Italian Meatballs

We've used equal amounts of ground beef and ground pork. You could also use a third each of ground beef, pork and veal.

  • Prep time: 25 minutes
  • Cook time: 1 hour
  • Yield: Makes about 16 meatballs. Serves 8



  • 1 pound ground beef (at least 16 percent fat)
  • 1 pound ground pork
  • 2/3 cup milk (whole or 2 percent)
  • 3 slices of white bread, crusts removed (about 3 ounces)
  • 1/4 cup ricotta cheese
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan or romano cheese
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons Kosher salt
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh parsley
  • 2 teaspoons black pepper
  • 1 teaspoon dried oregano or marjoram
  • 2-3 garlic cloves, minced
  • About 1 cup of flour for dusting
  • 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 1/2 cups (24 ounces) of tomato sauce (make in step 1 of method or use already prepared)

Tomato Sauce:

  • 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped onions
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped carrots
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped celery
  • 2 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 28 oz. can crushed or whole tomatoes, including the juice, or 1 3/4 pound of fresh tomatoes, peeled, seeded, and chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil or 2 Tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 1 teaspoon tomato paste
  • Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste


1 Make the tomato sauce: Heat olive oil in a large skillet on medium heat. Add the onions, carrots, celery, and parsley. Stir to coat with the oil, reduce the heat to low and cover the pan. Cook for 15 to 20 minutes until the vegetables are soft and cooked through.

Remove the cover, add the garlic, and increase the heat to medium high. Cook the garlic for half a minute, then add the tomatoes (if using whole canned, break up with your fingers as you add them to the pan.) Add the tomato paste and basil. Season with salt and pepper.

Bring to a low simmer, reduce the heat to low and let cook uncovered until thickened while you prepare the meatballs, 15 to 30 minutes.

Purée in a blender, or push through a food mill for a smooth consistency. Return to pan. Adjust seasonings.


2 Soak torn bread in hot milk: Heat the milk in a small pot until steamy. Turn off the heat, tear the bread into little pieces and soak it in the milk until it partially dissolves. Mash it until you get something that resembles a paste. Turn it out onto a plate to let it cool.

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3 Make meatball mixture: In a large bowl, combine the beef, pork, ricotta cheese, grated parmesan, eggs, salt, parsley, oregano, black pepper, garlic cloves and the bread-milk mixture. Mix it well with your hands until it barely combines.

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Don't overwork the mixture or it will become tough. It is OK to have some discernable bits of bread or meat in the mix; better that than overworked meatballs.

4 Form meatballs, roll in flour: Wet your hands and form the meatballs. A traditional size for this sort of meatball is 2-3 inches across, but you can make them any size you want.

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Once you roll the meatball in your hands, roll it in the flour to give it a good coating. Set each one on a baking sheet as you work. You might need to rinse your hands a few times as you make the meatballs.

5 Brown meatballs: When all the meatballs are formed, heat olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Brown the meatballs on at least two sides. Don't worry about the center getting cooked through, as you will finish these in the sauce.

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6 Finish cooking meatballs in tomato sauce: Once all the meatballs are browned, arrange them in the sauce, turning each one over in the sauce to coat.

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Cover the pot and simmer gently for 15-20 minutes. Serve with the sauce and pasta or crusty bread. Sprinkle with a little chopped parsley for garnish if you want.

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  • dan

    best meatballs i ever had.


  • Kari

    Can I use this recipe for appetizers ?

    • Carrie Havranek

      Hi Kari! I don’t see why not! But then again, I never need an excuse to eat meatballs! You might consider rolling them a little smaller if you do that. Thanks for your question!

  • Sally

    Absolutely delicious, used turkey and beef as I didn’t have any pork. Thank you


  • Danny

    Best meatball recipe out there! Hands down :)


  • Stephanie

    These are so yummy! I use ground turkey instead of beef and pork and they still turn out super delicious. I have made them three times now. I love this recipe.


  • KIM

    Definitely will make these again!!!


  • Allyson

    I loved this recipe! Now that I’ve made them, I would definitely decrease the amount of salt. It may be because I used Romano cheese, but they were definitely too salty. It also took way more time than the recipe states. I don’t think it took into consideration the prep time. I will be making them again though


  • Wanda Zawadzki

    This has been my go to recipe for years! But now I’m on the Keto Diet and the only thing I can put in this is the milk and bread mixture. Do you have any suggestions on how I can substitute that?


    • Emma Christensen

      Hi, Wanda! You’re looking for substitutes for the milk and the bread, correct? Gelatin is ok on the keto diet, correct?! If so, I’m pulling a tip from a Nom Nom Paleo meatball recipe that I like (in her Ready or Not Cookbook) and would suggest mixing 2 teaspoons of powdered gelatin with 1/4 cup water and let it stand for a few minutes until the gelatin absorbs the water. Then mix this into the meatball mixture. Obviously, I haven’t tried this trick with this recipe, so I’m not 100% sure it will work, but I think it’s worth a shot! Let us know how it turns out?

      • Wanda Zawadzki

        That is correct, no bread or milk. Milk is ok in small quantities.

        I will definitely try it! Thank you!

    • Minnie

      This is the best recipe I came across. Ive made it quite a few times and everyone loves it!Thank you!

  • Steph

    Yummy!! I made it this evening and it was really good. I’ll make it again.


    • Cindy

      definitely the best meatballs
      The only thing I did different was I did not add eggs so it was very very tender. Will be making them again also made them into sandwiches

  • Janet

    So delicious. Whole family loved them!

  • Kristi

    I used sweet Italian sausage instead of ground pork and doubled the sauce so we could make subs with the leftovers. It was delicious! I also added a bit more of the ricotta, maybe 2 tablespoons. And I added about 2 tablespoons of dried Italian seasoning, tomato paste and 1 teaspoon sugar to my sauce. The fresh meatballs had the most flavor. I was surprised because sometimes pasta dishes are better the second day. We had enough for two meals and have half of the batch in the freezer for future subs or pasta. I will definitely make this for years to come.


  • Vanessa

    I made these tonight and they were great! It was a bit of a last minute decision and I didn’t have any ricotta so I increased the bread a bit. & I may increase the sauce next time. The amount of sauce was good and there was enough to cook the meatballs in, but it would be nice to have a little extra for leftovers. I also decreased the amount of salt called for the meatballs and was happy with the taste. I learned a few new tips while following this recipe (flouring the meatballs & not over mixing them).
    Can’t wait to make these again with the ricotta!


  • Gretchen

    The sauce for this was so flavorful! I really enjoyed eating it.

  • Paul

    Please elaborate, if you would, about why you dust the meatballs with flour. My guess is it’s to facilitate browning — but does the flour really make a difference? Also, I’ve been chasing a technique to produce a crispy crust on the meatballs without compromising tenderness and juiciness. I tried adding a little cornstarch to the dusting flour, but I’m not sure it helped much. My concern about the dusting flour is that it runs the risk of introducing bitterness as well as unpleasant texture. Your thoughts?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Paul, dusting with flour is actually a classic way of cooking meatballs. It does help with the browning. I’ve never noticed any bitterness from it.

  • Jim Lynn

    I put the meatballs on a cookie sheet and brown them under the broiler rather than fry them. Much faster and just as good.

  • Jessica

    I followed this recipe exactly! THere was definitely not enough sauce. Plus the meatballs were very salty. That was with 2 teaspoons of kosher salt.

  • Becky

    I’d love to make these a day ahead for a large family dinner. How would you recommend doing so? Make them up to cooking then cook the day of? Of make them all the way then reheat?

  • Wanda Zawadzki

    These are amazing! I have been making them for a couple of years. Is it possible to bake these instead of frying? If so how long should I bake for covered/uncovered?

    • Elise Bauer

      Hello Wanda, I haven’t tried baking them, but if you do experiment with baking them please let us know how they turn out for you.

      • Wanda Zawadzki

        I did bake them at 350 for about a half hour before adding sauce. They were more tender than when I fry them. I will definitely be baking them from now on. Thanks again for this great recipe. I get compliments from everyone!

  • Sophie

    I’ve always loved meatballs and will buy a bag of it at the store if it’s on sale. I have no idea why because it always taste like cardboard. I made this recipe this past weekend and again tonight. I like making the meatballs super huge. So good. The first time I made it, I followed the recipe to a T. This time, I tweaked a few things. I added some crushed red pepper and basil. Instead of making the sauce from scratch, I cheated with a good jar of tomato sauce. Heaven. Will never buy another bag of frozen meatballs.

    • Elise Bauer

      Hi Sophie, I’m so glad you like the meatballs!

    • D. Ann Jones

      I would love to know exactly what brand of sauce you purchased….being a senior, it would make cooking easier. Thank you so much. Ann

      • Jeanette

        I use Victoria marinara, it’s pretty good!

        • Andrea

          I also used Victoria Marinara and it was perfect for these meatballs! These have quickly become a fav in our house!

          • Scott Wettleson

            Look for a sauce that starts the ingredients with tomatoes, rather than tomato puree.I like Cucina antica or Rao’s. They’re more expensive than say a Prego, but way better.

  • Marisa

    These were the BEST meatballs I had in my life.
    I’m Italian and we don’t make it with ricotta so decide to try this receipe.
    Awesome family loves it!!
    Great job.

  • Lisa


    I was so excited to find this recipe. I was thrilled that it had cheese in it. I go light on the garlic. This is now my favorite dinner to make. It feels so nice to spend the later part of Saturday afternoon making these for my family. They are a big meatball and 2 is definitely a serving plus. Thank you for sharing this recipe!!!

  • Jennifer

    Just finished eating these for supper and wow were they good. I didn’t have ground pork so I used only ground beef and I must say these were the most tender meatballs I have ever eaten. Made the sauce as well and it was yummy. Will definitely make again. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Kristin

    I Did not like these! Hated the sweetness of the carrots in the sauce meatballs tasteless AND the recipe took much longer than it said it would! Won’t be making again.

  • Mollie

    This was my first time making meatballs and they were delicious! I followed the recipe almost exactly… for those wondering, 85% lean ground beef was the perfect amount of fat (hard to find less than 85%), especially if using whole milk ricotta. I can’t say exactly how many it made because I rolled varying sizes. THE BIG DIFFERENCE: I used a meat thermometer to make sure they were done instead of finishing cooking in the sauce. Just preference. I rolled them in whole wheat flour. And THEY FREEZE/THAW WELL :-) Very happy.

  • Kelly V.

    These were the best meatballs ever! I made them with Dill Rye bread and it just tasted wonderful, the whole family went crazy for them. These will become a family tradition especially at Christmas. A nice addition to our Italian Christmas dinner.

  • aRog

    Thank you for sharing this recipe! I’ve never made more delicious meatballs! My husband and kids loved them, but thankfully we have leftovers. I’ll be taking a couple with me to work tomorrow for lunch. :)

  • deepali

    just made these meatballs, but only used beef (and only had about 650 g, so maybe about 2/3 of the quantity). i also didn’t have any ricotta. i wish i had read the comments before i made it as i did have plenty of parmesan and milk i could have used. :) but i did some rough recalculation of proportions based on the amount of meat i had, and they turned out amazing! i was worried at first as they were a bit precarious going from the pan to the sauce, but they cooked up nice and firm, but still soft and moist inside. i might have undermixed and then used too light a hand in forming balls, but it all worked out in the end. i forgot to add the garlic :( but it was still yummy.
    the sauce was wonderful, and i ended up making the full amount requested (though, i had planned to only do half, so i only had half the soffrito). and i used extra garlic. :)
    i will say, even with less meat (made 8 somewhat large meatballs), the amount of sauce was just the right amount. i think we like a lot of sauce around here!
    served in a bowl (with lots of sauce) and topped with fresh mozzarella. perfect protein-packed post-workout dinner!

    thanks for the yummy recipe! next time, will try with pork (maybe sausage meat?) and ricotta.

  • jjacobsen

    I really enjoyed making the recipe. The sauce is filled with veggie goodness and excellent flavor. The recipe was very easy to follow and the pictures were so helpful. Happy Cooking!

  • Melinda Johnson

    I followed the recipe as stated above exactly and also with equal parts of ground chuck, pork, and veal. They were amazing both times. I think two things are essential in creating a moist and tasty meatball. They are the combination of the three types of meat and the milk and white bread mixture. I pan fried them and served them over spaghetti squash and sauce. Delicioso!!

  • Kausambi

    What can I use instead of the cheese? My husband does not like cheese :(

    More bread and milk, and you’ll need to add some fat too, perhaps some olive oil. ~Elise

  • Kevin Willett

    Made these last night and they were the best meatball I have ever made. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Michael

    I made these meatballs today and they were outstanding. The most tender and moist I ever had. I didn’t have white bread so I used three hot dog rolls trimmed. I’m a fan!

  • Jason

    Just made these last night – turned out great! The consistency of the meatballs was fantastic. Although they were a little soft and beginning to fall apart during the frying period – next time I might refrigerate them for like 10-15 min before putting them on the skillet to give them some firmness so they can keep their shape. Thanks for the recipe!

  • Judy

    @ Mark re menu ideas:

    The meatballs are the star of the show, so you’ll want some simple sides that enhance their deliciousness without distracting. Try cooking up some penne pasta, then toss in butter or olive oil , sprinkle with garlic powder, Italian seasoning and some grated parmesan cheese, toss well, add some chopped Italian flat leaf parsley for the garnish. Any green salad with some Italian dressing or simply oil & vinegar completes the meal nicely. Of course, you’ll want some crusty rolls and a hearty red wine if you want to do it up right. :-) If you’re cooking for a special friend, you can’t go wrong with a candle or two and maybe Andrea Bocelli singing love songs in the background. sigh…I’ll have to do this soon.

  • Neil Gottlieb

    Really wonderful recipe. Used plain breadcrumbs soaked in milk for 20 minutes , simmered meatballs for an hour, but otherwise exactly as written. Was a huge hit on Christmas Eve. Thx.

  • peggy

    These are really good meatballs. I also use zucchini along with carrots in my tomato sauce. My husband doesn’t like many new dishes, but this he loves and I will be making it again. It is also really good the next day!!!


  • Mark

    If I wanted to make these meatballs the main dish in a meal, what would I accompany them with? Any menu ideas?

  • Karl

    I made this recipe night before last and have been eating it since. I doubled the batch and followed the recipe for the most part. Unfortunately, the carrots I thought would still be good in the fridge were somewhat limpid and I omitted them. On the other hand, I had a bunch of portobello mushrooms that needed to be used and added that to the sauce. Obviously, my sauce was chunkier than that described in the recipe.

    Fantastic recipe, but I believe the salt is out of whack. The recipe (at least as I saw it called for a TBSP of salt – so 2 TBSPs for me), but I believe it probably meant only a teaspoon. The meatballs were a little salty. On the advice of several of the commenters, I triple the amount of garlic, both in the sauce and the balls. I can report that my breath is pleasantly horrible. Other than that, this recipe is fantastic and I high;y recommend that you give it a shot.

    It’s so much easier to increase the salt in a recipe than reduce it, after you’ve made it. So, I’ve reduced the ingredient amount to 2 teaspoons from 1 Tbsp. That should help. A teaspoon for a pound of meat is a fair ratio in my opinion. Also make sure you are using Kosher salt, which has bigger grains. If you are using table salt, you’ll need to reduce the amount. ~Elise

    • Nessica

      Agree! I made this and was very salty!

  • shawn heneghan

    Wonderful recipe. I make about 24x 1-1/2 inch meatballs. Served with gnocchi for dinner on on french bread for a lunch sandwich.

  • Torrie @ a place to share...

    I just discovered your blog a couple of weeks ago, upon seeing a post (by Jora, at Domestic Reflections) regarding your simple turkey method/recipe (which I referred my mom to last week, and the turkey came out perfect!). Yesterday, I made your lemon chicken recipe- DELICIOUS. And now, I am trying to decide on an appetizer to bring to a book club holiday party tomorrow that travels well and can be made ahead of time. I would love to make these(!!), but just wanted to get your opinion. Would you suggest making them, browning the sides and then transferring them (with the sauce) into a slow cooker? I have a function to attend with my daughter for a few hours right before leaving for my party, so I won’t be able to spend time prepping immediately before! Plus, my slow cooker is a “travel” one. Sorry for the extremely LONG comment, but I’d really appreciate your opinion! (and so happy to have found your site!…downloading the app now!)

    Hm. No idea how it will work out that way. I do think the sauce is best when made right before serving. But if you try it in a slow cooker, please let us know how it goes for you! ~Elise

  • Hazel

    I also felt like I could have done with more sauce. Maybe I’ll add in more tomatoes next time. Or maybe my pot wasn’t wide enough.

    Anyway, the meatballs themselves were delicious. They took a while to cook through, but it was worth the wait!

  • Sinol

    Hi Elise,

    I would like to try this recipe for this Christmas. I m put up in Saudi Arabia and i dont get pork. Do I have any alternative for pork?

    Try it with ground turkey. ~Elise

  • micah

    Just made this recipe and seemed like i didn’t have enough sauce. Where did i go wrong?

    Don’t know. You should have had plenty of sauce. ~Elise

  • Jim Gauntt


    As a follow-up to my earlier post. When we make meatballs we are getting to the point where we will make two 3 lb batches. Here’s why: In addition to using them immediately we freeze them for later use. One of the later uses is to make a lovely meatball based lasagna. We’ll take 2-3 meatballs and incorporate them into the sauce we make and them crumble about 1-1.5 lbs of them in between the layers of the lasagna noodles. Makes for a unique way to “beef” up our traditional lasagna.

  • Judy

    Other than adding some grated pecorino (in addition to the romano and parm) & a little cayenne, we pretty much stuck to the recipe, and man, are these some fantastic meatballs! My hubby loves meatball subs and that’s what we did with them. Mamma Mia! Big and juicy and saucy, the yum factor is off the charts! Thanks, Elise! Yet another Simply Recipes keeper! (might as well give away all my cookbooks…lol)

  • Candace Jurado

    Hey Elise,
    I just had to let you know that these are the only meatballs I can say that I actually loved both the flavor and texture of it as it rolled around in my mouth! I had given up making meatballs at home and i even avoided ordering them off of menus. As of late they were just sounding good, so I went to the only place I can trust “Simply Recipes” I love and use your site often and without disappointment. After 6+ years of meatball hiatus I took a chance with this recipe! DELICIOUS! I followed the recipe exactly, minus the specification on the fat content of the meats. I used low-fat ground beef (sirloin) and low-fat ground pork, as this was what I had, these meatballs were the moistest, most flavorful balls of meat I have ever had period! Thanks again for sharing your impeccable pallet with the rest of us!


  • ann

    I forgiot to mentiion that I am allergic to milk, so instead I used So Delicious cocnut milk beverage, left our the ricotta, but did add 2 Tbsp Parmesan. Mmmmm mmmmm. Really tasty.

    Cheers, Ann

  • Ann

    Made this recipe today – absolutely delicious. Thank you so much. If you don’t mind, I added 1 tsp sugar to the sauce.

    Cheers, Ann

  • Sunny Drohan

    I made this recipe for when my daughter came in from NY. They were fabulous. Best meatballs I ever made. I did add some chopped veal and used multigrain crusty bread in lieu of white bread. Did cut the crusts off.
    I enjoyed the sauce as well, but added some red pepper flakes to spice it up a tad. I even could have added more(maybe due to age of pepper)
    I was going to serve it with mashed potatoes but since my daughter isn’t fond of them(I love them) I used some penne and served as a small side dish with the meatball atop of the penne. Also served sauteed spinach in olive oil, garlic and slivered almonds. Had left overs and made meatball sandwiches with sauteed onions and red bell peppers. Great stuff. Thanks for the recipe.

  • Joanna

    I am not the biggest meatball lover, but these looked so good I had to try them. And OH MY GOSH!!! I made these last night and they have converted me! These are the BEST meatballs ever! Thank you for such a great recipe!

  • Monica

    I made these this weekend, only I doubled the ricotta and eliminated the breadcrumbs and milk, as you suggested since my son is gluten intolerant. They were AMAZING!

    Usually I don’t make a new recipe when I’m having guests over, but I always have such great success with your recipes that I went ahead and tried these and served them to my family-in-law. They were a hit!

  • John

    I made these tonight, and they were awesome. Served with just a simple salad and some warm bread, they made a perfect Sunday supper. I got nine balls of about 3″ diameter.

    I like to mix ground meats with a serving fork instead of my hands. I find that by sort of fluffing as I mix, burgers, meatloaves and meat balls end up nice and tender.


  • John Watson

    Meatballs are so hard to find delicioso, I picked up the ingreds yesterday and make yours today. But, since you already did such a fine job of presenting your recipe, I won’t hijack this posting with my recipes or changes I might make while preparing because that is just an insult to the Chef.

    Hi John, thank you for your consideration, but just know that it is perfectly okay to leave whatever modifications you have made in the comments. I find that information quite interesting and helpful. Recipes are just guidelines in my opinion, and I love to know how people have experimented with a recipe. ~Elise

  • Brandon

    Just made these and they were pretty good. I might have done something wrong since I expected them to have a lot more “meatiness”.

    Thoughts on adding a bit of fennel seed, pancetta or rehydrated porcini?

    I also tried eating 3 and… I’m Thanksgiving stuffed.

  • Lexi

    These are very similar to the ones I make- DELICIOUS! A great tip I have learned throughout my meatball making years:

    For moist and flavourful meatballs, rather than adding milk or any other liquid ingredient- add some of the sauce you have prepared!

    Also, rather than browning the meatballs, add them to heated sauce and simmer for about an hour. Adds amazing flavour to the sauce and the meatballs turn out tender and delicious.

  • Eve

    This is one of our favorite meals! I serve it with grilled asparagus or spinach…YUM!

  • Gail Bennett

    These looked very good, so I made them. They were fantastic. My husband loves meatballs and he declared these to be his favorite. I used a two cloves of garlic instead of one. Love them thank you.

  • beti

    wow those look like perfect meatballs, I always make mine with turkey and I fill them with cheese

  • Christian Gehman

    thank you, Elise … just finished eating a warm slice of pear pie but now wish I had room for some meatballs. You might try using panko crumbs instead of soft bread …. my holiday best wishes to you ….

  • Daniel

    We tried the recipe this evening, it turned out to be spectacular! Thanks!

  • jonathan

    in my eternal quest for the perfect meatball, i have yet to reach meatball nirvana. i will make these, fair lady, and let you know of the results forthwith. this just might be….the “one”.

    For you Jonathan, I think you may need to add some bacon to these meatballs. Just sayin…. ~Elise

  • Lillianne

    Can I just add your iPhone app has been one of the best time-savers of the year for me. I can pull up a recipe in the grocery store and there are the ingredients and I can scan the instructions. Beginning to love technology.

    Thanks Lillianne! For those who might be reading this, if you have an iPhone or Android phone, you can point your phone browser to to see the phone optimized view of the site. More info here. ~Elise

  • kathy

    similar to what we do here in rome except nobody i know uses ricotta (why not tho???)….only parmigiano. we do minced beef, a bit of minced pork and maybe even a bit of minced veal, bread soaked in milk and then wrung out, lots of chopped parsley, eggs, the cheese (parmigiano), salt, pepper and thats about it. we make them very small, size of a large walnut….fry flour and then add them to a tomato sauce (mine is just garlic, tomatoes, lots of basil, salt and pepper and if i’m in the mood a bit of peperocino). I cook them for quite a while…like I’m doing a meat sauce so they get really tender.

    if my tomatoes are very acidy, I would add a carrot….but normally I do it from tinned italian tomatoes which are fairly sweet.

    my mother in law made the typical tomato sauce of onion, carrot, celery, tomatoes, basil and then added her meatballs. yummy too.

    the mother of a friend of mine who comes from northern italy used to make a normal tomato sauce but not frying anything…everything thrown in the pot…tomatoes, onions, celery, carrot, basil and just let that boil then she put in the meatballs WITHOUT frying them first and I remember it as being very good.

    you can freeze the meatballs once fried. just let them cool and put them in freezer bag and add to a sauce whenever.

  • jennypenny

    I freeze meatballs all the time. After they’re cooked, I put them on a tray to freeze them, and then put them into gallon ziploc bags once they’re frozen. I make a large batch and just remove how many I need. I thaw them in the fridge overnight, then just simmer them in the sauce to heat them up. I make mine pretty small though…I usually get 100 from 3 lbs of meat.

    I’ve never used pork in my meatballs, I’m trying that next time!

  • Michelle

    I made these last night. I only had ground beef (91% fat) and they came out wonderful. I usually use higher % fat beef, but the amount of liquid and the searing really keeps them moist. Very moist, in fact. I’ve never put ricotta in the meatballs before and I really liked it.

  • Jimmie Sorrento

    Like this recipe but being pure Sicilian…I have another recipe some may like…I use instead of beef or pork pure ground turkey…less fat but adding ingredients to the mix one would never know
    One and a half pounds of ground turkey
    One onion minced
    two cloves of garlic minced
    three tablespoons of good wine white or red or mixed as long as it tastes good
    two slices of bread macerated in a quarter cup of milk
    1 T of sweet basil
    1 T of parsley
    I/2 T of oregano
    Salt and pepper…I add for an added kick some hot red pepper optional
    one quarter cup of parmesan
    three tablespoons of good olive oil

    refrigerate the mix for three hours or overnight

    make a small patty sautee and taste add extra salt pepper as needed
    after adjusting seasonings place on a tray in a 400 degree oven
    for twenty
    minutes done add to your favorite sauce simmer for another ten to fifteen minutes…serve over your favorite pasta sauce add your favorite cooked pasta extra cheese hot peppers

  • Lorina Carbee

    Loved this! Had it for dinner last night. Even my daughter approved. Looking forward to trying the next one.

  • Jules

    I used to make meatballs with all beef-my mom does and they’re great, but once I incorporated pork I never went back. I made a batch this weekend and used the homemade breadcrumbs for the first time and loved them. I use at least 4-5 garlic cloves and Locatelli cheese and don’t coat them in flour (they still get nice and browned), and I add an extra egg for more moisture. So good. I HAVE to try adding ricotta next time.

    My buddy’s trick to making sure the meatball mixture is flavored correctly is to fry a small “flatty” of the mix, tasting, and then adjusting accordingly.

  • Harriette

    I love spaghetti and meatballs, I might try this soon… My question is, how would I adjust the recipe w/o any cheese?

    I would use more bread soaked in milk to compensate for the lack of cheese. Or soaked in stock if you are trying to avoid all milk products. You’ll also need more salt to account for not using Parmesan. ~Elise

  • Shannon

    On freezing meatballs…

    I would cook them first, let them mostly cool, then freeze them under a vacuum seal (food saver) if you have one. Otherwise, in a ziplock and try to get most of the air out. If in a ziplock, they should stay good for a month or so. If a vacuum seal, probably 6 months.

  • Debbie

    In answer to Katie, I freeze meatballs all the time , before adding to sauce. I have never dipped meatballs in flour, I just get the oil nice and hot before I start frying them. My family recipe is similiar but we never use ricotta, only parmesan or romano. Perhaps the soft ricotta cheese is why you need the flour to get a crisp meatball.

  • Lindsey

    Hi Elise. What are your thoughts on the use of almond flour in this recipe, in place of bread? P.S. thank you for all that you do; I tackle your recipes with confidence and no doubt of their quality :)

    I think the flavor would be weird. If you are trying to avoid carbs, I would just double up on the ricotta. If you are trying to avoid gluten, I would use gluten-free bread. ~Elise

  • Katie

    Hi Elise, I would love to make a double batch and freeze some, but I’ve never tried freezing meatballs. Any ideas to ensure success?

    I’ve never frozen them either. Suggestions from readers welcome. ~Elise

    • Nick

      Katie, Hi. First If you want to freeze the balls before cooking them, then do as follows:
      make the balls in your hands. After shaping the meat balls, Put them on a baking sheet lined with wax paper, or Parchment paper, And then in freezer for 30 minutes. Check the balls and see if they are frozen a little, If so put them in a zip lock bag, And put them in the freezer till needed. Now if after dinner, You would like to freeze them, Then use the conventional way of freezing left overs. Hope I helped a little bit.

  • Lindsey

    These look so good! I have a bunch of grass fed ground beef in my freezer and don’t have a place to get good pork. Would it work with all beef?

    You could try it with all beef. If you do, let us know how it turns out for you. ~Elise

  • Amy

    I’m an inexperienced cook (but learning), so please forgive me if this is a dumb question – what’s the reason for rolling the meatballs in flour?

    The meatballs will brown better. ~Elise

  • Autumn

    I make what I call “lazy Mama” meatballs. Instead of rolling them out, I press the mixture into a pan, bake, and cut into cubes. Not as cute as balls, but much quicker, and more secure for kids to keep on a plate! I love your site – it is my go-to for great recipes.

  • John

    There used to be a little Italian restaurant in downtown Minneapolis, MN. It was called the Venice Cafe (original, eh?). Anyhow they serve the most incredible “meatball dip”…two large Italian meatballs with tomato sauce served with a white thick crusted sliced bread. Yum. This makes me think of that…and then.

  • Jim Gauntt

    Meatballs are one of my specialties. I make 16 large balls using 2.25lbs 80% lean ground beef and 0.75lbs sweet Italian sausage for the pork component. I use two-three times the amount of garlic as this recipe and half a cup of chopped parsley. The other thing to do is incorporate two onions chopped fine, sauteed until golden and fairly dry, in a little EVOO with half the garlic you will use and half to one tsp of crushed red pepper flakes. Use a couple of eggs to hold it all together and then bake them at 475F on a baking sheet for 15-20 minutes or well browned. If you don’t have riccotta double or triple up on the Parmesan cheese.

    Incorporate the sweet Italian sausage with all the other ingredients before adding the beef to make the kneading together easier.