Everyone needs a great Italian Meatball Recipe! Our tested recipe is easy to make and the results are consistently terrific. These Italian styled meatballs are super juicy, tender and delicious, with easy make-ahead and freezable directions too!
Have you ever done one of those Ancestry DNA Tests for Ethnicity & Genealogy? They had a big sale during the holidays so my husband and I bought two kits as a gift for ourselves. It takes 6-8 weeks for the results so I haven’t gotten mine back yet, but I’m pretty sure it will say I’m from Irish and Scottish heritage. However … I’ve been channeling my inner Italian grandmother lately so perhaps the universe is trying to tell me something. Wouldn’t it be fun if my test came back with Italian roots?! Can’t wait to find out 🙂
Italian or not, I absolutely
love adore Italian food. I long to visit Italy and drink copious amounts of red wine, eat my weight in fresh crusty bread dipped in olive oil, savor salty bites of amazing olives and cheese, and of course, slurp up bowls of homemade pasta topped with plenty of tomato sauce. If we’re dreaming here, I would give anything to spend a day with an Italian grandmother working side by side in her kitchen, making authentic homemade sauce (a/k/a gravy), gnocchi, and of course handmade pasta. (heavy sigh) But until all the stars align, I’ll have to keep making my own gnocchi, lasagna and these amazing meatballs covered in fresh Parmesan.
There are so many things I love about these meatballs and they’re easily adaptable too.
I use a combination of beef, veal and pork because our butcher sells it all in one package, super easy. But if your butcher doesn’t assemble it that way, no worries. Just use a combination of beef and pork or even just 80-85% beef. My mom always used beef and her meatballs were terrific. She always used white bread soaked in milk too, but I never have white bread in the house. We normally use Panko or seasoned breadcrumbs, whatever we have on hand. The only things that are essential and non-negotiable are using fresh garlic and parsley, and fresh grated Parmesan cheese.
Since we have a monthly family dinner with the whole gang, I make a double batch of these meatballs and freeze until needed. They’re perfect to have on hand for a super quick and easy dinner or a dinner party with the whole family. If you’re using the meatballs right away, just brown them lightly in a skillet then add them directly to your sauce to simmer until done through. If you want to flash freeze the meatballs for later, brown in the skillet then bake for 10-15 minutes. Cool the meatballs completely, lay them out on a rimmed baking sheet and pop them in the freezer. Once frozen, transfer the meatballs to a freezer sale container and ziplock bag. The meatballs won’t stick together so you can remove the exact amount needed for dinner.
Our Italian Meatballs are a real treat and a must try for the Italian food lovers in your family.
There are so many ways to use them too. Drop them in a saucepan filled with your favorite sauce, chop up a few and scatter on your homemade pizza, add a layer to our Rich & Meaty Classic Lasagna Recipe or use as the base for our Skillet Meatball Calzones with Herbed Butter Sauce. We haven’t even started on the sandwiches yet! One recipe – multiple meals – perfect for weekend cooking and weeknight eating.
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Italian styled meatballs that are super juicy, tender and delicious, with easy make-ahead and freezable directions too!
- 1/4 of a large onion, grated (use a large box grater)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 3/4 cup breadcrumbs panko, fresh or seasoned will work
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
- 1 large eggs
- 1/2 cup milk, more or less as needed
- 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
- 1 1/2 pounds ground meat (any combination of beef, pork and/or veal for a total of 1 1/2 pounds)
- 2 teaspoons olive oil
Set a box grater inside a large mixing bowl. Grate the onion into the bowl. Add the minced garlic, bread crumbs, salt, pepper, red pepper (if using), egg, milk, cheese and parsley. Mix well with a spatula and allow to rest for 5 - 10 minutes. The mixture should be very wet but not soupy. Add a little more milk or water if needed, just a few tablespoons at a time.
Add the ground meat mixture to the bread crumbs and squish with your hands until well blended. Shape and roll into golf-ball sized meatballs and set aside on a large rimmed baking sheet.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Coat a large skillet with the olive oil and heat on medium. Brown the meatballs, in small batches, on all sides then place on the prepared pan. (Do not cook the meatballs all the way through.)
If using the meatballs right away, carefully add the amount needed to a sauce pan filled with your favorite pasta sauce. Cook, simmering gently until the meatballs are cooked through.
If you’re storing or freezing the meatballs for later, bake the meatballs on the rimmed baking sheet in the preheated 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Cool the meatballs completely and then freeze (see NOTE.)
Different bread crumbs will yield different results. You may need more milk if using Panko, etc. The meatball mixture should be soft and very moist, but not dripping wet.
To freeze meatballs - cool completely, then place on a baking sheet and set inside your freezer. Once flash frozen (about 2 hours), remove from the baking sheet and place in an airtight container or freezer bag. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight before using.
Recipe is easily doubled
Craving more meatballs? Check out these other delicious recipes from some amazing bloggers:
- Saucy Greek Lemon Meatballs (Keftedes) from A Spicy Perspective
- Salisbury Steak Meatballs with Gravy and Mashed Potatoes from Jo Cooks
- Moroccan Lamb Meatballs from RecipeTin Eats
- Cheesy Skillet Meatballs with Garlic Toast from The View from Great Island
- Teriyaki Meatballs from Damn Delicious
Thanks so much for stopping by!