Basic Homemade Meatballs

This Basic Homemade Meatballs Recipe is the perfect staple for any kitchen! It’s easy to prep and these meatballs come out juicy and full of flavor every time.

Meatballs are ground meat (mince) rolled into a ball, sometimes along with other ingredients, such as bread crumbs, minced onion, eggs, butter, and seasoning. This is a timeless classic recipe, perfect in soups, casseroles or meatball sandwiches.

Make up big batches of meatballs and freeze them. Additionally, putting them into a pot of boiling soup or a bubbling pot of Marinara Sauce creates a simple homemade meal in minutes!

Who doesn’t love a good meatball? It’s a dish that crosses borders and warms hearts. It’s also a mouthwatering favorite from grandma’s kitchen to upscale restaurants. Timeless and versatile, meatballs are a quintessential comfort food in many cultures.

This recipe strips down the basic homemade meatballs to its delicious essence, giving you a foundational approach that’s both simple and foolproof. Let’s dive into this classic, shall we? Home-cooked meatballs are about to make your kitchen the most popular spot in the house—ready!

The Origin of Basic Homemade Meatballs

Believe it or not, meatballs have been around for a long time. They have traveled from ancient Roman tables to the hearty stews of the Middle East, each culture adding its unique twist. Italy gave us the tender, herby rounds we often nestle into pasta. However, in Sweden, they’re served with that oh-so-creamy gravy. Yet, across the oceans, in Asia, meatballs float in savory broths, picking up exotic flavors.

This global trotter of a dish has nestled into our hearts, becoming a staple that speaks the universal language of yum. Join us as we celebrate the meatball, the true globetrotter of comfort food!

The Building Blocks of Flavor: Essential Ingredients Breakdown

ingredients for basic homemade meatballs on a countertop

Every ingredient in our meatballs plays a starring role, and boy do they know how to work together in harmony! Let’s chat about what each brings to the table:

  • 1 pound ground beef & 1 pound ground pork: These are the stars! Beef has a robust flavor, while pork adds tenderness to our meatballs. They join forces for the perfect bite.
  • ½ cup breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs: They’re the secret to a tender meatball, absorbing moisture and ensuring they’re not too dense.
  • 1 egg: It’s like the glue that keeps our meatball crew together. Just enough to bind without stealing the show.
  • ¼ cup Parmesan: This adds a touch of sharp, cheesy goodness that melds right into the meat.
  • ½ cup milk: Here’s to moisture! It makes sure our meatballs are juicy, paired with breadcrumbs for that melt-in-your-mouth texture.
  • ½ cup onion, diced & 1 garlic, minced: These two are flavor powerhouses, adding a little kick and a ton of aroma that gets those taste buds dancing.
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning, ¼ cup parsley, chopped: Herbs bring the freshness, the Italian soul, and the green goodness to every bite.
  • Teaspoon kosher salt & ½ teaspoon pepper: It’s all about seasoning. The right amount of salt and a hint of pepper make every other flavor pop.

Eager to see how these all-stars play out together? Let’s roll up our sleeves and create some meatball magic that’ll make your palate sing!

The Perfect Meat Blend: Crafting Your Meaty Masterpiece

Choosing the right meat for your basic homemade meatballs isn’t just a step; it’s the secret to that ‘wow’ in every bite! Mixing ground beef and ground pork is the golden ticket, offering the best of both worlds. Beef packs a flavor punch, giving you that rich, savory depth we all crave. Pork, on the other hand, is the softer side of this dynamic duo, bringing tenderness that keeps each bite succulent.

When shopping, aim for at least 80/20 beef—that’s 80% lean meat and 20% fat. This ensures juicy, flavorful meatballs without being too oily. As for the pork, a regular ground mix does wonders. But here’s a tip: don’t shy away from trying other meats like ground turkey or lamb for a twist on tradition. Get ready to shape up the best basic homemade meatballs you’ve ever had. It’s meatball magic time!

Rolling Out the Fun: Step-by-Step Meatball Making

process of making basic homemade meatballs

Let the meatball magic begin! Here’s how you’ll transform these ingredients into bites of bliss:

  1. Start with the Egg: Crack that egg into a large bowl and give it a gentle whisk. This step lays the groundwork for meatball perfection.
  2. Mix the Dry Ingredients: Add the breadcrumbs, finely diced onion, and minced garlic to the egg. Toss in the Parmesan for a cheesy zing. This blend is the quiet hero in our meatball story.
  3. Herb Heaven: Sprinkle in the Italian seasoning along with the fresh, chopped parsley. It’s like a party of flavors just waiting to get started.
  4. Milk & Moisture: Pour in the milk. It’s a simple splash that promises juicy meatballs down the road. Mix these friends until they’re just combined.
  5. Meat Mates Meet: Now, add the star duo, beef and pork, to the bowl. Remember, gentle hands make tender meatballs. Mix but don’t mush!
  6. Seasoning the Stars: Season with kosher salt and a crackling of pepper. These seasoning buddies are about to lift the flavors to the stars.
  7. Ballin’ Time: Scoop up the mix and form those meatballs. About two tablespoons each is your ticket to even cooking and shareable bites.
  8. Ready, Set, Bake!: Place the meatballs on a lined baking sheet, giving them space because no one likes to be crowded.
  9. Oven Time: Slide them into the preheated oven at 350 degrees. Let them bake to golden glory for 18-20 minutes. Hello, gorgeous!

Shaping and Cooking the Basic Homemade Meatballs

It’s not just what’s inside your meatballs that matters, it’s also how you shape and cook them. For that perfectly round meatball, wet your hands slightly – this prevents sticking and helps achieve a smooth surface. Roll the meat between your palms gently until it forms a ball. Don’t overwork the meat; a light touch is key to keeping them tender.

Now, let’s talk cooking. You’ve got options:

  • Baking: Perhaps the simplest way. Place your meatballs on a baking sheet and cook in a preheated oven. This method is ideal for a hands-off approach and yields a beautifully browned exterior.
  • Frying: If you crave a crispy crust, frying in a skillet with a bit of oil is the way to go. Do this over medium-high heat, turning the meatballs regularly for an even sear.
  • Simmering in Sauce: For meatballs that are tender all the way through, finish them by simmering in your favorite sauce. Whether it’s a rich tomato or a savory cream sauce, this method infuses the meatballs with extra flavor and keeps them moist.

Choose your method based on the desired texture and the level of convenience. Baking is low-maintenance, frying gives you a delightful crunch, and simmering incorporates the flavor of your sauce. Whichever way you go, you’re in for a treat with these delectable spheres of joy!

Pairing with Sauces: The Art of Complementing Meatballs

Finding the perfect sauce to accompany your homemade meatballs elevates them from simply delicious to a symphony of flavors. Here are a few recommended sauce recipes and tips for pairing:

basic homemade meatballs in a pot of marinara sauce
  • Basic Marinara: For traditionalists, a tomato-based marinara with a balance of savory garlic, bright basil, and fruity olive oil is a no-brainer. Its acidity cuts through the richness of the meatballs, creating a harmonious blend in each bite.
  • Creamy Alfredo: Luxurious and smooth, alfredo sauce adds a velvety blanket of flavor. It’s especially complementary to meatballs made with leaner meats like turkey or chicken, whose subtle flavors are enhanced by the creamy sauce.
  • Spicy Arrabbiata: If you’re a fan of heat, a spicy arrabbiata with crushed red pepper flakes can provide an excellent counterpoint to the savoriness of your meatballs.
  • Rich Gravy: For a hearty meal, a savory brown gravy, perhaps infused with a splash of wine or a hint of rosemary, can turn your meatball dish into a comfort classic.

When matching basic homemade meatballs with sauce, consider the boldness and spice levels of both. Aim to balance strong flavors with simpler, soothing ones, and don’t be afraid to let either the meatballs or the sauce take center stage. Whether you nestle them atop a bed of pasta, tuck them into a sub, or serve them as a standalone treat, the right sauce will make your meatball dish unforgettable.

Creative Serving for Basic Homemade Meatballs

Transforming your meatball dish to suit any occasion, whether a casual get-together or a formal dinner party, is all about presentation and pairing. Below are innovative ways to serve these culinary orbs:

  • Appetizer Skewers: For a casual finger-food option, skewer meatballs with tiny mozzarella balls, cherry tomatoes, and fresh basil leaves. Drizzle with balsamic reduction for an Italian-inspired treat.
  • Meatball Sliders: Miniature buns, a dollop of marinara, and a sprinkle of Parmesan transform your meatballs into the perfect party sliders.
  • Elegant Meatball Tapas: Place a single meatball atop a small pile of creamy polenta or atop a crostini, garnished with a sprig of parsley for a bite-sized delight that’s perfect for formal gatherings.
  • Stuffed Bell Peppers: Nestle meatballs and marinara into bell peppers before baking, giving a colorful and wholesome twist to the traditional meatball dish.
  • Zoodle Nests: For a low-carb option, spiralize zucchini into noodles and create ‘nests’ to cradle your meatballs — a delightful and health-conscious option.
  • Meatball Soup: Float them in a fragrant broth with seasonal vegetables for a comforting soup that is both hearty and elegant.

Meatballs can be Splendidly Accompanied

  • Garlic Roasted Vegetables: A medley of seasonal veggies roasted with garlic pairs beautifully with any meatball variation, adding both color and nutrition to your plate.
  • Risotto: A creamy risotto, whether it’s mushroom, saffron, or Parmesan, makes for a luxurious side that enhances the richness of your meatballs.
  • Couscous Salad: Pair with a vibrant couscous salad dotted with feta, cucumber, and tomato, along with a lemony dressing for a lighter side that complements heartier meatball recipes.
  • Classic Mashed Potatoes: Fluffy mashed potatoes are a traditional side that offers a comforting base for your meatball creations.
  • Fresh Greens: A crisp green salad with a tart vinaigrette can cut through the richness of the meatballs for a perfectly balanced meal.

With these suggestions, you can confidently serve meatballs in various ways that will impress your guests while satisfying a range of tastes and dietary preferences.


In summary, basic homemade meatballs are a versatile and universally beloved dish that cater to many tastes and occasions. Whether baked, fried, or simmered, there’s a preparation method tailored to satisfy any preference.

Serving them can be as straightforward or as creative as desired, making them a perfect fit for any meal and any setting. Embrace the simplicity of this culinary staple or dress it up to unveil its potential to become the centerpiece of your dining table, leaving your guests with memorable flavors that linger long after the last bite.

basic homemade meatballs in marinera sauce

Basic Homemade Meatballs

These homemade meatballs are way better than any store-bought. They take minutes to put together and are great for dinner or as an appetizer.
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 20 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Appetizer, Main Course, Side Dish, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8


  • 1 large casserole dish



  • 1 pound pound ground beef
  • 1 pound pound ground pork
  • 1/2 cup breadcrumbs or cracker crumbs or oatmeal
  • 1 egg
  • ¼ cup parmesean
  • 1/2 cup cup milk
  • 1/2 cup onion diced
  • 1 garlic minced
  • 1 teaspoon Italian seasoning
  • 1/4 cup parsley chopped
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper to taste


Preheat oven to 350℉

  • Lightly beat egg in a large bowl.
  • Stir in crumbs or oatmeal, onion, garlic, cheese, parsley, seasonings.
  • Add all meats and gently mix with hands until combined (do not overmix).
  • Using approximately 2 tablespoons for each, make 36 uniform meatballs.
  • Line on a baking sheet and cook for 18-20 minutes.


Nutrition Estimates
Amount Per Serving 3-4
Calories  401  Total Fat  28g  Saturated Fat  11g  Trans Fat 1g  Unsaturated Fat  17g
Sodium  900mg  Carbohydrates  6g  Fiber  0g  Sugar  1g  Protein  30g
Keyword homemade meatballs, meatballs

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