Old School Italian Meatballs

Prep Time 10 mins
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 30 mins

Old School Italian Meatballs are the whole comfort food package. They’re juicy, tender, and filled with a blend of Italian spices. Serve these homemade meatballs over your favorite pasta, in a marinara sauce, or eat them right out of the pan!

Meatballs and tomato sauce in a pan.

Authentic Homemade Italian Meatballs

This classic baked meatballs recipe is full of authentic Italian flavors like garlic, herbs, and onion. Ground beef meatballs are quick and easy to make and can be used in versatile ways.

You can eat them straight out of the oven or smother them in marinara sauce and serve them over pasta. Whatever your preference, these tender homemade meatballs make a filling, delicious meal.

Ingredients for homemade meatballs in bowls.

Recipe Ingredients

Here’s what we’ll need to make the best homemade Italian meatballs of your life:

  • Panko Bread Crumbs: Along with the egg, these will form the “binder” that will help your meatballs hold their shape.
  • Whole Milk
  • Ground Beef
  • Garlic
  • Egg: These will help hold your meatballs together in that classic shape.
  • Italian Herbs: dried basil, oregano, etc.
  • Fresh Parsley
  • Yellow Onion
  • Worcestershire Sauce
  • Salt & Black Pepper

This recipe uses 1 pound of ground beef to make 15 meatballs. If needed, this recipe can also be doubled to make twice as many meatballs. Or even triple the recipe to make more meatballs to freeze for another easy dinner later!

Ingredients for homemade meatballs in a mixing bowl.

How to Make Italian Meatballs

Preparation: Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.

Mix: In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.

Ground beef meatball mixture being mixed together.
15 ground beef meatballs on a pan.

Form Meatballs: Roll the meat mixture into balls. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to create balls that are about 1 ½ tablespoons each. Add the balls to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.

Bake: Bake the meatballs for 16 – 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and the meatballs are cooked through. You can also sauté these meatballs in a pan on the stovetop until they are cooked through.

Serve: You can serve these meatballs plain, add them to your favorite sauce (marinara sauce, BBQ sauce, etc.) or serve them with noodles (like spaghetti).

Bowl of oven baked meatballs.

How Do I Get My Meatballs to Stick Together?

The combination of bread crumbs and egg are the “binder” that holds your meatballs together. If the mixture gets too moist it can become soggy, which makes it hard to form the meatballs.

If you run into this problem, start by adding panko bread crumbs 1 tablespoon at a time until the mixture allows you to form nice, rounded meatballs. 

Be careful not to wind up adding too much extra bread crumbs, or you’ll end up with a meatball mixture that is too loose that will not hold it’s shape.

Meatballs in a pan with tomato sauce.

Tips for the Best Italian Meatballs

Looking for some tips before you start? Try some of these:

  • For Even Meatballs: If you have a cookie scoop on hand, use it to scoop your meat mixture and create evenly-sized meatballs.
  • If the Mixture Gets Sticky: If you are rolling your meatballs and the meat mixture is sticking to your hands, add a little olive oil to your hands.
  • How to Know When the Meatballs are Done: The meatballs should be cooked through after baking at 16 – 20 minutes at 425 degrees. Their internal temperature should be 160 degrees and the outside of the meatballs will be browned.

Serving Suggestions

Meatballs can be served with everything! Well, not everything, but they can definitely be served in a lot of different ways. These are some of my favorites:

  • A Meatball Sub: Meatball sandwiches are the best! Toasted bread, gooey mozzarella cheese, juicy meatballs… you get the picture.
  • Pizza: Who doesn’t love a good meat-lover’s pizza? Meatballs make a great pizza topping.
  • A Plate of Pasta: Duh, right? But spaghetti and meatballs is a classic for a reason.

If meatballs are your main course, serve them with this Greek Salad and homemade Greek Salad Dressing! Sure we are mixing Italian and Greek dishes, but it’s still delicious! Or go more traditional Italian with this Copycat Maggiano’s Chopped Salad!

Bowl of meatballs over pasta with tomato sauce.

How to Store and Reheat Meatballs

These meatballs can be stored in an airtight container on their own, or you can store them in some sauce, too. It is best to eat them within 2-3 days.

Reheat these meatballs by letting them simmer in some sauce on the stove for about 15 minutes. You can also throw them in the slow cooker, along with some sauce, and let them heat up on low until they reach the desired temperature. 

Can These Meatballs Be Frozen?

You can definitely freeze these meatballs; place them in an airtight container and they’ll keep for about a month. 

If you want, you can freeze the meatballs before you cook them. Line a container or tray with parchment paper and store the meatballs in a single layer for 2-3 months.

Meatball on a fork with a bite taken out of it.

These homemade Italian Meatballs are a favorite around our house. I almost always make them on a Sunday afternoon — when the kids are around to help roll them! — and make a huge batch to freeze.

I love being able to reach into the freezer for an already made batch of these homemade meatballs…and my family loves eating them! Share a photo below in the comments to let me know how this recipe turns out for you!

Looking for more easy Italian recipes? Try this amazing Instant Pot Spaghetti and Meatballs (it only takes one pot to make!), my favorite Best Baked Chicken Recipe or this easy Instant Pot Chicken Fettuccine Alfredo!

Yield: 15 meatballs

Old School Italian Meatballs

Meatballs and tomato sauce in a pan.

Old School Italian Meatballs are the whole comfort food package. They're juicy, tender, and filled with a blend of Italian spices. Serve them over your favorite pasta, in a marinara sauce, or eat them right out of the pan!

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • ½ cup panko bread crumbs
  • 3 tablespoons whole milk
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tablespoon Italian herbs
  • 3 tablespoon fresh parsley, chopped
  • 1/3 cup yellow onion, finely diced
  • 2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees.
  2. In a large bowl, mix all of the ingredients together until well combined.
  3. Roll the meat mixture into balls. Use a cookie scoop or spoon to create balls that are about 1 ½ tablespoons each. Add the balls to a parchment paper lined baking sheet.
  4. Bake the meatballs for 16 - 20 minutes, or until the internal temperature reaches 160 degrees and the meatballs are cooked through. You can serve these meatballs plain, add them to your favorite sauce (marinara sauce, BBQ sauce, etc.) or serve them with noodles (like spaghetti).

Notes

This recipe uses 1 lb of ground beef so that it makes 15 meatballs. If needed, this recipe can also be doubled to make twice as many meatballs.

Nutrition Information:

Yield:

15

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 107Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 2gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 3gCholesterol: 40mgSodium: 209mgCarbohydrates: 4gFiber: 0gSugar: 1gProtein: 9g

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Welcome!

Jessica
I'm a trial & error, self taught, sugar addict who thankfully learned how to survive in the kitchen! I am also a wife, mama of 3.
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