Best Italian Oven Baked Meatballs Recipe + Video

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Our oven baked meatballs are so tender and juicy – they are the best meatballs you’ll ever have! Skip the mess of pan frying make this baked meatball recipe!

titled (shown close up) oven baked meatballs


 

There aren’t many meals that are easier to make than homemade meatballs in the oven, and there are so many ways to enjoy them!

Oven Baked Meatballs

Our family’s favorite baked meatballs are made with bread crumbs and loaded with fresh herbs and Parmesan cheese, and the best way to make them is the oven. 

You’ll have SO much less mess making them this way than with a skillet of oil.

For this easy meatball recipe, we make them small enough to serve as an appetizer, but flavorful enough to use in meatball subs or in my favorite meatball soup!

Or, make a simple roasted tomato sauce or quick 5-minute homemade marinara sauce to serve with them with a plate of pasta.

I really like to toss them into a skillet and cover them my favorite sauce, mozzarella cheese and Parmesan cheese and broil them for a few minutes. Serve this with garlic bread and you have a perfect meal.

But honestly, there is truly no need for sauce. These oven baked meatballs are tender and juicy, even without spaghetti sauce! 

This is a simple, no-fuss recipe that makes a magnificent comfort food meal. 

When I make this recipe Chad and I literally eat them off the sheet pan. We just can’t wait, they are that good!

baked meatballs recipe ingredients in a bowl

Tips for the Best Meatballs

Don’t over mix! 

Use your hands to incorporate the ingredients into the meat mixture in a large mixing bowl until they are JUST combined. 

Over mixing will cause your baked meatballs to be tough and dry. 

You can even use a wooden spoon, some people feel that this is the perfect way to make juicy meatballs, but I am old school.

Substitute dry herbs. 
You can use dry herbs and spices in place of the fresh parsley, rosemary and basil if needed. Use the following measurements for this baked meatball recipe:

  • 1 tablespoon dried Italian seasoning for the fresh herbs
  • One teaspoon garlic powder for the fresh garlic cloves
  • 1 teaspoon onion powder for the grated onion
ground beef breadcrumbs egg milk and seasonings in mixing bowl
  • Use a scoop to portion your meatball mixture. 
    Not only does this guarantee uniform-size meatballs, but it also ensures that they cook evenly. Plus, handling them less helps to prevent dry meatballs.
  • Oil your hands. 
    If you lightly coat your hands with olive oil or cooking spray before rolling the meatballs, they will form better and crack less.
  • Bake meatballs on parchment paper. It makes for even cooking and easy cleanup, not to mention juicy meatballs!
rolling meatball mixture between hands

Baked Meatball Recipe FAQ

How long does it take to cook meatballs in the oven? 

Depending on the oven temperature and size of the meatballs, they cook in about 20-25 minutes. For our baked meatball recipe we use a temperature of 375°F so they cook faster and each meatball is perfectly browned.

You can check the internal temperature of your meat with an instant-read thermometer. Ground beef is cooked when it reaches an internal temp of 155°F.

Should you cover meatballs with foil when baking? 

We recommend leaving the pan uncovered. Covering the meatballs causes steam to form, which prevents the deliciously crisp exterior that you get with direct heat from the oven.

Covering them with foil can help when reheating, but you will still want to remove it during the last few minutes of cook time in the oven.

How do you keep meatballs moist when baking? 

The key is in the preparation! Make sure to handle the meat mixture as little as possible and mix the ingredients just until combined.

Binders like egg and bread crumbs help to hold in the moisture and keeps each meatball tender and moist.

Can I substitute any other meat?

I love making this recipe with half ground pork and half lean ground beef, but there are so many other options. You could use Italian sausage, ground chicken or even ground turkey but keep an eye on your fat content.

italian meatballs on baking sheet, before baking

Prep Ahead Instructions

To help dinner come together even faster, prep all of your ingredients in the morning and combine them when you get home.

You can also shape meatballs up to a day ahead of time and store them covered in the refrigerator. Or, freeze a batch or two for a quick and easy meal.

oven baked meatballs cooking on sheet pan

How To Store Oven Baked Meatballs

Allow leftover meatballs (if you have any) to cool before transferring them to an airtight container. These baked Italian meatballs will keep for 3 to 4 days in the refrigerator. But mine never last that long. They have such great flavor that we can’s help eating them for every meal until they are gone.

Reheat meatballs in the oven for about 15 minutes at 350°F or in the microwave until warmed through.

You can also make a few batches of this baked meatball recipe and freeze them for a later meal! 

Oven baked meatballs can be frozen raw or cooked, depending on your preference.

  • To freeze raw meatballs: Arrange the homemade meatballs in a single layer on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Flash freeze them for 1 hour, until firm, then store in a freezer bag or airtight container.
  • To freeze baked meatballs: Once cooled, divide into meal-sized portions and place each batch in a freezer-safe storage bag.

    You can also flash freeze them and store them all together. This way, they won’t stick together so you can grab as many (or as few) as you need next time!

No need to thaw — you can cook meatballs in the oven from frozen! Arrange on a sheet pan and bake or simmer in sauce on the stove until warmed through.

These really are our favorite meatballs. Truly the best daggum meatballs ever. I hope you love them as much as we do.

meatball appetizers in bowl

Enjoy!
With love, from our simple kitchen to yours. 

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italian herb oven baked meatballs on platter

baked meat balls on platter

Best Italian Oven Baked Meatballs Recipe + Video

Donna Elick
Our oven baked meatballs are so tender and juicy – the best you'll ever have! Skip the mess of pan frying- make this baked meatball recipe!
4.93 stars from 13 reviews
Tried this recipe?Please comment and review!
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main
Cuisine Italian
Method Oven
Servings 18 meatballs (2 tablespoons)

Ingredients
 

  • 1 pound lean ground beef, I use 88%
  • 1/2 cup Italian breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup fresh grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 small yellow onion, grated (or minced)
  • 2 tablespoons marinara sauce
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh rosemary, or dried (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley, or dried (see notes)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh basil, or dried (see notes)
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked black pepper
  • 1 large egg, slightly beaten

Instructions
 

  • Preheat oven to 375°F. Prepare a baking sheet by lining it with parchment paper.
  • In a large mixing bowl, combine all ingredients. Mix well, but do not over mix or you will have tough meatballs.
  • Using a 2 tablespoon scoop, portion out meat and place on baking sheet. After all meatballs have been scooped onto tray, roll into balls and place back onto the baking sheet.
    TIP: If you lightly coat your hands with olive oil before rolling the meatballs, they will form better and crack less.
  • Bake for 20-22 minutes, or until the meatballs are browned and cooked through.
  • Remove and transfer to sauce or serve immediately.

Video

Donna’s Notes

  1. 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.
  2. Nutrition shown is for ONE meatball so that you can adjust serving sizes accordingly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1 meatball | Calories: 59cal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 7g | Fat: 2g | Saturated Fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 27mg | Sodium: 162mg | Sugar: 1g | Fiber: 1g | Calcium: 24mg | Iron: 1mg

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.

Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!
titled pinterest collage: baked meatballs recipe

Originally published September 2013, updated and republished October 2023

Disclosure: Posts may contain affiliate links. If you purchase a product through an affiliate link your price will remain the same and The Slow Roasted Italian will automatically receive a small commission. Thank you for supporting us, it helps us keep creating new recipes.

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214 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    This was a delicious dinner for my family! I loved that I was able to bake it instead of frying or slow cooking them!

  2. This recipe was great! I did increase it using 1lb very lean beef, 1lb ground veal and 1/2 lb of ground pork. Stepping up the other ingredients accordingly and added a few tablespoons of milk. I found mixing all the meat first, the dry ingredients separately, and the wet (eggs, minced onion minced garlic) then mixing it all up, helped to keep them tender. It’s not easy mixing 2 1/2 lbs of meat evenly. You should all try this recipe, it’s wonderful!

  3. This is a great recipe but I didn’t like the rosemary it ruined what would have otherwise been a delicious dinner. Will be making without rosemary next time. Thank you!

    1. I tried the Italian meatball recipe for Thanksgiving Day and it was definitely a got to have it on my picks for my next birthday party-gatherings which is yearly therefore since Im a birthday host I surely expect it to be of my convenient for it’s preparation since my time is limited to cookout or a business party however with out rosemary I Apologize and sometimes adding to get a taste isn’t everyone taste but rosemary is what I chose but substituting different ingredients and using celery or onions freshly picked would be exceptional to the desire of taste.poultry season as well sage and maruchan seasoning in maruchan noodles is also great with boiling and baking as long as you -dont- dab it on a 1 piece of anything and use it to advantage of child entree or pan of meatballs is an exception too it’s a small package but is not intended to taste for sibling or infant ,youth ,toddler or baby. It should be used for larger baking when its meatballs or any thing that is desire if eaten for taste since it taste spreads through anything that it is as meat, pork veal or soup.

  4. 5 stars
    This is my favorite meatball recipe by far. I make a large batch and freeze half of them to use all week long. I make the Hawaiian Meatballs recipe using these! They are fantastic!

    1. Hi Holly!
      That’s awesome for some easy freezer meals! Glad you enjoy the recipe.
      TSRI Team Member,
      Devlyn

  5. 5 stars
    Love them, but left out rosemary, my Sicilian Nona, never put rosemary in her meatballs.
    I have arthritis in my hands, so I use my kitchaid mixer with the padle and on low speed to just combine the ingredients, works perfect, just don’t over mix. They come out tender like I mixed them by hand. We have to adapt as we get older.

    1. Hi Mike!
      Adapt and overcome! We’re glad you love them, and that’s a great way to mix it without using your hands.
      TSRI Team Member,
      Devlyn

  6. 5 stars
    Made this last night it came out delicious I just added minced I red bell pepper and mushrooms. And I rolled them to make it look like toes and used onions and shaped them in to toe nails and called it Dead man’s toe meat balls .Wish I could share a picture came out cute for spooky season. And I froze some regular shaped meat balls for another night.

  7. 5 stars
    Previously I have made the worlds worst meatballs. This was my last effort and they turned out delicious. I used dry spices, I# ground beef and 1# ground pork and doubled all other ingredients. I think I will grate the onion next time as our pieces were not fine enough. Always love TSRI recipes and this is another winner.

  8. 5 stars
    I love all your recipes! Your site is the most informative, colorful and well put together and the recipes are to die for. ❤️. Thank you!

  9. 5 stars
    Made these in my Airfryer @ 375 for 8 mins, shake around & 8 mins more. Very tender & tasty. Made both large & small (for soup) and adjusted time to 5 & 5. Will make more this way

  10. Really nice! I did a lot of substitution and it still turned out very tasty and moist. I used the dried versions of all the spices (except Rosemary, which I don’t like) except I used fresh basil. I didn’t have any Parmesan, so I used 1/4 cup white cheddar and 1/4 cup Mozzarella. I used gluten free Japanese bread crumbs, and upped the Italian seasonings a bit. The cheese melted and pooled around the bottom of the balls, but they were delicious. I put them on rice and made a salad and it was great! We didn’t need any sauce.

  11. 5 stars
    Great recipe. Used ground bison from Costco, which was more than enough to make again. No bread crumbs, so I grinded up tortilla chips. No marinara sauce, so I chopped up diced canned tomatoes. Turned out nice and tender, except I’d add little more salt and pepper next time. Will definitely make again!

  12. 5 stars
    Made as directed and I used dried Italian seasoning as directed in notes:)
    and today am an Italian cook today very good recipe
    Thank you

  13. 5 stars
    These meatballs were absolutely perfect. I went exactly by the recipe! They were tender, but didn’t fall apart. Thank you so much……

  14. 5 stars
    I’ve been using this recipe for years now and will never go back to pan-frying them.
    I sometimes fiddle with the ingredients depending on what flavors I’m going for but basically this is fool-proof for avoiding a stove top spattered with grease and spending time at the stove turning each meatball. The balls have never fallen apart on me, either.
    I use the same basic recipe for making meatloaf, too. Always delicious.

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