Until recently, I had always thought that it was much easier to just grab a bag of frozen meatballs from the grocery store rather than try to make them myself. Then my son and I made this amazing Turkey Meatball Soup, and I remembered how easy AND fun it is to make homemade! They are a great starter recipe for young chefs, too. My kids loved learning how to make them; mixing, scooping and rolling them out is the best part! We also love Italian Meatballs with sausage and Baked Chicken Meatballs.
Why Make Meatballs from Scratch?
They are delicious and taste super fresh, unlike frozen from a bag.
Meatballs are fun to make and a great way to get kids involved in the kitchen.
They freeze beautifully so you can always have some homemade meatballs on hand!
Homemade Oven Baked Meatball Recipe
I always make at least one extra batch of homemade meatballs, since it’s incredibly easy to double or even triple this recipe. They freeze really well and it’s super easy to defrost them in sauce on the stove or quickly in the microwave, depending on what you’re making.
How Do You Make Meatballs from Scratch?
This is a simple 4-step process.
Prep. Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F. Line two rimmed baking sheets with foil and set aside. It’s important to use rimmed sheets because the ground meat will release juices as it bakes and you want to keep it all on the pan.
Hand-Mix. Combine all of ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands, careful not to over-mix. Just squish it all together a few times to combine. Your hands have a lighter touch than a spoon or spatula, and incorporates all of the ingredients without crushing the meat.
Form the meatballs. Divide the meat mixture into your desired size. As long as they are uniform, they can be as large or small as you like. PRO TIP: To ensure that they cook evenly, I use a medium cookie scoop to divide the meat into uniform sized 2-inch balls, roll them, then place them fairly close together on a foil lined cookie sheet. They can be even closer together than this, as long as they’re not touching; you just need air flow around them to ensure even cooking.
Bake. Bake in the oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size. Be sure to check for doneness. Use an instant read thermometer to check that they are at least 165 degrees F. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
Is it better to bake or fry meatballs?
Cooking them in a pan on the stovetop requires additional olive oil for frying, and baking doesn’t. Baking them is a healthier alternative since you aren’t adding any extra oil. If you want a cripier exterior, you can place them under the broiler for a few minutes at the end. You’ll still get that golden brown and crispy outside without any extra fat.
How do you keep homemade meatballs from falling apart?
When meatballs fall apart, it’s usually the binder that’s the culprit. The ingredients you use can make a difference. The binder helps to hold the meat together; generally, and in this recipe, that’s an egg and breadcrumbs.
It may sound counter-intuitive, but over-mixing can actually make your meatballs fall apart! Use your hands, and lightly mix and form them.
Do you need an egg to make meatballs?
The egg used in most formed ground beef recipes like meatballs or meatloaf, is part of what holds the meat together. You can substitute the eggs with plain yogurt or ricotta cheese if you need to.
Can I Freeze Baked Meatballs?
Absolutely! This meatball recipe will freeze beautifully if you follow these steps.
To freeze baked meatballs:
Cool just enough so they are easy to handle.
Scrape any fat from the meat (this happens when the meat cooks and releases the juices that congeal as they cool).
Freeze in a single layer on a baking sheet, then store in an airtight container or freezer bag.
Freeze cooked meatballs for up to 3 months.
To reheat, just place frozen or thawed in your favorite sauce and cook until heated through. If desired, thaw in the refrigerator first.
To freeze raw meatballs: Mix your ingredients together then place in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Freeze, then store in an airtight container or freezer bag for up to 6 months. To cook meatballs from frozen, place on a foil lined baking sheet and bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes.
Can I make this meatball recipe with ground turkey instead?
You can! Just replace the ground beef with the same amount of lean ground turkey and bake as directed. You could also use my Homemade Turkey Meatballs Recipe which is similar to this one.
This meatball recipe is great to use in a variety of ways. Serve them drenched in marinara sauce over pasta and topped with plenty of Parmesan cheese, in a sub roll topped with melty cheese, or even in soup! Sometimes we just like to enjoy plain meatballs with a salad and some garlic bread to just keep it simple.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line 2 rimmed baking sheets (baking pans will work if you don't have rimmed cookie sheets) with foil and set aside.
Place all ingredients into a large bowl and gently mix together with your hands, careful not to over-mix. Just squish it all together a few times to combine.
Using a cookie scoop or your hands, divide meat mixture into desired size balls. As long as they are uniform, they can be as large or small as you like.
Bake in the preheated oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size. Be sure to check for doneness. Serve hot with your favorite sauce.
TO FREEZE: Allow meatballs to cool completely on the baking sheets. Once cool, scrape the fat away from each ball and seal tightly in a freezer safe bag or air tight container and place in the freezer.
*Nutrition count is per meatball when you get 48 meatballs from the recipe using the medium cookie scoop as described in the post.
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Kristin Maxwell is the creator and main recipe developer, writer, and photographer of Yellow Bliss Road. A self-taught cook and self-appointed foodie, she specializes in easy, flavorful and approachable recipes for any home cook.