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Easy Breakfast Meatballs

These delicious breakfast meatballs can be rolled the night before and then baked in the oven in the morning. Loaded with sausage, cheese, apples, and maple syrup, this easy breakfast dish sets you up for the day ahead!

Breakfast meatballs in a white bowl.
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Make Ahead Breakfast Meatballs

I don’t know about you, but I’ve never met a meatball I didn’t like! Homemade meatballs, crockpot BBQ meatballs, sausage balls, you name it! I thought I’d tried them all until I discovered breakfast sausage meatballs. Meatballs for breakfast? I’m in!

So, what makes these meatballs a good breakfast option? Well, we start with ground pork breakfast sausage and add in some cheese, apple, and maple syrup for the most amazing sweet and salty meatball flavor. Plus, I like to serve it alongside more maple syrup for dipping which makes them totally addictive!

The breakfast meatballs are baked which is a healthy way to prepare them so you can feel good about serving them to your family.

You can prep them the night before and then keep them in the fridge to bake in the morning or for even longer storage, you can store them in the freezer!

Recipe Ingredients

A handful of convenient ingredients is all you need for these easy breakfast meatballs.

Breakfast meatball ingredients on marble countertop.

Find the full printable recipe with specific measurements below.

  • Breakfast sausage: You’ll need one pound of ground pork sausage. I prefer Jimmy Dean’s breakfast sausage. 
  • Oats or breadcrumbs: These help to bind the breakfast meatballs together. 
  • Cheese: I use shredded cheddar cheese. I like to shred my own cheese as the pre-shredded kind has a coating on it that helps prevent it from sticking together in the package, but it’s not so great for melting.
  • Apple: You’ll need half an apple that has been peeled and grated. The apple adds moisture and sweetness to the meatballs. I used Granny Smith, but you can use any apple you have on hand.
  • Maple syrup: The syrup adds some sweetness and flavor to the breakfast meatballs, and it also keeps them juicy and moist! Serve your meatballs with more maple syrup on the side for dipping.
  • Milk: You might not need to add any milk, just see how dry your sausage mixture is before rolling. If the meat isn’t sticking together nicely, then add a splash of milk.

Variations

I think this recipe is a real winner and I know you will too! You can also swap in some of your family’s favorite ingredients to make the perfect breakfast meatballs! Here are some ideas:

  • Swap the breakfast sausage for your favorite kind of ground sausage. Italian sausage is great, or spicy Italian sausage makes breakfast balls with a kick.
  • Ground turkey or ground chicken can be used in place of pork sausage.
  • Add in some cooked crumbled bacon for added flavor.
  • Use your favorite type of apple.
  • Switch to Tex-Mex cheese for some added heat.
  • Try seasoned breadcrumbs instead of oats or plain breadcrumbs.

How to Make Breakfast Meatballs

Making these breakfast sausage meatballs couldn’t be easier. Just a few minutes of mixing and rolling and then you pop them in the oven to bake, leaving you time to make the rest of the breakfast. Let me show you how easy it is!

Showing how to make breakfast meatballs in a 4 step collage.
  1. Mix sausage and oats. First, let the sausage meat sit at room temperature for about 10 minutes. This will make it a bit more pliable and easier to roll. In the meantime, heat the oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Finally, mix the sausage meat and oats in a large bowl or zip-top bag until they are well combined.
  2. Add in other ingredients. Mix in the cheese, maple syrup, salt, and thyme. I find using my hands the easiest way to mix everything. If your mixture seems dry, add a splash of milk to loosen it up so you can form the balls.
  3. Roll into balls. Use a medium cookie scoop to scoop out some of the meatball mixture and form the mixture into balls. You should have about 1 ½ tablespoons of meat per meatball.
  4. Bake and serve. Bake the breakfast meatballs for 10 minutes, then flip them halfway through and bake for another 10 minutes. They will take about 20 minutes in total to cook all the way through. Serve your breakfast meatballs on a platter with maple syrup for dipping. Don’t forget to set out some toothpicks for easy serving!

Make Ahead

Meatballs for breakfast are a great option because you can roll the balls the night before and place them on a baking sheet and cover them with foil or plastic wrap. Store the meatballs in the refrigerator for up to 24 hours before baking.

Expert Tips

  • Line the baking sheet with parchment as the balls might stick to the sheet.
  • Use a small cookie scoop or lightly oil your hands to prevent the meat from sticking to your hands when you’re rolling your balls
  • Avoid over-rolling your balls. Rolling them too tightly could result in dry, tough meatballs.
  • Try to roll the balls the same size so that they cook at an even rate. I use a small cookie scoop for even measurement. 
  • Check your seasoning before forming the balls by pan-frying a little piece of the meat mixture until cooked through. Taste and adjust the seasoning as necessary.
Scrambled eggs on a plate with breakfast meatballs.

Recipe FAQs

Should I chill the meatballs before baking them?

You don’t have to chill the breakfast meatballs, but if you’re worried about them falling apart once they’re baked, you can chill the uncooked balls in the fridge for 1 hour before baking. Chilling can encourage the balls to keep their shape while baking.

Do you turn breakfast meatballs when baking them?

Yes, I flip the meatballs halfway through the cooking time in this recipe to ensure an even browning all over.

How do you know when the meatballs are finished baking?

The breakfast meatballs should be browned all over and cooked through. The internal temperature on an instant-read thermometer should be 165°F.

Serving Suggestions

They’re also a great option when you’re making breakfast or brunch for a larger crowd. Served alongside some bacon, scrambled eggs, breakfast potatoes, and waffles, you have a feast that everyone will be talking about all day long!

Storing

These breakfast meatballs make a great meal plan option as you can store leftovers or store unbaked meatballs to make throughout the week. 

Store leftover cooked meatballs in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 4 days. 

Reheating from the fridge: The best way to reheat the meatballs without drying them out is in the oven. Preheat your oven to 300°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Place the balls in a single layer on the baking sheet and bake until warmed through. This will take about 15 minutes.

Freezing cooked leftover meatballs: You can also freeze leftovers by letting them cool completely then putting the baking sheet in the freezer to let the balls freeze for 30 minutes. After the sausage balls are firm, you can safely stack them in a freezer-safe container. They will keep for about 2 months in the freezer.

Reheating cooked frozen meatballs: To reheat from frozen, take the meatballs out of the freezer while the oven warms up to 300°F and heat for about 25 minutes until heated through.

Freezing uncooked meatballs: If you want to freeze the meatballs before you bake them, roll your balls and freeze them on a baking sheet for 30 minutes, then stack them in a freezer-safe container. The meatballs will keep for about 2 months in the freezer.

Bake uncooked meatballs from frozen: Remove the unbaked balls from the freezer and place them on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Let them sit at room temperature while the oven heats up to 350°F. Finally, add about 10 minutes to the total bake time.

Pouring maple syrup on breakfast meatballs.

Need a breakfast drink to serve? Try a refreshing berry protein smoothie, strawberry banana smoothie, or green smoothie!

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Pouring maple syrup on breakfast meatballs.

Breakfast Meatballs

5 from 7 votes
↑ Click stars to rate now!
Author: Jamielyn Nye
These delicious breakfast meatballs can be rolled the night before and then baked in the oven in the morning. Loaded with sausage, cheese, apples, and maple syrup, this easy breakfast dish sets you up for the day ahead!
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Thaw Time: 10 mins
Total Time: 40 mins
Servings: 36

Ingredients 

  • 1 pound ground pork sausage , I prefer Jimmy Dean
  • ½ cup oats , or breadcrumbs
  • ½ – 1 cups shredded cheddar cheese
  • ½ granny smith apple , peeled and grated
  • 2-3 Tablespoons maple syrup , plus more as desired
  • ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
  • ¼ teaspoon dried thyme , optional
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk , if needed

For serving: Maple syrup

    Instructions

    • Let the sausage sit at room temperature about 10 minutes.
    • Preheat the oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper for easy clean up. These tend to stick to the pan if not lined.
    • In a large bowl or zip-top bag, mix sausage and oats together until well combined. Mix in the cheese, apple, maple syrup, salt, and thyme. You may need to mix with your hands. Add milk if your mix seems dry.
    • Using a medium cookie scoop (about 1 1/2 Tablespoons), form meat mixture into balls.
    • Bake 20 minutes, flipping halfway through, or until cooked through.
    • Serve on a platter with maple syrup for dipping. I like to add toothpicks for easy serving.

    Video


    Notes

    Make ahead: You can roll the balls the night before and place on the baking sheet. Cover with foil or plastic wrap and place in the refrigerator up to 24 hours before baking. 
    Freezer instructions: To freeze the pre-cooked balls, place on a baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes. Stack in a freezer container. When baking, let sit on the pan while the oven warms up and then add about 10 minutes to the bake time. 
    You can also freeze the leftover cooked sausage balls. Simply let cool and then place on a baking sheet and freeze 30 minutes. Stack in a freezer container.
     

    Nutrition

    Serving: 1ball | Calories: 66kcal | Carbohydrates: 2g | Protein: 3g | Fat: 5g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Polyunsaturated Fat: 1g | Monounsaturated Fat: 2g | Trans Fat: 0.03g | Cholesterol: 14mg | Sodium: 144mg | Potassium: 45mg | Fiber: 0.2g | Sugar: 1g | Vitamin A: 59IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 37mg | Iron: 0.2mg

    Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.

    Course: Appetizer
    Cuisine: American

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