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    The Best Meatball Recipe Ever

    Published March 17, 2024. This post may contain affiliate links. Please read my disclosure policy.

    This Homemade Meatball Recipe is jam-packed with beef, pork, cheese, bread, and herbs for a delicious classic Italian meal. Many have told me that this is, hands down, the best meatball recipe they have ever eaten. It’s that good.

    We love Italian food because I’m clearly Italian—see Parisi. If you want to try new dishes from my beloved ancestral country, try my Chicken Parmigiana or Pasta Carbonara.

    spaghetti and meatballs


     

    Meatballs

    Meatballs consist of finely minced meat, vegetables, seasonings, and binders like eggs and breadcrumbs to help keep them together. They are then cooked and served in a myriad of ways. These can be made from chicken, fish, beef, or pork. In addition, almost every country has its own version of meatballs, but my recipe is Italian.

    I believe the secret to maintaining a juicy, flavorful meatball is using “wet bread” instead of breadcrumbs. I have found that breadcrumbs absorb too much of the moisture from the meat and can often dry them out.

    There isn’t much in the food world that is more traditional than spaghetti and meatballs. They’re easy to make and delicious, and when they’re homemade, there’s absolutely nothing like them.

    Ingredients and Substitutions

    • Beef – I use a 90/10 lean-to-fat ground sirloin. However, you can also use ground chuck, which is 80/20. Feel free to use homemade ground beef as well.
    • Pork – Ground pork is what you will need for this.
    • Bread – Any good artisan loaf of bread, such as Italian or French bread, will work.
    • Onions – You can use a red, white, sweet, or yellow onion. In addition, you’ll need fresh whole garlic cloves.
    • Herbs – I used fresh basil, parsley, and rosemary in these meatballs.
    • Cheese – Parmigiano Reggiano cheese is best, but you can also use pecorino Romano.

    How to Make Meatballs from Scratch

    1. Submerge some Italian or French bread in water for 3 to 4 minutes.
    2. Prep up onions and garlic and add to a bowl.  I usually do this stage while the bread is soaking.
    3. Squeeze as much liquid from the water-soaked bread as possible and add it to the bowl with the onions and garlic.
    4. Add ground beef and ground pork to the bowl as well.  I like to use ground sirloin at a 90/10 ratio of lean to fat.
      step by step procedures for making meatballs
    5. Add the eggs, parsley, rosemary, basil, parmesan cheese, salt, and pepper to the bowl.  Use all fresh herbs, and you can add fresh oregano to the mix as well.
    6. Mix everything in the bowl until thoroughly combined.
    7. Form golf ball-sized meatballs using your hands and place them on a cookie sheet tray lined with parchment paper.
    8. Bake at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes. This recipe makes 40 meatballs, so be sure to freeze the remaining uneaten meatballs.
    step by step procedures for baking meatballs

    How to Cook Meatballs in Sauce

    • Start by browning all sides of the meatballs in a large sauté pan over medium heat with 2 to 3 tablespoons of olive oil, which takes about 6-8 minutes.
    • Next, add them to the pot of sauce and simmer over low heat for 15-20 minutes or until they are thoroughly cooked. I prefer to pan-sear the meatballs or cook them directly in the oven.

    Make-Ahead and Storage

    Make-Ahead: These can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead of time. Just keep them warm and covered at very low temperatures.

    How to Store: Cover in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The meatballs freeze well covered in plastic for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.

    How to Reheat: Add the meatballs to a casserole dish and cover them with foil.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 375° or until warm. If serving with spaghetti and sauce, simply place them in a saucepot along with the sauce and cook over low heat until warm.

    Chef Billy Parisi

    CHEF NOTES + TIPS

    • Once the pan-seared or oven-roasted meatballs are browned, you can add them to the sauce and then simmer them over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are thoroughly cooked throughout.
    • This is a personal choice, but for serving, I like to coat the meatballs in the Pomodoro sauce and set them to the side. Then, I add the cooked pasta to the sauce and toss it around until coated. I then serve the tomato sauce-coated meatballs over top of the pasta with a garnish of Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and parsley.
    • Feel free also to soak the bread in milk.
    • The size of the loaf of bread doesn’t matter. If it’s a little bigger or smaller than the one I used, it will not affect the recipe. Do your best to eyeball it.
    • When people say food is bland, in almost 99.9% of cases, it’s because of a lack of salt and pepper. Season it well, cook a small piece up, and taste it. From there, determine whether it’s good enough for you or if it needs more, and then repeat the process until you get it right, 

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    The Best Meatball Recipe Ever

    5 from 61 votes
    This Homemade Meatball Recipe is jam-packed with beef, pork, cheese, bread, and herbs for a delicious classic Italian meal.
    Servings: 40 meatballs
    Prep Time: 30 minutes
    Cook Time: 30 minutes

    Ingredients 

    For the Meatballs:

    • 2/3 loaf of French or Italian bread submerged in cold water
    • 2 small peeled and small diced yellow onion
    • 4 finely minced cloves of garlic
    • 1 ½ pounds 90/10 ground sirloin
    • 1 ½ pounds ground pork
    • 4 large eggs
    • ¼ cup chopped fresh parsley
    • 1 ½ tablespoons chopped fresh rosemary
    • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
    • 1 heaping cup of grated Parmigiano Reggiano cheese
    • 1 ½ tablespoons coarse salt and ½ teaspoon pepper

    Optional Spaghetti and Sauce

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven 425°.
    • Add the bread to a large bowl or pan and completely submerge it in water. See the video above.
    • Squeeze as much liquid out of the water-soaked bread as possible, and add to a large bowl along with all of the meatball ingredients and mix until completely combined.
    • Next, form golf-ball-sized meatballs and place them 1” apart on cookie sheet trays lined with parchment paper.
    • Bake them at 425° for 25 to 30 minutes or until they begin to get a little brown on top and are cooked throughout. Serve.
    • Optional: With 10 minutes left in the cooking process add the spaghetti to a large pot of boiling salted water and cook until al dente, about 7-8 minutes. Be sure to stir occasionally so that the pasta does not stick.
    • Remove the meatballs from the oven, place the desired serving amount for 4 people into the sauce, and coat in the sauce. Remove and briefly set them aside.
    • Add the cooked spaghetti to the sauce and toss to coat.
    • Serve with meatballs over top and garnish with Parmigiano Reggiano cheese and parsley.

    Notes

    Make-Ahead: These can be made 2 to 3 hours ahead of time. Just keep them warm and covered at very low temperatures.
    How to Store: Cover in plastic and store in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. The meatballs freeze well covered in plastic for up to 3 months. Thaw them in the refrigerator for 1 day before reheating.
    How to Reheat: Add the meatballs to a casserole dish and cover them with foil.  Bake in the oven for 8-10 minutes at 375° or until warm. If serving with spaghetti and sauce, simply place them in a saucepot along with the sauce and cook over low heat until warm.
    Once the pan-seared or oven-roasted meatballs are browned, you can add them to the sauce and then simmer them over low heat for 15 to 20 minutes or until they are thoroughly cooked throughout.
    Feel free also to soak the bread in milk.
    It really doesn’t matter the size of the loaf of bread. If it’s a little bigger or smaller than the one I used, it will not affect the recipe in any way. Do your best to eyeball it.
    When people say food is bland, in almost 99.9% of cases, it’s because of a lack of salt and pepper. Season it well, cook a small piece up, and taste it. From there, determine whether it’s good enough for you or if it needs more, and then repeat the process until you get it right, 

    Nutrition

    Calories: 106kcalCarbohydrates: 4gProtein: 7gFat: 7gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 1gMonounsaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0.2gCholesterol: 32mgSodium: 65mgPotassium: 122mgFiber: 0.3gSugar: 1gVitamin A: 55IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 13mgIron: 1mg
    Course: Appetizer, Main
    Cuisine: Italian