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 bite is a cube of hot melted cheese that oozes out as soon as you cut 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.
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.
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!
You can use store bought sauce if you’d like, or make my 5-minute Italian marinara recipe.
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.
- Quality knives and a big solid cutting board make prepping a breeze and are well worth the investment.
- 4-tablespoon scoop – This not only makes scooping easier, but it guarantees that each meatball is the same size.
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Cheese Stuffed Meatballs FAQ
I prefer to bake meatballs whenever possible. Not only is it less messy, but they come out perfectly tender and evenly cooked every time!
Plus, while they are baking, you can spend time preparing side dishes for your quick and easy meal.
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.
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.
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!
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Italian Cheese Stuffed Meatballs
- 2 pounds lean ground beef, 85%
- 1 pound Italian sausage links, hot or mild, casings removed (See Note 1)
- 1 cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
- 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 small yellow onion, finely diced
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 sprigs rosemary, leaves chopped finely
- 1 tablespoon chopped flat leaf parsley
- 1 tablespoon chopped basil leaves
- 1/2 cup whole milk
- 1/4 cup marinara sauce, homemade or store bought
- 2 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 8 ounces mozzarella cheese, cut into 1-inch cubes
- Preheat oven to 400°F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
- Place all ingredients except mozzarella cheese in a large bowl. Using clean hands, mix ingredients to combine, but do not overwork the mixture. *Working them too much can cause tough meatballs.
- Using a 4 tablespoon (2-ounces) 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Serve and enjoy!
- I use hot Italian sausage links, with the casings removed. Ground Italian sausage works too.
- You can substitute dried herbs and spices for fresh – 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.
- Nutrition note: Because serving sizes can vary, nutrition shown is for one meatball.
All nutritional information is based on third party calculations and is only an estimate. Each recipe’s nutritional value will vary depending on the ingredients used, measuring methods, and portion sizes.
Originally published March 2012, updated and republished May 2022
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