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The BEST Italian Meatball Recipe

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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 Time 20 mins
Cook Time 1 hr 40 mins
Total Time 2 hrs
Servings 10 large meatballs
Calories 125
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


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



  • 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.


Calories: 125kcal | Carbohydrates: 3g | Protein: 12g | Fat: 8g | Saturated Fat: 2g | Cholesterol: 65mg | Sodium: 113mg | Potassium: 21mg | Vitamin A: 65IU | Vitamin C: 0.2mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 1.2mg