Sunday, January 23, 2022

Italian Meatball Recipe + Video

My Italian meatball recipe combines ground beef and pork with fresh herbs and grated Parmesan for plenty of flavor. Make a batch in 30 minutes!

There’s a secret ingredient to this recipe that will blow your mind - tomato sauce in the meatballs! It adds just the right amount of sweetness and acid so you can enjoy these plain if you wish.

Once they’re in the oven, you’ll have your hands free to make freshly cooked pasta or your favorite side dishes while they bake.

While these authentic Italian meatballs are a personal favorite, I have dozens of other variations and flavors for you to try!

Italian Meatball Recipe with spaghetti

Italian Meatball Recipe - Tips and Tricks

  • Don’t overmix! Combine the ingredients just until everything is well incorporated. If you overwork the mixture, your meatballs will come out tough and dry.
  • Use your favorite blend of meat. You can use equal amounts of pork and veal if you prefer. Or, substitute ground sausage for the pork.
  • Feeding a crowd? Easily double the recipe for potlucks and parties. In fact, you can scale this up as much as needed for larger events too!
  • Tip for preventing cracks: Lightly wet your hands before forming each round to create a smoother surface. Plus, the mixture is less likely to stick to your skin.
  • Hide the veggies! My husband is not a fan of onions or garlic (shocking, I know!), so I grate them with a microplane. That way, the flavors are there without any larger pieces to bite into.
authentic italian meatballs ingredients

Video: Authentic Italian Meatballs

To see us make these from start to finish, watch the video in this post.

Serving Suggestions

We tend to pile these onto spaghetti and smother them in my Roasted Tomato Sauce. You could also serve them as appetizers or party snacks with marinara for dunking!

Need a quick lunch? Stuff some leftovers into a hoagie for an easy meatball sandwich. Or pair this Italian meatball recipe with a simple salad for a lighter option.

authentic italian meatballs ingredients in a bowl

Kitchen Tools You Will Need
  • Baking Sheets lined with parchment paper
  • Mixing Bowl - I like to have a variety of sizes on hand, and this set has them all.
  • 2 Tablespoon Scoop - Also great for cookies, ice cream, and portioning out leftovers. I’ve had this set for years and use them all the time.
  • Microplane/Zester - Grates fresh Parmesan into perfectly delicate pieces. I use it for garlic as well!
italian meatball recipe mixture in a bowl

FAQ - Common Recipe Questions

How much does this Italian meatball recipe make?

When using a 2 tablespoon scoop, I can usually get 30 meatballs out of each batch.

Should the meat be chilled for authentic Italian meatballs?
Yes! It’s important that the fat doesn’t melt before these go in the oven, so mix your ingredients straight out of the refrigerator for best results.

If your kitchen is particularly warm, you may want to chill the mixture for a few minutes before scooping it into rounds.

authentic italian meatballs baked on a sheet pan

How long will leftovers last in the refrigerator?

These will keep for up to 4 days when stored in an airtight container, or you can freeze them instead!

Allow them to cool on the pan, then place them in the freezer for about an hour or until solid. Transfer to a zippered storage bag and store for 3 to 4 months.

authentic italian meatballs in a skillet


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Italian Meatball Recipe with spaghetti wide photo

Yield: 30 meatballs
Author: Donna Elick
Italian Meatball Recipe

Italian Meatball Recipe

Authentic Italian meatball recipe combines ground beef and pork with fresh herbs and grated Parmesan for plenty of flavor. Make a batch in 30 minutes!
Prep time: 5 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 30 Min


  • 1 pound lean ground beef
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup Parmesan grated cheese
  • 2 tablespoons whole milk
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, diced
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh Italian flat leaf parsley
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Prepare 2 baking sheets by lining with parchment paper.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients.
  3. Mix well, do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.
  4. Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, scoop out meat and place on baking sheet.
  5. After all meatballs have been scooped onto tray, roll into balls. TIP: If you lightly wet your hands the meatballs will form better and crack less. Put in oven on 400° for 20-25 minutes (for 2 trays).
  6. Remove and transfer to sauce or serve immediately.
  1. You can use half pork, half veal if you prefer, or even substitute ground sausage for the pork.

Italian Meatball Recipe closeup

Originally published June 2011, updated and republished January 2022

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  1. What a fabulous meal. I don't make this often because of the calories involved. I'll have to give your recipe a try. It is definitely better for you than the one I use. I hope you have a great day. Blessings...Mary

  2. I am so glad I found you, looks like I am going to find lots of great recipes like this one. Looks delish. I could simple eat meatballs with no pasta myself!

  3. Donna, your sauce smelled so good last night. Seriously, I thought I had a good recipe, but I'm trying yours next time. And the meatball I tried was delicious as well. Be sure to thank your wee one for sharing her meal with me.

  4. I'd switch out the ground beef for turkey and it'd be the perfect meal for me! I can't believe your experiencing 112 degrees! It rained here yesterday and it's totally gloomy today.

  5. Perfect meatballs! I haven't made meatballs in a long time. Too long. I'll give your recipe a try next time :)

  6. this looks delicious
    following your yummy site

  7. ALWAYS looking for new, delicious meatball recipes! These sound SPOT ON as far as what I would want to eat with my pasta! Thanks for sharing!

  8. This looks wonderful. I love that I can have spaghetti and meatballs and stick with a low-cal diet! I just hopped over to your Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce and it's definitely going on my sounds amazing! I can imagine that it has such depth of flavor...and it seems so easy!

  9. Your meatballs sound wonderful...just the way I like them. It's gotten to the point in the summer when I'm tired of grilling and a pot of meatballs and sauce sounds so inviting! Thanks for the inspiration :)

  10. I love that you bake the meatballs - delicious sauce -

  11. These are making my mouth water! We love meatballs and I like to make extra for sandwiches, pizza etc. These sound wonderful and I love you slow roasted tomato sauce! Thanks, Chris

  12. Can you just come on over and make these for me tonight. They look like heaven to this pasta lover! I am not sure if I could even leave some for the family! Wow, i love your flavors and your method. Mine is a tad different- trying this out and very soon!

  13. I love love love meatballs! I was going to make spaghetti and pre-made meat balls tomorrow night for dinner bc I can never find a good recipe! DEF. going to try yours instead!

    We just started following you! Cannot wait for some good Italian cooking!


  14. YUM! My meatballs are similar to yours, but I leave the onion out since I put so much in my gravy =P I just pan fry them and then simmer them in the Italian gravy for a few hours. Heaven! I love meatballs! Yours look absolutely delish =)

  15. We have very similar meatball recipes! I love that you bake them. I really need to try that. I love the thought of having a much easier clean up. Your meatballs look delicious!

  16. I use ground turkey instead of beef. Is there a post for your sauce?

    1. We used the Oven Roasted Tomato Sauce

  17. I always cook the onion and garlic in a little olive oil before adding to my meat mixture. I brown them in the same pan and then add sauce to finish cooking. This results in a sauce with a lot more flavor.


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