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The BEST Italian Meatball Recipe

This is my father-in-law's legendary recipe for Italian meatballs; they are baked in the oven, then simmered away in sauce until tender and moist.

Course Main Course
Cuisine Italian
Prep 20 minutes
Cook 1 hour 40 minutes
Total 2 hours
Servings 10 large meatballs
Calories 125 kcal
Author Michelle


  • 1 pound meatloaf mix mixture of ground beef, pork and veal
  • cup Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 2 tablespoons grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon finely minced yellow onion
  • 1 clove garlic minced
  • ½ teaspoon dried parsley
  • 2 eggs
  • Salt and pepper to taste


  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients and mix with your hands until thoroughly combined.
  3. Shape into large meatballs (I use a heaping large cookie scoop, which is 3 tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet.
  4. Bake for 20 minutes. Turn the meatballs over, reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
  5. Place the meatballs in a simmering pot of sauce for at least 1 hour before serving.

Recipe Notes

  • To make this meatball recipe without bread crumbs, simply take one slice of sandwich bread (white or wheat, it doesn't matter) and break it into pieces, then mix with 2 tablespoons of milk. Let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before combining the rest of the ingredients.
  • You can add other herbs or seasonings to suit your tastes.
  • The meatballs can be pan-fried instead of baked. Simply pan-fry with some olive oil over medium-high heat until the meatballs are browned all over, then transfer them to the sauce to simmer.
  • Many people swear by putting raw meatballs in the sauce to cook completely that way; if you choose to do that, I recommend shaping them and placing them on a baking sheeting, covering with plastic wrap and refrigerating for at least 30 minutes so they can firm up a bit and not fall apart in the sauce. Gently add them to the simmering sauce, then adjust the heat so it maintains a simmer, and cook for at least 1 hour, or until the meatballs are cooked through. (Quick tip - don't taste the sauce after you put the raw meatballs in until they are done cooking!)
  •  You can prepare the meatballs ahead of time by shaping them and placing them on a baking sheet, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for up to 1 day in advance of cooking them.
  • You can freeze the meatballs both raw and cooked. To freeze raw meatballs, place the baking sheet with the shaped meatballs in the freezer until the meatballs are completely frozen, 1 to 2 hours. Then transfer the meatballs to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 4 months. If you are baking the meatballs, you can do so from frozen, but will need to add 5 to 10 minutes to the baking time. If you pan-fry the meatballs, you will want to thaw them overnight in the refrigerator first. To freeze cooked meatballs, assemble and bake the meatballs as directed, then remove to a paper towel-lined plate to cool completely. Once cool, place on a clean baking sheet and place in the freezer until completely frozen, 1 to 2 hours. Then transfer the meatballs to a freezer-safe bag and freeze for up to 3 months. Thaw in the refrigerator overnight, microwave to reheat quickly, or drop in sauce straight from the freezer.
Nutrition Facts
The BEST Italian Meatball Recipe
Amount Per Serving
Calories 125 Calories from Fat 72
% Daily Value*
Fat 8g12%
Saturated Fat 2g13%
Cholesterol 65mg22%
Sodium 113mg5%
Potassium 21mg1%
Carbohydrates 3g1%
Protein 12g24%
Vitamin A 65IU1%
Vitamin C 0.2mg0%
Calcium 23mg2%
Iron 1.2mg7%
* Percent Daily Values are based on a 2000 calorie diet.