Freezer-friendly, fast, and can be appetizers, dinner, and even breakfast, these easy meatball recipes are about to change the way you cook.
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Meatballs to the Rescue
I am just going to say it; I love meatballs. They are endlessly customizable and can be used in a variety of ways, including pasta, soups, sandwiches and even casseroles.
They are also not as time consuming as you might think, as it really comes down to three easy steps: stirring ingredients, shaping into balls, and baking. Meatball recipes really are that easy.
Plus, I always keep a batch in the freezer when I need a quick weeknight dinner or impromptu game night appetizers, and they are always a hit. What’s not to love?
How to Make the Best Meatballs
Making meatballs should be simple, so here are a few things to keep in mind to make sure they turn out just the way you want.
- I prefer using 80% lean ground beef for juicy meatballs.
- Don’t overmix. Mix just until combined, so your easy meatball recipes stay tender and juicy.
- Use a medium cookie scoop to get even portions.
- When forming your meatballs, try using a bit of oil on your hands to help form the balls.
- Flip the meatballs halfway through cooking time so that the bottoms don’t burn and they brown evenly.
- If serving as an appetizer, add toothpicks on top for easy access.
Meal Prepping Easy Meatball Recipes
I learned a long time ago that I could freeze meatballs to use in a variety of quick and simple dishes. Perfect for meal prep! Since then, I always keep a batch in the freezer for those nights when I need something fast, like spaghetti and meatballs. Here is how I do it:
- Cook homemade meatballs or any easy meatball recipe without sauce.
- Let cool completely, then transfer to a clean baking sheet.
- Place sheet in freezer 1 hour to harden the meatballs.
- Once they’ve hardened, place in a freezer bag or container.
- Add a freezer label and store in the freezer for up to 3 months.
- Thaw in the refrigerator overnight.
- Use in recipes, such as Hawaiian meatballs, Italian wedding soup, meatball sub, and so much more.
While it’s a matter of preference, there are a few advantages to baking your meatballs. It’s less messy than pan frying and if you are making a large quantity it’s faster and easier than pan frying them in a skillet.
There are a few ways to make your meatballs outstanding! First, don’t overmix the meatball mixture. Avoid using the food processor and use your hands to mix it all together as your hands are a lighter touch which will lead to less dense meatballs. Also, wet your hands when rolling the meatballs. It adds a touch of moisture and also helps keep the meatball mixture off your hands. Last, follow the recipe. If the recipe calls for 50 percent meat and 50 percent breadcrumbs, use it. If it calls for day old bread soaked in milk, follow the directions!
Just about everything can be served with a meatball and it really comes down the flavor profile of the recipe. Here are a few ideas of what to serve with meatballs! Try mashed potatoes, green beans, rice, buttered noodles, roasted vegetables, salad, pasta or just slather them in BBQ with a side of toothpicks.
Again, default to the recipe ingredients as that has been tested. Most meatball recipes will call for 1 or 2 eggs per pound of meat to help bind the ingredients together. Too many eggs in a meatball recipe often indicates there is many breadcrumbs.
Basic Homemade Meatballs Recipes
These meatball recipes are so easy, and can be used in a variety of ways. They are also super freezer friendly, making it a breeze to whip up dinner or an appetizer in a hurry.
- Easy Homemade Meatballs. The classic meatball that I always have stored in my freezer.
- Chicken Meatballs. This lighter version of a meatball works really well with teriyaki sauce, buffalo sauce or in soups.
- Easy Air Fryer Meatballs. Cooked in just 12 minutes, this easy meatball recipe is ready in a jiff.
- Instant Pot Meatballs. These taste like they have been simmering all day not just 30 minutes.
- Healthy Turkey Meatballs. I like to use ground turkey when I am in need of something lighter but still packed with protein.
Best Meatballs with a Twist
As I mentioned, easy meatball recipes are endlessly adaptable, and these recipes prove just that. They are jam-packed with flavor and can be eaten as appetizers or a main meal.
- Teriyaki Meatballs. Glazed in sweet and savory sauce, these work well as an appetizer or served with rice as a meatball dinner idea.
- Asian Meatballs. The sticky sauce is highly addictive, made from brown sugar, soy sauce, garlic, and ginger.
- Hawaiian Meatballs. Cooked in a crockpot, these need only 3 ingredients and 5 minutes prep to make.
- Pepperoni Meatballs. Move over pizza, these meatballs are a new family favorite.
- Breakfast Meatballs. These are filled with sausage, cheese, apples, and maple syrup and can be made the night before for an easy morning.
- Sweet and Sour Meatballs. Meatballs are combined with bell peppers and pineapple and smothered in an irresistible sauce.
- Mozzarella Stuffed Meatballs. I love how gooey and cheesy these meatballs are.
- Greek Chicken Meatballs. Made with ground chicken, dill, lemon zest, cumin, and oregano, these simple meatballs taste so fresh and light. Perfect for a salad.
- Easy Porcupine Meatballs. These meatballs are made with rice and beef and cooked in a rich tomato sauce.
In truth, almost any meatball can be an appetizer by simply adding toothpicks, but these easy meatball recipes, in particular, are some of my favorites to serve on game day.
- Buffalo Chicken Meatballs. Perfect for game day, these tangy meatballs are also great wrapped in a tortilla with lettuce and ranch dressing.
- Cheeseburger Meatballs. Guests love these bite-sized apps topped with melty cheese and burger toppings.
- Cranberry Meatballs . Made with just 3 ingredients, this appetizer couldn’t be easier and is still big on flavor.
- Crockpot Grape Jelly & BBQ Meatballs. Always a crowd favorite, these are a game day staple.
- Meatball Sliders. Tiny sandwiches that always make guests smile and solve what to make with meatballs!
- Grape Jelly Chili Sauce Meatballs. I love the slight kick the chili sauce gives these meatballs.
Soup Recipes with Meatballs
I love a hearty soup, and it doesn’t get much heartier than meatballs and vegetables in broth. These are a few of my favorite comfort foods on a cold day.
- Italian Wedding Soup. This classic soup is comfort in a bowl.
- Albondigas Soup. Made with beef and rice meatballs, potatoes, vegetables, tomatoes and onions.
- Meatball Soup. This one-pot meal is one of our favorite easy meatball recipes!
Meatball Dinner Ideas
I realize one could argue that any of the easy meatball recipes in this list could be a dinner, but these main dish recipes require more than just the meatballs to make it a full meal.
- Meatball Casserole. This 30-minute baked dish is made with by baking meatballs in marinara sauce and melted cheese.
- Swedish Meatballs. Seasoned with nutmeg, this easy meatball recipe is served in a creamy sauce that’s similar to gravy.
- Spaghetti and Meatballs. The classic pairing that is just too good to pass up when you are making meatballs.
- Easy Meatball Sub. I love making this for lunch or dinner, depending on how hungry everyone is.
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Easy Meatball Recipes
- 1 pound 80% lean ground chicken
- 1 large egg , beaten
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- ¼ cup panko crumbs
- ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
- 2 Tablespoons finely chopped green onion
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- ½ teaspoon onion powder
- ½ teaspoon Kosher salt
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
For serving: Teriyaki or buffalo sauce
- Preheat the oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with foil and spray with nonstick spray.
- In a large bowl, combine the meat, egg, olive oil, breadcrumbs, cheese, garlic, onion powder, salt, and pepper using your hands or a wooden spoon, being careful not to overmix.
- Use a medium cookie scoop or spoon to scoop the meat onto the baking sheet. Using your hands, form into 1 1/2-inch balls and return to the baking sheet.
- Bake uncovered 16 to 20 minutes, or until no longer pink in the cebter. Turn halfway through, if desired, so the bottoms don't brown.
- Toss in your favorite sauce or dip in teriyaki or buffalo sauce, if desired.
- Lean meat. When buying your ground chicken, look for lean meat (I use 80%).
- Ground turkey. Sub ground turkey for chicken to make turkey meatballs.
- Non-stick. When forming your meatballs, try using a bit of oil on your hands to help form the balls.
- Garlic substitute. If you don’t have fresh garlic, you can substitute with 1/2 tsp of garlic powder.
- Fried version. If you want to fry the meatballs instead, cook them in a pan with 2 Tbsp of oil over medium-high heat until cooked through.
- Darker meatballs. For extra browning after baking, toss them in a sauté pan.
- Keep them moist. Mix the meatballs thoroughly to make sure all of the ingredients are evenly dispersed but not enough to toughen the meatballs in the end. Also, don’t overbake!
- Air fryer: Follow these directions to make meatballs in air fryer.
Nutrition provided is an estimate. It will vary based on specific ingredients used.
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The Full List of Easy Meatball Recipes
Click on the links below to find the recipes for all of the delicious easy meatball recipes mentioned above.
I just made turkey meatballs for my meal prep and they are amazing. I just saved this post, thank you!
These meatballs may be the best thing I have had in a while! Thanks for sharing this recipe with us!
My kids love meatballs so I always try to have a bag of them in the freezer! These recipes are fantastic! I can’t wait to try them!