This easy meatball recipe makes the best homemade baked meatballs that are also freezer-friendly! You can easily make these ahead and add them to a big plate of noodles and spaghetti sauce for a simple and delicious dinner everyone will love!
If you’re craving a dish that’s hearty, comforting, and full of flavor, then this easy meatball recipe is for you! These meatballs are versatile and always a crowd-pleaser, making them Ideal for a family meal, a potluck, or a fancy dinner party. Plus, the prep time is minimal – just mix all the ingredients in a large bowl, roll them into balls, and bake!
It’s no more work to make 3 pounds of meatballs than it is to make 1 pound of meatballs. So prep ahead and have a delicious meal ready in no time! And if you’re looking for other delicious recipes, try my venison meatballs for a different flavor or this easy meatloaf recipe! And of course, topped with spaghetti sauce this recipe is always a hit.
This recipe was found in the little recipe box I received for our wedding. It’s been my go-to meatball recipe ever since.
Table of Contents
Why I Love This Recipe
- Easy to Make: This easy meatball recipe requires only a few ingredients, with ground beef being the star. The prep time is minimal, and the baking process is simple, making it a perfect choice for a quick weeknight dinner.
- Pantry Ingredients: This recipe doesn’t require fresh ingredients that may not always be on hand. All you need is ground beef, a variety of spices from your cabinet, breadcrumbs, and milk. So, even when the cupboard seems bare, this recipe is still doable.
- Freezer-Friendly: These meatballs are great for freezer cooking. If you’ve been wanting to prepare meals ahead of time, this is a fantastic recipe to start with. Make a large batch, freeze them, and have a ready meal for those busy days.
- Versatile: This meatball recipe is incredibly versatile. Enjoy these tender meatballs as an appetizer with your favorite sauce, or pair them with spaghetti and marinara sauce for a hearty meal. They can even be used in meatball subs or meatball soups.
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- Ground beef: The star of our meatball recipes, ground beef brings a hearty flavor and tender texture. With a higher fat content, it guarantees that the meatballs stay juicy and delicious.
- Italian breadcrumbs: These breadcrumbs not only help to bind our meat mixture together, but also infuse it with a subtle Italian seasoning.
- Nutmeg: A dash of nutmeg adds a warm, nutty flavor that elevates the taste of the meatballs, making them a great appetizer, especially when paired with a smoky sauce.
- Dried minced onion: Minced onion helps to add a savory depth to the meatballs, contributing to the overall flavor profile.
- Garlic powder: Garlic powder brings a robust and aromatic note that compliments the other ingredients in the meatballs perfectly.
- Milk: Milk helps to moisten the breadcrumbs, guaranteeing that the meatballs are tender and not dry. It also contributes to the rich, creamy taste of the meatballs.
- Large Bowl – You will need a large bowl to mix all the ingredients. This will help make sure that the ground beef, breadcrumbs, and seasonings are evenly distributed throughout the meat mixture.
- Baking Pan – For this recipe, a baking pan is necessary to bake the meatballs in the oven. Make sure the pan is large enough to hold all the meatballs without them touching.
How to Make Easy Meatball
Before you begin, gather all your ingredients and preheat your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy cleanup later.
Step 1 – Combine All Ingredients
In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. This includes ground beef, breadcrumbs, garlic powder, onion powder, Italian seasoning, salt, black pepper, and parmesan cheese. Mix well until the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the meat mixture.
Step 2 – Form the Meatballs
Using your hands, shape the meat mixture into 1 1/2 to 2 inch balls. You can also use a cookie scoop or ice cream scoop to get uniform meatballs. This size is just right for most meatball recipes, whether you’re making spaghetti and meatballs, meatball subs, or meatball soup.
Step 3 – Arrange Meatballs on the Baking Sheet
Place the meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly apart. This allows the heat to circulate evenly, resulting in perfectly cooked meatballs.
Step 4 – Bake the Meatballs
Bake the meatballs in your preheated oven for about 20 to 30 minutes. The exact time will depend on the size of your meatballs and your oven’s exact temperature. You’ll know the meatballs are done when the internal temperature is 165˚ F and have a nice, golden brown color on the outside.
For Freezer Cooking: Place foil over the uncooked meatballs and use a Sharpie to create a label. You don’t want to have to look up the recipe for the cook-time later, so always label them with the temperature and time.
- Choose the right ground beef: For this meatball recipe, opt for ground beef with 85% or 80% fat content. The fat will keep your meatballs juicy and flavorful. Using more lean meat will make the meatballs more likely to crumble.
- Try it with Turkey: If you’re looking to mix things up, try replacing the ground beef with ground turkey for a different flavor profile. Not only are turkey meatballs lower in calories, but they also bring a unique, delicious twist to the traditional meatball recipe.
- Italian Flavors: For an authentic Italian touch, add some Italian sausage to the mix. You can replace half of the ground beef with Italian sausage. This adds a burst of flavor and gives your meatballs an Italian flair.
- Add Fresh Herbs: Fresh herbs can add a whole new level of flavor to your meatballs. Try adding some chopped fresh basil or parsley to the mix. This will give your meatballs a fresh, aromatic punch that pairs perfectly with tomato sauce.
- Make It Spicy: If you enjoy a bit of heat, add some red pepper flakes or a dash of cayenne pepper to the meat mixture. This will give your meatballs a spicy twist and make it even more delicious!
What to Serve With
- For a traditional Italian dinner, serve these easy meatballs over a bed of al dente spaghetti and top with marinara sauce and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. The savory flavor of the meatballs perfectly compliments the tangy tomato sauce and pasta.
- Want a hearty comfort meal? Try making meatball subs. Place a few of these tender meatballs in a crusty baguette, slather with tomato sauce, top with cheese, and bake until the cheese is melted and bubbly.
- For a lighter fare, these meatballs can be added to a fresh tomato and cucumber salad. The contrast of the cold, crisp vegetables and the warm, savory meatballs makes for a delightful meal.
- These meatballs are a great addition to soups. Simmer them in a tomato-based soup with some fresh herbs for a warm, comforting dish perfect for chilly evenings.
- For a finger-food option, serve these meatballs as appetizers at your next party. Skewer them with toothpicks and serve with a side of marinara sauce for dipping. They go great with the little smokies sauce.
This is up to your preference. If you plan to use the meatballs to top spaghetti, you can freeze them raw and cook them before serving. However, if you’re going to use them in a crockpot with spaghetti sauce, you might want to pre-cook them before freezing. You can then throw them into the crockpot while they’re still frozen and let them simmer all day long.
Yes you can, but it is recommended to bake the meatballs first before placing them in a crockpot with sauce. This helps to make sure that they are thoroughly cooked and will hold their shape while simmering in the sauce.
According to this recipe, one pound of ground beef can make about 22 meatballs. So, if you’re planning a meal, you might want to consider a quarter pound of ground beef per person. This should provide a generous serving of meatballs for each guest.
For this recipe, 85% fat-content ground beef was used. If you use a leaner type of beef, the meatballs may be more likely to crumble. Therefore, a slightly higher fat content can help to keep your meatballs tender and juicy.
Absolutely! These meatballs are versatile and can be used in a variety of dishes. For meatball subs, simply place a few cooked meatballs in a sub roll and top with marinara sauce and melted cheese. For meatball soup, add the meatballs to your favorite soup base and let it simmer until the flavors are well combined.
Yes, you absolutely can. Ground pork or chicken would work great for this recipe. But keep in mind that different types of ground meat contain different amounts of fat and moisture, so substituting the meat can change the texture and flavor of the meatballs.
Storing and Reheating
- Refrigerate: After enjoying your homemade meatballs, store the leftovers in an airtight container in the fridge. They’ll keep their flavor and stay tender for up to 3 days.
- Freeze: Not only can these meatballs be enjoyed immediately after cooking, they can also be frozen for future use. Simply place foil over the basic meatballs and use a Sharpie to create a label. You won’t want to look up the recipe for the cooking time later, so always label them with the temperature and time. They can be stored for up to 3 months.
- Thawing Instructions: When it is time to enjoy your frozen meatballs, let them thaw overnight in the refrigerator. This helps guarantee that they maintain their delicious flavor and tender texture.
- Reheating Instructions: Reheat your meatballs gently in a frying pan with a bit of marinara sauce, or in the oven at a low temperature. If they’re part of a pasta dish, simply add them to your hot spaghetti and let them simmer until warmed through.
- What to Expect: This easy meatball recipe yields around 22 delicious homemade meatballs using 1 lb of ground beef.
- How to Scale: If you want to make more than 22 meatballs, you can double the recipe and follow the instructions as directed. Just make sure that your large bowl is big enough to mix all the ingredients properly. If it is not, you can prepare the meat mixture in two batches to get the same results.
Easy Meatballs Recipe
- 1 lb ground beef 85% or 80% fat content
- 1 cup Italian bread crumbs
- 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
- 1 1/4 teaspoon dried minced onion
- 1 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/2 cup milk
- Preheat oven to 350˚f F.
- Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl.
- Roll into 1 1/2 to 2-inch balls. Place in baking pan.
- Bake the meatballs in a preheated oven at 350˚ F oven for 20 – 30 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 165˚ F.