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Easy Homemade Meatball Recipe

This easy meatball recipe is so easy to make and come out juicy and flavorful every time. They’re perfect for appetizers, subs or on top of spaghetti!

If you’re a fan of Italian food, you’re going to love this easy meatball recipe! It’s a staple and is so simple to whip up. In just 30 minutes or so, you’ll have a delicious, homemade dinner in no time! You’ll also love my homemade bolognese, crockpot lasagna and creamy alfredo.

spaghetti and meatballs in a white bowl

Family Favorite Dinner

These baked meatballs are always on our monthly rotation. Spaghetti and meatballs are one of my kid’s favorite dinners…they request them almost every week. And because these are so easy to make and super flavorful, I have no problem with that! If there’s leftovers, we usually make meatball sliders.

I love that you can bake them in the oven…it makes them so simple to whip up and keeps the meatballs juicy. Once they cook in the oven, all you have to do is simmer them for a couple of minutes with marinara sauce while you cook the pasta.  Sometimes I’ll even make my own homemade tomato sauce if I have some fresh tomatoes on hand. We also love to serve with garlic bread.

how to make meatballs


To make these Italian meatballs, you’ll need the simple ingredients below. The parsley is optional, however I highly recommend adding it in if you’re making them with spaghetti. It adds tons of extra flavor. If you’re serving these with a sweet and sour sauce or making my crockpot meatballs, I recommend leaving it out.

  • Ground beef
  • Egg
  • Breadcrumbs
  • Parmesan cheese
  • Onion
  • Garlic
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • Parsley (optional)

How do you make meatballs?

Scroll down for the printable recipe.

  1. Combine: Place all ingredients in a bowl and stir until combined. If needed, add a Tablespoon of milk to keep mixture wet.
  2. Shape: Scoop the meat from the bowl and form into 1 1/2″  balls. Then place meatballs on baking sheet.
  3. Bake: Place onto prepared baking sheet and bake meatballs uncovered for 17-20 minutes, or until middle is no longer pink. Flip halfway through.
  4. Simmer: If desired, simmer with marinara sauce for 10 minutes and serve over cooked pasta.
Meatballs in a pot with marinara sauce

Cooking tips

  • Don’t over mix! Over-mixing can make the meat tough.
  • Use a cookie scoop (an ice cream scoop works too) to make the meatballs equal in size. This will ensure they all cook the same.
  • If your mixture is too dry when combining, add a Tablespoon of milk to keep it wet.
  • Make sure to flip the meatballs halfway through so that the bottoms don’t burn!
  • If you don’t have fresh garlic or onion on hand, sub with garlic and onion powder.

Can you freeze leftover meatballs?

Yes, you can definitely freeze the leftovers, or make a double batch for later. All you need to do is allow them to cool. Then transfer the meatballs to a clean baking sheet and freeze for 1 hour. Once they harden in the freezer, transfer to a ziptop bag or freezer container. Label and place them back in the freezer for up to 3 months.

To thaw, place the in the refrigerator overnight. I like to take them out of the freezer and add the meatballs to the slow cooker with marinara sauce. I just cook them on low for 2-3 hours for an easy dinner later on!

Stacked meatballs in a white bowl


How do you make moist meatballs?

One of my favorite tips for making moist meatballs is to use half ground beef and half pork. Since pork is a bit fattier, it makes the meatballs super tender. You can also add a Tablespoon or two of milk if you find the mixture is too dry.

What kind of meat is used for meatballs?

If I’m making a classic Italian meatball recipe, I like to use lean ground beef. Sometimes I’ll even add in ground pork to make them a little juicier. If you’d rather use ground turkey, check out this healthy turkey meatball recipe.

What can you substitute for breadcrumbs?

I like to use breadcrumbs in this baked meatball recipe because they absorb the natural juices and help the meatballs to keep their shape. If you don’t have breadcrumbs in your pantry you can use crushed crackers. You can also make homemade breadcrumbs by toasting a few slices of bread. Then place in a food processor and pulse into crumbs.

Can I make in advance?

Yes, you can make them up to 3 days advance. Simply allow them to cool and then place in an air tight container. Rewarm in the oven or stove for a few minutes, tossing occasionally until heated through.

Spaghetti and meatballs with marinara and parmesan cheese

More delicious meatball recipes


Easy Meatball Recipe

4.94 from 115 votes
These are the best oven baked meatballs! So easy to make, juicy and flavorful. They’re perfect for appetizers, meatballs subs or on top of spaghetti.
Prep Time: 10 mins
Cook Time: 20 mins
Total Time: 30 mins
Servings: 5


  • 1 pound 80% lean ground beef (could sub with half ground pork)
  • 1 large egg (beaten)
  • 1/4 cup breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped onion
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 3/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 Tablespoons Chopped fresh Italian Flat leaf parsley (optional)

For serving (optional): 2 cups marinara, cooked noodles, parmesan cheese, basil or parsley


    • Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with non-stick spray.  Combine the meat, egg, breadcrumbs, cheese, salt, garlic, onion, black pepper and parsley in a bowl. Stir just until combined, do not over mix. Add a Tablespoon or two of water as needed to keep a wet mixture. 
      meatball ingredients in glass bowl
    • Use a medium cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the meat. Then form into 1 1/2″  balls and place on the pan. 
      meat mixture in bowl being scooped out
    • Bake uncovered for 17-20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the middle. Turn halfway through, so the bottoms don’t brown. 
      raw meatballs on pan
    • Simmer meatballs with marinara sauce (if desired) for 10 minutes.
      Italian meatballs in marinara sauce
    • Serve meatballs on their own or serve over spaghetti noodles. Top with freshly grated parmesan cheese and fresh herbs if desired.
      baked meatball recipe



    How to fry meatballs:
    You can also cook in a pan with 2 Tablespoons oil over medium-high heat for 7-10 minutes, or until cooked through. Flip every few minutes to prevent burning.
    • You can use 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder and onion powder if you do not have fresh garlic and onions. You may also use 2 teaspoons dried parsley if you do not have fresh.
    • If I have pork on hand, I like to use 1/2 pound ground beef and 1/2 pound ground pork. It creates juicier meatballs. You could also do half ground beed and half ground turkey to cut back on fat.
    Storage and freezer instructions: 
    Store in a covered container in the fridge for up to 3 days. Store in a freezer container for up to 3 months. Place in the fridge overnight to thaw and then reheat on the stove top over medium-low heat until warm. 

    Serving: 5meatballs | Calories: 184kcal | Carbohydrates: 5g | Protein: 23g | Fat: 7g | Saturated Fat: 3g | Cholesterol: 93mg | Sodium: 537mg | Potassium: 348mg | Vitamin A: 90IU | Vitamin C: 1mg | Calcium: 81mg | Iron: 2.6mg
    Course: Main Dish
    Cuisine: Italian
    Author: Jamielyn Nye

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