Best Meatball Recipe (Baked or Fried) – Cooking Classy

Cooked meatball recipe

Video Cooked meatball recipe

A meatball recipe that rivals that of your favorite Italian restaurant! These meatballs always come out incredibly tender, deliciously tasty, never dried and are always sure to impress! Here you will learn everything you need to know to make them perfect every time.

Bowl full of spaghetti and dumplings.

Tastiest homemade meatball recipe

There’s nothing quite as satisfying as a bowl of pasta cradling perfectly cooked, twisted and tangled steaming spaghetti topped with a vibrant San Marzano marinara sauce with garlic, all stacked and layered with homemade dumplings throughout! Talk about homemade food at its most proud!

This easy recipe gives you a few different options (homemade or store-bought, fried or baked sauce) and is my idea of the best meatballs.

Video of the meatball recipe

So, what makes the best meatballs? Here are my thoughts and advice:

Use as many fresh ingredients as possible. Fresh meats (not previously frozen), fresh herbs, fresh breadcrumbs, fresh aromatics. Everything is fresh here except the aged Parmesan, but of course that’s for good reason.

Use a mixture of meats for the best flavor. I use beef and pork because that’s what it allows me and at a reasonable price. But if you can get beef, use

2/3 lb beef, 2/3 lb pork, and 2/3 lb beef.

Do not use low fat percentages of meats. The fat makes the meatballs tender. Stay with 80 or 85% lean.

Properly season and season the mixture. We’re not making hamburger balls to serve with ketchup. Adding herbs, garlic and onions gives them that delicious Italian flavor we crave. And, of course, don’t skip the salt and pepper that meat needs!

Use liquid to moisten, and I recommend milk not water. Whole milk adds more flavor and richness than water.

Use enough eggs to join. Without the eggs, the dumplings will fall apart, especially when thrown into the sauce. I like to use 1 egg per pound of meat, so here we go with 2.

Bowl full of simple meatballs.

More tips:

Add cheese! Add a lot of flavor. Use freshly grated Parmesan cheese here, do not use the stable grated things. It tastes lower quality and doesn’t melt the same.

Do not overwork the mixture of meatballs. Mixing by hand (and with your fingertips) to incorporate ingredients instead of using a spoon or spatula makes it easier to mix with ut into an overworked meat paste.

Brown the meatballs. El Dorado adds a lot of flavor and here I will show you two methods to achieve this through cooking in the oven or frying in olive oil. If you go the oven route, use a dark baking sheet, as it promotes browning.

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Form into evenly sized balls so that they cook evenly. A kitchen scale is useful (covered with plastic wrap or wax paper to keep things clean), or a tablespoon of greased cookies.

Form with greased hands. This way the meatballs do not stick. Sometimes I brush the baking sheets with olive oil using my hands and then tadah, the hands are already greased and ready to shape the dumplings.

These dumplings are one of my favorite Italian foods of all time and this is my idea of the perfect dinner! Now, who is ready to do some?

Ingredients for meatballs and spaghetti with sauce.

What ingredients go into the meatballs?

  • Ground beef (80 – 85% lean) and ground pork: do not use previously frozen meat or the meat will not keep as well and will not taste as fresh.
  • Fresh breadcrumbs – Made from hearty, dense bread like pan a la brea (not a fluffy loaf of French bread or sandwich bread). Abundant things are more absorbing. Preferably use stale bread for 2 or 3 days.
  • Fresh herbs (basil, parsley, and

  • oregano): I highly recommend sticking with fresh herbs, but if you don’t have them hand-dried, it will work in a pinch (use 2 teaspoons dried basil, 2 teaspoons dried parsley, and 1 teaspoon dried oregano). But the next time you try them fresh, it really makes a difference in taste.
  • Fresh onion and garlic

  • : I usually sauté these aromatics first, but to save time, finely chop the onion to the size of a chopped garlic so that it is not crispy when the meatballs are ready.
  • Eggs: they will hold the meatballs together. Don’t skip them.
  • Whole milk: This keeps the meatballs moist. No one wants to eat dried dumplings.
  • Parmesan cheese: Use real Parmigiano-Reggiano like Murray’s for the best authentic flavor.

For spaghetti and sauce: Spaghetti paste: To make spaghetti and meatballs, you’ll want about 16 to 20 oz of dried


  • , cooked according to package instructions (I’m easy with salt if I use store-bought sauce). Fresh spaghetti would be even better if you have access to them.
  • Marinara sauce – for a shortcut I use 2 jars (24 oz) of tomato sauce and basil of the best quality (if I go this route I always use Rao’s) or if you have more time make 1 batch of homemade marinara sauce.
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Bread cubes and crumbs in a food processor.

How to make

fresh bread

  • crumbs: Break the hearty (2 or 3 days old) bread slices into pieces
  • .

  • Place in a food processor and blitz to fine crumbs
  • .

  • Some recipes call for fresh toasted breadcrumbs, but here we use fresh. If you need to toast them for a different recipe, spread on an 18-by-13-inch rimmed baking sheet and bake in a 300-degree oven until dry, occasionally mixing, about 10 to 15 minutes. Let cool.
  • Store leftover crumbs, fresh or toasted, in an airtight container in the freezer for a longer shelf life (up to 3 months).

<img src="" alt="Mix

the bread and milk mixture in a glass bowl.” />

How to make meatballs

: Soak the bread crumbs

  • : In a large bowl, stir the bread crumbs and milk, then if necessary, add more milk 1 tablespoon at a time to moisten the bread completely. Let stand while chopping the ingredients (or at least 5 minutes).
  • Add ground meats and other meatball ingredients to the mixing bowl: add beef, pork, eggs, onion, garlic, basil, parsley, oregano, parmesan, and season the ingredients over the ingredients evenly with salt and pepper (I use 3/4 teaspoon of salt if I use jar sauce because it can be salty and 1/2 teaspoon of pepper).

Ground beef, ground pork, fresh herbs, parmesan, eggs, onion, garlic and breadcrumbs soaked in a glass bowl.

Mix the mixture

  • by hand: Gently mix the mixture and break the meat with your fingertips until the ingredients mix evenly.
  • Form balls: Form the mixture with greased hands on even-sided meatballs, about 1 1/4 inches each (or about (38 g).

Mix raw dumplings mixed in a glass bowl.

How to bake dumplings (easy method):

I usually go this route because it’s easier than frying, takes less time, and you don’t get the extra fat by frying the oil. But both forms are incredibly delicious, so go with what you prefer.

Preheat the oven

  • and prepare baking sheets: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees before you start preparing meatballs. Spray two 18-by-13-inch nonstick nonstick cooking spray thoroughly, or brush with olive oil.
  • Line the dumplings on baking sheets

  • : Place the formed dumplings on baking sheets, adjusting about 20 for each and spacing them evenly.

Raw meatballs on two baking sheets.


  • until well cooked: Bake in the top and bottom third of the oven for 10 minutes. Remove and flip the dumplings if they are already golden brown at the bottom (use a thin metal spatula to scrape off the baking sheet if necessary). Transfer the pans to opposite racks and bake until well cooked, about 8 to 12 minutes more (you should register 165 degrees in the center of the dumplings, taste the dumplings in the center of the pan as well, as they cook a little slower than the dumplings at the edges).
  • Mix with the hot marinara sauce and serve. If desired, you can simmer with sauce for 10 to 20 minutes over low heat for even more tender meatballs.
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Meatballs cooked on two dark baking sheets.

How to fry dumplings

: Heat olive oil in a large skillet:

  • Pour 3/4 cup of olive oil into a 12-inch nonstick skillet and heat over medium heat.
  • Cook in batches, turning halfway: Cook the meatballs in 3 batches (so they are not crowded and do not brown) until golden brown at the bottom, approximately 4 to 6 minutes. Then turn to the opposite side and cook the opposite side until golden brown. Transfer to paper towels for draining (continued…).

<img src="" alt="Fry

raw meatballs in olive oil in a large skillet.” /> Simmer in marinara sauce on the

  • cooking stove: Transfer the dumplings to the hot marinara sauce in a large pot, cover and simmer until the meatballs are 165 degrees in the center, gently tossing dumplings occasionally, about 15 to 20 minutes.

Meatballs cooked in a pan with olive oil.

Can I use ground turkey?

I don’t recommend it for this specific recipe. The proportions and cooking times would be a little different. It can be more sticky to work with.

Can I do them in advance?

yes. These are delicious reheated. Store the sauce and cooked dumplings in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, reheat them on the stove in a simmer-covered pot, mix gently from time to time until heated.

If you reheat

a small portion you can reheat it in the microwave. Reheat to 50% power. Most meats reheat better with lower potencies (and don’t forget to cover, we all hate that splash).

Throw meatballs with marinara sauce in a pot. Can I freeze meatballs


Yes. If it does, cook and freeze (preferably mixed with marinara sauce) in an airtight container for up to 2 months. Thaw overnight and then reheat as above.

What sides to serve with spaghetti and meatballs?

  • Roasted broccoli
  • Garlic bread
  • Caesar salad
  • Bread sticks
  • Roasted pumpkin and tomatoes

Pot full of meatballs and marinara sauce.

More Italian dinners Favorites:

  • Alfredo Sauce
  • Italian wedding soup
  • Lasagna
  • Margherita Pizza Pasta
  • e Fagioli

Serving dish with a tall pile of homemade spaghetti and meatballs.

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