Thursday, May 12, 2022

Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs are made with a savory blend of ground beef and hot Italian sausage, plus plenty of herbs and seasonings.

Inside every delicious round is a cube of mozzarella that oozes out as soon as you slice into it! They’re the perfect party appetizer or addition to a spaghetti dinner. 

Plus, you can easily make a double or triple batch of this stuffed meatballs recipe and freeze some for later.

Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs piled on a plate

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Combine two comfort food favorites into one delicious bite and have dinner on the table in under an hour.

Simmer your cheese stuffed meatballs in some homemade marinara or serve them right out of the oven!

They make a great party appetizer or game day snack, but we especially love them piled on a plate of spaghetti with extra sauce.

Craving more recipes for cheesy meatballs?

You’ll love this twist on Taco Tuesday or my Chicken Parmesan poppers that taste just like the famous Italian dish!

Ingredients for cheesy stuffed meatballs

Ingredients Needed for Italian Stuffed Meatballs

  • Ground meat - I combined 2 pounds of ground beef with 1 pound of hot Italian sausage for this recipe. Feel free to substitute mild or sweet sausage if you prefer.
  • Italian breadcrumbs - Make your own by mixing 1 tablespoon of Italian seasoning into plain breadcrumbs. Panko would work as well.
  • Cheese - Freshly grated Parmesan adds salty, nutty flavor to the meat mixture. Then, cubes of mozzarella are pressed into the center of each meatball for a deliciously gooey center!
  • Seasonings - I love fresh garlic and onion in these stuffed meatballs, but you could substitute 1 teaspoon each of garlic and onion powder. Instead of fresh rosemary, parsley, and basil, try 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning.
  • Milk and eggs - The breadcrumbs soak up the milk, adding plenty of moisture, and the eggs help bind everything together.
  • Marinara - The secret ingredient! A little bit of this adds extra moisture and loads of savory flavor. Have extra ready for serving when your cheesy meatballs are done!

Ingredients in a bowl for meatballs

Kitchen Tools You Will Need

meatball mixture in a glass bowl

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs FAQ

Should you fry or bake meatballs?

I prefer to bake my meatballs whenever I can. Not only is it less messy, but they come out perfectly tender and evenly cooked every time!

Plus, I can whip up a side or two while they’re in the oven for a quick and easy meal.

How do you prevent tough meatballs?

The most important thing to remember when making meatballs is to not overwork the meat! Mix just until the ingredients are combined and touch them as little as possible.

I like to use a scoop to portion them out before gently rolling them into shape. Wet or grease your hands before rolling — this gets them nice and smooth and prevents the mixture from sticking to your skin.

Will the cheese leak out of stuffed meatballs?

If you press the cube of mozzarella into the center and reform the meatball around it, the cheese shouldn’t leak out when cooked.

Sometimes it still happens, though! Just scoop it up with each meatball as an extra gooey topping.

stuffing a mozzarella cube into a meatball

Prep Ahead Instructions

Form your cheese stuffed meatballs up to a day in advance and store them covered in the refrigerator.

You can also keep a few batches of uncooked meatballs in the freezer for easy, last-minute meals. Flash freeze on a sheet pan until firm, then transfer to a freezer-safe storage bag.

Use within 2 months for best results. Bake from frozen, but increase the cooking time by 5-10 minutes.

How To Store Stuffed Meatballs

Once cooled, transfer cheese stuffed meatballs to an airtight container. Store in the refrigerator for 3 to 4 days or freeze in extra sauce for up to 3 months.

These are just as delicious as leftovers, especially if you reheat them correctly!

Microwave with a cover to keep the meat moist and delicious, or simmer in sauce until warmed through. You can also pop them in the air fryer if you like them a little crispy on the outside!

a plate of cheesy meatballs in marinara sauce


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stack of Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Yield: makes 32 meatballs
Author: Donna Elick
Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs

Cheese Stuffed Meatballs are so delicious, they’ll knock your socks off! Make a double batch of this simple recipe and freeze half for later.
Prep time: 10 MinCook time: 25 MinTotal time: 35 Min


  • 2 pounds lean ground beef (85%)
  • 1 pound hot Italian sausage, removed from the casings (you can substitute mild)
  • 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/2 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped finely
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/4 cup marinara sauce
  • 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
  • 8-ounce block mozzarella cheese, cut into 1" cubes


  1. Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  2. Place all ingredients in a large bowl, except the mozzarella cheese. With clean hands, mix ingredients without overworking your meatballs. *Working them too much can cause tough meatballs.
  3. Using a 4 tablespoon scoop, scoop out meat and place on a baking sheet or plate. After all meatballs have been scooped onto a tray, with damp hands roll them into balls. Place balls back on tray or plate. One at a time place meatball in the palm of your cupped hand. Press mozzarella cube into the meatball and roll back into a ball.
  4. Place meatballs on the prepared baking sheet, not touching. Bake for 20-25 minutes, until meatballs are browned and no longer pink in the middle.
  5. Serve immediately or place meatballs into your sauce and simmer until ready to serve. Some of your mozzarella cheese may have tried to make a run for it. Just scoop up the meatballs and cook it in the sauce.
  6. Serve and enjoy!
  1. You can substitute dried herbs and spices for a quicker recipe - 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning for the fresh herbs, 1 teaspoon garlic powder for the fresh garlic, 1 teaspoon onion powder for the fresh onion.

Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs closeup

Originally published March 2012, updated and republished May 2022

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  1. Well hey now... stuffing meatballs with mozzarella? That's a great idea! I love it. It's on the "make this now" list. Thanks!

  2. I bet she does love these! I've never had great luck reheating meatballs or meatloaf. Good to know that you liked these as leftovers too. You know that I absolutely love having ready to eat foods in the freezer. Have a fabulous day!

    1. Reheating meatballs and meatloaf in this house are a must. Microwave with a cover, keeps the meat moist and delicious. The meatballs I freeze covered with sauce it seems to do the trick.

  3. I will be making these soon! Thanks for the recipe, my daughter will love these. I don't use ground beef much so this will give me a good reason to use it and I love that they freeze well!

  4. mmmm, mmmm, this looks like a dinner that I would never get tired of - there's something about Italian, I could eat it every day! Love that surprise of cheese in the middle!

  5. Well, you've found one of my favorite meals! Anything with red sauce and I'm in:)

  6. I love meatballs! They are one of my favorites! These look delicious!

  7. now this is what I am talking about! The ULTIMATE MEATBALL!

  8. Gives my pasta dish more attitude...I love this! Thanks for sharing.

  9. Yum! I am so going to do this the next time I make meatballs. I have made cheese-stuffed burgers before, but my brain didn't tell me to do that to meatballs! Thanks for sharing :)

  10. These are great looking meatballs, really sound flavorful. I make meatballs with cheese in the center too, it's a great idea.

  11. Do you put both trays of meatballs in the oven at the same time? Or one after the other?

    1. Both at the same time and rotate them half way between cooking time. Hope that helps.

  12. I made these on Monday! Awesome recipe! Thanks!

  13. This was a wonderful recipe! The meatballs came out very moist and flavorful!!

  14. I have some in the over right now. Will be working in the sauce tomorrow! Can't wait to try them!!

  15. The recipe looks wonderful, but where are the nutrition facts?

  16. Consider "Spaghetti Night" officially kicked up a notch with these stuffed meatballs!~Carolyn @ Cabot

  17. Delicious! I made them with ground venison. Moist with a kick of spice with the red pepper flakes. So good!

  18. My cheese is leaking out! What can I do differently in my next batch?

  19. Improve my cookingJanuary 5, 2016 at 1:52 PM

    Hello all, FYI.. Stuffing cheese into meatballs is not a new idea, except it is a modification of what I have been doing for years. I make meatloaf, then cut the raw loaf in half, similar to a hot-dog bun. Place 1/4 inch thick slices of cheese on lower portion of loaf (personal preference is pepper cheese). Place top half of loaf on cheese, press together. 350F oven, cook till done and light crunch on loaf. 35-45 minutes. Let cool, slice and enjoy a baked cheeseburger, without the bread. Note: Any variety of cheese works extremely well, for a nice treat use Blue Cheese, or Smoked, or even Cottage Cheese... I'm sure any option, will taste as good to you as it does me.

  20. My daughter and husband loved them!!added pepper flakes for a hint of heat. Delicious!!


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