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Italian Meatballs

Italian Meatballs just like grandma made with a blend of both ground beef and pork along with directions for cooking 3 different ways.

Saucy Italian meatballs, a blend of ground pork and beef.

This Italian Meatballs post has been updated from its original 2/1/14 publication with new photographs, text, recipe clarification and general grammar. 

Italian Meatballs are my FAVORITE food in the world.

They are delicious, small, and just the right amount of heavenly goodness that makes my heart sing.  I have had epic failures along with “I did it” moments when making them.

My “I did it” moments come when I make a ball that tastes like it did when I was 7 and at my Grandma’s house.

Her weeknight meatballs just consisted of ground beef, no other meats were involved in the ball making process.  However, when she was feeling fancy or having a special meal, she would add ground pork (or if it was on sale at the market.)

Well, ground pork happened to be on sale at the market for me, so I chose to make the ‘fancy’ version of my grandma’s meatballs.  I loved them, I think you will too.

What makes a great Meatball?

Well, that can be answered so many different ways. My grandma would say love, but I don’t think that answer will fly here.

To make a great meatball, the key is to season and cook it properly. Under or over seasoning and/or cooking is the death of a great meatball, just like any other dish.

Additionally, you do not want too lean or too fatty of meat. This recipe is a blend of both pork and beef, therefore using 90-93% lean ground beef is acceptable.

Pure joy, an Italian Meatball on a fork as a pre-dinner snack.

How to make Italian Meatballs?

You will need the following to make these Italian Meatballs:

  • Ground beef
  • Ground pork
  • Eggs
  • Garlic
  • Parmesan Cheese
  • Parsley
  • Bread
  • Milk

Can I cook meatballs in the sauce?

Yes you can. Place the formed meatball individually into the seasoned simmering sauce GENTLY.   This is a delicate process. The meatballs will fall apart if they are dropped in roughly or if they are stirred roughly before having a chance to cook.

Meatballs placed raw into the simmering sauce will be incredibly tender when serving.

Gently place the raw meatball into the seasoned simmering sauce.

Can I cook meatballs in the slow cooker?

Yes you can. Just as you would place them in the sauce on the stovetop or oven, gently place them into the slow cooker AFTER the sauce is personally perfectly seasoned.

Replace the lid and allow to cook for at least 1 hour on high and 2 on low.

The meatballs cooked in the slow cooker will also be tender and soft like the stovetop method.

Can I cook meatballs in the oven?

Yes. Place a baking rack on a baking sheet if possible, this will allow the fat to drop down, however it is not a necessary step.

Bake at 375°F oven for 30 minutes, flipping over at 15 minutes. Once the meatballs are cooked through, drain off the renderings and gently stir into the ready sauce.

Place raw meatballs on a baking rack on a baking sheet, flipping half way through.

Can I fry meatballs?

Yes. And it’s messy. Heat a large frying pan or skillet over medium heat. If you’re using super lean beef and pork, a small amount of olive oil should be added to the hot pan before frying to prevent sticking.

Place the as many meatballs as can comfortably fit in the skillet and allow them to get a really nice sear before turning them, a good 2-3 minutes, depending on how mindful you’re being to the flame/heat.

Continue to turn the meatballs, so each ‘side’ of the meatball not only cooks but develops a nice sear or crust.

To fry the meatballs all the way through to doneness, it can take up to 15 minutes, depending on how large the balls have been rolled.

Conversely, if only a nice crust is wanted but you’d like to finish the meatballs in the oven or in the sauce, just quickly sear each side of the meatball on a medium high flame-3-4 minutes total for each meatball, and them finish cooking them by another method.

Allow meatballs plenty of room to cook when frying them.

Italian Meatballs are best served over a plate of saucy pasta.

Italian Meatballs are best served over a plate of saucy pasta.

Italian Meatballs

Course: Dinner
Cuisine: Italian
Keyword: Italian Meatballs
Prep Time: 30 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour
Servings: 6
Calories: 417 kcal
Author: Michelle De La Cerda

Italian Meatballs just like grandma made with a blend of both ground beef and pork along with directions for cooking 3 different ways.

Print

Ingredients

  • 1 lb ground beef (90-93% lean)
  • 1 lb ground pork
  • 1/4 tsp salt; +/- to taste
  • 1/4 tsp black pepper; +- to taste
  • 2 eggs; beaten
  • 1 1/2 tsp garlic; minced/grated (about 4 cloves) (or 1 tbsp granulated garlic)
  • 1/3 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese
  • 1 1/2 tbsp dried parsley (or 3 tbsp fresh, diced parsley)
  • 3 slices hearty white bread; torn
  • 1/4 cup milk (this is a ballpark measurment) (enough to cover torn bread in a bowl)

Instructions

  1. In a bowl, tear bread into pieces and add enough milk to cover, thoroughly soaking the bread.
  2. In a separate bowl, combine remaining ingredients.
  3. Scoop up soaked bread and squeeze out excess milk. It will be mushy.
  4. Add bread to meat bowl.
  5. Mix well with hands. Do not over mix or they will be tough.
  6. Roll into 1 1/2 in. balls, with your hands.
  7. Using a kitchen tablespoon, scoop about a spoonful and quickly fry off in a pan to test for seasonings. Add any additional salt or pepper to taste.

Oven

  1. Preheat the oven to 375° degrees,

  2. Use a baking sheet with a cooking rack if possible.

  3. Bake, turning once after 15 min.- cook another 15 min. until nicely browned

  4. Add to sauce until ready to serve.

Frying pan

  1. Heat a large frying pan/skillet over medium heat. (A small amount of olive oil may be needed if the meatballs are really lean).

  2. Allow them to form a nice sear before turning them; 2-3 minutes.

  3. Turn and cook on all remaining sides.

  4. Add to sauce until ready to serve.

Sauce Cooking (Stove top, oven, or slow cooker)

  1. STOVETOP: Drop raw balls into sauce and allow to cook in the sauce for about 30 minutes on a low simmer.

  2. OVEN: If oven cooking your sauce, place them gently in the suace and allow to cook for 40 minutes in a 350° degrees oven, covered.

  3. SLOW COOKER: Gently add them to the sauce in the slow cooker, 1 hour on high and 2 on low.

Nutrition Facts
Italian Meatballs
Amount Per Serving (6 g)
Calories 417 Calories from Fat 243
% Daily Value*
Fat 27g42%
Saturated Fat 11g69%
Cholesterol 164mg55%
Sodium 363mg16%
Potassium 526mg15%
Carbohydrates 7g2%
Fiber 1g4%
Sugar 1g1%
Protein 33g66%
Vitamin A 137IU3%
Vitamin C 1mg1%
Calcium 138mg14%
Iron 3mg17%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Italian Meatballs the way grandma used to make them.

Italian Meatballs ~ Complete Savorist

Original 2/1/14 photograph of Italian Meatballs



Thank you for sharing!

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20 Comments

  • Reply
    Leia
    June 30, 2014 at 2:39 pm

    Mmm, these look delicious. I love meatballs as well. Visiting from Spoonful of Foodies.

  • Reply
    Michelle
    July 1, 2014 at 8:47 pm

    Hey Leia, thanks for stopping by! I have no restraint around a meatball, none.

  • Reply
    Kim Seghers
    May 31, 2019 at 5:04 pm

    5 stars
    Nothing like a good homemade meatball ! Your meatballs look delicious.

  • Reply
    Krista
    June 1, 2019 at 7:36 am

    5 stars
    Yum! My next Italian dinner at home will feature these for sure!

  • Reply
    Taylor
    June 1, 2019 at 8:10 am

    5 stars
    Delicious! Can’t beat homemade meatballs!

  • Reply
    Sara Welch
    June 2, 2019 at 10:02 am

    5 stars
    These were perfectly juicy and flavorful! Went perfectly with our spaghetti dinner last night!

  • Reply
    Beth Pierce
    June 2, 2019 at 1:22 pm

    5 stars
    I know what I will be making for dinner tonight! These have me practically drooling! Meatball perfection!

  • Reply
    Erin | Dinners,Dishes and Dessert
    June 2, 2019 at 4:15 pm

    5 stars
    These are on my must-make list! Oooh…I love these!

  • Reply
    Lola Osinkolu
    June 28, 2019 at 1:53 pm

    5 stars
    Meatballs are my all time favorite! This looks perfect!

  • Reply
    Jeff the Chef
    July 30, 2019 at 8:17 am

    I really love meatballs, and yours look divine. I love the way you’ve perched them atop that gorgeous pasta with the thick sauce. I wish I could reach right through my computer screen and grab a serving!

  • Reply
    EC EC
    August 7, 2019 at 7:58 am

    I might do this with a mix of ground turkey and chicken instead but these looks insanely good. Too bad my dietitian told me to stay away from carbs until like January 2020 lol. Maybe I could make this work with zoodles or some other low-carb pasta.

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