Easy Spaghetti and Meatball Recipe

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This spaghetti and meatball recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight — and it’s a family favorite, too!

Here’s a super-simple and super-delicious spaghetti and meatball recipe to add to your repertoire. The meatballs are tender and flavorful — and you’ll love that they’re browned on a sheet pan in the oven rather than fried on the stovetop. To cut down on effort and cooking time, I cheat and use a good quality store-bought marinara sauce, but if you have some homemade sauce stashed in your fridge, by all means, use it!

What You’ll Need To Make My EASY Spaghetti and Meatball Recipe

spaghetti and meatball recipe ingredientsFor the most flavorful meatballs, I recommend using equal parts beef, veal, and pork; at most supermarkets, this blend is labeled “meatloaf mix.” If your market doesn’t carry the blend, you can use half beef and half pork (since ground veal isn’t readily available).

For the cheese, be sure to use the real-deal imported Parmigiano-Reggiano from Italy; domestic Parmesan pales in comparison. You can always tell if it’s authentic by looking at the rind, which is embossed with the name over and over. If the cheese is already grated, it should be labeled “Parmigiano-Reggiano,” not “Parmesan.”

How To Make Easy Spaghetti and Meatballs

herbs, egg, water, and seasoning in mixing bowlBegin with the meatballs: In a large bowl, combine the egg, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic and water; whisk well.

whisked liquid ingredients

Add the meat, breadcrumbs and Parmigiano Reggiano. meatball recipe

adding meat, bread crumbs, and cheese to wet ingredients

Mix with your hands until just combined.

meatball mixtureRoll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs, and place on an ungreased baking sheet.

raw meatballs on sheet pan

Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the baking sheet from the oven and use a metal spatula or tongs to turn the meatballs (they will stick a bit but should release easily when you scrape under them with the spatula).

turning meatballs halfway through cooking

Put the meatballs back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, until they are nicely browned and almost cooked through.

baked meatballs

In the meantime, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large skillet. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary (I usually add a healthy pinch of sugar and some freshly ground black pepper). Transfer the browned meatballs to the marinara sauce, leaving the fat behind. Cover loosely with a lid or foil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavors marry and the meatballs are cooked through. Keep warm until ready to toss with pasta.

meatballs in marinara sauce

While the meatballs are cooking, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil.

boiling the spaghettiAdd the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, then toss with the sauce and meatballs.

spaghetti and meatballs in skillet

Transfer the spaghetti and meatballs to serving bowls and top with fresh chopped basil and more grated cheese.

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Spaghetti & Meatballs

This spaghetti and meatball recipe is easy enough for a busy weeknight — and it’s a family favorite, too!

Servings: 4 to 6 (Makes 22 to 24 small meatballs)
Total Time: 40 Minutes


  • 1 large egg
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh basil (plus more for serving)
  • 3 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1-1/2 pounds ground "meatloaf mix" (approximately equal parts ground beef, pork and veal)
  • 3/4 cup dried Italian style bread crumbs (such as Progresso)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano cheese (plus more for serving)
  • Large jar (32 oz) good quality Marinara sauce (such as Rao's)
  • 1 pound spaghetti


  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F and set an oven rack in the middle position.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together the egg, basil, parsley, oregano, salt, pepper, garlic and water. Add the meat, breadcrumbs and cheese and mix until just combined (your hands are the best tool). Do not overwork it.
  3. Roll the mixture into golf ball-sized meatballs and place on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for about 10 minutes, then remove the baking sheet from oven and use a metal spatula to turn the meatballs (they will stick a bit but should release easily when you scrape under them with the spatula). Put the meatballs back in the oven and cook for another 10 minutes, until they are nicely browned and almost cooked through.
  4. In the meantime, bring the marinara sauce to a simmer in a large skillet. Taste it and adjust the seasoning if necessary (I usually add a healthy pinch of sugar and some freshly ground black pepper). Transfer the browned meatballs to the marinara sauce, leaving the fat behind. Cover loosely with a lid or foil and simmer for about 10 minutes, until the flavors marry and the meatballs are cooked through. Keep warm until ready to toss with pasta.
  5. While the meatballs are simmering, bring a large pot of well-salted water to a boil. Add the spaghetti and cook until al dente. Drain, then toss with the sauce and meatballs (you may find it easier to toss everything together in the pasta pot rather than the skillet; it depends on the sizes of pans you are using.). Serve topped with fresh basil and more grated cheese.
  6. Freezer-Friendly Instructions: The cooked meatballs can be frozen, in their sauce, for up to 3 months. Reheat on the stovetop until the meatballs are hot in the center.

Pair with

Nutrition Information

Powered by Edamam

  • Per serving (6 servings)
  • Calories: 731
  • Fat: 29 g
  • Saturated fat: 10 g
  • Carbohydrates: 78 g
  • Sugar: 11 g
  • Fiber: 6 g
  • Protein: 37 g
  • Sodium: 897 mg
  • Cholesterol: 116 mg

This website is written and produced for informational purposes only. I am not a certified nutritionist and the nutritional data on this site has not been evaluated or approved by a nutritionist or the Food and Drug Administration. Nutritional information is offered as a courtesy and should not be construed as a guarantee. The data is calculated through an online nutritional calculator, Edamam.com. Although I do my best to provide accurate nutritional information, these figures should be considered estimates only. Varying factors such as product types or brands purchased, natural fluctuations in fresh produce, and the way ingredients are processed change the effective nutritional information in any given recipe. Furthermore, different online calculators provide different results depending on their own nutrition fact sources and algorithms. To obtain the most accurate nutritional information in a given recipe, you should calculate the nutritional information with the actual ingredients used in your recipe, using your preferred nutrition calculator.

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Reviews & Comments

  • Made the meatballs exactly per the recipe – they were absolutely incredible! Everyone loved them. Thank you for sharing this recipe!

    • — Erin on November 20, 2020
    • Reply
  • These meatballs were good but didn’t wow me. I followed the recipe exactly, except I didn’t bake the meatballs, I pan fried them. I just thought there was too much breading in the meatballs and even though the meatballs were well seasoned, I didn’t get that “this is amazing” feeling. Not the best I’ve had, not the worst.

    • — Kim A on October 11, 2020
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  • Jen, thank you for all of your wonderful recipes. I learned to cook as a twenty year old, from Delia Smith ( I’m 64 now) I have enjoyed making many of your recipes, as much as my family have enjoyed eating them! This recipe is equally successful! Again many thanks 😊

    • — Fiona Stephan on September 26, 2020
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  • Amazing! Best meatballs I’ve ever made!

    • — Patty on July 22, 2020
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  • WOW! I can finally make meatballs! My family loved them and they were easy and quick to make. Highly recommend this recipe it is absolutely delicious!!!!!

    • — Alison Mirer on July 19, 2020
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  • Please share the Marinara recipe with me.

    • — Nicky Bell on June 25, 2020
    • Reply
    • Hi Nicky, I don’t have a recipe of my own for marinara sauce yet; it’s on my list of recipes to develop. My favorite store-bought one is Rao’s if you want to give it a try. 🙂

      • — Jenn on June 25, 2020
      • Reply
  • Very good, couldn’t find meatloaf mix so I used beef and sausage. I think at this time I was lucky to find that. Thanks for all of your very good recipes. I have tried many!

    • — Tish on June 24, 2020
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  • I rarely made meatballs, but decided to try this recipe, and I couldn’t believe it was so easy yet tasty. Also, baking the meatballs eliminates a lot of the runoff grease and cleanup was a snap. My family loved it and I will definitely be making this again!

    • — Susan on June 20, 2020
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  • Great recipe made this last night veal was too expensive so I just used equal parts grass fed beef and mild Italian sausage added some pepper flakes and an angry pasta sauce. Thank you for the recipe

    • — Sherie Miles on June 14, 2020
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  • Made this tonight and we loved it! I’m so glad you suggested Rao’s marinara sauce. I had to look and see who carried that brand, was more expensive but it’s so worth it! Sweeter tasting, not as acidic as the other brands. Thanks again for a great recipe.

    • — Verna on June 11, 2020
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    • Delicious and so easy. The meatballs were so light and tasty. I used panko, with tons of basil and parsley from our crazy crop victory garden. And Rao’s is always standard in our household so it came together easily.

      Thanks, Jenn – another home run. It’s funny how many times your recipes are discussed on zoom calls. Everyone agrees that your recipes are always on target. Thanks.

      • — Pattickaesdarien on July 14, 2020
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      • I’m so flattered that my recipes have been mentioned on your Zoom calls!!! 🙂

        • — Jenn on July 14, 2020
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  • Another great recipe! The meatballs are better than anything I’ve had.

    One of many recipes I’ve made from your site. Your recipes are simple, with good ingredients and not over thought. I already have about 5 others bookmarked I need to try.

    • — Crandall on June 11, 2020
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  • I am Italian and I love and dearly miss my mother’s meatballs. I was always afraid to make meatballs because I knew they would not be “my mom’s”. I trust Jenn and all of her recipes, not one failure ever. So I tried them and OMG they are VERY good. Not mom’s but maybe a new tradition, one I can make my own. Thanks Jenn for another great recipe and taking the fear out of making a great meatball.

    • — roselle perrucci on June 11, 2020
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    • So glad you enjoyed them! I hope they brought back good memories. 💗

      • — Jenn on June 11, 2020
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  • Everyone…you need to make this! I followed this recipe to a T and it’s just the right amount of everything. Meatballs are sooo tender and full of flavor (I used my fingers to mix until JUST mixed together or they get too dense) I used Rao’s homemade marinara sauce. Every recipe of Jenn’s is 5STAR and I’ve made a ton of them!

    • — Noreen on June 8, 2020
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  • Best Meatballs 👍🏼

    • — Cheryl on June 7, 2020
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  • Tried this recipe today. So easy and so delicious! Used dried herbs as I didn’t have fresh on hand, still it turned out fantastic!!

    • — TJ on June 1, 2020
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    • And oh I used only beef! Next time I might try with just lamb or half beef half lamb. Any meat would work perfectly in my opinion.

      • — TJ on June 1, 2020
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  • Happy Mother’s Day Jenn…….could I use asiago as I do not have enough parmesan?
    Thank you

    • — DEBBIE on May 9, 2020
    • Reply
    • Sure, Debbie – that should still be delicious. 🙂

      • — Jenn on May 9, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn
    I love all your recipes! My son’s birthday is on Sunday and he loves spaghetti with meatballs, I only have ground beef would that work instead of the mix? Thanks so much

    • — Melissa on April 29, 2020
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    • So glad you like the recipes! Yes, all ground beef will work here. Hope your son’s birthday is great! 🙂

      • — Jenn on April 29, 2020
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  • Thank you so much for your amazing recipes!! We really enjoy the delicious food. So grateful for your website!

    • — Zahra and Aleem on April 26, 2020
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on April 27, 2020
      • Reply
  • Made the spaghetti & meatballs for supper tonight without the veal as it was not available at two stores. We do not sell Rao’s Marinara sauce here in my province of Canada. I used a marinara sauce that I feel is pretty darn tasty with a few add ins as you do. Other than that I followed the recipe. It was delicious. Thank you for a fantastic recipe.

    • — Lucille Gans on April 19, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn,

    another question for you.
    Would a flax seed egg work here?
    My son cannot have any eggs.

    Thank you.

    • — Ivana on April 16, 2020
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    • Hi Ivana, I’ve never used flax eggs, but I suspect you could get away with it here. Please LMK how it turns out if you try it!

      • — Jenn on April 16, 2020
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      • Our local grocery store didn’t have lamb or regular pork sausage. I had to use Mild Italian Sausage and 70/30 hamburger. Also, no Parmigiano Reggiano, so I used imported Parmesan. It still came out AMAZING!! I used your homemade pasta sauce with basil and it was so very delicious. Thank you!!

        • — LeeAnn Busson on April 29, 2020
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  • Absolutely delicious!!!!! Thank you!

    • — CHERYL SKORNIK on April 8, 2020
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  • Absolutely delicious! I only had dried herbs on hand and plain breadcrumbs. Used 2 tsps of each basil and oregano and the meatballs were well seasoned.

    • — Michelle on April 7, 2020
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  • Best meatballs I’ve ever made! I’ve tried many recipes and these were so moist and tasty!! I’ve finally found a meat ball recipe I can return to!! Thank you!

    • — Kathy Ferguson on April 1, 2020
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  • This a favorite with my family. We have been making it weekly. Delish!!

    • — Debbie on March 31, 2020
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  • You are the best 👍🏻💞

    • — Fatiha on March 19, 2020
    • Reply
    • ❤️

      • — Jenn on March 20, 2020
      • Reply
  • Would you please post a marinara recipe when you get a chance? I think Rao’s is great but it’s expensive. I do not like the New York Times’ marinara recipe (much too thin and it comes out orange). Would love your advice.

    • — moni 52 on March 19, 2020
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    • Sure, Moni, I will add marinara sauce to my list of recipes to potentially develop. 🙂

      • — Jenn on March 19, 2020
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      • I agree with Moni…please…I’m sure you will have a great one. I love marinara but I’m always disappointed when I make it at home.

        • — Vanessa on April 15, 2020
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  • Delicious! Another good one. Thanks Jenn.

    • — Becky H on March 15, 2020
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  • Hi Jenn, if I’m making these meatballs using all beef, how lean should I get the beef? Is 90% ok, or should I go for the 85% lean? Thanks so much for all of your great recipes! You are one of my go to places when I’m looking for a recipe that is sure to be a success!

    • — Hafsa on February 8, 2020
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    • So glad you like the recipes, Hafsa! I’d probably go for the 85% variety of ground beef. Enjoy!

      • — Jenn on February 9, 2020
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  • I am making these today and would prefer to freeze them without sauce so I can decide how many to defrost at a time. Would they be ok if I did that?

    • — Joanne on January 26, 2020
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    • Yep 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2020
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  • If I use plain breadcrumbs, should I add more herbs? Or should I just buy the Italian breadcrumbs? – Jane

    • — jane simon on January 25, 2020
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    • Hi Jane, You can use plain — just add a pinch more salt and a bit more herbs.

      • — Jenn on January 26, 2020
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  • Made this the other evening and it turned out great. The meatballs topped it off. I did find rolling them out to golf ball size a bit difficult but found that using a table spoon measure filled the bill nicely. Using that, I got 24 nicely sized meatballs. Used half and froze the others.

    • — William McLellan on January 23, 2020
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  • I just made this for lunch (now our biggest meal of the day) today and my husband and I both thought the meatballs were delicious. I appreciated the oven time for them as lots of the fat just naturally cooked out of them! I made my own sauce this time but who knows about next time. Options are nice. I did, however, omit the veal and still we thought the meal was so good.

    • — Sarah on January 10, 2020
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  • I’m going to make these Kosher using all beef. Do I need to add something since I’m omitting the cheese?

    • — Susan Fine on January 10, 2020
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    • Hi Susan, I’d just omit the cheese — they’ll still be good. 🙂

      • — Jenn on January 10, 2020
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  • I grew up with my Napolitan grandparents and this looks like a really good, authentic Italian recipe (save for the jarred sauce, lol), but one thing my grandmother did that I never seem to see in recipes is she cooked the meatballs ENTIRELY in the sauce, no browning or baking first, and they always come out delicious, without any browning or skin on them, soft, silky, and delicious. Just offering a little glimpse into Nonna’s technique!

    • — Tabitha on November 1, 2019
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  • Once again – another superb recipe! We used the meatball recipe and made some quick and easy meatball sliders. Thank you Jenn!!

    • — Amy B on October 28, 2019
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  • Even though I was afraid my meatballs would fall apart, they did not, and they were very good.
    I used all sirloin because it’s what I had. Really liked the ease of using store bought sauce and thought Rao’s was an excellent choice.

    • — Patricia Smith on October 5, 2019
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  • Absolutely delicious and quick and easy-thanks once again for a great recipe!

    • — Jim Smith on September 19, 2019
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  • Made this tonight, and we really enjoyed it. We had the Big Italian salad with it, and also really liked that dressing. Thanks for another great meal!

    • — Bonnie on September 15, 2019
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  • This is a great recipe and it can be tailored to your own particular taste, for example, type of meat, more or less salt, heat, portions of herbs, etc. We had unexpected guests for dinner at our ranch last weekend and this dish came together quickly and with a small dinner salad,
    garlic bread and your apple crisp (which I had made the day before) everyone was happy except for the outcome of the LSU/Texas game.

    A couple of slight alterations were 1 TBP Worcestershire, one-fourth teaspoon smoked paprika, 1 Teaspoon red pepper flakes, one fourth finely diced onion and two pounds lean sirloin. I used Rao’s Arrabiata sauce to kick it up. Also put a pan of hot water in the stove to help keep meatballs from breaking up. My wife and the guests thought the dinner was great as did I. Thanks so much for your work and of course I have your book. RW from Rocky Creek Ranch

    • — royce watts on September 12, 2019
    • Reply
  • I bought 1lb each ground beef, veal and pork therefore I doubled the recipe. I loved the flavor of these meatballs. They are good for spaghetti and I’m planning to use some for meatball subs. I used all dried herbs, so I used 75% of the recommended seasoning. I’m sure fresh would elevate the dish. I’ll do that next time.

    • — Kimberly on September 12, 2019
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  • I made this recipe last night for my boyfriend and myself. I didn’t change a thing in this recipe aside from using the leftover basil in the sauce. The fresh basil really elevated the meatballs and I love how the meatballs are finished in the sauce. My boyfriend couldn’t stop raving about how much he loved this! I will definitely be making an extra batch to freeze next time.

    • — Angela on September 11, 2019
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  • We just went on a vacation to Chicago and this was better than all of the Italian we had there. So good doesn’t even begin to describe.

    • — Chad on September 7, 2019
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  • The whole family loved this recipe – even my daughter who hates tomato based pasta sauces! Thank you Jenn!

    • — Lynnda on September 7, 2019
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  • My kids requested these meatballs with spaghetti for their birthday dinner this week! To make them ahead of time, I baked them at 350 for 30 minutes, turning once. After cooling completely, I popped them in the freezer to have for later in the week. I also used a mixture of half ground beef and half pork in my batch. I agree with the other reviewers that a bit more salt helped lift these meatballs. Otherwise, it’s a solid recipe.

    • — Christina on April 13, 2019
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  • Dear Jenn,
    I have been making meatballs and sauce for many years…my grandfathers recipe! But finding pork ground five times isn’t easy anymore. So, I went looking and, of course, found a delicious meatball recipe on your blog. These meatballs are so tender, my very first requirement and one not easy to find. I might use just a tad fewer herbs, but even so, the best meatball recipe I have had since my Grandpa’s!

    • — Sue Shortley on December 20, 2018
    • Reply
  • These meatballs were delicious and so simple to make! Thank you Jenn! I love that you bake them and not fry them. I think meatballs without a doubt should have sausage in them but unfortunately I did not have any on hand. I followed the recipe using only ground beef and they were really good. This recipe is definitely a keeper

  • I made the meatball portion of this recipe 2 weeks ago. I used ground chicken and because i didn’t hate Italian panko, i used regular and added Italian seasonings to it. I also used arrabiata bottled sauce instead of marinara with penne pasta. It was yummy. Only thing different i would do next time is put more salt than you called for in the meatball mix. It was bland and needed more salt when we were eating it.

  • These meatballs were fantastic! I make an incredibly good red pasta sauce, but I wanted to shake things up a bit and made these tonight. The kids and husband were impressed! Next time I’ll make them a bit smaller and I will use a little more pasta. I will definitely make these again. Thank you for another keeper recipe.

  • I doubled your recipe for spaghetti and meatballs. Would you recommend I freeze them raw or bake them first, then freeze.

    • Hi Donna, I’d recommend cooking them first. Enjoy!

  • Made this tonight and we loved it. I used casarecce pasta instead of spaghetti. We live in Toronto and did find Rao marinara sauce. Well worth it…

    • I live in Toronto too. Curious where you found Rao marinara sauce as I’d like to get some?

      • — Rachel Chernos Lin
      • Reply
      • I live in Toronto as well and I love RAO pasta sauce. You can buy it at Kitchen Table, sometimes Loblaws, downstiars in The Bay aacross from the Eaton Centre and also Saint Lawrence Market .

        • — Diana on September 20, 2019
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  • Love this! It was a crowd pleaser at our house.

  • This was a very nice meatball recipe, although in future I think it needs a little more salt. The fresh herbs and cheese gave them a lot of flavor. I appreciate the tip about Rao’s marinara sauce, which was excellent; and I like the whole approach for a simpler spaghetti meal on a short timeframe. I made my meatballs in the morning, and stored them in my plastic deviled egg container. An easy way to keep your meatballs separated and retain their shape. Will definitely make again.

  • Thanks for another great recipe! I made it last night and it was great, even if I did omit the breadcrumbs accidentally. Just a couple of questions: is the idea that the meatballs will not be fully cooked in the oven? Also, curious about covering the sauce and meatballs with foil vs. using an off-kilter pot lid. What’s the rationale there?

    • Hi Karen, Glad you enjoyed them even without breadcrumbs! Yes, the meatballs should be almost completely cooked through before you put them in the sauce. And the foil covering the skillet is just to keep the tomato sauce from splattering out onto your stove. You can definitely loosely cover it with a lid instead.

  • These are so delicious. Without doubt the best recipe I have ever tried. Do yourself a favour and try them. I’m sure they will end up in your favourite file.

    They have so much flavour and are so tender. Meatballs that I have made before have been like golf balls but not these ones!!!

    • — Gill O'Brien, Sydney, Australia
    • Reply
  • Hello – Making recipe for a party and planned to double. When purchasing the meat, it came in 3 packages totalling 3.4 lbs. Is it OK to double the recipe or would you make other adjustments to ingredients? Love your recipes… Thank you!

    • Hi Sue, you should be fine with just doubling everything else. Enjoy!

  • This is my families new favorite meatball recipe! I made one change when baking the meatballs. I lined my baking sheet with foil, and placed a cooling rack on the sheet. I baked the meatballs on the rack, and they browned beautifully without needing to be turned.

  • Absolutely fantastic meatballs! I don’t know which ones I love more, these or the turkey spinach meatballs.

  • I made these meatballs and they were some of the best I’ve tried. I made bread crumbs in the processor instead of using the store bought. I made my own sauce also, but you’re right, Rao’s is one of the best store-bought marinaras out there. Thanks!

  • Best meatballs I have ever made, thanks to you! Husband went wild. Will make again. Used Pomi marinara sauce. Thank you.

  • Made these last year for a holiday gathering and everyone loved them! I make smaller ones and serve with crusty french bread.

  • Could I make the meatballs without the cheese? My daughter can’t have dairy but I think she would love these if I could make them dairy free. She LOVES your turkey meatloaf. Thanks!

    • Sure, Melissa — they’ll still be delish 🙂

  • This looks yummy except I would not use the Progressive breadcrumbs-it has all sorts of unhealthy ingredients in it which I was shocked by including high fructose corn syrup and MSG.

  • Spaghetti and meat SAUCE is a common staple meal that is well received in our household. But something magical happens when the meat is formed into spheres. My daughters and husband were delighted and all wanted leftovers packed for lunch the next day. Marinara in a jar was a practical time saver for me. And something simple I really appreciated when following this recipe is that I ended up with just the right ratio of pasta to sauce.

  • Just mixed these. About to throw them in the oven. But.this recipe is missing all of your step by step pictures. Regular parsley? Or Italian? The grocery store I go to does not have ground veal. I substituted for ground turkey. Hopefully it turns out okay. I’ll let you know!

    • Hi Tori, Yes, this is one of my original recipes, before I started using step-by-step photos…will update soon 🙂 Either parsley is okay but I use Italian.

      • I ended up using Italian. Just finished eating leftovers ☺️ So very yummy. If they don’t have veal just use turkey!

  • Another game changing recipe for my family! These meatballs go fast and furious, I highly recommend making enough for two meals as they freeze so nicely and are even more enjoyable the second time around when you didn’t have to do any work! My two-year-old absolutely loves these, as do I and my husband. We didn’t have basil and parsley the first time we made them and they still came out fantastically, so I’ve never included and had no complaints! Highly recommend.

  • Hi Jen,

    First of all, I love Rao’s miranara sauce. It tastes so fresh and has a hint of sweetness. I wish I can make my miranara sauce that good! My question is, how do you suppose to mix meatball mixture but not overwork it? I am Chinese and all of our meatball recipes require the meat mixture to be mixed to a sticky texture. Shall I use a fork or hand to mix your meatballs? I am always afraid of the ingredients are not evenly distuributed so I tend to overmix it.

    Thank you!

    • Hi Lu, Just use your hands — these are pretty tender so you don’t need to worry about over-mixing too much 🙂

  • FOR REAL???? You are a classically trained Chef and You’re telling people to use store bought jarred sauce!! Shame on You!!

    • You must not have kids Rick.

      I’ve made these a dozen times with just turkey meat and everyone loves them. Sometimes I use jarred sauce and it’s fast and tasty. other times I throw chopped onion, garlic and oregano in a pot, saute for 6 minutes, add blended whole peeled tomatoes and a little water or stock. Nothing fancy. Then the sauce takes on the taste of the meatballs. The meatballs ate great any way you slice them! Love this recipe.

    • No need to be mean. Just because someone is a trained chef doesn’t mean they can’t take an occasional shortcut, especially when they’re sharing their recipe with people who aren’t chefs. I’m a chef and I use shortcuts sometimes too. Besides, the sauce she recommended is one of the best you can get. All fresh ingredients, no preservatives.

    • Get a life, Rick. These recipes are here for average people to use and enjoy – they aren’t made for other “classically trained chefs”. Some people have jobs and responsibilities that prohibit them from making sauce from scratch. I assume you grow/raise all of your food/herbs and you don’t purchase anything from a grocery store?

      P.S. try Rao’s….. I guarantee you won’t make sauce again (if you even do).

      • — Not A Stuck Up Jerk
      • Reply
    • Oh Rick, you are so silly and clueless 😂.

      • — Julia on September 9, 2019
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    • Shame on you Rick! Be nice!

      • — Lara on November 18, 2019
      • Reply
  • The meatballs were excellent. I will use this recipe from now on. Thank you!

  • how can i turn this meatball recipe into a meatloaf?

    • Hi Heather, You wouldn’t need to change a thing; just bake the mixture in a loaf pan or free form into a loaf shape and bake on a baking sheet.

  • Hi Jenn, I love your blog and recipes. I don’t eat pork, so can I use a 50/50 ratio for the ‘meatloaf mix’? What are your recommendations for an alternative mix?

    • Hi Lucia, Yes, that would work fine!

  • Jenn,
    I just have to tell you, these meatballs are SO good!! My picky, won’t eat anything, 2 year old ate 2 for dinner tonight! Thanks for such a great recipe!

    I wanted to share some changes I’ve made too, for any others out there with funky allergies like I have. For the meat I use ground pork & chicken (about the same amounts of each). I have to omit the egg, but the chicken is so sticky it’s never mattered. Then, instead of bread crumbs, I’ve been using almond meal (from Trader Joe’s). Other than that, I follow the recipe exactly. They hold up really well and freeze well too.

    🙂 Amy

  • Congratulations, your recipe is virtually like my Gram’s and the best. A couple of things from having made them for over 56 years that I learned from my mother. Start with plain crumbs, the “Italian” may have herbs added that one doesn’t need with the flavor you have created in seasoning already. Mom always wet the crumbs with the water first and added all the herbs, cheese and eggs,(two). If the crumbs are dry you will get a grainy taste in the meatball. Most important place your meatball mixture in the refrigerator for half an hour. This gives the egg a chance to bind the meat and they form easily and hold together firmly. It never hurts to wet your hands with water before you start to roll the meatballs. Its keeps the meat together and not all over your hands as your making them.

    • — John-Francis Saccone
    • Reply
    • Thanks for those tips!!

  • These meatballs are YUMMY!!! I’ve substituted ground turkey, chicken & pork for the meat and they still come out tender and really tasty. My husband didn’t even know!

  • These meatballs are my son’s favorite and are easy enough to make on a busy week night. I serve them with Rao’s jarred sauce and a salad. Fantastic.

  • Made these the other night and they were delicious! The whole family – including a toddler and baby – loved it. I used whole wheat penne (easier eating for the kids) and it worked great. Still very tasty as leftovers the next day.

  • Great recipe! Made some alterations as I couldn’t find meatloaf mix or veal at my grocery store so I used half ground beef and half spicy italian sausage instead. I also doubled the garlic. I think next time I’ll add more basil since that flavor didn’t really come through. Love that these are baked, not fried…easy cleanup! Thanks for the recipe!

  • Just wondering, do these freeze well? If so, would you freeze them before or after you bake them? Always looking for ways to be a step ahead with dinner, but not at the expense of taste. I’ve made quite a few of your recipes and have never been disappointed! Thanks so much for bringing them to us! Carol

    • Hi Carol, Yes, they do freeze well. I typically freeze them after baking them (with the sauce). Hope that helps!

  • I made these last night for my picky 5 year old. It got the “These are the best meatballs, mom!” comment! Kudos Jennifer!

  • I was happy to see the newest recipe, then all the other comments came up, now I’m as confused as every as to how to make the meatballs.

    • Don’t be confused. Forget the comments and just follow Jen’s recipe. You’ll be happy with the result. She’s the best.

      • — Joan Barmish on September 8, 2019
      • Reply
  • This would be my hubby’s favorite, he even helped with the meatballs! I LOVE this website and won’t even look at another recipe book first without looking here. I HAVE NEVER had a bad recipe off of here. Looking forward to cooking more of your recipes!! 🙂

  • I just wanted to thank you for such a great recipe. I made them for my husband and he loved them. Then I made them for my family and OMG they loved them to. What a beautiful recipe.

  • Well these are great and I add a bit of ketchup instead of the water. It gives them a certain sweetness, without being overpoweing, and it makes them super moist!!!!

  • forget the water…. a tablespoon or two of sauce makes the v meatballs…. tender and flavorful…(old Italian secret.. .

  • even better and healthier recipe:

    try turkey meat and follow same recipe if you wish; but when you bake on sheet you do need to add some oil because the meat does not contain much fat, I do add in seasoned bread crumbs, garlic powder, eggs, water and get the right moisture to make your meatballs and bake at 350 until done

  • I have alwas baked my meatball I make them the same way but a touch of milk & a egg with the mix they shape better for me

  • I have been baking them for a few years. I thought its because the meat is more fatty now. It certainly is great realizing that all that grease and fat is iliminated.

  • Would love to try this recipe!

  • I have the butcher grind BRISKET with the fat.
    These make very juicy burgers or meatballs.
    I use 1 egg per pound, garlic powder, salt, pepper
    Lawry’s season salt. A little water and Corn Flake
    crumbs. Make the best burgers and meatballs.
    Enjoy. The butcher sells me the cri-ovac wrapped
    whole brisket and grinds if.

  • The best meatballs I ever ate were for a sour-cream based sauce, and included 1 minced & smashed anchovy filet.

    Baking meatballs is good, but broiled meatballs get a nice, brown crust that helps keep them juicier.

  • Instead of parsley, I usually use cilantro, finely chopped, cilantro has more taste.

  • I also don’t add the herbs, just garlic, bread that I soak with water, then squeeze out the excess, grated cheese, a little salt (cheese has salt in it) & pepper.Then mix it well.

  • Hi, great to read the recipes for mbs.
    I always buy the combo meats.

  • I have also been making meatballs for years but lately they have been falling apart on me. I will try to bake them and use some of the suggestions made on this website. Example: bread soaked in milk, add another egg and adding some cheese.

    • your meat balls are falling apart probably because you are using much leaner ground beef in an effort to eat healthier. Unfortunately that make for a dry meat mixture that will fall apart

    • OMG, Willy, your so right, my mom always soaked Italian bread (Hard bread) in milk then squeezed it well before adding to other meatball ingredients.
      . Adding enough Italian grated cheese is also important. I always omit the salt, as the cheese is salty enough. Thanks for the reminder.
      Stay Well.

  • enjoyed the recipe and then all the commentary. Will be having sp and mb for awhile trying out the additional suggestions…lol

  • Wonderful! We grow and can our own tomatoes. My homemade is so much better than store-bought.

    • PS: We also grow our own herbs! FRESH!!!

    • What is your recipe for your spaghetti sauce if you don’t mind sharing..

    • Just to add my 2 cents, I agree with the mixed meat 100%, I have been doing that for years and my meatballs are a huge hit no matter where I bring them. I also agree that the meatballs need something to make them moist. However, instead of water try adding tomato sauce. I usually buy a small can of hunts pureed sauce and use about 1/2 a can. That is my secret ingredient that not many people know about and it really enhances the flavor. Also, unless you’re a big oregano fan I would leave that out because oregano can have a strong taste. Definitely bake them as well.

  • 2 points. Bake or fry similer result. I fry. Frying allows me to save the carmelized residue in the pan , after frying, to add more flavor to th gray. To remove the grease add a can of tom paste and water to the pan & let simmer. The oil & grease will separate,pour it off & the paste in the gravy.. 2nd, While the Crushed tomatoes are simmering, take a med size fresh carrot, cush it in a blender, add it to the tomatoes and finish the gray. Sweeeet.

  • I use milk to moisten meatballs instead of water and my secret ingredient is a dash of ground nutmeg to the mixture. I also always fry my meatballs never bake.

  • My IN-LAWS (from Rome, Italy) would be turning over in their graves IF I used basil,onion and oregano in my meatballs. And Romano is the cheese of choice in our meatballs.I use Ilio DiPaolo’s bread crumbs..The crumbs are seasoned with ROMANO and parsley.
    OREGANO IS ONLY FOR PIZZA…Not sauce/not meatballs.

    • Carol, My in-laws are from just outside of Rome and the same here…. use only seasoned bread crumbs, egg, salt and pepper in the meatballs. She said the sauce will absorb the seasoning from the meatballs (because I cook the meatballs in the sauce) and the meatballs will absorb the seasoning from the sauce. I put slightly sauted garlic, fresh parsley and onion and then add red wine & parmesian in my sauce. As a matter of fact, we’re making sauce from the tomatoes in our garden now.

      • I forgot, I chop up the leaves of celery and then drop a piece of celery in the sauce while it’s cooking. It helps take the acidity out of it! Never use sugar!!

  • Essentially a good recipe…BUT, ground veal is either too expensive or non-existent. I haven’t seen ground veal in a supermarket in many years. Ditto the meatball mix. The butchers at Krogers and Publix will be happy to grind the $14.95 per pound veal cutlets, etc. if and when they have it. I have taken to use ground chicken or turkey in its stead. I’ve been making Italian style meatballs for over 55 years, and my recipe is very similar, but I deep fry my meatballs and never bake them.

  • I bake my meat ball too but , but I place a rack in the pan so the meatballs don’t set in the grease at all

  • I use a similar recipe but don’t fry or bake the meatballs. I throw them into a crockpot with the sauce and let them cook in the sauce on low for several hours. The absorb some of the sauce and are extremely tender and moist.

    • — George E LeFebvre
    • Reply
    • George, I used to put the meatballs raw right into the sauce too, but my husband (who is the Italian) wanted me to fry them a little first. To get any grease out of the sauce, just cool it overnight and the grease will harden on top and you can scoop it all out. They taste so much better cooked in the sauce!

  • The secret is to use ground chuck (it’s not as dense and will maintain the flavor and juices), add ingrediants, roll meatballs, fry but not completely done. You want the center to be raw so that it soaks up the spaghetti sauce as they simmer and finish cooking in the sauce. They must cook in the sauce a minimum of 4 hrs. The next day is always better (about 8 hrs of cooking). The flavors from the meatballs will also add great flavor to the sauce.

  • For those west coasters – surely you must have butcher shops in California! Someone mentioned a particular one not far from me for another item, and to be honest, I was so used to the convenience of my local supermarket, I totally forgot to go to the butcher shop…. they’re usually at small neighborhood stores. My recipe is also quite similar to so many. Everyone says that my sauce always tastes better the next day, even tho I simmer it all afternoon. I also add a small pork roast, small piece of beef, sweet Italian sausage to the sauce. mmmmm.

    • I neglected to mention pignoli nuts. Other family members prefer to add raisins in the meatballs, which I hate, so I’ll half the meat, put raisins in half of them. No basil, parsley or oregano. Also, never use powders, but chopped garlic & minced onions. My mom used to braise the meats & fry the sausage & meatballs and add the bits on the bottom of the pan in the sauce for additional taste. Nowadays, there’s usually just teflon coated pans, so there’s no sticking left.. We also never called it gravy, but sauce. My dad was from Italy & “taught” my mother to cook Italian….. “THAT does NOT taste like my mother made it!” So she learned through trial and error, as his mother had passed away prior to her meeting. Later people thought SHE was the Italian, not him! .;)

  • just saying that i have always broiled my meatballs. I started doing this when i had gallbladder issues. cuts out a lot of the grease and as mentioned better for you. Takes only about 5 minutes, then simmer with your sauce.

  • i don’t fry or bake my meatballs—i put them directly in to the sauce, it think that makes for a very tender, tasty mb & it gives additional flavor to the sauce. i also don’t use any herb except italian parsley.the type of grated cheese you use is more of a person preference. since my family comes from the naples region, we use romano. for all you people who can’t find a beef/pork/veal mixture—most stores will grind a mixture for you==all you have to do is pick what cut of meat you want from the meat case. the ratio is generally 1 lb beef, 1/4 lb pork, 1/4 veal.. this way you can control the amount of fat in your mixture, & if you can’t find veal, you can always substiture turkey just ask the butcher to grind the meats separately & then grind the mixture a 2nd time with all 3 meats so the are completely mixed together. .

  • 80/20 ground beef, locatelli romano cheese, fresh onion, garlic, parsley, basil, oregano, eggs, breadcrumbs w/ a bit of water, salf and pepper. used to fry, but switched over the baking and they taste great. Must have home made “gravy”…use lots of cheese in the sauce along with a few small carrots to “sweeten” the sauce naturally…takes the “bite” out of the acidity of the tomatoes The fresher the ingredients, the better the final product. Making it this way for close to 40 years…

  • I personally like to slow cook my meatballs all day in my slow cooker in the sauce, after I’ve baked them, and the flavor of the sauce cooks all the way through. I also bake at 400 degrees so they are kinda browned on the outside so they don’t fall apart and get so many compliments and requests for them. I also do 10 lbs. up at a time and freeze, then can take out in the morning for whatever size meal I need that night, put in crockpot with my trusty Ragu sauce (I add parmesan cheese to that as well) and then put in the meatballs and let them cook all day on low. The house smells wonderful walking in the door at night, 10 minutes to cook spaghetti and toast some bread and we’re ready!

  • Known for my ‘meat-a-balls”, I’ve always used a little milk, not water. Also, mine are broiled – not baked – turned over 1/2 way so you get a little bit of the crispy on the outside w/o the frying. The meat mix is def the way to go – as is the cheese etc. Finish cooking them off in homemade ‘gravy’ – Delicioso!

  • I adore oregano.I put it in my spaghetti meat sauce,on my pizza as well as in my bbq beans ( an old family recipe I’ve used for over 35 years ).A old family friend made up the recipe and its been such a big hit at parties and picnics.

  • I just put the raw meatball into a homemade sauce, and if I have them I’ll toss in a few pork chops and or chunks of stew beef or small chuck roast, and let it go for a few hours. The meatballs should go in last about an hour after the meat. If you make a quality meatball why ruin it with anyones store made sauce?

    • — george t sedares
    • Reply
  • Clearly, there are dozens of ways to make a meatball, even a ‘traditional’ one. I married an Italian, and every cook in his family makes them differently! My preference for the liquid part is a little of the sauce added to the meat mix rather than water. It adds to the flavor rather than just plain water. I only fry or bake if we’re going to munch on some while the rest simmer in the sauce. Otherwise, I drop them directly into the gently simmering sauce raw. I use about a tsp of salt per pound of meat, pepper, fresh garlic, dry oregano, fresh parsley, pecorino romano, and start out with an egg per pound of meat and add more as I get the ‘feel’ of the meat as I mix it, and the bread crumbs. Most importantly, I use good quality, straight beef – or pork – or turkey, never mixing them, or to me it loses the flavor of any of the meats used. If I want a turkey meatball for instance, then that’s what I’ll make. Not Italian, but my husband and his relatives all say the same – I must be putting some secret ingredient in my meatballs from my own ethnic background to make them better than anybody’s lol!

  • parsely garlic …………….are the spices

  • The best meatballs are my grandmothers recipe

    1 lb Ground beef, pork and veal
    1 egg
    1 cup breadcrumbs soaked in 1/4 cup of milk
    2 tbl parsley
    2 tbl basil
    1/4 cp romano cheese
    1/8 cp sugar
    1 Tbl garlic powder
    1 Tbl onion powder
    1 tsp salt the romano cheese is already salty so be careful not to add too much salt
    the sugar and milk make the meatball moist and give great flavor to the meatballs and we always throw the meatballs right in the sauce to cook it gives the sauce great flavor too…This is the best sauce you will ever have

    • your recipe sounds good, gonna try it; thanks for posting…

  • i seamer my meata balls in my home made sause(gravy) think make them tender as can be and larger, if u cook sausage, al so simmer them together for a 2-3hrs. i think u will enjoy this method the best. thanks for looking

  • that is exactly how I make my meatalls ecept I use wine instead of water

    • HMMMMM,!!!! Wine in MB’s ?? sounds interesting enough to give it a try Mary.
      I always add a little red wine to my home made sauce, ( About 3-4 tablespoons)
      Stay Well

  • I used evaporated milk in my meatballs. Plus
    instead of oregano I use mixed Italian seasoning.
    My family does not like to see chunks so eggs milk and onion, garlic , and seasoning go into the blender until smooth. They are then mixed with dry ingredients. Then poured over and mixed with meat. I would never get 24 meat balls out of 1 1/2 lbs of meat more like 12. I also use a very low fat meat and add aome olive oil to meat mixture. I would use two eggs and 1 cup of cheese.

  • Try Naninasgourmetsauce.com. They have about 5 or 6 varieties. You won’t be disappointed. The best bottled sauce local to New Jersey. I also bake my meatballs and if you do it at 450 degrees for a few minutes each side you will get the crispness without frying! I also use 1 to 2 eggs per pound so one to 1 1/2 lbs not eniough.

  • The most protected meatball secret? Marshmallow. No joke. Add 6 – 10 marshmallows (depending on your sweet tooth) to the ground meat. It binds the meat better than egg and gives them a “springy” “chewy” texture…it’s a well guarded secret in authentic kitchens across Italy.

    • Jimmy, that is so bizarre I am gonna have to try it!!! Thanks!

    • Jimmieeeee,

      MARSHMALLOWS in MB”s ???????
      Must really be a very well garded secret in Italy and in USA. Never Ever heard nof this. But you gave me my chuckle for the day, thanks my friend.
      Stay Well.

  • You need to try Nanina’s sauce if you don’t make your own. I also do it similar but no onions or oregano. just old italian brakd soaked in water or just dredged and grated on a hand grater. Mixed dry bread crumbs. Romano only not parmesean. I also don’t use the mixed meat which is a popular blend in our supermarkets on the east coast.

  • Looks delicious. I am always interested in getting new and exciting recipes. Especially recipes for crowds.

    Thank You

    • — Claudia Alberoni
    • Reply
  • No water in them, milk and an egg to bind. Baking them is the way to go. Perfect everytime. FRying, no way. They still get carmelized on the baking sheet. Much easier.

  • I make my own sauce and meatballs and this recipe is similar but I cook my meatballs in the sauce. So roll them and put them in raw they cook in a couple of hours and take on the added flavor of the sauce.

    • I’m with you Ron. My Italian Aunt’s recepe is not baking or frying, just put them in the sauce and cook. Tryed both baking and frying, and just boiling in the sauce give more flavor to to the gravy. Don’t over roll them and plop them in gravey not stiring for 10 minutes so they don’t break. I don;t like them to hard.

    • I also don’t fry or bake my meatballs Ron.They cook long enough in the sauce,so there is no bacteria..never got sick, don’t need the extra fat from frying. My mom was born in Naples & came here when she was 19.Her father was a chef. I know how to cook Italian, never use a jar sauce. I always enjoyed cooking.

  • I’ve been making meatballs like this for years. I use romano cheese, and egg yolks only. I use stale bread soaked in milk instead of bread crumbs. I also make mine a little bigger, that way it’s a little more economical usually one (maybe) two per person. My husband calls my meatballs, “softballs,” lol………….

  • My Mother-in-Law (WONDERFUL Italian Lady) taught me how to make her delicious! mbs about five years ago. She had always fried but switched to baking for health (fat) reasons. They taste just as good (maybe better) as before. Her recipe is remarkably close to yours, right down to the water. When I have the time, I make my own gravy, either marinara, meat or seafood following her recipe again. I usually make close to two gallons at a time, then divide it into the type of gravy. For the meat I use beef, pork or wild game (venison, moose or elk). I store it in separate containers in the freezer and we have it over whole wheat pasta at least once a week!

  • why bother making good meatballs only to throw them into a bottled sauce. Make the sauce!! oil garlic, onion, paste, a lamb bone and tomatoes.

  • This recipe lost all credibility when it said “use a quality store bought sauce.” Store bought spaghetti sauces are ALL nasty. I wouldn’t feed them to my dog.

    • — Haywood Jablomie
    • Reply
    • Don’t knock it til you try it…Rao’s is actually quite good! Also, this is meant to be an easy weeknight dinner — lots of people don’t have time to make a homemade sauce 🙂

    • Ditto

    • You have never tried Rao’s arrabiatta sauce. I have always made homemade sauce but my grandson who is a pasta sauce critic, loves Rao’s so I always have a jar on hand for those times I don’t have any homemade sauce and feel like having spaghetti and meatballs.

      • — Diana on October 11, 2019
      • Reply
  • I am Italian and I can tell you that in my family they would NEVER use basil or oregano in the meatballs. Lots of cheese and garlic and parsley but NOT oregano or basil in the meat mix !!

    • I use my greatgrandmother’s mint she brought from Sicily in 1897.. our secret ingreadiant! No oragano, parsley or basil!

      • Never thought of mint, i love mint leaves, i will try that.

  • I was perplexed by a few things in the article. First, I have never seen in ANY store, a “meatloaf mix.” We can’t get any kind of veal here in Northern L.A. County also. The blend of meat is a great idea though. Using pork or turkey to replace some of the beef cuts down on calories and adds flavor as well as tenderness to your product. Secondly, I thought it was odd to use some fresh herbs AND dried ones too. Why not all fresh or all dried? Lastly, if you are concerned about the fat left behind, you are probably using a high fat(30%) content ground meat. Using a 7% fat will cut down on that or better yet, grind your own London Broil and control the fat content yourself. GL

    • chef, here on the east coast the beef,port,veal combo is available in the majority of our supermarkets. its usually labeled meatloaf mix. its all i use when making meatballs. when i visit my dtr in san francisco i freeze a couple of pkgs and bring them with me to make my meatballs there. i know the mix is not readily available on the west coast and i dont know why that is.

  • che cavolo dite aggiungere acqua, non mi fate ridere , imparate a fare le vere polpette!

  • Can’t wait to make these meatballs! I did want to recommend MID’S brand, for a jarred sauce, if time is a factor.

  • I do mine about the same but use a cream of mushroom sauce .

  • NO ONIONS ! Just garlic. Also, Romano cheese , not Parmesan. Stale Italian bread soaked in water or milk, and no store-bought breadcrumbs. Fried, not baked ( that’s for restaurants). Pork and veal only add to the cost, not necessary. Ground beef will suffice. 80/20 or 75/25.

    • pete yours is just like mine, we use romano and use stale italian bread either soaked in milk or water, no onions just garlic , egg, parsley, romano cheese and bread soaked in milk or water, and fry those babies up an dthen finish cooking in the sauce. these r the best and from my grandmas from italy and all u need is some good ground chuck, u dont need veal or pork.

      • I’m with you Denise, the problem I have is in the food stores in my area all sell “ground beef 80/20” this is not ground chuck. I have asked the butcher why they claim it’s chuck and he just shrugged his shoulders and said it’s a union thing. Every Sunday I actually drive 2 towns over to buy ground chuck from a small upscale food store. I also fry my meatballs but do not add them to my gravy until about a 1/2 hour before I serve them this way they are juicy.

    • Pete, Your suggestions are perfect! I worked with a lady from Naples and this is how she cooked her meatballs.–Soaked stale bread in milk and no onions, just garlic. Delicious!

    • Beg to differ on just Ground beef…big taste difference..My mother taught us 1/2, 1/4 , 1/4…Beef, Veal, Pork…i agree with the onions…absolutely not…

  • when using 1 1/2 lbs of meat and all those other ingredients, , 1/4 tesp of salt is like one drop of rain in a rainstorm.. Ssalt to taste is recommended. start with at lease 1 tsp, and then adjust to taste. With the pepper, again, to taste.The egg is to bind the ingredients. With 1.5 ls of meat, you may have to use a 2nd egg. The water is ok, but mix the meat & ingredients first before adding water, and then start with filling 1/2 of the broken egg shell with water. Otherwise, the meatballs may be too wet to hold together.

    • I agree with the extra egg and we always soaked our bread in milk, that would cover the water in this case

  • I have been making meatballs from a family receipt similar to this with homemade sauce. I have one tip for rolling meatballs that my dad started doing long ago. After you have mixed all the ingredients simply roll into logs about the diameter of a quarter and the length of a cookie sheet or cutting board you use and lay them out and then cut into meatball size pieces then bake or fry.

  • Oooh……looks soooo good ! Can’t wait to make them !!!

  • Sounds great will try

  • Your mb’s look very good. I always added alittle water to the mix but I never add oregano. And for me frying is the only way to go, you get the crispy outside and the tender inside.

  • I’ve gotten away from making spaghetti and meatballs for a long time. These sound easy and delicious. Thanks also to Rick (The Chef) for the marinara recipe. Can’t wait to try the recipies out!

  • I saw you added water. I add CLUB SODA! About 2 oz., after everything else is mixed. Mixed it in (fresh bottle!) and let it set for about 10 minutes. I also use that for motzah balls at Passover – makes ’em float in the soup, not sink like rocks. Ssshhh, it’s a secret ….

  • I will definitely be trying this recipe! I have always cooked my meatballs on the broiler pan that comes with the stove. Line the bottom of the pan with heavy duty foil and spray the top with Pam. Line the meatballs over the openings and bake as above. Fat collects in pan, not your arteries!

  • LOve this recipe now i just need the recipe to make the sauce. How do I make the sauce instead of buying it in a jar?



  • Almost right. First off, baking is the best way. Adding water in the mix is not. CHeck it out; follow the recipe as instructed, except replace the cheese with a good Pecorino Romano. Always cook with a Pecorino if your baking or simmering, which in this case your doing both. Cut back on the salt a little as the cheese I’m talking about is a little on the salty side. MIx the ingredients in the sink and slowly add the water as you mix. Your shooting for a very wet consistency. Not falling apart but close. The raw meatballs in the picture are too dry. If you REALLY want to make it authentic, use stale bread broken in to pieces and soaked in milk. Either way bake em as directed and make sure to simmer them in the sauce for a bit (20min). You should make your own sauce on weekends in a large pot. place cooked sauce in a well sealing freezer bad (After cooling), and freeze till you need it.

    • — Michael Capanelli
    • Reply
    • michael i agree soaking the stale bread in milk is key my grandmother told me on her dyiing bed to use stale bread and milk and then squeeze as much milk out before putting into the mix ,also to keep the whole mix wet and not to over handle the rolling of the meatballs happy eating

    • You say , adding water is not a good thing, but then you tell us to add water to the recipe.

  • My mother’s recipe for meatballs and meatloaf which are almost identical uses chicken broth instead of water, and slices of wet bread graded instead of bread crumbs. The trick is to start out with a very wet (not dry) mixture if you want to have moist delicious results.

    • I use bread too, but no eggs & I don’t fry or bake. I put them in the sauce about an 1 1/2 hrs after the sauce has been cooking…

    • As my grandparents would say thats Americano, it is weird because Italians do not pronounce the O at the end, you have here to understand I guess. But, anyway 2 bread 1 egg per pound she got the meat combo right, now adding water I don’t where they got that, if the bread is soaked in water or as my family always has done in milk there is no need to add. My family as well as I use chicken broth in the gravy, thats what its called in the Northeast, by most Italian Americans, and I believe in many parts of NJ also. And bake, I know of a few people that do that, but frying in olive oil , Thats what I am talking about. My Father’s Mother and Father, lived into their late 80s as did my Mothers, and for Mom 96 still around. And look at Italy lower rates of heart problems etc, been there plenty of times.

  • This is exactly how I make my meatballs! And they are soooo delicious! People can’t get enough of them. Yummmmmmm!!

    • and this is exactly how my mom made her Meatballs..with meatloaf mix. As another way to make them even juicier, she would add a touch of Ricotta cheese to the mix. YUMMY!

  • Very close to authentic.

    Not bad. Nort bad at all.

      1. MEAT( UR CHOICE)
      2. SALT
      3. PEPPER
      4. PEC ROMANO
      6. ONION
      7. GARLIC
      8, EGGS



      • Reply
  • I love the look of everything and my meatballs are kind of hard so, I will be trying this recipe ! My family loves my cooking but, I do feel I can improve on the meatballs. I will let you know the outcome. Thanks !!

  • interesting until you added canned sauce. Marinara is simple. Simply buy one can of San Marzano tomatoes, (Product of Italy) crush them by hand in a bowl, add olive oil to a pan, tun heat up, a little fresh garlic, (do not burn- 30sec) add tomatoes, 1 tsp salt, handful of fresh basil…cook on high to reduce sauce to your prefered thckness. Remove from heat, when sauce stops boiling, add 3 Tbs of cold butter and integrate into sauce…you will be amazed!

  • Looking forward to getting your recipes

  • These meatballs are like raking your backyard and adding meat… Leave out the herbs and never add garlic… Only garlic powder… Parm cheese is ok, but they come out much better if you just cook them in the sauce…. Trust me.. Been making the best meatballs since 1968….. I get rave reviews…

  • My Italian Mother made this type of meat balls during the Depression to extend the burger … still great today

  • oy ve’ !! – make your own sauce – don’t ruin homemade meatballs with jar sauce 🙁

  • To make ahead of time, and ‘ Freeze ‘
    Is it ok to freeze the Meatballs, after the 20 minutes in the Oven, and later, finish simmering in sauce the other 10 minutes.
    Thank you

  • I have to say, this is a very good begining. However, I feel that adding other meats like veal and/or pork and/or turkey is like a “newer” style meatball. Very close to the meatballs my great grandmother taught me to make. But there are a few more “tricks” that have been left out. I NEVER use store bought sauces. OH and Baking is definately a +++! Overall a super job!

  • The recipe is fine, but use the Itallian Sausage of your choice for the meat…it will makes this recipe even easier. Still add the other ingredients mentioned in the recipe. I think the main good tip to be gained from this recipe is to not simply use just gound beef. Even mixing an Itallian sauage 50/50 with ground beef is fine. At the same time you do this…brown up any extra meat, refridgerate it, and use it later for other dishes later in the week such as extra pizza topping on top of a frozen pizza or with some Hamburger Helper, etc.

  • Never had a good meatball receipt. These meatballs look so good. I’m going to make them for dinner tonight. Can’t wait to try them

    • — Ruth Ann Coleman
    • Reply
  • You’re good with the ingredients but next time substitute grated romano cheese for the parmesan. It’s more moist and a bit more flavorful and DEFINTIELY add chopped onions. Not the same without it.

  • I am allergic to wheat, so in place of the bread crumbs, I use a baked potato, that I put through my wire mesh strainer (kind of like a ricer). It makes the meatballs very light and airy. I mix the potato in very last, and bake them in the oven.

  • A trick I learned from my daughter who is a chef-Add about a cup of beef broth to the pan in which you bake the meatballs. they will nit stick to the pan and it adds extra flavor.

  • Since I have a slight aversion to oregano except on pizza and fresh tomatoes, I usually make my meatballs the same way, without oregano and with fresh bread crumbs, varying quantities of the other ingredients and fresh basil. Yours sound yummy and I must give them a try. Thank you.

  • If your using a non-stick skillet to fry the meatballs w/ no added fat how is that worse than baking them in the oven ? The meatballs are going to put off the same amount of fat either way you just don’t add the drippings to the sauce. You can go a step further & place the meatballs on papertowels to eliminate even more fat before adding them to the sauce.

  • I use pretty much the same recipe except that I don’t bake the meat balls, I drop them directly into the sauce and cook for an hour. Another hint, use a small ice cream scoop for forming perfectly shaped balls and then roll them in the palms of your hands for tightness. Throw away vinyl gloves are a must. Good luck.

  • I just saw this picture and recipe today. I will try the recipe soon so for now I cannot comment on its success, but comments make me want to try. What about freezing them for future use? Assume that would work just fine, right???

    • Hi Helen, Yes, they freeze very well.

  • Even easier than baking the meatballs is m’waving them on a m’wave bacon tray. The fat drips down and away from the meat. Oila!

  • Great meatball recipe, but one my Sicilian Mom and Granpop used all the time! Love that you found it and what makes is special is the baking part too.
    Also can add a few small pieces of Italian sauage to it. Thanks!

  • I agree with everything you put into your meatball mixture. I used milk instead of water at one time but I started using water and what a difference it makes. Water definitely works better!

  • one egg is not enough for 1 and 1/2 lbs of meat
    southern italians use 3 eggs per pound and no oregano, no basil, thats for the sauce, all parsley, garlic salt, bread crumbs, lots of cheese a little water, without adding the oil left after frying them to the sauce, the sauce doesn’t have a real italian flavor

  • I use milk in place of the water, makes it even more flavorful.

  • The recipe is similar to one passed down from my Grandma, but we added a bit of milk instead of water. And a sprinkling of fennel seeds. There was always an friendly argument around the table regarding raisins, yes raisins. Finely chopped and added, also added moisture. So, sometimes I do and sometimes I don’t. Either way, the fennel seed, about 1/2 tsp. adds an authentic touch.

  • where are the rasins? my famly is from Italy and came here in the very early 1900″s. them and all their friends who came over made their meatballs with all you put in and lots of rasins. try it you’ll love them.

  • Adding a packet of plain instant oatmeal will insure that meatballs are moist, I also like to add worcestshire sauce and some red pepper flakes.

  • Excellent, but one tip: it’s not necessary to either bake or fry the meatballs; just drop them in the sauce and let it all cook together. So much better flavor for both sauce and the meatballs.

  • Doesn’t anybody cook anymore? Real Italians wouldn’t think of using sauce from a jar.
    If you want really good spaghetti and meatballs, you’ve got to start from scratch!

  • No, not veal! I know it tastes good, but the ethics of it keep me away.

  • I have never really cooked before, I’m
    Married now and trying to find my inner chef. I found your recipe, it was simple to make ( I used ground beef and pork) I loved bakeing them instead of having to use alot of oil, and they turned out very yummy!!! Thank you

  • My son is obsessed with spaghetti, and these meatballs are AMAZING. I made my own spaghetti sauce and served them with whole-wheat pasta, and it was very satisfying and healthy. 🙂

  • So, there’s an Italian restaurant that my husband and I used to eat at years ago, and I LOVED their meatballs but could never seem to recreate them at home. I once asked the owner if she would tell me what was in them that gave them such a nice texture, and the only thing she would divulge is that they used cold water. “Most people use milk, but cold water is the secret!” she said. When I found this recipe and noticed that Jenn used water, I decided to try it. And guess what? This is about as close as I’ve ever gotten to those meatballs from the Italian restaurant, so I’m thrilled. I’ll be using this as my meatball recipe from now on. Thanks, Jenn!

  • made this, this week with homemade marinara and it was a hit with my son and his friends

  • Looking at this makes me hungry, wrote it all down, will be trying this receipt for sure. Thanks

  • My family LOVED this recipe! It’s our new favorite for Sunday dinner.

  • These meatballs are so flavorful… Out with my old recipe in with yours… Thanks for making dinner so much easier…

  • My alltime favorite meal. My mouth is watering. Looks delicious.

  • Any suggestions on how to freeze these? How would you thaw and reheat for optimal flavor?

    • I freeze meatballs by placing them on a cookie sheet and sticking them in the freezer until they are frozen. Then taken them out and place in freezer containers or bags (or use one of those vacuum foodsavers) They don’t stick together and you can take out as many as you need and put the rest back in the freezer.

  • I’ve made this dish several times now and it’s wonderful. The first time I didn’t roll the meatballs tight enough so they fell apart a bit (still good though!), but fixed it second time around. Thanks!

  • Hi. I stumbled on your blog doing a recipe search, made this tonight and it was DELICIOUS! The meatballs were extremely moist. The only thing I had fresh was the parsley, so all the other herbs were dried and it still turned out wonderful.

  • I made this recipe last week and it was delicious. My husband, who is Italian, says they were the best meatballs he ever had.

  • I’ve been making my meatballs like this for years – the only difference is that when I bake them, I put them on a broiler pan, so that most of the fat drips down to the lower level, making for easier clean-up, and hopefully, even healthier (can’t believe I’m saying that) meatballs.

  • wow…these meatballs are absolutely delicious…I’m almost afraid to “ruin” them with sauce!!! my 18 month old daughter doesn’t really eat meat, but she ate three of these right out of the oven!!! these will definitely be a repeat…and quite often, i’m sure!!! thank you!

  • Love, love, loved the meatballs. Made them for company this weekend and they raved about them – I left out how easy it was to make them! Thanks once again!

  • sounds delicious! definitely a people pleaser!

  • I love meatballs.. but really i don’t know to do that, thank God I’ve found this blog, I will try that at home.

    I love meatballs on pasta..

  • I made these meatball for my family tonight and got rave reviews! They were moist and flavorful~ This meatball recipe will be replacing my current one 🙂 Thanks!

  • I love good meatballs! I just made them for a dinner party this weekend. Yours look fabulous. Yum

  • Yummy recipe! looks delicious

  • Your meatballs look so yummy! I love the different Italian colors in them.

    • ok folks, Meatballs are fried in olive oil and anything else is not authentic period. They sould have a crisp exterior to hold up to the sauce, otherwise they become soggy, mushy and/or rubbery. That’s a plain and simple truth. Also, putting RAW meat into sauce is just a scandalous or worse. I don’t even want to go there ,,, bacteria, mush, just yukky. If you’re baking them for healthy reasons, then please explain why doctors recommend we all get on a Mediteranian Diet. And real sauce is as easy and simple.

  • Hi, I just started getting your e-mails and I wanted to say how great your recipes look, with the wonderful pictures for every step…your website really makes me want to cook!

    • — Jen from Chicago
    • Reply
    • Basically I make my meatballs the same way, with one exception. I make my own sauce and, as my mother did, I drop the raw meatballs and sausage right into the sauce for cooking. My sauce cooks for about four hours. the meats add wonderful flavor to the sauce.


      • Absolutely the best cooking method- if you have a few pork chops or a few chunks of stew beef or both; by all means toss them in first for an hour and follow with the meatballs.

        • — george t sedares
        • Reply
      • I agree with you Dennis. I use my dad’s recipe (he is 83 years old). He made his own sauce and meatballs and cooked the meatballs right in the sauce so the juices flow into the home-made sauce. EVERYONE loved it! My aunt (his sister) was married to a full-blooded Italian down in Louisiana, so she KNEW how to cook authentic Italian dishes. 😉

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