliving the preciously busy and messy baby years through your posts and pictures. It passes too quickly – savor the moments!
Just had these for dinner tonight with zucchini noodles and garlic bread. I used finely diced onions instead of onion powder. I also forgot the eggs but the meatballs held together just fine.
So, so amazing, and so much easier than other meatball recipes I’ve made. Thanks!!!
I just wanted to share that I have made these meatballs more times than I can count and they are a hit every. single. time. If I ask my boyfriend what he wants for dinner, he almost always asks for these. I made them for my boyfriend’s family, for my parents, for friends, etc. They are easy, look impressive and taste AMAZING. Thanks for such a winning recipe! :)
These are my go to meatballs, I’ve also made them without the sauce for another use and they baked perfectly on a cooling rack placed on a sheet pan so the fat drips down and they stay crispy. I try to avoid white flour (I know, what a bore!) so I subbed quick oats for the bread crumbs and couldn’t have noticed the difference if I tried. Thanks Deb!
This has become one of my go to recipes. The last time I made it, I had no time to refrigerate/freeze before I threw the meatballs in the sauce and they stayed together great. Also a fantastic addition to the tomatoe sauce: a splash of red wine and a few soup bones.
I freeze these uncooked and often pop them straight into the tomato sauce still frozen to cook. They work great.
Thank you Deb! You are a goodess!!! I have never tried a recipe of yours that I didn’t adore.
I don’t use eggs in my meatballs, but would like to see the difference, do you use the whole egg, I just have visions of scrambled egg…. Lol
I made a double batch and tried to freeze half of them. Instead, we ate meatballs for two days straight and I’m not sorry. Will be making these all the time!
Excellent under the broiler! So easy and the leftovers tasted even better the next day. Make sure to have some good bread to sop up the sauce. My man was impressed.
Coming late to this party, but these meatballs were fabulous. I used 7% fat ground turkey, added a couple of tablespoons of olive oil. It seem a little loose, so I threw in a couple of more tablespoons of panko. Dressed up the sauce with basil and oregano, and a bit of sugar. The meatballs were tender, moist and so tasty. I’ll make this again and again.
My picky two year old ate six meatballs & a bowl full of fusilli & gladly packed away another generous serving for lunch the next day (& she usually rejects leftovers)! I made the meatballs as written, but used your Tomato Sauce with Onions & Butter for the marinara. Thanks for the good-good recipes!
To have more sauce I used another can of tomatoes. How can I enrich the tomato flavor of the sauce?
These meatballs are perfection!! And so easy to make! Thank you, Deb!
Just made these – delicious! These will be my “go to” meatballs forever!
How many people does this serve?
Forgot how many meatballs this recipe makes, I’ll be eating them for the next month! Does anyone know how well they (plus sauce) freeze?
Sorry for the delayed response on this, but they freeze really well, especially in sauce.
Made this today. Couldn’t believe how easy and delicious it was. I ended up doubling it and freezing half. The pan fried breadcrumbs were the perfect addition. Thanks for another amazing recipe Deb!
I have been looking for a delicious meatball and this is it! I havent made meatballs before and have been very disappointed with other peoples and restaurants meatballs. This one is so delicious and tender. I tried the 50/50 beef and pork mix and also tried my local store’s meatloaf mix which I think I liked a little bit more and it was cheaper. Both ways were amazing though. I had never made my own sauce either, this very simple and quick sauce also tastes amazing! I love your blog thank you for all the hardwork you do so we can benefit from your trial and error :) this was really good with just some bread and butter on the side :)
Loved them…you are 100% right on, so moist and did not lose their shape in the sauce….thank you as always…I’m finally done looking for the “best” meatball, search complete!!
I’m in the middle of an awful week so I’ve been craving comfort food. As always, Smitten Kitchen to the rescue! My husband and I made our meatballs with all beef (93% lean) and 2 tsp dried parsley instead of fresh, and they turned out perfectly. We served them over spaghetti (didn’t feel the need to add any extra sauce past the 28oz can as written) with a side of garlic bread and a bottle of red wine. So easy and flavorful and so exactly what I needed!
I’ve been making Ina’s meatballs for a few years, although I use hot Italian sausage along with the beef and pork. I always double or triple the recipe and bake them in the oven. Then, I have plenty on hand in the freezer for quick meals. Yum! I’ll definitely have to try them with the garlic bread.
Great idea to double or triple the recipe then freeze. Do you cook from frozen or thaw first?
How much fat should be in the beef?
I’m not particular but generally don’t go for the leanest stuff.
Why didn’t I Know about this recipe sooner? I’ve been searching for 20! Years for the perfect meatballs and mostly have been super disappointed. Too sweet or completely tasteless. And now this! So, I used a mix of dark chicken and beef. I think next time I’d use ground veal instead of beef. And I served with whole wheat pasta. But- a super satisfying supper. I can’t wait to make this again.
This recipe looks so much simpler than the ones I have been using. (No frying! Yea!) I’m wondering, if the meatballs sit on top of each other in the pot, will they cook through ok? I have a big pot, but it is not big enough to have 24 meatballs laying in one layer on the bottom. I’m planning to make this for dinner tomorrow.
Yes, when a sauce is simmering, it cooks things equally from all sides.
I always shy away from meals like this because my husband is from Sicily and I’m intimidated by his mom and sister. The ingredients in this, though, are different enough from his family recipe, that I decided to give it a try and made it tonight – followed almost to the letter, except 2x the garlic and a little extra salt. My husband loved it!! YAY!!!
Wonderful recipe – the technique of cooking the meatballs in sauce is perfect, and the smell whilst simmering the meatballs is so mouth-watering! I also like the addition of parmesan very much. Because I didn’t have parsley I used fresh thyme and basil which was likewise delicious.
Made these last night and served with garlic bread. Fabulous!
I loved the tastes and ease of this dish except for the simmering in sauce, which is more difficult than it sounds to do without the meatballs falling apart and yields a very soft meatball (there is also a lot of liquid in this meatball recipe). I do prefer them roasted or broiled on a cookie sheet before doing the parmigiana step, like Ina does with her turkey meatball recipe. It gives more texture and structural integrity. But this recipe was really yummy and I loved the sautéed crumbs on top. I will use this recipe to continue to tweak my own.
I love your blog, the way you write and your descriptions of everything, I have your cookbook, and I trust your recipes. Maybe being from the Midwest is the reason I really did not love these meatballs, but I made them and fried half for our own taste comparisons. We voted for the fried ones over the (steamed/braised/simmered?) ones. The red sauce was disappointing also, but I knew when I made it that it wouldn’t be the way we like our sauce (not gravy).
You might try making it with a marinara sauce instead of plain tomatoes. I did and it’s better this way.
Beth- if I wanted to double the meat mixture and then freeze half of the meatballs for later use would you freeze them raw or cook and then freeze?
Such a fabulous recipe! Thank you. I make this every time we get a hankering for meatballs. I switch it out with several other recipes from your site.
I made these meatballs tonight and they were delicious! The next time I make these, I will definitely bake the meatballs for 10 to 15 mins because I like the look and taste of a browned meatball. And don’t make them with garlic bread… I did and ate way more than I should have!
I just made these and they are delicious!!! So tender and tasty! I’m waiting for the water to boil so I can make the spaghetti…may throw caution to the wind and make the garlic bread too. Thanks!!!
OMG! After watching you make this on Instagram I knew I had to eat them. It didn’t bode well to have to stove on so long in a Queensland summer but ALAS. They were divine (oh and obviously I ate them with garlic bread and moz…droooollll)
Has anyone had any luck with using flax eggs instead? My son has an egg allergy but I want to try this recipe very much! Thanks!
This is great, although I suspect I ground up a bit too much stale bread which made them a bit too bread-y if that makes sense. I added homemade tomato sauce to a can of chopped tomatoes, as well as some sugar and Worcestershire sauce. With added meatballs I don’t think this was necessary, but it was delicious anyway. Meatballs taste heavenly – I happened to have Parmesan and I think I’d always try to add that. Toddler gobbled it up, which is always good!
Phenomenal with Parmesan polenta, as well!
I made this with Trader Joe’s Basil Marinara instead of tomato puree, leaving out the salt, but including the garlic. Seems much more flavorful than when I made it with just tomato puree. YMMV based on the sauce you use, but TJ’s is a very simple good sauce.
I have made these meatballs twice in the past 2 weeks – family and my company loved them. Once I cooked them in the sauce and did the melted cheese/parmesan baked in oven. 2nd time I baked them on a rack/baking sheet and put them in my own standard homemade sauce. Am making tonight again as per my son’s request to take back to college for dinner w/his roommates. Best Meatballs!!!
I have never made meatballs in my life. But here on the East Coast, in the depths of #bombcyclone, I just knew tonight was the night. I made the meatballs. They’re fab, of course, and a total winter-winner. I doubled the recipe and used only three eggs (instead of four), and it worked out great. I baked them first based on a few other comments and then dunked them into sauce to simmer – used two jars of Whole Foods marinara, can’t beat it at $1.99/jar and no sugar. A perfect an easy weeknight meal. Served with that garlic bread, with no regrets.
I have made these meatballs a few times now and they turn out great every time. I always think they’re too wet and not hold going to hold their shape, but they do. And besides, any that break off, just contribute to a lovely meat sauce. My problem today, is that I made the meat mixture and accidentally put ALL the garlic into the meatballs, when I was supposed to divide the garlic for the sauce too. I hope it doesn’t turn off the kids (I know I won’t mind). To balance this, I plan to use onions in the tomato sauce and lay off the garlic (I know, sacrilege). Thanks for this great recipe!
Hi Deb! This dish is AWESOME, but the last time I made it, I added the mozzarella and instead of melting it just sort of seized up and became tougher than I wanted. Do you recommend a particular kind of mozzarella for melting? Does the low moisture type work better here, etc? Thanks!
Weird — might have just been the mozzarella. Was it packed in water/”fresh”? I usually use stuff that comes dry-packed (i.e. no water) for baking and safe the more watery/fresh stuff for fresh preparations, like caprese.
My picky 8 year old requests these. *swoon*. I have a question about the milk vs water. Is there any reason to use one vs the other?
Some people feel milk is more tenderizing; it’s more traditional. If you need to separate dairy and meat or don’t drink milk, you can use water. They’re not going to taste bad by any measure.
I made these last night and am going to make them again tonight because they are just that good. I’m also thinking of trying a chicken and basil version
I was done making meatballs. Couldn’t deal with the mess and the grease and just the whole ORDEAL of it. But then I made these… and they were easy and perfect and I am thinking about all the different ways I can dish them up!
Oh… and I used plain Fage whole milk yogurt instead of milk or water.
Deb!!! I made these tonight and they were SO good!! Left out the cheese (I forgot it but we put enough on top to make up for it lol) and used garlic powder instead of onion (forgot to buy onion). Used a jarred sauce which I regret and next time I will make it the way you suggested with the sauce. Nonetheless they were absolutely delicious. We ate them with homemade sweet potato zoodles and it was a perfect combination! My SO even said how good they were, and he never says this about meatballs!
Thanks for another great recipe!!
Deb–I made your pasta & chickpeas for lunch and these meatballs for dinner. DIVINE. The meatball sauce is perfection and the meatballs are so tender. Thank you for two delicious meals!
This was amazing!
The meatballs were so tender, I had never considered poaching the meatballs. I had diced tomatoes and tomato sauce. Smashed them into the garlic and red pepper, and a few bread crumbs left over. A dash of wine and a ” pizza” blend of herbs from the not ” whole Foods’ store. The sauce was so good. I even did the noodle finish with the sauce back in the pot. Ih man. My family loved it, I loved it. And as I made a double batch of the meatballs, I have some to freeze. I will see how they taste after freezing,and then cooking, but I bet they will be pretty tasty. Thank you for a delicious and easy recipe.
I’ve made these so many times and they are amazing. I even pre-made them and carried them with me to a family ski trip and we ate them every night! Now I am on a fitness/weight loss endeavor and am wondering if I can make them with leaner meat like *GROUND TURKEY.* Or maybe a combo of turkey and beef. Anyone have any advice?
Should work just fine with a more lean meat, or combination of meats.
I regularly make these with ground bison (much leaner than beef) and they work perfectly every time
i recently made these with 99% lean ground turkey (it was all i had – and had low expectations) but they came out great. def not quite as good as when i use beef but ya know when is anything with ground turkey better than the ground beef version haha.
Made these for dinner tonight. The meat mixture was too wet at first, but I gave up on the fork and got in there with my hands and the mixture came together nicely. I did put the meatballs on a plate out on the deck to cool for 30 mins. No need for a fridge in Colorado in the winter. Since we are saucy people, I did double the sauce using a can of tomato purée and a can of crushed tomatoes. Also added extra garlic and pepper to suit our taste. The meatballs were perfectly done after 25 minutes. We served with spaghetti and garlic bread. Fantastic!
I don’t know if it’s just my computer or something else, but the “Meat” category no longer appears on the full recipe index. I can click through from the tag at the bottom of the recipe, but by then I’ve already found what I’m looking for…
Love these meatballs! The first time I made them I was pregnant and started crying when the oil splattered, even though I knew it was going to happen.
I inly eat fish and fowl. Can these be made with ground turkey?
Yes. I’d use dark turkey meat. You might find only 1/4 cup milk or water are needed.
I love meatballs. Can’t wait to try yours. I’ve tried your garlic bread. It’s simple and it’s the best. Yum! Getting hungry just thinking about it…
Confession: I’ve been a quiet follower of your recipes for a long time. Happened upon your announcement about today’s Instagram video. So I created an account just to be able to watch it. Now that’s dedication, right? And yes, we are having everyday meatballs for dinner tonight, so in at least two ways I am proof of your persuasive powers.
I watched your live Instagram video and then I went home and made these (along with the crispy broccoli 😋) for dinner served with a garlicky toasted seeded baguette. It was heavenly. The perfect antidote to a long, cold, snowy, hectic, stressful week.
Thank you so much for doing the video! I loved watching you cook and learned a lot. Your method for cutting broccoli just blew my mind. I was doing it so wrong!
Is it possible to print out your recipe?
There is a print icon that leads to a print template at the bottom of each recipe, where it says “DO MORE:” You can also click CTRL + P from any recipe post and it will take you to a streamlined print template.
Inspired by your Instagram live, I made these tonight along with the crispy broccoli. The meatballs are fantastic! I ended up subbing turkey meat as that was what we had in the fridge. They were So light and delicate – I feel like I could have eaten the entire batch! Delicious!!!
hi deb! you mentioned in your insta-live that you’ve since tweaked your method and now bake the meatballs for a bit. unfortunately i didn’t remember to write down the info (time/temp) – would you mind sharing the details for your new process? thanks!
I’m confused. Is the recipe missing a step where these are suppose to be baked before plunking in the sauce? I followed the recipe to the letter and the meatballs were definitely undercooked balls of mush, even after extending the simmer time on the stove. So disappointed….and worried I may have given my family food poisoning from undercooking. Help!
I made these with the ground turkey SAUSAGE meat from the market (by accident…I meant to buy ground turkey), and they were fabulous!
Hi Deb! I’ve made this recipe many times now, and it is always a hit. I love that I can make extra and freeze them to cook on those nights where prep time is minimal but we want homemade. My daughter LOVES these meatballs. And last night, she reached a new record. She ate 11! (She’s only 5.) I expect her to grow a few inches in the next week… meat consumption seems to be the clearest indicator of a growth spurt.
Thank you for this and all your other wonderful recipes. You’ve helped me start to really enjoy cooking. And my family thanks you for it! :) Tree
Wonderful recipe! If I make ahead, could I reheat in an oven, sauce and meatballs? At what temperature and how long?
Recipe was so fast and the meatballs were SO delicious. We used a jar of Rao’s marinara instead of the tomato puree and it was perfection. This really is a fantastic weeknight recipe. Thank you!!
So good and the type of recipe that is easy to memorize. I’ve made this many times and will never go back to baking meatballs as a separate step. They are so tender this way and still flavorful. My kids love it too. We have it over spaghetti and if there are some leftovers, the next day we do meatball sub sandwiches with lots of melted cheese.
Omg this recipe is so good!!! I’ve made it twice in the past month. My family absolutely loves it and I love that I can make the meatballs while the baby is taking his morning nap, stick them in the fridge while we are out all day and then throw together a salad and cook up these delicious little wonders in no time when it’s time for dinner . Huge home run for us. Thank you!! I always check your website first before looking for recipes elsewhere. Scones and biscuits are my fav. And, living in Japan, your touch of home means so so much. Thank you for everything!
I’ve made this a minimum of 10 times now for dinner, and it always turns out perfectly every time. The meatballs are tender and delicious. I’ve made a few variations, like making bigger meatballs because there was too little time (so definitely no refrigeration), browning the outside, making the sauce with half the amount of tomatoes called for, adding some red wine, adding onions, etc. So good. Every. Single. Time.
Oh my goodness, these are the most delicious meatballs I’ve ever eaten!
Deb these meatballs are WINNING! I love not having to brown them first and they certainly do not suffer from lack of that step. I’ve made them a bunch of times now – so easy and delicious, I’ve told anyone who will listen, all about it. Now I’m going to the kitchen to make your broccoli pizza – another fantastic recipe.
I love making these meatballs. I make them with a blend of ground beef and garlic and herb pork sausage for extra flavor. I always make extra because they freeze beautifully. While the water for pasta boils, I throw these into a hot oven to brown for 10 min before plopping them into the sauce while the pasta cooks. I have also made these as little meatball sliders with garlic bread- that is comfort food at its finest!
I’ve been trying to find a meatball recipe that my picky 8 year old son approves of. This one wins!!! Super easy and tasty. Definitely saving this one.
Wonderful. Made them with ground turkey and needed a bit more panko to keep them together. Also gently tweaked the sauce by adding a touch of sugar and a bit more garlic. Everyone loved them!
My husband cannot eat tomato sauce. How do you recommend cooking these without sauce? Would it be better to bake them in the oven? Thanks for your advice!
I had success baking these at 400 for about 20 minutes.
Thank you so much for the advice! I ended up trying to bake at 400 for 25-30 minutes and decided 25 was too long. Glad to hear 20 minutes worked for you! I also noticed that the tray near the bottom of the oven got way to brown whereas the ones near the top were cooked perfectly! I will raise my shelves next time!
I tend to have a batch of these ready to go in the freezer. Any suggestions for how to cook them (from frozen) in my new instant pot? The thought that I won’t have a splattered stove to clean is pretty tempting
Just made this! Perfect for a Sunday snowed-in. The instructions were bang on, thank you. Made it with creamy polenta and lemon chicken salad on the side. Going to eat the left over meatballs with your Sour Cream and Cheddar Biscuits.
My go-to, always some in the freezer meatballs. I double the recipe and freeze in small foil containers. I don’t like soggy noodles so I just cook some pasta while the meatballs heat up.
THANK YOU! THANK YOU! I made this last night and it was by far the best spaghetti and meatballs I have ever made. And thanks for the pasta tips. Deb, you’re so amazing.
These meatballs were delicious! I used 1/2 lb. of 80/20% ground chuck and 1/2 lb. mild Italian sausage. I baked them for 15 minutes at 450º and mixed them with the sauce right before serving. This omits the need to refrigerate the meatballs, as baking them causes them to hold their shape.
Do you have an opinion about cooking these in an instant pot (from raw)? I see someone else asked about cooking from frozen in an instant pot, but no answer. Thank you!
I just made these Everyday Meatballs. Fabulous! Luscious! And no frying needed. (I always fried first. It never worked out as I would have liked.)
They stayed in a perfect rounded shape and did not crack or fall apart. Most excellent!
Thank you for all your work. You’re the best!
These were absolutely perfect. Used all beef, refrigerated the meatballs overnight before cooking, served with roasted zucchini spears and lots of good parm. :)
Making these tomorrow evening for friends – could I make the meatballs this evening and keep them covered in the fridge until tomorrow? Or would it be better to freeze tonight and then cook them from frozen tomorrow?
Fridge should be fine.
Well, that’s my new obsession. I was never a big fan of meatballs, but I went with your recipe to get rid of some mozarella and minced beef I had in the fridge. Stuffed them with mini-mozzarella balls and now I can’t stop making them, so incredibly good!
Fabulous recipe that I come back to time and time again. I use 95/5 ground beef, add a bit more salt to the meatball mixture and just a sprinkle of sugar and a bay leaf to the sauce. Great eaten as suggested or thrown into a wrap with some cheese for a quick lunch.
Thank you, Deb!
Absolutely delicious! I doubled the meatballs, tripled the sauce. I cooked about 1/3 of the meatballs in the sauce, baked the rest. Everything else I followed the recipe exactly. I made polenta and served the meatballs and sauce over the polenta and it was one of the best dishes I’ve made recently. I will definitely make this again!
I’m a huge fan of your chicken meatballs and have been making them for years but decided to try something new. I made these with ground turkey and did the mozzarella/broiler method with toasted breadcrumbs and garlic bread on the side. Excellent! 👌
I made these yesterday. They were delicious and very tender. I would definitely make them again!
Made this last night: judging by the silence at the table, they were a hit. And I did it, mhmm, the garlic bread that is. I made meatball subs. Followed your linked garlic bread recipe, then I topped the garlic bread with the meatballs, sauce, and grated asiago (mozzarella would have been nice, but I didn’t have any), then popped back into at low-broil to melt the cheese. Another fab-u-lous recipe, Deb! Thanks!!
For those who want to go gluten free, I used cooked quinoa instead of breadcrumbs (1:1 replacement), and the meatballs were deliciously tender.
Also, for the ultra lazy like me, I used a cookie scoop to scoop the meatball mixture and just dumped them in the sauce. It took a fraction of the time of rolling each ball. The balls are a bit more shaggy looking, but it reduces active time by several minutes at least.
I have made these many times and they are so so easy and yummy!
I follow the recipe exactly except I double it and freeze the extras in lunch size containers for later.
It reheats like a champ and this makes for great meatball subs!
This is a favorite!
Made these tonight with Meatless Farm Co. “Meat”. We did pan fry them before adding them to the sauce. Conventional wisdom (aka New York Times) says browning meatless meat products is best. We were thrilled with the results. Would happily make again!
Thank you for all your recipe inspiration. This week we have made your roasted chicken on schmaltzy cabbage (Oh. My. Word.) and last night it was meatballs. We each had our own style at the table, my fiance and son were more traditional with piles of pasta underneath the zippy sauce, while I opted for a piece of garlic bread to carry my sauce and meatball. My fiance said he would happily eat that meal every day for the rest of his life. He wants to invite you to our wedding on July 4th, just to thank you for all you do. :) Stay safe, and thanks again.
We have eaten sooooo many meatballs in the last month thanks to this recipe! I have about 5 pounds of them in my freezer. So yummy and so easy. I’d have a hard time finding a reason to brown a meatball again.
I just finished mixing up the meatballs, and they’re extremely soft and sticky. Could barely get the mixture formed into balls. Is that normal? They’re chilling in the fridge for now, hoping they firm up!
Yes, they’re very soft, but they set up as they cook.
This is the greatest recipe I have ever made. Thank you so much!
The flavors are crazy. It cannot be overstated how good these are!
I’ve made this countless times with ground beef and a mix of beef and pork and it’s my go-to. I’ve recently been eating vegetarian, and thought I would leave a comment because I didn’t see one here — Beyond worked great as a meat substitue here. I did everything else the same (did the milk (vs water), panko (vs other bread crumb), and the same amount of time), served over fettucine and it was amazing.
thank you for your comment rob! searched the comments to find whether this could be adapted with a veggie ground round (i prefer Impossible).
I made these with ground turkey. It was way too loose to form a meatball so I added more panko breadcrumbs – enough just to the point where I could form a meatball. Putting them in the fridge for 30 minutes proved to be miraculous. I followed instructions nearly perfectly (I cheated and used my new favorite sauce Barilla Vero Gusto Sicilian Herb). I was stunned at how delicious they came out! Thank you. Meatballs have been a regular fail for me. These were so tender and delicious. Honestly hard to believe they were turkey meatballs.
I cook meatballs on foil-covered sheet pan if it is a big batch or in silicon muffin pan if only a dozen and don’t have to add extra egg, worry about spattering or breaking up. Then continue with whatever recipe or combination you are using.
I attempted these with ground dark meat turkey yesterday. Used almond meal instead of bread crumbs to keep it low carb, and reduced milk to 1/4c. The resulting mixture was EXTREMELY loose … to a point where I could hardly form the meatballs. Next time, perhaps I should skip the milk altogether? Anyway, I managed to reform the meatballs into proper shapes after semi-freezing the mixture. And now my meatballs are all frozen. What’s my best bet if cooking these up? Should I bake them first to ensure they don’t break down? And then add them to the tomato sauce? Any thoughts or tips? Thank you in advance.
They’re very soft — but they will firm up perfectly when cooked, just drop them in the sauce. You can drop the frozen ones in too and they will cook, just needs a few minutes longer, maybe 5.
Mine were also soft, Fahreen, but I just rolled with it. Meatballs shaped like rolling hills are still meatballs, and boy, were they good. I also did as Christi-Lynn did and increased the tomato sauce and garlic by 50% (and added some oregano). I paired this with baked spaghetti squash and your garlic bread, Deb. What a satisfying night of cooking and eating.
I think it’s bc almonds won’t absorb the liquid like breadcrumbs would. Consider using GF breadcrumbs if you’re trying to avoid wheat.
I love these meatballs, my kids love them even more than I do. I’ve made them with a variety of different ground meats (chicken, turkey, beef, pork) and they are always delicious. The only variation is that I always add extra tomato sauce (usually an extra 14 oz or so) because there was never enough sauce for those who love to eat it by the spoonful (ahem) and from the beginning I would neglect to read the directions and put 2 cloves of garlic in the sauce and then put another two in the meatballs and I can’t go back from that. Thank you Deb!
I made these last night, and just finished the remaining three for lunch. I don’t know which is better, the fact that these are incredibly easy to make, or incredibly good to eat! I may up the amount of chili flakes next time, and there will be a next time – possibly in the next few days.
Is it a sin to sub dried parsley?
Not at all; just use less.
Made a few adjustments based on what I had in the fridge: I used ground chicken (93% lean) instead of beef/pork and ricotta instead of milk. I baked them (425F for about 15 minutes, more or less depending on size) because I served them with pasta with pesto sauce. The meatballs were juicy and delicious. The chicken really complemented the basil pesto sauce.
I made these today. An excellent recipe. Quick and easy. The meatballs were so tasty. I used half ground pork and half ground chuck. I also used Progesso Italian style breadcrumbs. Next time I make them, I’ll make just one change. I will give them a quick fry in olive oil before putting them in the sauce. I know that kind of defeats the whole purpose of a quick weeknight dinner, but a little bit of crust is a wonderful thing! Thanks for a great recipe!
I NEVER make meatballs since every recipe I’ve tried ended badly (hard meatballs are not a good thing). You inspired me to try again and I will now make these as often as I can get away with. My husband asked me what was in the sauce because it was so good. So easy to make with nothing fussy. I served them just like you did, with just bread (and a salad for something green). Thank you for adding a lovely dish to my recipe list! (comment copied from YouTube; double the goodness deserves double comments!)
Loved it! Definitely the easiest and least messy way to make meatballs, I did not miss the browning. Used ground bison and jarred Rao’s marinara with a small can of plan tomato sauce to equal 28oz bc that’s what I had. Turned out great! Thanks!
Made this tonight – the meatballs were so tender and it came together quickly. I am LOVING your videos and I have made 3 or the 8 recipes so far. I’d love for another season in the future!
So 1 lb makes that many meatballs, or is it 1 lb of each meat? Looks delicious and want to make today. Yay, meatballs!
One pound total made 22 meatballs for me!
Just made these for dinner and I am thrilled with how easy and tasty these are! They are definitely the best tomato sauce based meatballs I’ve ever made. Thank you for this recipe! I can’t recommend it highly enough. 👍👍👍
I refuse to live in a world where I can’t put meatballs on garlic bread or do a baked spaghetti and meatballs. 😉. My son is obsessed with both so what can you do? 🤷🏻♀️
These were EXCELLENT, I was a little bit scared on the onion POWDER vs actual onion, but truly never liked the “bits” of onion either….I AM CONVERTED to the powder. Out of the ball park with these….this is going to be my one and done for sure!! Thanks, Deb, love all your recipes, own all the books, girl!
Yes! The milk along with the breadcrumbs makes the most tender meatballs!
In Greece meatballs are served with French fries, somehow this brings out the flavors of the meatballs more so than drenching them in red sauce!
I made these today. I had them all scooped out, and then realized I omitted the milk. When I put the meatballs all back into my bowl, and added the milk, they were very much softer, and hard to make into a ball. What is the purpose of the milk??
I just made the everyday meatballs and they were truly life altering! I hate to cook, I am an awful cook and I dread having to eat what I cook!
But it turned out that I had two pounds of ground beef in the freezer and no idea what to do with them! Someone suggested your video, and it did take me all day to get the darn things done, but they were great!
You are adorable and a good teacher! Thanks so much!
Made these tonight. Soft and seriously delicious!! Had a frozen batch which took a long time to cook through, almost an hour. But the wait was worthwhile.
Many thanks for sharing the recipe, Deb!
I’m planning to follow this meatball recipe as it looks easy to prepare. I’m quite new into cooking as I’m new into wifey duties, so I find it really helpful whenever I discover something that can be made with ingredients that are easily available. I’m also quite surprised that milk could be used in a meatball recipe and I’m curious and excited to try it! Thank you for sharing this recipe, Deb!
I thought these were the best meatballs I’ve ever made. I didn’t use pasta with it – just meatballs, salad, and bread. It was really delicious. I loved how they cooked in the sauce. So easy – the ground meat actually tasted smooth. I can’t quite explain it – but they were soft and yet they held together. The taste was mild. That’s what I loved about it – mild and smooth tasting.
The Everyday meatballs are fabulous and easy to make. My husband needed to eat soft food, and because there were 2 eggs and because they are not toasted or fried before cooking in the sauce, they were perfect!
Didn’t realize I was a meatballs (or a meatballs sub) person until this recipe…so easy and tasty with items in my pantry/freezer. Garlic bread+stacked with these bad boys=heaven.
My new meatball formula! These worked so well. I tripled the recipe (froze 2/3, raw), made it with all beef and used water for reasons of kashrut, and changed the seasoning to an Italian sausage blend. They were tender but held together beautifully. Definitely, this will enter our rotation of freezer meals.
I’ve now also baked them. 400 for about 15 minutes, as suggested by a commenter elsewhere. It works, but easier to overcook, I think.
From frozen, I find they take about an hour to cook once plopped into simmering sauce. They can also be frozen cooked in sauce.
As is my custom, I didn’t read the directions to the end and I dumped all the meatballs into the sauce (I used Frankies’ Spuntino sauce recipe) at the same time and went to turn them at about 10 min. Big mistake. Next time…
I made this tonight and everyone loved it including a picky 6yo old. Family agreed it could go into the regular dinner rotation, we served it with kale and toasted bread. Thank you for the great recipe and I enjoyed watching the video!
This is the first recipe of yours that I have tried, and we are so pleased with the flavor of the meatballs, the size, and the ease of directions. Thank you! Thank you! Cannot wait to share with our grandsons this week.
Delicious! I made 3 pounds of meatballs and froze them for a large family dinner. Then all I had to do was make the sauce and add in the frozen meatballs and cook them longer. They were enjoyed by all from age 7 to 67.
Just made these with impossible meat and oat milk and WOW! Best vegetarian meatballs I’ve ever made. Absolutely a keeper I’ll make again.
Made these tonight and it was great! Everyone loved it. Only complaint was not enough sauce. Otherwise fantastic!
For any vegetarians out there who still crave meatballs, I made these with fake ground “meat” for my veg daughters. Because the meat package is only 12 ounces (why?), I added 4 ounces of veg chorizo that I had around. Omitted the salt in the meat mixture because both those products have plenty already. Otherwise I followed the recipe. I was amazed at how tender and yummy these came out, even with fake meat! If it were up to me, it’d be beef and pork all the way, but this way we all got enjoy them. Fabulous, quick and easy recipe! And adaptable too. Thank you!
This recipe is very close to the old (and wonderful) Time-Life cookbooks published in the 1960’s. It’s very forgiving and quite tasty. I like the “no browning” suggestion, as it such a mess to brown!
Hands down the BEST meatball recipe I’ve ever made, and I’ve made A LOT because I struggle to cook them properly and they all fall apart. These turned out perfect, tender and flavourful without being mushy and not one fell to pieces in the sauce. Made exactly as the recipe suggests to serve with spaghetti. 9 year old son inhaled these and pronounced them “great” and even the picky 6 year old ate them. If that’s not high praise for a recipe, I don’t know what is. These are definitely going in the “family favourites” folder. Thank you for a fantastic family dinner!
Hi Deb, I don’t like frying meatballs either so I always bake them first before putting them in the sauce…I feel it renders some fat. Would you recommend I could do that with these meatballs?
Absolutely. I use that method in this Perfect Meatballs and Spaghetti, which uses a similar meatball.
I made these this evening – followed to the letter. After 25 minutes – I did not touch the covered pot – they were raw. After another 10 minutes they still were not cooked thru. I used 1 lb meat – half beef and half ground pork. And all other ingredients in your recipe. Major disappointment. I used one 28 ounce can of crushed tomatoes, think it needed more sauce, too.
How big were the meatballs? That’s so surprising to me because simmered meatballs are only a couple inches wide, they should cook through much sooner (and always do for us).
1 1/2” in diameter, smaller than a golf ball.
I followed your meatball recipe almost 100% so I could leave an honest review. My only tweak was buttermilk instead of milk and only because my milk had gone bad. Hands down, best I’ve ever eaten. So incredibly impressed with this recipe. Well done.
I am so excited to make this. I love meatballs. My husband doesn’t eat pork/beef so I am going with ground turkey as I have it in the freezer. I make your Marsala Meatballs with ground turkey and they stay plenty moist. And my youngest son can’t have gluten so I am going to use gluten free panko or bread crumbs.
So do you think with ground turkey and gluten free bread crumbs or panko that I will still come somewhere near the original recipe? Will it work or should I just sadly try something else ?
The culinary principles are the same. It is like asking if you make a strawberry sundae instead of a chocolate sundae,will it work. The flavor will be in the seasonings, whatever you choose.
I’ve made this with ground turkey but not gf breadcrumbs, but I still think you’ll be fine. You might need a dash less liquid, since turkey is softer.
I’ve been making this ever since I saw the pic of the meatballs in a pan with the mozzarella on top, a strand stretching over to the garlic bread. My family devours it and company loves it. My local grocery store has a group mixture of beef, veal, and pork (bless them) which I use with great success. Thank you for preventing me from ever frying meatballs again.
Owning my last-meatballs-in the freezer/what will I do with all these mini-plum tomatoes from the garden. I’m trying to shake a stubborn case of Covid, hence my stomach is quite picky. I’m Swedish on my mother’s side, so meatballs=life. Stomach wanted meatballs in tomato sauce. I pulled this up, because I knew it was here. Used roasted tomato purée from last year’s crop and a bit over a half pound of halved Juliet tomatoes, which are a half to a third the size of regular plum tomatoes. Added the end of a bag of frozen meatballs. Exactly what Covid tummy wanted! Once I’m better, I’ll do the entire recipe as written, promise.
Still fighting COVID exhaustion and will admit that I viewed this un-browned meatball recipe as “better than nothing”. Since I am vegetarian, I did not taste the sauce with the meat balls in it. I added a glug of red wine, extra red pepper flakes , a ladle of pasta water and told my son to serve himself.
Imagine my surprise when my son deemed his spaghetti as ” better” than the one I usually make. Clutch the pearls! You mean better than the one that cooks all day and is served with beautifully browned meatballs?
So here’s to the silver lining of enduring, despite 4 vaccines, many days of utter exhaustion. This is my new “go to” spaghetti and meatballs recipe.
Made these tonight -yummo! One thing: i doubled the recipe and for whatever reason they weren’t quite cooked after 25 mins (in my dutch oven on the stovetop) so i kept cooking them – after about an hour, the amazing smell in the kitchen let me know they were done – velvety sauce and delectable, tender meatballs!
If I double the recipe (kids here love meatballs and the ground beef usually comes in 1pd batch each), and the recipes don’t all fall in a single layer on the pot, how much would you suggest I adjust the cooking time by?
I made these tonight with 85% lean ground turkey. Quick and easy dinner and absolutely delicious. Will be making these again.
This recipe is the BEST. I don’t know if I will make meatballs the other way ever again. So flavourful, so tender, and held their shape. I made them as written, using all beef, milk, and bakery bagged breadcrumbs. And the sauce is so perfectly simple. Thank you!!
I must confess I almost made your perfect meatballs from Smitten Kitchen Keepers… But then I plopped the raw meatballs in the sauce anyway because this recipe will forever be my “keeper”
lovely meatballs- soft and tender- less mess than frying- I doubled the recipe, used minced beef, pork and veal-
Could I do this in the crockpot? Also, wondering if you’d suggest baking the meatballs first?
Made these in the instant pot, using my own jarred tomato sauce. Layer some sauce, half the meatballs, then repeat layers. Cook 5 min on meat setting then 10 min natural release. They were very good when made but even better the next day.