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+ servings

Homemade Italian Meatballs

Italian styled meatballs that are super juicy, tender and delicious, with easy make-ahead and freezable directions too!
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time30 mins
Total Time1 hr
Course: Main Course
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: dinner, main course
Servings: 24 meatballs
Calories: 103kcal
Author: Tricia


  • ¼ large onion grated (using a large box grater)
  • 2 cloves garlic minced
  • ¾ cup breadcrumbs panko, fresh or seasoned will work
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ teaspoon crushed red pepper (optional)
  • 1 large egg
  • ½ cup whole milk more or less as needed
  • ½ cup Parmesan cheese fresh grated
  • ¼ cup chopped fresh Italian parsley leaves
  • 1 ½ pounds ground meat (any combination of beef, pork and/or veal for a total of 1 ½ 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, Parmesan 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°F. 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 rimmed baking sheet. (Do not cook the meatballs all the way through.)
  • If using the meatballs right away, carefully add the amount needed to a saucepan filled with your favorite pasta sauce. Cook, simmering gently until the meatballs are cooked through.
  • If storing or freezing the meatballs for later, bake the meatballs on the rimmed baking sheet in the preheated 350°F 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


Calories: 103kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 3g | Trans Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 29mg | Sodium: 180mg | Potassium: 102mg | Fiber: 1g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 100IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 45mg | Iron: 1mg