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!
5 stars from 24 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 May 2024

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223 Comments

  1. 5 stars
    I added a bit of extra Parmesan and garlic to the mix, and these meatballs were out of this world. So easy to make!

  2. 5 stars
    Best way to make meatballs is to put them in the oven. This is a delicious recipe that will become a staple in our household.

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