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Basic Meatballs Recipe

User Rating 5 Star Rating (1 Review)


Spaghetti and Meatballs
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Basic Meatballs Recipe

These classic Italian meatballs are made with ground beef and pork and they're perfect for spaghetti. We brown them on the stovetop before finishing them in the oven.

I like to use half a pound of ground beef (ground chuck is my favorite) and a quarter pound each of ground pork and ground veal. But you can use equal parts (1/3 pound of each) if that's easier. Or you could skip the veal and just use half beef, half pork.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 20 minutes

Total Time: 40 minutes


  • ½ lb ground beef
  • ¼ lb ground pork
  • ¼ lb ground veal
  • 1 large slice of sourdough bread (or two slices regular white bread), crusts removed
  • ½ cup buttermilk, regular milk, or tomato juice
  • ½ medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • ¼ cup grated parmesan cheese
  • 2 Tbsp chopped parsley leaves
  • Kosher salt to taste (around 1 tsp)
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste (around ½ tsp)


  1. Preheat oven to 350°F.

  2. Cut the bread into cubes and combine it with the milk (or tomato juice) in a bowl. Mash it up until it forms a thick paste.

  3. In a heavy dutch oven, sauté the onions and garlic in a little bit of oil until the onions are translucent. Remove from heat and set aside so that they have a chance to cool.

  4. In a large bowl, combine the ground meat with the egg, cheese and parsley.

  5. Add the bread mixture and the onion-garlic mixture and combine until all the ingredients are thoroughly mixed. I find my bare hands are best for this.

  6. Gently form the mixture into meatballs about 1½ inches in diameter. Don't pack them too tightly. If you make them slightly more oval-shaped rather than perfectly round, browning them will be a bit easier.

  7. Heat about ½ cup of vegetable oil in your dutch oven. You'll want about ¼ inch of oil in the pan.

  8. When the oil is hot, add the meatballs and brown them for about 10 minutes, rolling them around with a pair of tongs so that they brown evenly all around.

  9. Remove the meatballs, drain excess oil onto paper towels, and then transfer them to an oven-safe dish.

  10. Bake the meatballs in the oven for another 10 minutes or until they are cooked through.
Serve with spaghetti and basic tomato pasta sauce. Makes about 15 meatballs.

Note: An amazing way to use leftover meatballs is to slice them up and use them as a topping for homemade pizza.
User Reviews

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 5 out of 5
This is a great meatball recipe!, Member rosabela

I've been searching for a good Italian meatball recipe and my search ends here. I made this with half pork and half beef and I added buttermilk to the meat mixture. The meatballs turned out very moist and flavourful. I was intially tempted to skip the frying part and simply bake them just to save a step and some dirty dishes, but am I ever glad that I followed the recipe. Browning them in the pan adds flavour and then baking them in the oven keeps them moist (well, that's just my opinion). I added the meatballs to Danila's basic tomato sauce and I felt like I was in my nonna's kitchen again. This is going into my regular rotation. Thanks for sharing this wonderful recipe, Danilo! I'm looking forward to trying your other recipes.

2 out of 2 people found this helpful.

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